Copa America 2019: Brazil not weaker without Neymar, says captain Dani Alves

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Brazil captain Dani Alves believes the Copa America hosts are no weaker without injured star Neymar as they prepare to meet Venezuela on Tuesday.

Tite’s side started with a 3-0 opening-night victory over Bolivia as they look to claim their first Copa America crown since 2007.

That task was made all the more difficult when Paris St Germain forward Neymar was ruled out of the competition after injuring his ankle in a warm-up win over Qatar.

While Brazil aim for success without the world’s most expensive player, his club-mate in Ligue 1, Alves feels his absence can be smoothed over.

“I believe that every time we come to the national team, we wear this shirt, we have to prove we can wear it – regardless of whether or not Neymar is there,” he said at a pre-match press conference.

“We have to prove it because we represent a historical team, very respected worldwide.

“But when you have an extra (talent), like Neymar, you become a little stronger.

“But you do not weaken without it, you only increase your qualities, you increase your power, but you do not diminish without him.”

Next up for Brazil is a clash against Venezuela in Salvador.

Venezuela opened their tournament with a goalless draw against Peru in Port Alegre but will be the underdogs for their second game of the competition.

Manager Rafael Dudamel admits getting a result against the hosts will be a challenge but does not intend to park the bus in an attempt to secure an unlikely outcome.

“Playing as an equal against Brazil is silly because we know their capabilities,” he said.

“This does not mean that we are going to only be in our area and defend because we already saw what happened to Bolivia.

“We must try to play our game with great security. We are going to face a rival who, besides playing very well, are also physically very strong.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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