Neymar Suffers ACL Injury Amid Ronaldo and Messi’s Success

Brazilian Star Neymar Suffers Devastating Injury: A Setback for the Rising Footballer

October 17, 2023 | Photo Credit: Reuters

It was a heart-wrenching sight on the football field as Neymar, the Brazilian prodigy, left the pitch in tears yet again. This time, the culprit was a torn ACL and meniscus, a severe blow that has left fans and supporters devastated. In stark contrast, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are enjoying success and smiles in their respective ventures at Inter Miami and with Portugal.

The injury occurred during Brazil’s World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay on Tuesday, when Neymar damaged his left knee in the first half, contributing to Brazil’s disappointing 2-0 loss. On Wednesday, his Saudi club, Al Hilal, confirmed the extent of the injury and announced that Neymar would undergo surgery.

This incident is not the first time Neymar has experienced such a setback. In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a vicious knee to the back from Colombia’s Juan Zuniga resulted in a fractured vertebra that forced Neymar to sit out for the remainder of the tournament. Last year, during the Qatar World Cup, Neymar worried about an ankle injury potentially cutting short his performance. However, it was a loss to Croatia in the quarterfinals that prematurely ended his aspirations of winning football’s most prestigious trophy.

While Ronaldo and Messi engaged in a personal rivalry for the coveted Ballon d’Or award during their peak years in elite European football, both players have since departed from that stage. Neymar, at just 31 years old, has also opted to leave the shadows of these two legendary athletes and make his mark in the Saudi league.

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Despite being part of the legendary forward line at Barcelona alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, which led the team to a Champions League victory in 2015, Neymar was never truly the leading figure. Even his record-breaking €222 million ($270 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 failed to provide him with the platform to surpass the prominence of Ronaldo and Messi, as he was unable to lead PSG to a Champions League title. Instead, it was his teammate Kylian Mbappe who emerged as soccer’s most likely next icon.

August saw Neymar’s transfer to Saudi Arabia as the oil-rich country sought to attract top football talent and establish itself as a major force in the sport. Ronaldo had paved the way with his move to Al-Nassr in December, followed by other Champions League winners such as Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, and N’Golo Kante. However, Neymar’s signing was undoubtedly the biggest coup for Saudi Arabia after narrowly missing out on acquiring Messi and Mbappe.

In a different direction, Messi chose to switch to Major League Soccer (MLS) and embraced life in the United States with Inter Miami. The Argentine icon, having achieved his career-long dream of winning the World Cup last year, seems to be thriving in Florida. He quickly led Inter Miami to victory in the Leagues Cup, and his impressive performances have attracted superstar fans such as LeBron James and Selena Gomez.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, left behind the difficulties he faced at Manchester United last year, which ultimately led to the termination of his contract in November. His World Cup journey was disappointing, with Portugal dropping him to the bench and exiting the tournament in the quarterfinals. While uncertainties surrounded the direction of his career, Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr in one of football’s most surprising transfers was unquestionably lucrative, earning him a deal reportedly worth up to $200 million per year.

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Although Ronaldo’s prime years may be behind him, he continues to deliver on the field, leading Portugal to the upcoming European Championship with an impressive tally of nine goals in qualifying matches. He has also been instrumental in keeping Al-Nassr in contention near the top of the Saudi league.

Meanwhile, Neymar’s team, Al Hilal, currently leads the Saudi league standings. However, since his high-profile move worth a reported €90 million ($98 million), Neymar has yet to make a significant impact on the pitch. Injuries have limited him to just three appearances in the league and two in the Asian Champions League, resulting in a single goal. This is far from the desired impact that both Neymar and Al Hilal had envisioned for his arrival. Despite recently breaking Pele’s Brazil scoring record, Neymar’s star still appears to be overshadowed by the towering figures of Ronaldo and Messi.

As Neymar embarks on the road to recovery, fans can only hope for a swift return to the pitch and a resurgence of his talents, enabling him to establish himself as one of football’s true icons.

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