The Rio Report

Neymar’s touching fan gesture wins South African hearts

The Rio Report

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A heart-warming gesture by Brazil striker Neymar showed that some footballers actually do care about the fans.

After the World Cup hosts had beaten South Africa 5-0 in a friendly on Wednesday night, a young fan – believed to be just seven years old – invaded the pitch to try and meet his idols.

Soccer City Stadium security staff in Johannesburg were set to remove the child in typically heavy-handed fashion.

But the quick-thinking Neymar – who has a young son of his own – instead picked the boy up and, with his trademark beaming smile, held him aloft before introducing him to team-mates.

Brazil team-mate David Luiz recorded the event on his phone, with Neymar posting the images on Instagram:

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Press photographers also got in on the act, so you can enjoy the moment in high resolution below:

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The gesture was reminiscent of the time Cristiano Ronaldo allowed a pitch-invading fan to engage in a lingering hug, before writing a letter to authorities to help him escape prosecution.

But Neymar’s intervention was even more touching, a moment which will always live in the memory of the young boy.

It makes a change from the current headlines surrounding Neymar, whose transfer to Barcelona has cost one executive his job, and the club millions of euros in fines.

Spare a thought for the slightly less young, slightly less cute youth who also invaded the pitch - as the child is hoisted aloft by Brazil, the older lad is being manhandled by security. Hopefully they took it easy on him...

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Otherwise, hurrah for Neymar!

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