Seoul (AFP) – Brazil superstar Neymar could miss his side’s friendly match against South Korea on Thursday after injuring his foot during training on the eve of the game.
Neymar grabbed his right foot and fell to the turf after colliding with a teammate during the session at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Wednesday.
He was quickly attended to by a trainer and limped off the field, but did not return.
During a pre-match press conference, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar’s right foot had swollen and it was too early to determine his status for Thursday’s match.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on his foot until tomorrow morning,” the doctor said through an interpreter.
“Right now, it’s difficult to say with any certainty whether he’ll be able to play. We’ll have to see tomorrow morning.”
Lasmar said Neymar had been “traumatised” by a history of right-foot injuries.
Neymar posted an image of his bruised foot on Instagram, showing what appeared to be visible swelling.
Even before this latest injury, Brazil coach Tite was facing some tough selection calls.
While Neymar and most of the team arrived in South Korea last week, six players from Real Madrid and Liverpool only landed Tuesday, three days after their Champions League final in Paris.
“Considering their physical condition and how far they’ve travelled, it’s probably the right thing to do to play them in later matches (instead of Thursday),” Tite told the press conference. “But everyone is eager to play.”
Tite said South Korea, coached by Paulo Bento for nearly four years, were “well prepared” ahead of the World Cup.
He singled out captain Son Heung-min for praise, after the Tottenham Hotspur man jointly won the Premier League Golden Boot along with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
“Be it his technique, stamina or mental fortitude, he is a perfect player,” Tite said. “It is not a coincidence that he won the Golden Boot this year.”
Tite said he saw Thursday’s match as part of the build-up for the World Cup, and he would demand more than just a win from his team.
“I want to see how our players perform in an away match and establish a standard for ourselves,” Tite said.
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