Casemiro is confident that Brazil can do without Neymar for the time being, as he backed the “star of the team” to prepare for a businesslike conclusion to the World Cup.
An ankle ligament injury forced Neymar to be substituted late in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday as they kicked off their Qatar 2022 campaign.
Richarlison scored both of Brazil’s goals, and the Tottenham striker’s form is one factor that gives defensive midfielder Casemiro his heart.
Neymar will most likely miss the game against Switzerland on Monday and most likely the clash with Cameroon on Friday.
Whether he can recover in time to qualify for the playoffs remains to be seen, but Brazil are optimistic.
Casemiro, quoted by the Brazilian newspaper Globo, said: “If we keep talking about Neymar, we will stay here for a few days because of his importance.
“He is the star of the team that matters. But we also have other similar players: Raphinha, Vini [Vinicius Junior], Richarlison. We have a wide range of options.
“Neymar is one of the best in the world and unfortunately he won’t be in the next game, but we have quality players to replace him, but certainly not of his level.”
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Casemiro has called West Ham’s Lucas Paquetu a player who can come into the starting XI and give him an extra boost of energy in Neymar’s absence.
“He’s another important player,” Casemiro said. “Very dynamic, modern. He plays outside, inside, false nine.”
Defender Danilo is also on the sidelines of Brazil for the time being, but Manchester United star Casemiro is backing both to do his best to get back in the running for Tite’s starting team.
“Danilo and Neymar are working morning, noon and night with the greatest effort in the world. They know they’re important,” Casemiro said.
“We have excellent specialists, and health comes first. They will do everything to get back 100 percent as soon as possible.”