BUENOS AIRES – Brazil forward Neymar (picture) will miss his team’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Argentina because of a leg muscle injury, reported Xinhua, quoting the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) on Monday.
The 29-year-old was ruled out of Tuesday’s clash in the central-western Argentine city of San Juan after feeling pain in the adductor area of his left thigh.
“Neymar Jr said he felt insecure about the situation and, as there is not enough time to carry out complementary exams, the technical commission decided to rest the player who will not travel with the team,” a CBF statement read.
Meanwhile, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni confirmed that Lionel Messi would play, playing down concerns about the 34-year-old’s fitness.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward made a 14-minute cameo appearance off the bench in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Uruguay on Friday, having missed Paris Saint-Germain’s last two games because of knee and hamstring problems.
“He was physically fit the other day and in the end we decided that the best thing was for him to play a few minutes so that he could get a feel for it and he is confirmed to play tomorrow,” Scaloni told reporters.
Brazil head the 10-team South American zone standings with 34 points from 12 matches, six points ahead of second-placed Argentina.
The Selecao secured their place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar with a 1-0 win over Colombia in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
The top four teams in the group will automatically qualify for football’s showpiece tournament while the fifth-ranked side will advance to an inter-continental playoff.