Al Hilal dealt major blow as Neymar faces months on sidelines with ruptured ACL

Brazilian forward sustained the injury during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Uruguay

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Neymar is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after the Brazil FA confirmed the forward ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.

Al Hilal star Neymar, 31, went down after tussling for the ball with Uruguay's Nicolas de la Cruz in the 44th minute of Brazil's 2-0 defeat on Tuesday, holding his left leg in pain and calling for medical attention as his teammates looked on anxiously.

He left the pitch in tears on a stretcher after receiving treatment for several minutes, and an MRI scan on Wednesday confirmed the injuries.

"The striker will undergo surgery, on a date yet to be set, to correct the injuries," Brazil's football confederation (CBF) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The medical department of the Brazilian national team ... and Al Hilal are in constant contact and are aligned in the athlete's recovery."

Neymar said he was frustrated to be sidelined with yet another injury so soon after recovering from an ankle operation.

Earlier this year, he underwent right ankle surgery that required months of recovery before he left Paris Saint-Germain to sign a two-year deal with Saudi giants Al Hilal, where he has played only five games this season.

"It's a very sad time, the worst," Neymar wrote on Instagram. "I know I'm strong, but this time I'm going to need my family and friends even more.

"It's not easy to go through injury and surgery, imagine going through it all again after four months of recovery."

Neymar's career has been plagued with injuries. He spent three lengthy spells on the sidelines with his former club PSG after sustaining right foot injuries.

At the 2014 World Cup he suffered a back injury in the quarter-final victory over Colombia, ruling him out of the 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany.

In 2018, injuries again hampered his dream of winning the World Cup. Early that year, Neymar suffered a sprained right ankle that affected the fifth metatarsal in his foot.

He missed 16 games for PSG at the end of the 2017-18 domestic season and was never fully fit as he played through the pain for Brazil in Russia until they were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The forward suffered similar injuries in 2019, 2021, and at last year's Qatar World Cup.

The latest injury will be a bitter blow to Hilal, who paid a Saudi transfer record €90 million ($95m) for the forward this summer. The Riyadh club are unbeaten in the Saudi Pro League and lead by one point, while they are also top of their Asian Champions League group after two games.

Updated: October 19, 2023, 5:37 AM