Brazil’s team doctor says talisman Neymar and reliable defender Danilo face a race to be fit for the final 16 rounds.
Neymar will miss Brazil’s remaining two World Cup group matches and faces a battle to be fit for the knockout stages after sustaining an injury in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Serbia, the team doctor said.
Brazil tops Group G and then meets Switzerland and Cameroon. The team doctor said talisman Neymar and ever-reliable full-back Danilo would only miss the Swiss game.
“Neymar and Danilo underwent an MRI on Friday afternoon and we found ankle damage in both of them,” Rodrigo Lasmar said in a statement shared by the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) on Friday.
“They will definitely miss the next game, and we will be careful because they will undergo treatment to get them in shape so that they can play again in the World Cup.”
Neymar has had problems with his right foot and ankle for several years and looked distraught when he left the field late in Thursday’s game.
During the 2014 World Cup, he suffered a back injury in the quarter-final victory over Colombia that ruled him out of the 7–1 semi-final defeat to Germany.
During Russia 2018, injuries again hampered his dream of winning the World Cup. In early 2018, Neymar suffered a sprained right ankle affecting the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot.
He missed 16 games for Paris St Germain at the end of the 2018-19 domestic season and was never fully fit as he played through pain for Brazil in Russia until they were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.
The attacker suffered similar injuries in 2019 and again last year.
His replacement should be Real Madrid prodigy Rodrygo. The biggest question mark, however, is Danilo’s replacement, as 39-year-old veteran Dani Alves is the only right-back available.
The former Barcelona player played his last game for Mexican side UNAM Pumas in September and suffered a knee injury that has plagued him ever since.
Brazil coach Tite tested Real Madrid centre-back Eder Militao at full-back in their friendly against Ghana and could be another option, along with Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, who also previously played at right-back.
Winger Antony and midfielder Lucas Paqueta are both ill and could also miss the game against Switzerland on Monday.