Neymar of Brazil © Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters
Brazilian police have arrested a man posing as soccer star Neymar after the imposter attempted to blackmail girls with racy videos they sent him after promising them they would become TV stars and models.
Lookalike Carlos Antonio Rodrigues was detained after pretending to be the Brazil and Barcelona forward. He fraudulently procured a number of intimate videos and images from the girls before demanding money from them.
One of the victims, who wanted to remain nameless, was invited to a party in Barcelona by the 30-year-old conman after being convinced he was in fact the famous footballer.
Rodrigues promised her he would organize a photo shoot for a well-known magazine and a part in a reality television show in exchange for the shots.
“Then we talked by video thinking it was Neymar on the screen,” she told Brazilian television network Globo anonymously.
“At first I said no, then I went down to just some little panties and a bra. I really thought that would be it.
“Then he was extorting us a lot and even though we told him we didn’t have any money he kept pressing us.”
She and a friend sent Rodrigues 350 Brazilian real ($107) for fast-track papers to Spain, but after he attempted to extort more money by threatening to release the clips, she called police, who arrested him in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
Rodrigues is suspected of working with an accomplice using fake profiles on a Brazilian social network to lure potential targets.
In another bizarre doppelganger story, Lee Chapman, who was noted as a lookalike to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy after the latter’s improbable Premier League winning season, said his life had been ruined by angry football fans.
It all began well for postman Lee, who initially enjoyed a close relationship with the real-life Vardy. But he received a wave of abuse from angry England fans after their team’s dismal performance at Euro 2016. This was followed by being suddenly blocked on Twitter and reported to police for stalking by the footballer himself.
Neymar, who captained his national team to gold medal glory at their home Olympics, is not short on lookalikes.
Teenager Barry Cotter made headlines when he signed for League of Ireland team Limerick FC in August last year.
The sixteen-year-old promised to emulate the Brazil ace with whom he shares an uncanny resemblance and “score at least one or two goals in each game” in the league of Ireland under-17 campaign.