Amaya Gaming poker subsidiary PokerStars has confirmed Barcelona FC and Brazil international football star Neymar Jnr as its new poker ambassador. The popular football star will promote PokerStars Academy., as the operator looks to extend its coverage and presence in the Latin and South American poker markets
“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. “Working with Neymar Jr continues PokerStars’ history of investing in mainstream athletes who want to leverage their success in competitive sports to become successful poker players.”
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. “And as a superstar with one of the world’s most famous football clubs and football nations, his appeal is global. This partnership is a great opportunity to market the game of poker across the globe and attract new fans.”
An avid and passionate poker player, Neymar Jr regularly posts photos and videos on his Instagram about his poker exploits, including home games with his friends, as well as photos with his dog, aptly named ‘Poker’, sharing his love of the game with a following of 14.5 million.
“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 favourite things to do,” said Neymar Jr.
“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.
Over the years, numerous athletes have taken their determination, focus, and strategic thinking to the green baize of the poker table. The many parallels drawn between competitive sports make Neymar Jr a natural fit for PokerStars.
As the newest member of Team PokerStars, Neymar Jr joins a winning team of some of the best poker players in the world, as well as other celebrated athletes such as Brazilian football legend Ronaldo ‘el Fenómeno’ Nazário de Lima, 14-time Grand Slam tennis champion Rafa Nadal, and Holland’s Beijing Olympic gold winning field hockey captain Fatima Moreira de Melo.