Brazil star Neymar has been ruled out of Brazil’s next two matches after he suffered an ankle injury during his side’s World Cup opener against Serbia on Thursday evening.
Neymar, 30, was replaced in the 80th minute after he was on the end of a heavy challenge from Serbia defender Nikola Milenkovic.
After he was subbed off for Antony, the Paris Saint-Germain star was seen sitting on the bench with his face covered while the medical team treated his heavily swollen ankle.
Brazil manager Tite squashed rumours that Neymar could miss the rest of the tournament after the match.
“We are confident Neymar will continue playing in the World Cup. I didn't see Neymar was injured - the capacity he has to overcome it tricked even me,” he said.
Rodrigo Lasmar, the team doctor for Brazil, said: “Tomorrow [Friday] we will have a new assessment. Now we need to wait, we cannot make premature comments.”
According to Ge Globo, Neymar will miss the next two matches against Switzerland and Cameroon. But the former Barcelona star is expected to be back for the knockout stages should Brazil make it through.
This is not the first time Neymar has suffered an injury that put him in danger of missing a tournament.
In 2019, he missed the Copa America after tearing ligaments in his right ankle. A similar injury also kept him out for several weeks in 2021.
In the 2014 World Cup, Neymar was starring for Brazil in their home tournament. However, his World Cup dream turned into a nightmare after he suffered a horrific back injury against Colombia in the quarter-finals.
Neymar subsequently missed the remainder of the tournament and saw his side dismantled 7-1 by eventual World Cup winners Germany in the semi-finals.
Neymar previously described his back injury at the 2014 World Cup as the worst moment in his prolific playing career.
“The injury has been my worst moment because of the week I went through there - all that. I just cried at home, I would see my mom and my dad crying - everyone was sad, my friends and family,” he told The Players’ Tribune in 2017.
“And I remember that I had my head on the ground, and [Brazil teammate] Marcelo was saying: 'No, no [...] Get the doctors in.' And I said: 'No, no, no. I want to play.' Because I wanted to score.
“But I couldn't manage to lift my legs. I couldn't move my legs. And the doctor took me out and I started to [...] to cry. Because it was very painful and I didn't feel anything. I didn't feel my legs, so I went to the hospital that's in the stadium.”
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