One week before the Copa América 2019, Neymar suffered an ankle injury in a friendly against Qatar and was out of the call for the tournament in which Brazil was to be host and main favorite. Those days were very stormy for the Canarinha star, since he was also accused of rape and had to testify before the courts, so that, in the midst of the scandal, no one regretted the loss too much. In addition, his National Team was prepared to play without him, as was clear throughout the tournament.
That has been, until today, the last chapter of its history in the Copa América. A history full of troubles for a footballer who has shone on almost every stage. However, in the oldest international championship in the world he has only suffered. He played two editions and in both he was eliminated in the quarterfinals, a way too short for one of the two continental giants.
The 2011 Copa América in Argentina was his first international participation, at 19 years of age, when he played in Santos and came from being the great figure of the Copa Libertadores. He played all four games and scored two goals against Ecuador, but the team led by Mano Menezes only won that match and he was fired after losing on penalties to Paraguay.
He repeated in Chile 2015 and his goodbye was even more controversial. At the end of the second game, which Brazil lost to Colombia, the then Barcelona player (he had just won the UEFA Champions League) He was expelled after hitting Pablo Armero in the back, defense partner of Camilo Zuñiga, the man who had left him out of the World Cup the previous year. Conmebol’s suspension was very tough: four games and goodbye to the tournament. Then, Dunga’s Verdeamarela lost again against Paraguay in the penalty shootout.
He did not attend the Centennial in 2016 Because Barcelona forced him to choose between playing in the United States or doing it in the Rio Olympic Games. As his main objective was to give football his country the title it lacked, he decided to participate in the Olympic championship, which he won with a consecrating performance.
Today, he wants a rematch in the Cup that he always treated him very badly for various reasons. He reaches this edition, unlike the previous ones he played, after a mediocre season with PSG, without league or Champions, but with the challenge of winning his second title in the senior national team after the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Since the arrival of Tite, Brazil sets the pace in South American football, far from the rest. He won the Qualifiers for Russia 2018 without problems, has an ideal score in the qualification for Qatar 2022 and is the current continental champion. That supremacy in results is also evident in the game. No other South American team has such clear ideas as Brazil. Neither is his individual quality.
Of course, Ney leads Scratch’s undeniable talent. Much more mature both from the mental and from the footballing, he is the driver of the offensive idea of Tite. With Casemiro behind him and Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesús and Richarlison in front of him, he is surrounded by workers so that he is liberated and shows himself. In a team that works as such, having a footballer like Neymar is what ends up making the difference.
Like two years ago, Brazil will arrive as the main candidate to win the title. And if you did it without your best player, with him your chances grow even more.