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Neymar not the first to relax at the card table

Brazil’s Neymar may have tasted bitter disappointment on the football field but a recent ‘selfie’ suggests that the 22 year old remains in good spirits.

Brazil and Barcelona centre forward Neymar may have tasted bitter disappointment on the football field in recent weeks but a recent ‘selfie’ suggests that the 22 year old remains in good spirits. As his teammates toiled to a 7-1 defeat to Germany in his absence, the player took to the poker table with friends to enjoy a few hands and to forget about the injury that ended his tournament so prematurely.


A welcome break

In the picture which appeared on his official Instagram account, Neymar turns his back to the table and gives us a panoramic view of himself and six friends.

Neymar’s poker skills are not well documented but he isn’t the first footballer or even the first Brazilian soccer player to have transferred his talents from the pitch to the felt. One of his most illustrious predecessors, former Real Madrid centre forward Ronaldo enjoys quite a lucrative second career with this pastime as one of the current ambassadors.

Ronaldo was a record breaker during his time with the Brazilian national team and his new career is an interesting one to follow. In one video, he is shown displaying some excellent tricks with a poker chip – something we were used to seeing when he had a ball at his feet.

In another scene, the former striker is double bluffed by his old colleague Bebeto – another Brazilian legend.

It’s fairly easy to see why football and poker are linked and why so many players like to take to the card table in order to help them relax. Footballers train and play hard but they have plenty of spare time on their hands which they need to fill, and as they can’t do anything too strenuous for fear of injury, a few hours at the table is perfect for completing that void.

Ronaldo is a decent poker player himself but there are others who have enjoyed success in both disciplines. Barcelona’s Gerard Pique competed in the WSOP back in 2012 and while he finished day one in a relatively strong position, he was to crash out on day two.

Former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland centre forward Tony Cascarino has career earnings of over $500,000 with one of his best results coming with a 14th place finish at the EPT London. For a time Cascarino formed a lethal strike partnership at Millwall with Teddy Sheringham and he even named his son after his former team mate.

Sheringham is no stranger to the felt either and his poker career includes a fifth place at the EPT Vilamoura in 2010.

Tomas Brolin and Jan Molby have also earned good money from poker, while there are others who haven’t been quite so successful. As for Neymar, his own card game looked to be a friendly one with little or perhaps even no money at stake, but when he finally retires from football, there may well be a second career waiting if he can hone his skills.

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