Neymar isn’t bluffing the tax man and he’s not a criminal, that’s what the soccer star and poker enthusiast told Brazilian media outlet Isto E on July 4th, 2016.
Soon after the Brazilian became a PokerStars pro in 2015, he found himself embroiled in a tax evasion case.
At the root of the issue is Neymar’s move from Spanish soccer club Santos to Barcelona FC back in 2013. The headlines at the time suggested that Barcelona paid an eye-watering €57 million ($63 million) to secure Neymar’s services.
However, reports later surfaced that the transfer fee may have actually been as much as €100 million ($110 million) after various undisclosed payments were taken into account.
If this is the case, then there could be a potential issue with taxation. In fact, with the transactions surrounding the deal unclear, a Brazilian judge decided to freeze assets worth $48 million in September 2015.
That figure is three times the amount ($16 million) Neymar is alleged to owe in taxes and the reason he recently told Brazilian journalists that he’s not a criminal.
However, despite his confidence, Barcelona FC’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently admitted that the “operation” did cost more than was reported.
Not only that, but the soccer club also paid $6 million to a Spanish court to settle another dispute related to the transfer.
Although that situation has been resolved, the Brazilian court case against Neymar is still ongoing, but the man himself doesn’t appear to be losing any sleep over it.
“These matters do not disturb me. My father deals with everything outside of the pitch and I have complete confidence in him,” Neymar told Isto E.
While this may simply be a case of Neymar maintaining a poker face in the midst of adversity, he doesn’t appear to be letting things faze him too much.
At the close of May the soccer star filmed a series of commercials for PokerStars’ Knockout tournaments.
Working alongside two capoeira (an ancient Brazilian martial art) experts, Neymar took out targets with a soccer ball while using a variety of acrobatic moves.
Commercials such as this are the main reason PokerStars signed Neymar. Aside from being a fan of poker, the soccer star has a huge mainstream following (23 million followers on Twitter) and it’s this collection of casual fans that PokerStars is hoping to appeal to.