Neymar to miss Copa América - Brazil doctor


Neymar of Al-Hilal is seen during the AFC Champions League Group D match between Nassaji Mazandaran and Al-Hilal at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran on October 03, 2023.

Brazil forward Neymar will miss the 2024 Copa América in the United States because of a serious knee injury he suffered in October, Brazilian team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Tuesday.

The Al Hilal star, 31, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee during his country's World Cup qualifying loss to Uruguay on Oct. 17, before undergoing surgery two weeks later.

The Copa América will begin on June 20 and run through the final on July 14.

"It's too early," Lasmar told Brazil's Rede 98. "There's no point in skipping steps to recover sooner and taking unnecessary risks. Our expectation is that he will be prepared to return at the start of the 2024 season in Europe, which is August.

"We need to be patient. Talking about a return before nine months is premature, this is a global concept for knee ligament surgeries recovery. It is very important to respect the biological time, the time the body takes to reconstruct that ligament.

"If we follow those steps and after a long recovery, the expectation is that he can perform again at a high level."

Neymar is Brazil's all-time leading scorer with 79 goals in 129 appearances.

Brazil were drawn into Group D of next year's Copa América, alongside Colombia, Paraguay and the winner of a playoff between Costa Rica and Honduras.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that Brazil will face Mexico on June 8 in a pre-tournament friendly.

It is the second time the Copa América will be hosted by the U.S., following the centenary edition in 2016, with six teams from Concacaf joining the 10 from South America.

After six years at Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar joined Al Hilal in the big-spending Saudi Pro League for a fee of €90 million ($98.6m) in August. He made just five appearances for the club before his injury, scoring one goal.

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