Copa America: Brazil not weaker without Neymar, says Dani Alves

Brazil is no weaker without star forward Neymar, according to team-mate and captain Dani Alves.

Neymar had been ruled out of Copa America due to an ankle injury. Photo: AP

Dani Alves believes Brazil is no weaker without Neymar as it chases success at the Copa America.

Neymar was ruled out of the tournament due to an ankle injury in what was a blow to the host, which got its campaign underway with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday. While Alves praised the Paris Saint-Germain star's quality, the Selecao captain feels Brazil is no weaker without the 27-year-old.

"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," he told a news conference on Sunday.

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"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. Our responsibility remains the same — we represent a history and we have to defend this history with great honour."

 

Only Cafu (142) and Roberto Carlos (125) have played more games for Brazil than Alves (110) and the PSG full-back, who is coming out of contract, has no plans to slow down. Alves said he was eyeing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but knows he must continue performing.

"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," he said.

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"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. 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 takes on Venezuela in Salvador on Tuesday in its second game in Group A.