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Neymar becomes Handicap International envoy

Brazilian football star Neymar showed off his skills on the huge “Broken Chair” statue outside the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday to mark becoming Handicap International’s goodwill ambassador.

The world’s most expensive player, who shone on his Paris St. Germain (PSG) debut on Sunday, has pledged to work for the landmine victim non-governmental organisation and the millions of people who are “less visible” but deserve equality.

The Brazilian marked the special Geneva event by mounting the 12-metre-high three-legged chair sculpture that symbolises landmine victims using a mechanical lift. Attached to the sculpture with a safety harness, he juggled and kicked balls to fans standing below and into the nearby UN grounds.

The footballer was accompanied by his parents and wore a black baseball cap and Handicap International black t-shirt with the slogan, “Repair Lives”.

“I would like to begin by thanking you all for what you do for the least visible in the world, so they become more visible. I have to say that I am very pleased to be here and to be the new ambassador,” the 25-year-old told reporters.

“I hope this will be a very successful partnership and that we will be able to help a large number of people,” he said. “Millions want their rights, they want to be treated better. That’s what we are here for and that is what our aim is.”

Handicap International was created in 1982 to help 6,000 Cambodian refugees who had lost limbs. It later co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1992 which won the Nobel Peace Prize.

“What people may not realise is that beyond this exceptional sportsman, there is of course a conscience and a voice,” said Manuel Patrouillard, managing director of Handicap International.

The former Barcelona forward recently signed for the PSG for $259.72 million – double the world-record transfer fee. He shone in his first game on Sunday, with one goal and an assist, as PSG overcame strong resistance from Guingamp to win 3-0.