RIO DE JANEIRO – Chelsea’s Willian will replace Neymar in Brazil’s Copa America squad, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Friday, after the world’s most expensive player was sidelined by injury.
Willian, 30, was a surprise choice as the country’s media had tipped Real Madrid youngster Vinicius Junior and Tottenham’s Lucas Moura as the front-runners to take the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s place.
“In accordance with competition rules, CBF sent Conmebol the medical reports of Neymar’s injury. After receiving permission, the player (Willian) was summoned,” the CBF said in a statement.
Willian, who has played for Chelsea since 2013, represented Brazil at the last two World Cups, and was a substitute in the Blues’ 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29.
He has made 65 appearances for the Selecao, with his last international match coming in November’s friendly victory over Cameroon.