SAO PAULO (AP) — Neymar will come to South America for World Cup qualifying matches despite a groin injury he picked up in a Champions League match for Paris Saint-Germain.
Brazil coach Tite called Flamengo striker Pedro for the matches against Venezuela and Uruguay on Nov. 13 and 17, without removing Neymar from the squad.
Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar said he expects Neymar to be available for the clash at Uruguay “after an intensive week of training” with Brazil in Teresopolis, outside Rio de Janeiro.
“We have the chance of recovery for the second match,” Lasmar told Brazil’s soccer confederation website. “We will follow his development closely.”
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said last week it would be “impossible” for Neymar to play for Brazil as he recovered from the injury.
Brazil has already lost four players for the two clashes, including three due to injury — midfielders Philippe Coutinho and Fabinho, and defender Rodrigo Caio.
Defender Eder Militão is out after contracting COVID-19.
Pedro, 23, was called for Brazil once in September 2018, but suffered a serious knee injury that stopped his debut and kept him out of action for months.
After a disappointingly short spell at Fiorentina, he came back to Brazil in the beginning of the year on loan and is now one of the top goal scorers for Flamengo, with eight goals in 13 matches.
Brazil and Argentina lead the South American qualifying group with two wins from two matches.
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