WATCH: Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari is seen handing out money in a working-class neighbourhood in Maceio, Brazil, where the team is staying.
The deep inequalities and impoverished living conditions for many in Brazilian society appear to have touched a nerve with at least one of the multi-millionaire soccer players attending the 2014 World Cup.
Ghana’s Sulley Muntari was caught on video walking through the streets of Trapiche, a favela neighbourhood in the city of Maceio, handing out cash to seemingly anyone who approached the midfielder.
Muntari, who earned $2.2 million last season with Italian club AC Milan, received permission from Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah to venture from the team’s hotel and out into the working-class neighbourhood, which is located close to the city’s World Cup host stadium.
According to the newspaper Globo, the soccer star was handing out as much as R$350 (Brazilian reals) or the equivalent $170 in Canadian dollars to individuals.
“It’s unforgettable,” a recipient named Edivaldo told the newspaper.
“I’ve lived in this poor community behind the Rei Pele Stadium for forty years but have never seen anything like this before.
“Not once has a soccer player come here. Brazil never gave me anything but Ghana did. I will support them up to the end.”
Police eventually got involved, drawn by the commotion in the street.
“Unfortunately the police put an end to his good work. In this area, we only see politicians at election time,” Edivaldo said.
On display again
Muntari’s virtue was again on display a day after the generous handouts were filmed late last week. In Ghana’s match against Germany over the weekend, a neo-Nazi sympathizer ran onto the pitch.
The man tore off a shirt to reveal “HH” and “SS” markings on his body — believed to represent call signs for Nazi supporters.
Muntari intervened and stopped the offender. He then hugged the interloper before escorting him off the pitch and into the hands of authorities.
© Shaw Media, 2014