Copa America 2019: Brazil not weakened by Neymar absence, says captain Dani Alves
What’s the story?
Brazil captain Dani Alves has remarked that Brazil has not been weakened by the absence of team talisman Neymar who was ruled out of the Copa America 2019 tournament with an ankle injury.
Brazil marked their opening match of Group A with a resounding 3-0 win over minnows Bolivia, thanks to a brace from Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho and a goal from Gremio winger Everton Soares.
In case you didn’t know…
Neymar was slated to star for the home team in this year's Copa America, before he suffered a nasty ankle injury during a pre-tournament friendly against Qatar. Brazil won the match 2-0, but recieved terrible news as their star player was ruled out of the tournament.
The heart of the matter
Dani Alves remarked in a recent interview that although the presence of the mercurial Neymar would have further strengthened Brazil, his absence did not mean the Selecao are weak.
"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.
The 36-year-old Paris Saint-Germain wingback remarked that he wants to continue with the national side and play in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
"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.
The experienced former Barcelona star stressed on how he has reinvented himself, focusing more on his crosses and delivery than the blistering runs downs the flanks he was famous for in his youth.
"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 take on Venezuela next in their second Group match of the Copa America. Kickoff is set for Wednesday, 6:00 AM IST.