Neymar will miss Brazil’s next World Cup game against Switzerland and may not play in the grup stage at all, after he suffered ankle ligament damage in his country’s opening win against Serbia, the team doctor said on Friday.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward was seen with a swollen ankle after being substituted during the 2-0 win against Serbia and doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said in a video he had suffered “lateral ligament damage".
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The 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain player attempted to continue but was substituted with about 10 minutes to go, shortly after Richarlison had scored his second goal to secure Brazil’s victory.
Neymar was seen limping heavily after the game in Doha and photos showed swelling on his right ankle.
Brazil’s next game is against Switzerland on Monday, with their final Group G match against Cameroon next Friday.
Apart from Neymar, Danilo too will miss Brazil’s remaining World Cup group games against Switzerland and Cameroon after sustaining injury in their opening 2-0 victory over Serbia.
“Neymar and Danilo went through a MRI on Friday afternoon and we found ligament damage in the ankle of both of them," he told reporters. “They will miss the next game for sure and we will be cautious as they will undergo treatment in order to try to get them in shape so they can play again in the World Cup."
Neymar’s career has been peppered by injuries which have impacted on his previous two World Cups.
In 2014 he suffered a fractured bone in his back in the quarter-final win over Colombia, meaning he was sidelined when the hosts were thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals, losing 7-1.
Four years later he raced to recover from injury in time for the tournament in Russia, but Brazil never hit the expected heights before losing to Belgium in the last eight.
The former Barcelona star, who has 122 caps for Brazil, also missed the 2019 Copa America after suffering torn ligaments in his right ankle.
In 2021 Neymar was out for about 10 weeks of the French season after suffering ligament damage to his left ankle.
This time he arrived fit and firing in Qatar after a fantastic start to the season with PSG, in which he has scored 15 goals in 20 games.
Neymar needs just two goals to equal Pele’s all-time record tally of 77 for the South American nation.
Brazil boast an impressive array of attacking talent including Raphinha, Richarlison and Vinicius Junior and they were able to bring Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus off the bench against Serbia.
But Neymar, who is playing in his third and possibly last World Cup, is the player who makes the team tick.
(With iputs from Agencies)
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