The PSG man will miss out on Russia after picking up a knee injury last week - but he's not the first late casualty the Selecao have suffered
Dani Alves was dealt a crushing blow last week when a knee injury sustained during PSG’s Coupe de France victory proved worse than anyone had first feared.
Initial reports suggested he’d return in three weeks, more than enough time to make Brazil’s pre-world Cup Brasil Global Tour fixtures against Liverpool and Austria next month – but it wasn’t to be.
On Friday, CBF doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed that Dani Alves was facing six months on the sidelines. His World Cup was over before it had even begun. And at 35-years-old, it appears that one of the most decorated players in football history will have to go without a world title with his country.
Dani Alves was set to captain the Selecao in Russia. Seen by coach Tite as vital to the squad both and off the pitch, his injury comes as a huge blow for the coach, who will announce this World Cup squad on Monday. Right-back was the one position where Brazil currently have no tried, tested and trusted replacement.
But this is far from the first time Brazil have had to deal with a high profile withdrawal from the squad prior to a major tournament.
In 1974, Clodoaldo saw his dream of retaining the World Cup with Brazil end on the eve of the tournament after suffering a muscular injury. He even travelled with the team to West Gemany but did not recover in time to make it onto the field.
But 1982 saw perhaps the biggest loss a Brazil team had to endure ahead of a World Cup, when the great Careca suffered an injury to his left thigh in a training session. Coach Tele Santana also lost Reinaldo before the tournament, leaving Serginho to lead the line with Roberto Dinamite as his reserve.
Four years later, Brazil had two casualties in defender Mozer and midfielder Toninho Cerezo. They were replaced by Mauro Galvao and Valdo respectively, but the Selecao would fall to France in the quarter-finals on penalties. USA ’94, meanwhile, saw Ricardo Gomes take part in the pre-tournament warm-ups before he was forced to pull out – he would be replaced by Ronaldao as the Selecao went on to claim their fourth world title.
One of the most memorable cuts, of course, was Romario, one of the great strikers in Brazilian football’s decorated history. A calf injury plagued him ahead of World Cup 1998 in France, leading him the former World Player of the Year in floods of tears as he confirmed the news to the press. He insisted he could recover during the competition, but coach Mario Zagallo elected not to take the risk.
Curiously, Romario was replaced by midfielder Emerson, who would suffer injury heartache of his own four years later, in particularly bizarre circumstances.
Emerson was set to captain the Selecao in 2002 but, on the eve of the tournament during a training session in South Korea, the Roma man suffered a shoulder injury after electing to play as a goalkeeper for a bit of fun.
Edmilson did make that World Cup as Brazil lifted their fifth World Cup title, but he would feel the pain in 2006 when a late knee injury saw him replaced by Mineiro.
This year it appeared Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis would be the big casualty, after suffering a leg break in March. However, he made a miraculous recovery and returned to the field just seven weeks later. It would have been a cruel blow for the left-back, who had already been forced to miss the 2010 World Cup with a serious injury.