DOHA, Qatar - Brazil have suffered two more injury setbacks ahead of the World Cup round-of-16 clash against South Korea with both Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles ruled out of the rest of the tournament, the country's football association said Saturday.
Jesus and Telles both picked up knocks in Brazil's 1-0 defeat to Cameroon on Friday. Telles was substituted in the 54th minute with Jesus leaving the pitch 10 minutes later.
"Players Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus underwent tests Saturday morning accompanied by team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar and a MRI on their right knees confirmed the extent of the injuries and the impossibility of recovery in time to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," the CBF said in a statement.
The news will come as a huge blow for both, but also for their club sides. Jesus' Arsenal are top of the Premier League and will want their star striker fit for when the competition resumes after the World Cup. Telles is on loan at Sevilla from Manchester United.
Sources told ESPN Gabriel Jesus will stay with Brazil in Qatar but Arsenal are in contact and expect updates on his condition to be communicated in due course.
Meanwhile, Brazil continue to monitor the fitness of Neymar, who suffered an ankle injury in the win against Serbia, but sources told ESPN the World Cup favourites are confident Danilo will be fit to face South Korea on Monday with Alex Sandro also expected to recover in time.
On Saturday, Neymar returned to training on the pitch for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia, warming up with his teammates and participating in drills before doing specific recovery work accompanied by strength coach Ricardo Rosa.
Neymar posted an Instagram message later on Saturday, saying "Verified I feel good, I knew that I would now ✋🏽😜🤚🏽" and also posted "Strength and Faith" messages of encouragement for Gabriel Jesus and Telles in his Instagram Stories.
If neither Neymar nor Danilo can play, centre back Marquinhos could switch to the left and 39-year-old Dani Alves, who became the oldest Brazilian to start a World Cup match against Cameroon, could be tried out on the right. If Tite opts to use Real Madrid centre back Eder Militao as a full-back, as he did in the absence of Danilo against Switzerland, Brazil would have no other defenders to sit on the bench.
Dani Alves said Friday's defeat should come as a wake-up call for Brazil.
"It's a warning signal," he said. "There is no weak rival. Here is the lesson, we need to stay switched on throughout the game. One detail and it's over.
"We end today with the feeling that a beautiful day slipped through the hands of us players who weren't playing much."