Neymar ruled out of Copa America with knee injury, Brazil team doctor confirms

Brazil’s Neymar reacts after sustaining an injury during a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in October. Photograph: CNN

Brazil forward Neymar will not recover from knee surgery in time to play at next year’s Copa América, national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said on Tuesday.

Brazil’s top scorer underwent surgery last month after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in his left knee on international duty in October.

Lasmar, who carried out the surgery, said the 31-year-old is not expected to be fit until August and they do not intend to take short cuts in the recovery process for him to play at the 20 June-14 July tournament in the United States.

“There won’t be time, it’s too early, there’s no point skipping steps to recover sooner and taking unnecessary risks,” Lasmar told Brazilian radio station Radio 98 FM.

“We expect that he will be ready to return at the start of the 2024 season in Europe, which is in August. We need to be patient. Talking about a return before nine months is premature.

“It is very important to have the time it takes for the body to build that ligament. The expectation is that after this time, he will have recovered at a high level.”

Neymar joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal in August but the former Barcelona and Paris St Germain forward played only five games as he struggled with muscle injuries.

Brazil have been drawn in Group D for the Copa América with Colombia, Paraguay and a Concacaf qualifier.