Juninho Pernambucano in 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA / AFP
Many Brazilian football players support the far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, a favorite of the presidential election whose second round will be held on 28 October. In an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais, Juninho Pernambucano, former glory of the Olympique Lyonnais, openly expressed his disagreement with the ideas of the far-right leader.
On October 28 in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, 63, former military officer and right-wing politician, who won 46% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election, will face Fernando Haddad (26%), candidate of the Workers Party (PT), Lula's heir and son of Lebanese immigrants. Bolsonaro, who has had a long career as a member of Parliament, is riding the rancor of a population exasperated by corruption and crime.
Since this tidal wave of the first round, few people in the world of football have taken a stand against Bolsonaro. Juninho Pernambucano, a former Olympique Lyonnais player, seven-time French Champion and who ended his career in Brazil at Vasco da Gama, widely commented on the situation in his country through a long interview with the Spanish daily El Pais , published on October 6th.
" I thought the Brazilian was supportive. But it's a lie »
It is on the side of Lyon, where he arrived at the age of 26, that the native of Recife forged his political conscience. Juninho Pernambucano states, among other things: " What struck me most for politics is the human side of the French. I thought the Brazilian was supportive. But it's a lie. The French is supportive for real ! There are extremists, the part that despises Muslims, the racist part. But the majority of the French people have a very developed humanity . "
" Many Brazilians do not know that others were tortured and murdered during the dictatorship ," says Juninho Pernambucano. It's hopeless to see people supporting military interventions, continues the former international . O Exército (the army) exists to defend the country, protect the borders, but not to kill the Brazilians in the favelas. They have not been trained for this . "
" Are you going to support Bolsonaro, my brother ? "
Juninho Pernambucano assures not to defend the thieves . He explains : " The people must stop with this way of thinking that all crime is equal. Assassination is one thing, theft is another. I can not put an 18-year-old who has stolen from a prison. Because when the guy gets out of prison, he wants to take revenge on society. That's why I get angry when I see a former football player vote for the extreme right (reference to Ronaldinho's support for the right-wing candidate - Ed). We come from below, we were raised among the people. How to forget it ? How to be on this side ? Are you going to support Bolsonaro, my brother ? "
Indeed, Jair Bolsonaro, who has become known for his racist, misogynistic and homophobic remarks, has received the support of several former glories of Brazilian football. Especially the former star player of Paris Saint-Germain: Ronaldinho.
Rivaldo, Cafu, Felipe Melo, or Lucas Moura support Bolsonaro
Por um Brasil melhor, desejo paz, segurança e alguém that our devolva has alegria. Have a look at no Brasil, e quero um Brasil melhor para todos !!! pic.twitter.com/DD5GUBQuVxRonaldinho Gaúcho (@ 10Ronaldinho) October 6, 2018
Ronaldinho, world champion in 2002 and Golden Ball in 2005, posted a photo of him on back social networks with a jersey of the flocked selection of No. 17. A wink addressed to the voters, because it was the number to use to vote electronically for the candidate Bolsonaro. Rivaldo, Cafu, Felipe Melo (Palmeiras and former Juventus Turin) or former Paris Saint-Germain player Lucas Moura called for a vote for the "Tropical Trump". " If he was really racist, he would be in prison. I see you accuse him for no reason, "wrote Lucas on Twitter, where he was heavily criticized for defending Bolsonaro. The right-wing politician said he was honored by these supports.
" I am a citizen of the world. I can not be intolerant of differences. The only exception is the extremists. But does anyone who believes in the existence of "human races" and spreads hate speech deserve democracy ? Juninho Pernambucano argues.
Neymar : " I leave it in the hands of God "
Unambiguously, Juninho Pernambucano, who has never engaged in politics, remains a defender of the former President of the Republic Lula, currently in prison. " I admire him a lot. No one will erase what he did for the country. Lula is a 72-year-old man who is being demolished without mercy. Why do people hate Lula ? What they hate about him is his appearance, his origin, his accent, his story and his popularity . "
Most active players are cautious. Both in Brazil and abroad. " I do not try to meddle politics, despite the distance, I'm the subject, said the star Neymar Sunday, October 7 at Parc des Princes after the meeting against Lyon. It's very personal. Everyone thinks what he wants. I leave it in the hands of God. I hope that [the president] will be someone with character, reliable, who will be a leader for Brazil and who will give a new impetus to the country, which deserves happiness and will be led by someone responsible . "
Juninho Pernambucano, him, argues that for a player in activity, it is difficult to express, because " the career (...) is short " . " Football requires so many commitments that you end your career by being insane. I understand the athlete who always plays and who prefers not to position themselves. But a former athlete who has a good quality of life and who does not engage in the situation of the country is inadmissible, "he insists.
" Football taught me to see the world "
In Brazil, there is currently an outburst of violence since the results of the first round. In Curitiba, a homosexual barber was beaten to death. At the announcement of his death, a suspect shouted " Vive Bolsonaro ". In the state of Bahia, Romualdo Rosário da Costa, known as Moa do Katendê, capoeira master and elector of the PT, was murdered with twelve stab wounds on the evening of the first round. He had announced his electoral choice to a fan of Bolsonaro.
Juninho Pernambucano, who everyone remembers the magic free kicks, remains one of the few football personalities to publicly oppose the extreme right in Brazil. " Football taught me to see the world. Football has saved my life, "said one of the best players in Olympique Lyonnais history.