Leeds: Brazil’s Neymar was ruled out of Copa America due to an ankle injury, but his team-mate Dani Alves feels that the 27-year-old’s absence won’t weaken them.
“I believe that every time we come to the national team, we wear this shirt, we have to prove it, regardless of whether or not Neymar is there, we have to prove it because we represent a historical team, very respected worldwide. But when you have an extra, like Ney, 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,” Goal.com quoted Alves as saying.
Neymar sustained an ankle injury during Brazil’s friendly match against Qatar on June 6. The game was just in its 21st minute when Neymar was forced to leave the field.
However, Brazil managed to defeat Qatar by 2-0 and even vanquished Bolivia by 3-0 during Copa America opening match on June 15.
Alves is aiming to feature in the 2022 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Qatar but he does not want to look far ahead as he feels that it is the present that matters.
“It [2022 World Cup] is a goal I have, but I do not allow myself to look too far forward, because when you look far ahead you forget to look at now. I cannot forget to look at the now because the opportunities I have to be here can not to be distracted with the future and not with the past. What matters is the present,” he said.
The 36-year-old Alves further added: “I reinvent myself. When you reach a certain age, you begin to raise doubts, a lot of talk about the selection is renewed or the clubs have to renew, have more players, young people, but both in the clubs and in the national team, it values itself by results.”
Brazil will now face Venezuela on June 19.