Brazil’s mixed start to 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification continued as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat away to Uruguay on October 18.
The Samba Boys picked up successive wins in their opening fixtures against Bolivia and Peru in September, but they headed into the Uruguay loss on the back of a draw at home to Venezuela.
Alongside a negative result in Montevideo, star forward Neymar was carried off on a stretcher in apparent agony in first-half added time, by which point Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez had already given Uruguay the lead.
After tangling with Nicolas de la Cruz, the Al Hilal forward was in tears on his way off the pitch after receiving treatment on the field. It appeared as though the 31-year-old had badly hurt his knee.
There are concerns that Neymar could now be facing a long spell on the sidelines with a possible ligament injury.
What happened to Neymar vs. Uruguay?
Neymar tussled with River Plate midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz during the first half of the World Cup qualifier between Uruguay and Brazil.
No foul was awarded against De La Cruz, but Neymar appeared to overextend his knee in the incident.
The former Paris Saint-Germain star immediately signalled to the Brazil bench for medical assistance and looked to be in clear pain.
After a lengthy stoppage, Neymar was helped on to a stretcher in clear distress and was later shown leaving the Estadio Centenario on crutches.
Neymar Jr leaves the pitch crying after new injury tonight vs Uruguay! ????????
It looks like serious injury again for Ney as he was going off on stretcher… with hands on his face. pic.twitter.com/G1qsqRrePm
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 18, 2023
As per a post-match update from Reuters, Brazil FA sources stated Neymar had sustained a severe left-knee sprain and will undergo tests to determine if there is ligament damage.
Brazil captain Casemiro signalled his hope that the injury, one of several to affect Neymar in recent years, is not serious.
“He’s an important player for us,” said the Manchester United midfielder. “He’s been suffering a lot from injuries, and when he starts to pick up the pace, he gets injured again.”
When is Neymar back? Injury latest for Al Hilal star
There is not yet any confirmation as to the seriousness of Neymar’s injury or how long he is likely to be out of action.
Casemiro’s comments underlined the issues Neymar has endured in recent months, with his Al Hilal debut delayed until September after undergoing ankle surgery in March.
The length of Neymar’s absence will become clearer following tests by the Brazil medical team with a severe sprain likely to keep him out of action for at least two months.
However, ligament damage could mean a much longer absence and could put his chances of playing at next year’s Copa America in doubt.
Neymar stats 2023/24 for Al Nassr, Brazil
Despite his Al Hilal career being delayed, Neymar has made three Saudi Pro League and two AFC Champions League appearances, with his sole goal coming in the latter.
He scored twice in Brazil’s September win over Bolivia to overtake Pele as the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer with 79 goals, and he started the following three games in World Cup qualification.