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Why isn’t Neymar Jr. playing the Copa América 2024 for Brazil?

The former Barcelona star, now of Al Hilal, is Brazil’s all-time top scorer but has yet to win an international trophy.

The former Barcelona star, now of Al Hilal, is Brazil’s all-time top scorer but has yet to win an international trophy.

The Copa América 2024 will bring together some of world’s soccer biggest and brightest talents, from iconic veterans such as Lionel Messi and Luís Suárez, to present and future stars including Vinícius Júnior and Endrick. However, one man who will not be entertaining us this year is major tournament regular Neymar. The 32-year-old’s name doesn’t feature on Brazil’s 26-man roster, although it surely would have done had it not been for injury.

What happened to Neymar? When did he last play?

Following the 2022 FIFA World Cup, at which the Brazilians were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Croatia, Neymar flirted with international retirement. However, he was ultimately in the team as they started their qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup in September last year, by which point he had moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal.

But after only five appearances for his new team, the attacker tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a qualifying defeat away to Uruguay on 17 October, the last time we have seen him on a soccer field.

Neymar injury update: when will he be back playing?

The immediate diagnosis wasn’t good and he was almost immediately ruled out of featuring in the upcoming Copa América, even with eight months to go until the tournament. That timeframe, however, has proven to be accurate, with Neymar not included in Dorival Júnior’s squad for the tournament.

The most recent update on the former Barcelona star came from Samer Al Shahrani, a physiotherapist who works with Al Hilal.

He revealed Neymar had begun strengthening the muscles around the knee, the most important stage of the recovery process, and that his condition had improved faster than expected. The target, though, is still to be ready to return to action in July, just before the new Saudi season starts, which means he won’t be gracing the Copa América 2024 with his presence.

Neymar is Brazil’s all-time top scorer with 79 goals in 128 games but has never won a trophy with his country. He withdrew from the squad, also due to injury, when the Seleção won the 2019 Copa América on home soil.