A rough patch has begun for Brazil’s national team, as they have dropped to sixth place in the World Cup Qualifiers after losing three consecutive matches. Sadly, things are not looking up.

Now, their main star striker Neymar will not be able to participate in the 2024 Copa America games in the US. The striker for Al-Hilal has not played since September of 2023 due to a knee injury.

There was hope that the attacker may make a speedy recovery in time to play in the Copa America next summer. But the surgeon, Rodrigo Lasmar, of the Brazil national team, has now put an end to such dreams.

Due to the nine-month recuperation period for a knee injury, Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar commented on the player’s progress.

“It’s too early. 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”, he told Brazil’s radio Rede 98.

Familiar injuries threaten Neymar for 2024 Copa America

Speculation has suggested that Neymar’s physical condition was a factor in Paris Saint-Germain selling him over the summer. After joining the club in 2017 in a record-breaking $237 million transfer from Barcelona, he made 178 appearances and scored 118 goals.

He also won five Ligue 1 championships. However, he missed more than 100 games because of injuries. Despite signing with Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal in August at the age of 31, the forward only managed to appear in five games due to a slew of muscular problems.

Given Neymar’s injury history and the ligament damage he sustained, it will be difficult to get the 31-year-old back on the field quickly. Although his absence has been felt by the Brazilian national squad.

What does it mean for Brazil?

This development will increase the workload for Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo of Real Madrid. However, they are also the players that Brazil will have to rely on once Neymar retires from the sport.

This new information further casts doubt on Brazil’s preparations for the Copa America. The team is still being led by interim manager Fernando Diniz. The 49-year-old is also the head coach of Fluminense, a Brazilian club.

Brazil has no competitive matches before June 2024. Therefore, Brazil will not have much time to address these concerns before the tournament. That is unless the side names a new head coach. Paraguay, Colombia, and a CONCACAF qualifier make up the Selecao’s Copa America Group D.

The Brazilian national team finished in second place in the 2021 tournament. Across the United States, 14 different sites will host matches during the tournament. It runs from June 20 to July 14.