Five-time World Cup champion Brazil will be without stars Neymar and Danilo for their next match due to injury, the team announced on Friday.
Brazilian team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed both players will miss the team’s next match against Switzerland on Monday, but remained hopeful they would play again in the tournament.
“We thought it was important to do an image exam, an MRI so that we had more data on the evolution of the two players,” Lasmar said.
“The scans showed a lateral ligament injury to Neymar’s right ankle along with a small bone swelling. And a medial ligament injury to Danilo’s left ankle.
“Players remain in treatment. It is very important for us to be very calm, peaceful, this assessment will be carried out daily so that we have information and make the best decisions based on that.
“We can already say that we will not have the two players for our next game, but they remain in treatment with our objective of trying to recover in time for this competition.”
Neymar sprained his right ankle in his side’s opening World Cup match – a 2-0 win over Serbia – on Thursday, Lasmar had already confirmed last night in a post-game press conference.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward was substituted with 10 minutes remaining after going down under a challenge, and Neymar looked emotional once he got to the bench, sitting down and covering his face with his shirt.
“Today has become one of the hardest moments in my career… and again in a World Cup,” Neymar, who was injured for Brazil’s World Cup semifinal in 2014, wrote on Instagram on Friday.
“I have an injury, yes, it’s bad, it’s going to hurt, but I’m sure I’ll have the chance to come back because I’ll do my best to help my country, my teammates and myself.
“A long time waiting for the enemy to knock me down like this? NEVER!”
Cameras caught the 30-year-old Neymar looking down at his ankle, which appeared to be very swollen as he made his way off the pitch.
It will no doubt be a huge concern to Brazil – and football fans around the world – whose chances of success would decrease considerably without its star man.
Before he departed injured, Neymar had already displayed his class, creating Brazil’s first goal when he danced through the Serbia defense to set up a chance for Vinícius Jr., whose shot was saved and fell to Tottenham’s Richarlison to finish for the first of his two on the night.
Brazil began this World Cup as the favorite to win its first World Cup since 2002, with a 20% chance of winning the tournament according to Nielsen’s Gracenote, after losing just three times in 50 matches since it was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup by Belgium.
Neymar will face a race to be back to full fitness by the time Brazil plays Switzerland in its next Group G match on November 28.
CNN’s Homero De La Fuente and Duarte Mendonça contributed to this report.