Jesus calls on Brazil to step up in Neymar’s absence



The Selecao’s biggest star is stuck on the sidelines but the country’s other attacking options are confident of filling his void

Gabriel Jesus wants Brazil to again prove they can win without Neymar after it was confirmed their talisman would miss the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Venezuela.

Selecao No.10 Neymar is struggling with a groin strain, missing Paris Saint-Germain’s past three matches in all competitions – including a Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig.

Brazil are just as reliant on the 28-year-old as his club, with their remarkable semi-final collapse against Germany at a home World Cup in 2014 coming after he was injured in the last eight.

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But Tite’s men were also without Neymar for last year’s Copa America, a competition they won, and Jesus does not believe his side can go looking for excuses.

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“Obviously we talk about the importance of Neymar with his club and for our team, how much he has given and gives every day. I’m a big fan,” the Manchester City forward said. 

“But when it comes to the national team, everyone has to share the responsibility, it can’t just fall on him. Everyone is here for a reason.

“With Neymar, we were closer to victory, but the Selecao demonstrated that they can play without him. We always want him to be available, as he scores, assists. But if he can’t play, while we know his importance, we have to share the responsibility.

“Whoever is here has the quality to make the Selecao win.”

Jesus, who both scored and was sent off in the Copa America final, is determined to play his part, having missed the previous international break through injury.

“Even as a young man, I have a certain history here and I am happy to wear this shirt that I always dreamed of,” he said.

“And whenever there is a call-up, it is the same party as always; I look, I hear my name and I am moved. I always want to come and help, and this time I came with 100 per cent focus to be able to help.”

After hosting Venezuela on Friday, Brazil then travel to Uruguay for another World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. Tite’s side have won their past three matches and scored an impressive 12 goals in the process. 



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