His arrival is in doubt now as he was stretchered off the field in tears during Brazil’s 0-2 defeat against Uruguay.
Brazilian football star Neymar suffered a painful knee injury during a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Uruguay at the Centenario stadium in Montevideo on Tuesday, raising doubts about his participation in next month’s AFC Champions League match in Mumbai.
The 31-year-old, who plays for Al Hilal in the Saudi Professional League, was expected to compete against Mumbai City FC in the AFC Champions League group stage on November 6. Initially, it was decided that the highly-anticipated match would take place in Pune, but the venue was eventually changed to the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
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With Neymar being one of the most popular footballers of his generation, there has been great buzz among Indian fans at the possibility of seeing him live in action. But his arrival is in jeopardy now as he was stretchered off the field in tears during Brazil’s 0-2 defeat against Uruguay.
The incident occurred in the 44th minute of the match, when Neymar was tackled by Uruguay midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz and landed awkwardly. The Brazilian striker clutched his left knee in agony immediately and could take no further part in the contest. Later, he was seen leaving the stadium in crutches.
“For Neymar to leave the match, it is surely something serious,” Brazil captain Casemiro told reporters after the game. “But I hope it isn’t at the end. He has had those injuries whenever he starts picking up his pace again, it is hard.”
Meanwhile, Associated Press quoted Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar as saying: “We did all the tests and we will repeat them tomorrow. Those 24 hours are key to see how his knee will respond, how swollen it will be and what images will show. Let’s wait for the exams with calmness, evaluate with calmness and tell you once we have a diagnosis.”
Neymar had signed a two-year contract with Al Hilal in August, having played for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain for six seasons. Mumbai City FC, who bagged the ISL League Shield last season before beating Jamshedpur FC in a playoff, had initially decided to play all three of their home games in the AFC Champions League group stage at the 12000-seater Balewadi Stadium in Pune. They went ahead and played the first of those matches at that venue, losing 0-2 to Nassaji Mazandaran. However, anticipating more spectators to show up for the Al Hilal clash, they decided to shift it to the 55000-seater DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
In their second AFC Champions League game, Mumbai City FC lost 0-3 away to Uzbekistan side Navbahor. The Islanders will now take on Al Hilal in Riyadh on October 23, before hosting them in Mumbai two weeks later.