Neymar backs Brazil legend Romário for Rio governor

Romário is one of the greatest footballers of all time. (Reuters pic)

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s football star Neymar is getting involved in politics and has given his backing to legendary striker Romário in the upcoming gubernatorial elections next month.

“I’m here to say I support you. To you and all those that are with you,” Neymar, the Paris Saint-Germain striker, said in a message circulating on the Internet.

Romário, who helped Brazil lift the World Cup in 1994, is running for governor of his native Rio de Janeiro in the October 7 elections.

The former Barcelona forward is currently a senator for Rio.

“I hope you can improve Rio de Janeiro a lot. I go there and love this city,” said Neymar, who is from the state of São Paulo.

When not playing for PSG, Neymar is known to relax at his luxury villa at the small seaside resort of Mangaratiba, around 100 kilometres from Rio.

It’s not the first time Neymar has expressed support for a politician, having backed center-right candidate Aécio Neves in the 2014 presidential elections.

Having retired from his playing career in 2009, Romário was first elected a Rio deputy in 2010 and then became a senator in 2014.

He now wants to govern the state of Rio, which is close to bankruptcy and has seen a wave of violence since hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

Having previously represented the centre-right PSDB party, Romário is now part of the centrist Podemos party.

The latest opinion poll by Ibope a week ago gave Romário 20% of the vote, just behind centre-right candidate Eduardo Paes, with 23%.