Neymar's mother urges son to 'forgive' rape accuser
Rio de Janeiro (AFP)
Neymar's mother has urged her Brazilian football star son to "forgive" the woman who accused him of rape and "return to Jesus," in a message published Tuesday on Instagram.
Nadine Goncalves' plea, which featured a photo of herself with Neymar and his sister Rafaela, comes after lawyers for the accuser reportedly stopped representing her because of contradictions in her story.
Neymar has vehemently denied the allegations and his father has claimed the Saint-Germain player was the victim of a blackmail attempt.
"My son ... now that the truth of God is coming out, it is time to learn from all this and return to Jesus Christ, your first love," Goncalves wrote to Neymar, the world's most expensive footballer.
"Focus on what you love most in life, playing football," she said, as Neymar prepares with his teammates for this month's Copa America tournament in Brazil.
"We are Christians, forgive that girl. Me and your sister, as women, can guarantee that she does not represent us."
Neymar posted a seven-minute video on Instagram on Saturday denying he had raped the woman after she accused him of sexually assaulting her at a Paris hotel in May.
In the video, he showed what he said was a series of WhatsApp messages with the woman, including topless photographs of her in bed.
Police in Rio said Sunday they had launched an investigation into the publication of intimate information on social media concerning the woman.
In the latest twist in the high-profile case, the Sao Paulo-based firm representing the woman said they had dropped their client after she changed her story, Globo TV reported Monday.
The lawyers said the woman initially told them she had had consensual sex with Neymar and that he then became violent and assaulted her.
But the firm, Fernandes e Abreu, said that in the official complaint the woman gave to the Brazilian police, she "described what had happened as 'rape', which is a completely different allegation."
The scandal caps a troubled season for Neymar, on and off the field. It has ben marred by a recurring injury, two separate suspensions for insulting a referee and hitting a fan, and the loss of Brazil's captaincy in the Copa.
? 2019 AFP