Brazil’s Neymar went to a Rio de Janeiro police station Thursday to give a statement in a probe into whether he broke the law by posting intimate pictures of a woman who accused him of rape.
The football megastar — full name Neymar da Silva Santos Junior — went to the station in an attempt to defend himself, sitting in a wheelchair after spraining his ankle the night before in a pre-Copa America friendly that has ruled him out of the tournament.
As he made his way out through a media scrum after giving his statement to police, the star striker expressed gratitude to his fans for their support.
“I felt very loved,” he said.
The injury to the world’s most expensive player is a huge blow to host nation Brazil’s preparations for the South American continental championship, which begins on June 14.
Neymar hobbled off the field in the 20th minute of Brazil’s 2-0 win over Qatar in Brasilia on Wednesday. A large ice pack had been strapped to his lower right leg.
Neymar’s club, Paris Saint-Germain, tweeted Thursday that the player “suffered a severe sprain of the outer lateral ligament of his right ankle,” and will be “reassessed by the club’s medical department within the next 72 hours.”
The injury caps a troubled season on and off the field for Neymar, who faces accusations that he raped the woman, Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza, in a Paris hotel in May.
Neymar denies the claims and in an attempt to defend himself, published intimate WhatsApp messages and images of his encounter with Trindade on social media — without her consent, possibly breaking Brazilian law.
Such an offense carries a maximum five-year jail term.