DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Neymar is working “24 hours a day” to try to recover from his ankle injury and play again at the World Cup.Brazilian teammate Marquinhos said on Sunday.
Neymar injured ligaments in his right ankle in the team’s 2-0 opening win on Serbia on Thursday and lost the match against Switzerland on Monday. He was still expected to survive but the team’s doctors have not given a timetable for his return – or if he will.
“He’s sleeping in physical therapy, 24 hours a day,” Marquinhos said. “It shows that he wants to come back to us. We don’t know when that will happen, but we hope he will be with us as soon as possible, mentally and physically. .
Brazil coach Tite said Neymar and Danilo’s right side – also injured – must be “strong” to finish their treatment on Sunday and join teammates in the final training session before the match against Switzerland. Tite said after the match against Serbia, Neymar was being treated until five or six in the morning.
Neymar said on Saturday on Instagram and he is “sure” that “he has time to come back”. She posted photos of her ankle that was still swollen.
Marquinhos said Neymar was disappointed after the injury but his spirits are rising.
“I’m very happy to see him and confident about the return,” said the defender before the match against Switzerland. “He’s very focused on coming back.”
Tite remained confident of the return of Neymar and Danilo, who sprained his ankle against Serbia.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m not an expert,” said Tite. “But I still believe that Neymar and Danilo will play in the World Cup. I think we will continue to use them.
Tite has many options to fill in for Neymar but admitted that it would be difficult to replace the talent of a player like him.
“These great talents can show up two or three times and make the difference,” Tite said. “And that’s what Neymar can do for us.”
The coach did not say who would replace Neymar or Danilo in the starting line-up on Monday. The options to replace Danilo are Dani Alves or Éder Militão.
Neymar, 30 years old, is second in Brazil’s scoring list with 75 goals, two behind Pelé’s record with the national team. He has yet to win a major title with Brazil.
Neymar had to withdraw from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after injuring his back in the quarterfinals against Colombia. He also missed the 2019 Copa América due to a right ankle injury.
Brazil, chasing its first World Cup title in two decades, will face Cameroon in its final match of Group G. The team will advance to the round of 16 with a win on Monday if Cameroon fail to beat Serbia in the other group match.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports