Neymar will play no further part in the Copa America after Brazil chose to accept the four-match suspension handed to its captain and star player following his red card in the group stage.
The Brazilian Football Confederation said Monday that a decision not to appeal against the sanction was taken after a meeting between Neymar and the coaching staff on Sunday — a day after national-team coach Dunga said that Brazil likely would make an appeal.
Neymar, one of the world’s best players, was sent off after kicking the ball toward Colombia’s Pablo Armero after the referee blew for fulltime in a Group C game on Wednesday, which Brazil lost 1-0. Neymar also appeared to head-butt another player who came to confront him. CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American football, said the referee’s report also showed he insulted the referee after the match and grabbed him by the arms.
Neymar will be leaving the squad in Chile on Monday.
“I waited for this moment with a lot of faith and hope for the possibility of playing with the Brazilian team in this Copa America. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible,” Neymar said on his Instagram account. “I know my presence in the group is important, just like every other player, who will need more than ever your thoughts for the games ahead of us.”
Neymar was Brazil’s best hope in the Copa America, just as he was at the World Cup last year before injuring his back — also against Colombia — in a quarterfinal match to end his tournament early.
Brazil was humiliated in a 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals before losing 3-0 to the Netherlands in the third-place match, and the Copa America offered a chance for the team to restore its reputation.
Neymar arrived in Chile having won the Champions League title with Barcelona. In Brazil’s first official competition since the World Cup, Neymar was praised for his dazzling performance in the opening 2-1 win against Peru, where he scored a goal and set up the last-minute winner.
But the 23-year-old forward failed to shine and appeared nervous from the start of the match against Colombia. He got into several clashes with rival players and constantly complained to Chilean referee Enrique Osses. After the game, Neymar said it was all caused by a “weak referee.”
Neymar watched from the stands as Brazil beat Venezuela 2-1 on Sunday in its final group game to reach the Copa America quarterfinals. Brazil will play Paraguay on Saturday.
“Regardless of where I go now, I will always support the team, and I’ll be rooting for the success of my teammates. But staying here, just training, would kill me inside, without any joy,” Neymar said.
“I ask for forgiveness from my teammates for getting myself into this situation, but I’m sure this will be another lesson in my career.”