SAO PAULO – Brazilian forward Neymar, who is practicing with the national team on Sunday ahead of the Copa America, is the latest soccer star to be accused of rape, joining a group that includes one of his heroes, Robinho, who was convicted of sexual assault, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, a member of Juventus.
Neymar arrived on Sunday at the Granja Comary training complex in Teresopolis, a city located 98 kilometers (about 61 miles) from Rio de Janeiro, by helicopter.
He apparently plans to stick to his practice schedule with the national team as it prepares for the Copa America, which starts on June 14 at Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo.
The Paris Saint Germain star was accused of sexual assault by a young Brazilian woman, who alleged that he raped her at a Paris hotel after they met on social media and he paid for her to travel to the French capital.
The woman filed a criminal complaint last Friday at a Sao Paulo police station, alleging that the rape occurred in Paris last month.
The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, said in the complaint that she got in touch with Neymar via social media and they began to exchange messages.
She claimed Neymar invited her to Paris and that one of his associates arranged airplane tickets and a place for her to stay.
She says she arrived in Paris on May 15 and stayed at the Hotel Sofitel Paris Arc Du Triomphe, where Neymar came to meet her at around 8:00 pm in an apparently intoxicated state.
“They began to talk and caress one another, however at a certain point, Neymar became aggressive and, through violence had sexual relations against the victim’s will,” the complaint published by UOL and GloboEsporte said.
Neymar published all the messages he exchanged with the woman before and after their encounter, saying the two had consensual sexual relations.
The player’s father, Neymar da Silva Santos, said on a television program on the Bandeirantes Network that his son was the victim of an extortion attempt by the woman making the allegations.
Among the other big-name soccer players accused of rape is Cristiano Ronaldo, who was Real Madrid’s biggest star when Neymar was leading Barcelona.
In 2018, American model Kathryn Mayorga alleged that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 and paid her $375,000 to keep quiet.
Police reopened the investigation in September after Mayorga’s attorneys filed suit to quash the non-disclosure agreement.
Ronaldo denied the allegations and said the two had consensual sex.
Another case is that of Robinho, a star with Santos when Neymar was starting his professional career with that Brazilian league club.
In November 2017, Robinho, a former Real Madrid player, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman.
The victim said she was raped by several men, including Robinho, in 2013 at a club in Milan, where the Brazilian was playing at the time.
Robinho, who now plays for a Turkish club, filed an appeal in the case but has avoided returning to Italy.
Former Mexican national team member Jose de Jesus Arellano, who starred with the Rayados, was arrested last month in the northern city of Monterrey on rape charges.
Arellano had been a fugitive since being accused of raping a 16-year-old niece in 2017. He is awaiting trial.