Neymar Jr. has been the subject of heavy criticism over the past week over reports of a massive week-long New Year party nicknamed "Neymarpalooza", which was initially rumoured to have 500 guests.
However, on New Year's Eve, the Paris Saint-Germain forward broke his silence to clarify that while he is holding a gathering, it is nowhere near the scale and magnitude of what has been reported.
The Brazilian star took to his Instagram Stories to laugh off the controversy. He started off with a video of himself getting a swab test while relaxing on a couch with his injured ankle strapped into an air cast boot. His 9-year-old son was also seen getting tested.
Another clip showed a massive dining table that has been set up to accommodate approximately 40 guests, with place settings arranged at intervals between empty seats. The "low-key" gathering is a far cry from the rumoured shindig with 500 guests.
"Marvelous decoration for this beautiful, low-key little dinner at home, with social distancing. And it's not for 500 people, ok?" he said.
He also slammed the reports by writing the words "social distancing, everyone tested, family, friends," and adding a green check mark after each word. He then said "500 persons" and marked it with a red "X".
The grand week-long event was rumoured to have started over the weekend at Neymar's rented mansion at the seaside town of Mangaratiba in Rio de Janeiro.
The reports are being investigated, and evidence has surfaced that there is indeed a gathering taking place, but a direct link to the PSG footballer has yet to be established. He is now believed to be celebrating the New Year at Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil.
Meanwhile, UK tabloid The Sun has published photos of numerous models and Instagram influencers who have reportedly been flown in to Rio for the party, which is being claimed by Agencia Fabrica.
Much of the criticism stems from the fact that a large gathering is seen as massively irresponsible considering that Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the pandemic, after the United States. To date, nearly 195,000 people have died in Brazil from Covid-19. It remains to be seen if Neymar Jr. will be cleared once the investigation is concluded.