Neymar will not play in Brazil’s game against Cameroon on Friday after injuring ligaments in his right ankle against Serbia on November 24. The team will discuss Neymar’s condition — and the possibility of a return to World Cup competition — after Friday’s game, according to the Associated Press.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker is working “24 hours a day” to recover from an ankle injury and continue to represent his team, Brazilian Marquinhos told The Associated Press on Sunday. “We don’t know when that will happen but we hope he returns to us as soon as possible and in good physical and mental health.”
Brazil beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday and face Cameroon in their final group game on Friday.
Brazil will decide the 30-year-old’s World Cup future after the game against Cameroon. Brazil assistant coach Kleber Xavier said Thursday that Neymar and other injured Brazilian players, including Danilo and Alex Sandro, are “making progress,” according to the Associated Press.
“We will focus on the game against Cameroon and then start making decisions on these players. We have prepared a plan for her return,” Xavier said, according to the Associated Press.
Brazilian soccer manager Tite had previously appeared confident of Neymar’s return. “I think Neymar and Danilo will be at the World Cup,” Tite told a news conference. “I believe that. Medically, clinically, they can talk more about the stages of treatment. I have no place to talk about that. I believe we can use both.”
After the match against Serbia, Tite said Neymar had been receiving physical therapy until five or six in the morning. Tite added that he had to force Neymar and another injured Brazilian, Danilo, to forego physio and join the team for the final training session.
The football star is struggling to stay fit, posting the latest photos of his swollen ankle on his Instagram Story and an Instagram post about the game, which he called one of the toughest moments of his career one. Neymar said in his post: “I hurt, yes it will hurt, but I am sure I will have the chance to come back because I will do everything I can to help my country, my teammates and myself.”
The Brazil coach admits it will be difficult to find someone who can play at Neymar’s level, but the squad has strong options. Neymar’s teammates are more optimistic about the team’s potential. “We’re talking about one of the best players in the world. It’s hard to find someone at his level,” Brazil midfielder Casemiro said on Saturday. “But we have a lot of good players on the team who could replace him very well.”