Teqball star Natalia Guitler was also a professional tennis player ©Others/FIFA

The fan club of teqball star Natalia Guitler is growing ever larger, with some of Brazilian football's most famous players, past and present, among her biggest supporters.

Guitler was the most successful female at the 2018 Teqball World Cup in Reims, where she and partner Marcos Vieira finished fourth.

The Rio de Janeiro native's first teqball tournament was open to men and women, but there were only three females out of 80 participants involved in the doubles.

She arrived in the French city as an unknown quantity, but has since developed a following that includes Ronaldinho, Neymar, Zico, Kaka, Rivaldo, Marcelo, Douglas Costa and Vinícius Júnior.

"When I got there, people didn’t say 'hello', looked at me like I shouldn’t be there – I didn’t feel respected," Guitler told FIFA.com.

"This happens a lot outside of Brazil – judgement.

"As a woman, you don’t start with respect, but have to earn it.

"But then we started winning and people were like, 'Okay, she can play'.

"Me and my partner Marcos Vieira came fourth.

"By the time I went home people were asking to train with me, being nice.

"I felt like I had earned credibility, broken taboos."

Guitler visited Neymar’s holiday home in the Brazilian state of Bahia at the end of 2018.

It is there that she edged the Paris Saint-Germain striker in a teqball match.

"It was really close," Guitler, who attributes her flexibility to pilates, said.

"I ended up winning by a very small margin. 

"He has enormous talent, it was such an honour for me. 

"Neymar's such a nice person, humble. 

"He made us feel so welcome."

Vinícius Júnior, centre, and Neymar, right, are both fans of Natalia Guitler, left ©Natalia Guitler/Twitter
Vinícius Júnior, centre, and Neymar, right, are both fans of Natalia Guitler, left ©Natalia Guitler/Twitter

Teqball is only Guitler's second football spin-off – she is the reigning singles and doubles world champion at footvolley. 

Prior to taking up footvolley on a frequent basis, she was a professional tennis player.

"When I stopped playing tennis, I wanted to continue playing sport, competing," she added.

"I am a very competitive person and I wanted to have some sort of tournament to play on a weekend, so I started playing footvolley regularly.

"I graduated in business – that was my profession. 

"Footvolley was a hobby for me – I loved it. 

"Something to look forward to on a weekend.

"But with teqball and other events, its become a profession."