Brazil's Neymar lies on the pitch after being fouled during a friendly soccer match against Qatar at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Brazil and Qatar are preparing for the Copa America which runs from June 14 until July 7 in Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Ankle injury forces Neymar out of Copa America

June 06, 2019 - 12:41 am

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Neymar is out of Copa America after suffering a right ankle injury in a win over Qatar on Wednesday night.

Brazil's soccer confederation said in a statement early Thursday that Neymar had a ligament rupture in his ankle and will not recover in time to play the South American tournament. The striker left Brazil's 2-0 victory in the friendly match in tears after twisting his ankle during a hard tackle in the first minutes of the match.

Neymar left the Mane Garrincha stadium using crutches before the match ended. He was accompanied by his father and Brazil's soccer confederation head Edu Gaspar. The player returned to Brazil's hotel in the early hours Thursday, after he was visited by President Jair Bolsonaro.

The friendly was the first major public appearance for Neymar since a woman accused him of rape Friday at a Paris hotel on May 15. Several signs in support of the player appeared among fans on the same day his accuser reaffirmed her claims in a TV interview.

Neymar has denied any wrongdoing.

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SNTV editor Filipe de Almeida contributed to this report.

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