Neymar denies injury fears

Brasilia, June 16 (IANS) Brazil striker Neymar has denied reports he is carrying an injury and declared himself certain to start in Brazil’s Confederations Cup Group A match against Mexico Wednesday.

The 21-year-old striker scored Brazil’s opening goal in their 3-0 victory over Japan Saturday but was replaced in the 74th minute by Paris Saint-German winger Lucas, reports Xinhua.

“I’m ok, I just took a knock and felt a bit of pain in my back,” the Barcelona star said.

During the week, Neymar refuted speculation he is suffering a knee problem but added that “no player is ever totally free of pain”.

His substitution at the Mane Garrincha Stadium raised eyebrows because he is rarely taken off by Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. However, he insisted he is certain to start against Mexico at Fortaleza’s Castelao Stadium.

“Don’t worry, you can be 100 percent certain,” Neymar said of his chances of playing.

The forward, who was signed by Barcelona for 57 million euros June 3, admitted he was relieved to have scored his first goal in nine matches at both club and international level.

“I’m very happy with the performance, not just for me but the team. I have always said that as a team we are going to be successful and that individual quality will be shown when the time is right,” Neymar said.

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