The rape allegation against Neymar dominated Brazil coach Tite’s news conference on Monday as two police agents visited the team’s training ground outside Rio de Janeiro.
Tite spoke about the case for the first time as Brazil prepares to play in the Copa America, saying it was a personal matter and he won’t judge the player. Eighteen of the 25 questions were about Neymar.
“I know this is a personal matter and there needs to be time for people to judge the facts. I won’t allow myself to judge the facts,” Tite said. “What I can say to you is that I’ve been with Neymar for three years and in personal matters, between me and him, he is loyal and truthful.”
A woman told Sao Paulo police on Friday that Neymar raped her in a Paris hotel on May 15. Neymar denied the allegation in an Instagram post.
National team co-ordinator Edu Gaspar confirmed a police investigator visited the team’s training ground on Saturday to get information on the case.
“The first thing I did was to get some legal help,” Gaspar said. “The idea is that the legal help is here to solve the case as quickly as possible so the athlete can be with a cool head for Copa America.”
Gaspar also said Neymar will be released from training and matches whenever needed. The Copa America, being played in Brazil, runs from June 14 to July 7.
“The suggestion I have is that he is available as much as possible to respond to (police) requests,” Gaspar said.
Two Rio police agents were seen inside the Granja Comary training ground in Teresopolis during Tite’s news conference.
Asked for comment, neither Rio police nor Brazil’s soccer confederation replied.
The two agents left 15 minutes after the end of the news conference.
Earlier on Monday a spokeswoman for Instagram said the social media channel removed a video posted by Neymar for violating its rules.
After the first reports of the rape allegation, Neymar published a seven-minute video in which he denied any wrongdoing and showed messages he allegedly exchanged with his accuser. Images of the unidentified woman, some of them blurred because of sexual content, also appeared.
Neymar’s father and agent said his son should not regret the publication of the video, even if that means being prosecuted for revealing images of a private conversation.
“I prefer an internet crime than a rape crime,” Neymar da Silva Santos told TV Band. “He preserved his image, his name. He needed to defend himself quickly. It is best to be true and show what happened. We knew of the blackmailing, but not of the guts to go to police in a situation like this.”
Santos insisted Neymar was set up by the unidentified woman. He said the player noticed something was wrong on the second day the two met in Paris.
“She wanted him to go to the hotel again. He went and stayed for 10 minutes. He saw a cellphone against the wall, recharging. But then he noticed it was filming. She sent a message saying she has that video. She attacks him, he jumps to the bed and tries to calm her down. Asks her not to create a mess,” the father-agent said.
“He then calms her down, leaves the hotel and asks for her return ticket. Neymar also tried to film the conversation, but couldn’t. After that second day they didn’t speak. She sent the threatening messages later,” Santos said.
Neymar’s father said he doesn’t know when his son will speak to police about the case.