Neymar leaves pitch in tears after knee injury in Brazil defeat to Uruguay

Al Hilal forward only recently returned to fitness following a long-term ankle injury

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Neymar left the pitch in tears on Tuesday after sustaining a knee injury during Brazil's 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Uruguay, although the team doctor insisted it was too early to determine its severity.

The 31-year-old striker tripped and fell during a run in the 44th minute at the Centenario Stadium and was immediately surrounded by players from both teams as he held his left knee.

Neymar was carried off on a stretcher with both of his hands on his face, with Richarlison coming on to replace him.

The Al Hilal striker was seen using crutches as he left the stadium, but Brazil's doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told reporters it was too early to determine the seriousness of Neymar's injury.

“We did all the tests and we will repeat them tomorrow. Those 24 hours are key to see how his knee will respond, how swollen it will be and what images will show,” Lasmar said. “Let's wait for the exams with calmness, evaluate with calmness and tell you once we have a diagnosis.”

Uruguay led 1-0 when Neymar was hurt as Brazil went on to suffer their first loss in 37 matches in World Cup qualifying. Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez scored the opening goal shortly before halftime, with River Plate midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz doubling Uruguay's advantage in the 77th minute.

Neymar did not speak to reporters in Montevideo. After leaving the stadium, he posted on Instagram that “God knows about all things.”

“All the honour and all the glory will always be yours, my Lord. No matter what, I have faith,” he said in the post.

Neymar had been criticised by fans before the World Cup qualifier because of his subpar performance during Thursday's 1-1 draw against Venezuela. He recently returned to play after a right ankle injury that sidelined him for almost six months.

His latest injury could be a major setback for Hilal, who made Neymar the most expensive player in Saudi Pro League history when he joined the club this summer for €90 million. He missed the club's first four league games of the season with injury and is yet to score in the league, although he has three assists to his name in three games.,

Neymar has opened his Hilal account in the Asian Champions League, scoring in the 3-0 win over Nassaji.

Neymar made his national team debut in 2010 and has scored a record 79 goals in 128 appearances for Brazil.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 10:47 AM