World Cup-bound Brazil are dealt an injury blow with Neymar ruled out of their qualifier against Argentina after he complained of thigh pain… but his PSG team-mate Lionel Messi IS fit for the clash despite his own fitness woes
- Brazil have already qualified for Qatar 2022 but face off against Argentina today
- Neymar will be absent from the clash, having complained of pain in training
- With there being no time for proper checks, the superstar will fly back to France
- Lionel Messi is in line to play, however, despite suffering injury issues of his own
Brazil have been dealt a major injury blow with Neymar ruled out of their World Cup qualifying clash against Argentina today.
PSG superstar Neymar, 29, suffered a thigh issue in training yesterday and, with there being no time for medical examinations, he will now be sent back to his club.
The mercurial forward played the full 90 minutes in the victory over Colombia last week, picking up a crucial assist, but will re-join PSG earlier than expected.
Neymar has been ruled out of Brazil’s World Cup qualifying clash with Argentina through injury
A statement from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) read: ‘Due to a thigh injury Neymar will not play against Argentina this Tuesday for the WC Qualification.
‘Neymar didn’t travel to Argentina with the rest of the Brazilian squad and will return to France this Wednesday.’
The CBF also provided a further update to GE.com, adding: ‘After the activities held on Palmeiras’ Football Academy on this Monday morning, Neymar complained about feeling pain in his left thigh.
‘Neymar Jr. revealed insecurities about the situation and as a result of not having enough time to make complementary medical exams, Brazilian technical staff decided to preserve the player, who will not travel with the Brazilian Group.’
Superstar Neymar complained of thigh pain in training and will instead now fly back to France
Lionel Messi and Neymar were expected to hold key roles in the South American showdown
Lionel Messi, however, looks set to be available for Argentina. The PSG talisman has been blighted by recent knee issues, and missed his club’s last two fixtures.
But he came off the bench against Uruguay and has been deemed fit enough to feature again in the crunch qualifier by boss Lionel Scaloni.
‘He was physically fit the other day and in the end we decided that the best thing was for him to play a few minutes so that he could get a feel for it and he is confirmed to play tomorrow,’ Scaloni said, when quizzed about the star.
Messi was taken off at half-time in PSG’s game against Lille in October, and soon underwent treatment on the problem in Madrid.
Messi (centre) will be fit to feature for Argentina despite being blighted by knee problems
Brazil have already secured their spot at Qatar 2022 and lead the way at the top of South America’s 10-team qualifying group, six points clear of Argentina.
The top four teams in the qualifying tussle will automatically reach the tournament, while the fifth-placed country instead goes to an inter-regional play-off.
Argentina are in the midst of an impressive 26-game unbeaten streak, and may hold the upper hand over Brazil after beating them to win the Copa America in July.
Neymar would likely have played a crucial part in the showdown, and the injured former Barcelona man has been praised heavily by his legendary compatriot, Cafu.
Brazil have already secured their spot at Qatar 2022, having beaten Colombia 1-0 to qualify
Cafu (right) believes that Neymar is better technically than both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Speaking in glowing terms about the attacker, the 51-year-old even insisted that Neymar is more gifted technically than both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘Neymar is technically better than Messi, better than Cristiano Ronaldo, but he must assume the responsibility of a leader,’ Cafu told Marca.
‘One must dedicate themselves 100 per cent to football. I’m not better than Neymar, but I am better than other right-backs because I dedicated myself to that.
‘He (Neymar) has to become a captain.’