Brazil call-up Willian to replace Neymar for Copa America

The Brazilian football federation (CBF) announced that Willian has replaced the injured Neymar for this summer’s Copa America.

Neymar ruptured a ligament in his ankle during Brazil’s 2-0 friendly win over Qatar in Brasília on Wednesday night. The injury occurred following Richarlison’s 23-minute opener, but didn’t appear to result from any physical contact.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker left the pitch in tears as Brazil’s medical team carried him off. Head coach Tite brought on Everton Soares in his place, with Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus scoring a second goal soon afterwards to seal the victory.

The CBF than confirmed the bad news that Neymar will be out for the entire Copa America, which begins on June 14.

It came as a major blow for Brazil, who hope to end their 12-year wait for glory in the competition on home soil.

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Now the CBF have called up Chelsea winger Willian to replace Neymar in the 23-man squad for this summer’s tournament.

Since debuting in a 2-0 friendly win over Gabon in October 2011, Willian has managed eight goals and 15 assists in 65 appearances for Brazil.

The 30-year-old will link-up with his team-mates in Porto Alegre ahead of the Selecao’s final pre-tournament friendly against Honduras on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Brazil have yet to release any further updates on Neymar’s injury. Although PSG have announced plans to assess him themselves the 27-year-old and could release a potential return date over the weekend.

“Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazil striker will be reassessed by the club’s medical department within the next 72 hours to define the rehabilitation process and recovery time for the player,” read a statement on Thursday.

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL – AUGUST 30: Neymar (L) and Willian take part in a training session at the Arena do Gremio on August 30, 2017 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Ecuador on August 31. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

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