Brazil’s Neymar has been ruled out of his country’s remaining matches in the group stage of the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury against Serbia.
The forward was repeatedly fouled, a total of 9 times, in his side’s opening match 2-0 win over Serbia, being brought down every time he touched the ball in open space.
He was eventually replaced in the 80th minute and was seen in tears on the bench.
The Brazilian football association (CBF) confirmed both Neymar and Danilo, the right-back who injured his ankle in the same game as well, will miss Brazil’s next match against Switzerland but could be done for the group stage altogether.
“Neymar and Danilo started treatment yesterday immediately after the game,” Brazil doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said in a video.
“The tests showed a lateral ligament injury on Neymar’s right ankle, along with a small bone edema.
“We can already say that we will not have the two players for the next game but they remain in treatment with our goal of trying to get them back in time for this competition.”
The PSG forward has been particularly unlucky when it comes to injuries at the World Cup, denying Brazil’s most promising player in two decades a chance to add a record-extending 6th title for his country.
He also missed the 2014 semifinal loss to Germany after picking up an injury in the quarterfinal against Colombia, a game best remembered for the infamous 7-2 scoreline.
Brazil does have enough firepower in its squad to overcome the void left by Neymar for the reaming group-stage matches in the World Cup but the 30-year-old is crucial to their chances of lifting the trophy.
Neymar has scored 75 times in 122 games for Brazil and is now just two goals away from breaking Pele’s scoring record for the men’s national team.