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Neymar: Copa America 2024 absentee and Vinicius Jr receive NFL shirts

Neymar broke Pele's scoring record for Brazil at the 2022 World Cup

Brazil football player Neymar

Brazil forwards Neymar and Vinicius Jr had a consolation for their team dropping points at the Copa America 2024 after collecting Los Angeles Rams shirts on the SoFi Stadium pitch from NFL wide receiver Puka Nacua.

Selecao record scorer Neymar remains out with a knee injury he sustained while on international duty in October 2023 but was in California to support his country in their first game of the tournament.

Vinicius and his team-mates had a frustrating opener, dominating possession and having 19 of the 21 attempts at goal without finding a breakthrough.

Vinicius Jr: Copa America star receives Rams shirt

The Uefa Champions League winner with Real Madrid did, however, seem to enjoy himself when he met Nacua on the pitch, laughing and posing with a shirt.

Neymar, of Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal, was also filmed collecting a jersey from Nacua in a pair of encounters described by the Rams as “legendary link-ups”.

The 32-year-old posed with NBA star Jimmy Butler, of the Miami Heat, in the stands before the game at the 70,000-capacity setting.

Neymar Instagram message: ‘I trust the group’

Neymar was evidently less happy after Brazil drew for the third time in four matches as part of a run of two victories in nine matches.

“When we are on the pitch, we want to do our best,” Neymar told his millions of Instagram followers afterwards, offering perspective to concerned fans.

“There are days we don’t get anything right but there are days you get it right. Being a football player means being judged the whole time, with every pass, every kick, every choice… and why?


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A post shared by Neymar Jr (@neymarjr)

“Because all Brazilians wanted to be a player in the national team, everyone dreamed, and everyone tried. And that’s why those who are outside think they know more than what’s inside, and that’s normal.

“The game is over, we move on, let’s train and improve for the next game. I trust this group a lot and I know they will do their best for themselves, their family and all the fans.”

Nine-time champions Brazil are next in action when they play Paraguay in Nevada on Saturday.

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.