Neymar Jr joins PokerStars as brand ambassador
In some ways, he's like a lot of young poker players these days. He gets together with his friends, plays some cards, and posts pictures of it all over social media. He's had some success. People recognize him on the streets. You've seen it time and again from all the young guns.
But you've not seen anything like this.
Brazilian football superstar Neymar Jr has just taken on the role of PokerStars ambassador. Last night, he scored one of Barcelona's three goals against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. Today, he is wearing a PokerStars patch on his arm.
Want to join Neymar at PokerStars? Get an account here.
From today forward, one of the world's most famous and best footballers will take his time away from the pitch to hang out at PokerStars live and online events. Online, you'll find him playing under the name neymar-jr. Live? Just look for the hordes of people and cameras. He'll be in the middle of them.
"Growing up and playing football everyday has made me a competitive person. When I'm not playing football, playing poker and competing against my teammates on the road or in home games with friends is one of my favorite things to do," said Neymar Jr.
As the newest member of the PokerStars family, Neymar Jr becomes part of a team of some of the best poker players in the world, as well as other celebrated athletes like Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, 14-time Grand Slam tennis champion Rafa Nadal, and Holland's Beijing Olympic gold winning field hockey captain Fatima Moreira de Melo.
"Neymar Jr is one of the brightest stars in the sporting world and PokerStars is proud to be associated with him. Together we will grow the popularity of poker and show new audiences the competitive, fun, and strategic game of poker," said Michael Hazel, interim CEO of PokerStars.
Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov said the signing is an investment in the growth of poker globally.
"Neymar Jr is a young and extremely charismatic megastar who loves interacting with fans on social media, is comfortable on camera, and loves the game of poker," Baazov said. "To be a successful poker player, you require many of the same skills needed to be a successful footballer - mental strength is important; resilience, patience, composure and focus. I love the challenge, whether it's on the football pitch or at the poker table," he continued.
PokerStars will also be working with the Neymar Jr Project Institute via its corporate giving program, Helping Hands.
The 12th season of the PokerStars European Poker Tour kicks off in Barcelona this August. It always brings in the biggest names, and this summer will be no exception. Neymar Jr will be there for a series of Celebrity Duels. Poker players and football fans will also be given the chance to meet Neymar Jr face-to-face and even have a chance to play against him in this special poker game.
"I'm very happy to be part of this big family," Neymar Jr said today.
Welcome to the team, Neymar!
Here's how it played out during the press conference in Barcelona.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging