Neymar limped off in the 17th minute during a 2-0 friendly victory over Qatar in Asia after he appeared to twist his right ankle, and was carried to the dressing room with his ankle wrapped in ice.
He was taken to hospital for a scan, where the country’s president Jair Bolsonaro, a football fan who had attended the game, had his photo taken with the smilingParis Saint-Germainstriker and wished him a speedy recovery.
Neymar Jr. of Brazil reacts during the International Friendly Match between Brazil and Qatar at Mane Garrincha Stadium on June 5, 2019 in BrasiliaGetty Images
However after tests at the hospital it has been confirmed that Neymar has suffered ligament damage to the ankle and has as such been ruled out of the Copa America due to the time needed to recover.
“After suffering a sprain in his right ankle during last Wednesday’s game against Qatar, Neymar was evaluated and subjected to complementary imaging tests that confirmed ligament rupture in the ankle.” A statement from the BRazilian Federation said.
“Due to the seriousness of the injury, Neymar will not have the physical conditions and sufficient recovery time to participate in the Copa América Brasil 2019.
“As of this Thursday (06), the technical committee of the Brazilian National Team will begin the definition of a substitute.”
Brazil were already leading 1-0 when Neymar departed, courtesy of Richarlison’s 16th minute header, and Gabriel Jesus added the second eight minutes later from close range.
The five-times world champions were rarely troubled by a limited Qatar side, who missed a VAR-assisted penalty in injury time.
“We won and the feeling is that we won well,” said man of the matchPhilippe Coutinho.
“We pressured them and we did what we wanted to do.”
Brazil face Bolivia in their Copa America opener on June 14 in Sao Paulo.