BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Neymar is out of Copa America after suffering a right ankle injury in a win over Qatar on Wednesday night.
Brazil’s soccer confederation said in a statement early Thursday that Neymar had a ligament rupture in his ankle and will not recover in time to play the South American tournament. The striker left Brazil’s 2-0 victory in the friendly match in tears after twisting his ankle during a hard tackle in the first minutes of the match.
Neymar left the Mane Garrincha stadium using crutches before the match ended. He was accompanied by his father and Brazil’s soccer confederation head Edu Gaspar. The player returned to Brazil’s hotel in the early hours Thursday, after he was visited by President Jair Bolsonaro.
The friendly was the first major public appearance for Neymar since a woman accused him of rape Friday at a Paris hotel on May 15. Several signs in support of the player appeared among fans on the same day his accuser reaffirmed her claims in a TV interview.
Neymar has denied any wrongdoing.
Asked how shaken the rest of the squad is as a result of Neymar’s problems, Tite replied: “We are not insensitive. I only hope this situation gets solved.”
Brazil’s soccer confederation informed Neymar was asked by police to give a testimony on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, where he is investigated for posting pictures of the accuser in social media without her authorization.
Neymar recently recovered from a right foot injury, which also affected his World Cup performance in Russia. He felt the injury shortly after Richarlison scored Brazil’s first goal at 22 minutes. He was replaced by Everton.
Gabriel Jesus added a second for Brazil. On Sunday, the team plays its last preparatory friendly against Honduras in Porto Alegre.
The striker also felt pains in his right ankle after a challenge from teammate Miranda during Brazil’s training session outside Rio de Janeiro last Thursday.
The game was a part of the team’s preparations for Copa America, which begins on June 14.
SNTV editor Filipe de Almeida contributed to this report.
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