Before leaving the presidency, Jair Bolsonaro (PL) awarded titles of Order of Rio Branco to different personalities, soldiers and Olympic gold medalists in Tokyo 2020. there is between them Neymar, who was not in the squad of the Brazilian team that won the Olympics. The decree was made official in the Official Gazette (DOU), on 1 December 2022.
Neymar is the only athlete on this list to receive the award without having competed in the Tokyo Olympics. Also, in December, the federal government awarded the 2021 Olympic gold medalists: Martine Grael And Kahena Kunzefrom Candela, Rebecca Andradegymnastics and Italo Ferreira, of surfing. All were awarded the Order in the rank of Commander.
In the DOU, Neymar is classified as an “athlete” in his decoration. Additionally, other Olympic gold medalists in 2021 did not receive the honor. Ana Marcela Cunha, from the aquatic marathon, Hebert Conceição, from boxing, and Isaquias Queiroz, from the canoe, were not on the list.
This is the second honor Bolsonaro has bestowed on Neymar. In 2020, the then president presented the medal to the player Sports Merit Crosswhich was also offered to 24 other athletes, including gymnast Arthur Zanetti, boxer Robson Conceição and judoka Sarah Menezes.
Neymar’s decoration to the Order takes place at the suggestion of the Paris embassy, also in February last year, for the player to receive the decoration. To this end, his Olympic gold medal, won in 2016, his performance in France, where he has been active since 2017, and his presence on social networks were highlighted. No other athlete of the Brazilian soccer team, which won the medal in 2016, has received the decoration.
Passed away in the last month, Pelé is one of the Brazilian athletes to have received the decoration of the Order of Rio Branco, in 1969, from the hands of Emílio Garrastazu Médici, then president of Brazil and Grand Master of the Order. In 2008 Cafu was also awarded the honor, with the rank of Officer. At the age of 37, the AC Milan right-back received the medal from Consul Antonio Augusto Dayrell de Lima, in a ceremony held at the Brazilian Consulate in Milan.
The report of Stage contacted Neymar’s publicist, NR Sports, for comment on the case, but received no response.
What is the Order of the Rio Branco?
Established by then President João Goulart by decree nº 51.697, of February 5, 1963, the Order of the White River aims to encourage the practice of actions and deeds worthy of an honorable mention by distinguishing meritorious services and civic virtues. It takes its name from the baron of Rio Branco, patron of Brazilian diplomacy.
The decoration consists of five degrees: Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight, as well as a Medal attached to the Order. All the titles distributed by Jair Bolsonaro are in the third degree of importance.
“The insignia of the Order is a cross with four arms and eight points, enamelled in white, with in the center the armillary sphere, in gilt silver, inscribed in a circle of blue enamel, the legend “Ubique Patriae Memor”, in the same metal. On the gilt reverse, the dates 1845-1912”, reads the Art. 2 of the Regulation.
The Order of Rio Branco is divided into two Cadres: Ordinary and Supplementary. The first, with limited places, brings together Brazilian diplomats, while the second rewards retired diplomats and all other natural or legal persons, national or foreign, who can receive the Order.
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According to the official government portal, the Council of the Order is made up of the President of the Republic, the Grand Master, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in his capacity as Chancellor, the Heads of the Civil and Military Houses of the Presidency of the Republic and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Relationship between Neymar and Bolsonaro
The relationship between Neymar and the former president Jair Bolsonaro it’s old. In addition to having already received other accolades, he declared his support for him during his social media re-election campaign, a video in which he choreographs to a song asking for a vote, in September last year. The striker had already shown closeness to the president on other occasions, but his support was strengthened when Bolsonaro visited the Instituto Neymar Júnior in the city of Praia Grande, on the coast of São Paulo.
At the time, the striker of the Brazilian national team and Paris Saint-Germain had been criticized on social media, cited as “democracy” and mocked those who disapproved of his position. “They talk about democracy and ‘many’ things, but when someone has a different opinion, they are attacked by those who talk about democracy.”
The player also went on a live stream to help in the then-president’s re-election campaign. “I’ve never said it anywhere, but I wanted to thank the president, who, in the most difficult moment of my life, was the first to take a public position saying that he would be on my side,” he said.
Neymar even quoted Bolsonaro’s campaign motto – “Brazil first, God above” – before receiving an appeal from the president to get voters live on the 30th to vote for him. Very happy to see lately , flags unfurled all over Brazil, not just for the stakes, but for the pride of being Brazilian,” he said. “What motivated me to express my opinion are the values that the president brings, which are very similar to me, to my family, to everything we value”, amended the player, who also invited other athletes to position yourself in the election.
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The athlete also promised that if he scored at the World Cup in Qatar, he would dedicate his celebration to Bolsonaro. The striker scored twice, against South Korea in the round of 16 and against Croatia in the quarter-finals. On neither occasion did he dedicate his goal to the former president.
In 2019, when the athlete was accused of attempted rape, Bolsonaro said he believed in his innocence and even met him before a match of the Brazilian national team at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia. “I hope to hug Neymar before the match. He’s in a tough time, but I believe in him,” he said.
That same year, Neymar’s father was in Brasilia for a meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro. Entrepreneur Neymar da Silva Santos was also received by the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, to “provide clarifications” on the lawsuit against the player which was being examined by the Administrative Council of Tax Appeals (CARF).
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