Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro says Neymar will be missed for their Copa America final against Peru at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been absent for the tournament through injury and Casemiro believes he would’ve boosted the team.
There’s no dispute that he’s the best Brazilian player,” the Real Madrid midfielder said.
“Of course, if Neymar was here it would have been better for us and would be more helpful. But he’s not here and we must overcome this difficulty.”
Hosts Brazil have impressed in defence having not conceded a single goal so far in the competition.
They are the favourites to win the title especially after they thrashed Peru 5-0 during the group stage.
Everton, Roberto Firmino, Casemiro, Dani Alves and Willian scored against Peru in the teams’ first encounter, with Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese stopping a penalty from Gabriel Jesus near the end of the match at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.
Brazil will be seeking its ninth Copa America title and first since 2007. Peru, with two South American cup trophies, will play its first decider of the tournament in 44 years.
Disciplinary chiefs have rejected Paris Saint-Germain’s appeal against Brazilian star Neymar‘s three-match European ban for insulting match officials.
The 27-year-old was punished over social media comments made in the wake of his side’s controversial 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United in March which denied them a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
PSG challenged the decision, but UEFA’s appeals body has thrown out their claim.
A UEFA statement said: “The appeal lodged by Paris Saint-Germain is rejected. Consequently, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body’s decision of 25 April is confirmed.
“The CEDB had decided to suspend the Paris Saint-Germain player Neymar Junior for three (3) UEFA competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible, for insulting match officials.”
Neymar was injured for the game, in which the French club was defending a 2-0 first leg lead, and watched from the sidelines as Marcus Rashford sent United through on away goals from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time after a VAR decision adjudged that Presnel Kimpembe had handled Diogo Dalot’s shot.
The Brazilian later wrote on social media: “This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR.
“There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back! Go f*** yourselves!”
Neymar, who has been linked with a move away from PSG this summer, will be suspended for the first half of the group stage of next season’s Champions League as a result.
Get French Football News (via L’Equipe) claim that an accumulation of elements – notably the damage to his public image following his current sexual assault case and a “primadona” attitude – have led the club owners coming to a decision to get rid of the 27-year-old in the event of a presentable proposal being submitted for their star Brazilian.
But any bid will have to be at least €222m – the amount they paid for the player when signing him from Barcelona two summers ago.
The respected outlet adds that Neymar has told people close to him in recent weeks that he would like to leave the French capital this summer.
PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi yesterday told GFFN: “The players are going to have to assume their responsibilities even more than before.
“It has to be completely different. They will have to do more, work more. They are not here to have fun.
“And if they don’t agree with this point of view, the doors are open. Ciao! I no longer want to have superstar behaviour.”
While he did not name any players specifically, the French press are adamant that his comments were targeted at Neymar after he has taken up more headlines off the pitch than on it in recent months.
Neymar’s agent Pini Zahavi has, over the last couple of weeks, begun to make manoeuvres for Neymar to move this summer – specifically to bring about the Brazilian’s return to Spain and Barcelona.
The newspaper claims discussions are ongoing between PSG and Barca and the possibility of a including a player in part exchange has been invoked internally.
Real Madrid have also made an enquiry for the Brazilian, who is injured and will miss out on the Copa America, but are understood not to be in pole position to land him.