Chelsea winger Willian called up to Brazil squad as Neymar replacement after PSG star is ruled out of Copa America with ankle injury
- Willian has been called up to replace injured star Neymar by Brazil manager Tite
- The 30-year-old beat Lucas Moura and Vinicius Jr to a call up for Copa America
- Neymar was ruled out of the tournament after injuring his ankle on Wednesday
- Hosts Brazil kick off Copa America on Saturday June 15 against Bolivia
Chelsea winger Willian has been called up by Brazil manager Tite to replace Neymar ahead of this month’s Copa America.
Neymar limped off the field during a pre-tournament friendly against Qatar on Wednesday after picking up an ankle injury.
The Brazil star, who has made 97 appearances for his country, had to be helped from the pitch by medical staff during his side’s 2-0 victory. He later revealed a nasty swelling on his right foot, which led to his withdrawal from the Brazil set-up.
Chelsea winger Willian has been called up to the Brazil squad for this month’s Copa America
Willian will replace Neymar who limped off injured during a pre-tournament friendly
The 27-year-old suffered the setback in the 20th minute of the Brazil’s friendly win over Qatar
Willian pipped Tottenham forward Lucas Moura to a call up, who scored a hat-trick in Tottenham’s semi-final second leg against Ajax, as well as Real Madrid prodigy Vinicius Jr.
‘The attacker Willian, of Chelsea, has been called up by the Brazil national team and will play the 2019 Brazil Copa America,’ the Brazilian Football Confederation confirmed in a statement released on Friday.
‘He has been called to replace Neymar, who was dropped from the squad following the friendly against Qatar.’
The injury caps off a miserable six months for Neymar, who was also stripped of the national team’s captaincy for his indiscretions on and off the field at Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar was filmed lashing out at a Rennes fan after PSG lost the French Cup last month, while he was also given a three-match ban from UEFA competitions for an explicit rant on social media following a late VAR call during his side’s defeat by Manchester United.
The Paris Saint-Germain star posted a picture on Instagram highlighting his bulging ankle
Willian will have to cut short his post-season holiday in Israel in order to feature for his country
The Chelsea winger reaffirmed his Christian baptism in the River Jordan while away
The 30-year-old helped Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea to Europa League glory in Baku on May 29
Willian may have missed out on the Tite’s original 23-man squad for the hosts of this year’s edition of Copa America, but the 30-year-old brings a wealth of experience to the national side.
He made his debut in November 2011 and has so far made 65 appearances for the Selecao, scoring eight goals. He has also represented Brazil at two World Cups, in Russia in 2018 and on home soil four years prior.
Willian will have to cut short his post-season vacation in Israel, where he reaffirmed his baptism in the River Jordan earlier this week.
He will wear the No 10 jersey in Neymar’s absence. Hosts Brazil will kick off the tournament on Saturday June 15 against Bolivia at 1.30am BST.