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Jair Bolsonaro surprised the world in 2018 by becoming president of Brazil, defeating the progressive Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party by a very wide margin (more than 11 points).
Since before becoming president, Bolsonaro had to deal with criticism and stigmatization from the Western press, which on countless occasions has called him “ultra-right”; “racist”, “xenophobic” and even “fascist”. However, despite the media outrage, the conservative leader has managed to become a popular leader among the lower and middle class, even reaching the support of a group of people who normally support leftist politicians: athletes.
Brazilian athletes, unlike stars from other parts of the world, have not been afraid to declare their clear support for Bolsonaro in recent years, leveraging on a platform that defends conservative values of God, Country and Family; and on a very successful economic and infrastructure management.
Who are these stars who have declared their support for Bolsonaro? Here is a list of 10.
One of the most talented and creative soccer players of all time, idol of generations and flagship of the Jogo bonito, the offensive midfielder Ronaldinho, is one of the Brazilian legends who expressed his public support for Bolsonaro for the 2018 elections, when the former FC Barcelona player posted a photo on his Instagram account making reference to “17”; which was the electoral number that identified the then conservative candidate.
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World Champion, America’s Champion, Champions League winner and so many other distinctions. Rivaldo is one of the best Brazilians of all times, even though he has been less in the spotlight. Exquisite technique, dribbling and a lot of goals for an attacking midfielder who could also play as a second striker. His support for Jair Bolsonaro is unconditional. In fact, he supported him in both 2018 and 2022.
“As a northerner, I am very happy and proud of the support they are giving to the president. In short, not only the Northeast but almost all of Brazil. He fights for the family, for freedom and for our homeland,” Rivaldo said on his Instagram account, a couple of days ago.
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The historic Italian-Brazilian driver, two-time Formula 1 world champion and winner of the Indianapolis 500 Miles, is another sports legend who has accompanied Jair Bolsonaro in recent years, not only as a voter, but also as a political ally.
For example, Fittipaldi, since he holds Italian nationality, ran for the Fratelli d’Italia party to win a seat in the Italian Senate representing South America. The President of Brazil publicly supported his candidacy. Fittipaldi has done the same for Bolsonaro.
In an interview with El American, the historic pilot compared the projects of Giorgia Meloni, brand new government leader in Italy, and Bolsonaro’s in Brazil.
“They are both center-right projects that we want to see succeed in both Brazil and Italy in order to have countries with more freedom, with more opportunities, with more tourism and with more foreign investment,” Fittipaldi said. “We hope that Bolsonaro’s Brazilian philosophy and that of Giorgia Meloni – which are similar – will be a success, because we are aware of the problems occurring in countries historically governed by the left. As is the case, for example, of Cuba and Venezuela.”
This Brazilian fighter is considered by many experts one of the best mixed martial arts fighters, his highest achievement was to emerge champion in the UFC light heavyweight category in 2004. In 2018, Belfort posted an extensive video on his Instagram account that was later republished by Bolsonaro on Twitter.
In that video the fighter said that “Brazil is bleeding non-stop because it is ruled by bandits” and, at the same time, asked for union and respect in his country.
Many Brazilian martial arts fighters, like Belfort, have shown their support for Bolsonaro.
The historic right back, considered one of the best in history in his position, is another soccer legend who has shown on more than one occasion his support and admiration for Jair Bolsonaro.
Ricardo Izecson, better known as Kaká, was one of the best midfielders in the world at the time. His best moment was with AC Milan and he even won a Ballon d’Or. The Brazilian, according to reports, is conservative and evangelical, so he is sympathetic to Bolsonaro, whom he supports politically.
Perhaps less known than other Brazilian stars worldwide, but a historic striker in South America. Edmundo was called “The Animal” because of his rough and physical play, however, his technical skills and great goalscoring ability led him to score more than 300 goals in his career. This player is also on the list of footballers who declared their public support for Bolsonaro in 2018.
The defensive midfielder, known for his great physical display and also rudeness when cutting the game, is another of the recognized players who has unconditionally supported the Brazilian president from 2018 to the present.
The talented English Tottenham Hotspur striker has publicly said that, as a “Christian” and a “conservative,” his vote for this election is for President Bolsonaro.
Moura has also openly criticized Bolsonaro’s adversary, socialist and former president Lula da Silva, and communist ideas for having caused death and misery in the countries where applied.
The Paris Saint Germain and Brazil national team ’10’ surprised everyone by announcing, through a graceful dance, his support for President Bolsonaro ahead of Sunday’s elections.
The Brazilian star appeared in a video dancing and asking for the vote for ’22’, which is the conservative president’s list number.
Neymar is, today, the most important Brazilian soccer player in the world and one of the players with the greatest impact on the entire planet. His support for Bolsonaro is not insignificant news.
The soccer player also responded to critics, who attacked him for expressing his support for his country’s president: “They talk about democracy and many things, but when someone has a different opinion he is attacked by the same people who talk about democracy.”
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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