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Neymar becomes Handicap International ambassador

Brazilian superstar and world’s most expensive footballer Neymar shoots a ball from the monumental wood sculpture “Broken Chair” during an event by the (NGO) Handicap International on August 15, 2017 at the Place des Nations in Geneva © AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI

GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug 15 – Neymar-mania, which has engulfed France, landed briefly in neighbouring Switzerland on Tuesday where the Brazilian star became Handicap International’s first-ever ambassador at a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva.

Paris Saint-Germain’s new prize acquisition told reporters the opportunity to work with the organisation that advocates for the rights of disabled people marked “a unique moment” in his life.

The event saw the 25-year-old forward elevated to the top of the giant “Broken Chair” monument, which sits in the main square outside the UN’s European headquarters.

Perched at the top of the monument — erected two decades ago to honour those mutilated by landmines in conflict — Neymar dribbled and kicked balls into the small crowd assembled below, sending a few over the guarded gate of the UN compound.

Speaking later to reporters inside the UN, Neymar said his precise role with Handicap International had not yet been hammered out, but voiced hope it would “be a successful partnership”.

Handicap International said the footballer’s mandate would be advocate for the rights of “people with disabilities in poor countries, victims of natural disasters and conflicts.”

Neymar earned rave reviews for his goalscoring debut with PSG this week, which followed a record 222-million-euro ($264m) transfer from former club Barcelona.

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