Neymar Jr to Retire from Football to Pursue Poker Career

2 weeks ago
Neymar Jr to Retire from Football to Pursue Poker Career
25 Apr

Brazilian footballing legend Neymar Jr. plans to swap the green of the soccer pitch for the green of the cardroom felt when he retires, the Paris Saint Germain star describing poker as, “one of the things I love to do the most.”

The 29-year-old, whose full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, only took up poker during the 2014 World Cup, but he is so enamoured with the game that he has even called his dog “Poker”, and this week was announced as the first-ever PokerStars Cultural Ambassador.

He told the French broadcast CNEWS that poker tournaments are his goal after hanging up his scoring boots:

“I think that after playing football I will be able to do tournaments, travel to play tournaments that I have always wanted to participate in and could not do because of my agenda and my career. So when I finish my football career, that's one of the things I'm going to do, travel to play this type of tournament.”

Though he has only one, small, recorded cash to his name, from the 2018 Brazilian Series of Poker, the former Barcelona striker thinks his football experience holds him in good stead when it comes to poker.

"Among the similarities between poker and football, I think focus is one of them, he said. “The way you read your opponent and the game is also very important. I think one of the most important things in football, and what I do on the pitch, is to read the game, read your opponent, and see where you can attack, where you can move to create a chance for your team. And in poker it's the same, you have to read the game, read your opponents and know the right time to attack your opponent."

Neymar Jr developed his love for poker during his time with Barcelona, with team-mate and fellow poker fanatic Gerard Piqué among his opponents at the table.

The Brazilian sensation says that Keylor Navas and Leandro Paredes are now among his card-playing rivals at PSG.
This week’s announcement that Neymar was to be PokerStars’ first-ever “Cultural Ambassador” shows his ties to the game are strong and appreciated.

Martin Nieri, PokerStars’ Global Director of Brand and Creative, described the move as “the start of something exciting for the community, a merging of two worlds, where poker meets culture.”

His first job in the new role was to compile “a series of music playlists providing the ultimate soundtrack for every type of poker game.”

As Neymar told the PokerStars blog:

“Poker is so much more than just the game. It is a community and a culture and that is what I love about it. Music is a real passion of mine, so that was first on the list, but there is much more to come. I am excited for you to see what else we have in store.”

That will include an “Golden Chip Giveaway” in which $850,000 in cash will be handed out, as well as “a number of limited edition Golden Chips.”

“Each chip unlocks a high value prize,” say PokerStars, ranging from “…signed merchandise and clothing, to once in a lifetime VIP experiences and gifts curated by Neymar Jr himself.”

You can also expect to see the footballing star in a new advert “shaking up the poker scene,” on a screen near you soon.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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