Brazilian football superstar Neymar is set to spend a considerable amount of time on the sidelines recovering from a serious knee injury sustained while representing Brazil in a World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay.
The 31-year-old striker, who recently joined Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, twisted his left knee awkwardly in a challenge during the first half of Brazil’s 2-0 defeat on Tuesday night. He was immediately surrounded by concerned players from both teams as he writhed in agony on the ground, clutching his knee.
After being stretchered off the field, subsequent medical examinations on Wednesday confirmed Neymar has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament as well as tearing his meniscus in the affected knee. This diagnosis means he will require surgery followed by a lengthy rehabilitation period expected to rule him out for around 8 months.
The injury comes as a massive blow to both Neymar and Brazil. For Neymar, it is another serious setback early into his time in Saudi Arabia, having only just returned from missing several months due to a right ankle injury sustained in February. He will now face the daunting prospect of rebuilding his fitness from scratch yet again.
For Brazil, losing their talismanic goalscorer is a huge concern so close to the World Cup finals later this year. Neymar has scored 79 goals in 129 games for his country and is a key creative focal point in their attack. Brazil will desperately hope he can recover in time for the World Cup, but must plan without him for upcoming qualifiers.
In a statement, Brazil’s football confederation confirmed Neymar will undergo surgery at a date to be arranged. Their medical staff believe with intensive rehabilitation, he could possibly return for the Copa America tournament next summer. But it will be a race against time.
Neymar himself acknowledged the difficult road ahead in an Instagram post after his diagnosis. He emphasized his determination to come back stronger but admitted needing support from family and friends to cope mentally during recovery.
After 6 years at Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar’s move to Al Hilal for €90 million in August was meant to herald an exciting new chapter in his iconic career. This latest setback tragically puts that on hold for now. All of football will hope the Brazilian superstar’s trademark flair and zest returns before too long once he goes under the knife to fix his damaged knee.