Brazil’s Neymar ruled out of Copa America

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Neymar will not play in the 2019 Copa America on home soil.

The Brazilian superstar, 27, rupturing ligaments in his ankle during the 2-0 friendly victory over Qatar in Brasilia on Wednesday.

Neymar has only just returned from a three-month injury to his right foot, as he limped off the pitch in the 17th minute and was seen leaving the stadium on crutches and in a protective boot.

A statement from the Brazilian football federation confirmed he will miss the tournament.

“After suffering a sprain in his right ankle during last Wednesday’s game against Qatar, Neymar was evaluated and subjected to tests that confirmed ligament rupture in the ankle. 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.”

A hero in Brazil, Neymar was stripped of the captaincy by head coach Tite last month for disciplinary reasons (he hit a fan after PSG’s French Cup final defeat to Rennes) and worrying allegations currently surround his personal life.

This week has been dominated by rape allegations and the player’s posting of explicit photos to defend himself. Most recently, his team denied asking for a settlement meeting as the woman accusing Neymar of rape appeared on Brazilian TV on Wednesday to discuss the allegations.

On the pitch, his loss is a big blow for Brazil as they host the Copa America for the first time since 2007. The tournament kicks off on June 14, as Brazil face Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru in the group stage. The final is on July 7 at the Maracana.

Neymar’s run of untimely injuries continue, as he missed several months in the lead up to the 2018 World Cup and many believed he was far from fully fit as the Selecao were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by Belgium.