Chelsea’s Willian has been called in as the official replacement for the injured Neymar at the Copa America, but who can actually fill up for the Brazilian superstar’s influence on the pitch?
5. Vinicius Jr.
The ‘Junior’ appended to the end of their respective names isn’t the only similarity between the two stalwarts, with their journey from Brazilian super-clubs to the two Spanish giants also drawing comparisons.
It doesn’t end there – Vinicius’s running with the ball is as similar to Neymar’s as someone’s can ever be and if there is a youngster in world football who can step into his shoes, it’s none other than the Real Madrid man.
Overlooked due to his relative inexperience as well as recent injury, there is no doubt Vinicius’ time will come sooner or later.
4. Everton Soares
Gremio forward Everton Soares opened his international account for Brazil in their 3-0 victory over Bolivia with a screamer and has already set tongues wagging with many comparing him to former captain Neymar.
Not one to shy away, the striker has declared he would ‘fit in well’ at European clubs, singling out Manchester United in particular.
To earn a move however, he must first successfully fill in Neymar’s void – that too by continuing to make telling contributions from the bench, considering how his chances of being awarded a starting spot are relatively slim.
3. David Neres
The Ajax hitman is coming off the back of a stunning season in the Eredivisie and has been Tite’s first choice in Brazil’s first two games.
Despite failing to make the Champions League finals after an unbelievable collapse in the semis, Ajax went on to claim the domestic crown and Neres must now channel the experience to lift his game on the international stage.
There can be no better way to repay the coach’s trust than to perform and if Neres is to ever become the talisman for his side on the international stage, the moment is now.
Everton’s go-to man has slowly but steadily worked his way into the Brazilian team and like for his club side, he is also indispensable for his national team.
Richarlison’s goal threat and unique play-style make him a player whose ilk Brazil do not possess at the moment and like Neres, he has started the opening two games.
He is a mere 22 years of age and it was a similar moment in the 2014 World Cup when Neymar too – the the age of 22, first came to the fore as the Selecao’s main man, before an injury ended his and his country’s World Cup dream.
If Richarlison wants to emulate his former captain, the stage, as well as the age, is perfect.
1. Gabriel Jesus
Goals win games and in terms of goals, there is no one better placed to match Neymar than Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City man has the highest number of goals for Brazil amongst players in the list bar none and is also one of Tite’s trusted comrades.
He started all of Brazil’s games at last year’s World Cup and even though he is yet to start one in this tournament – it’s him that the gaffer turns to first whenever in need of assistance from the bench.
Such is the player’s nonchalance and self-assurance that it wouldn’t be far from the truth to state how Neymar’s own pick for a replacement, if asked for one, would zero in on Jesus.