Santiago - Brazil captain Neymar was ruled out of the remainder of the Copa
America on Friday after being hit with a four-match ban for head butting a
Colombian player in a post-match brawl.
South American football's governing body CONMEBOL confirmed the
23-year-old's punishment after the striker's red card during a post-match scrap
following Brazil's 1-0 defeat to Colombia in Group C on Wednesday.
The surprisingly severe sanction means that Neymar, who was also fined $10 000,
will play no further part in the tournament, unless the Barcelona player lodges
a successful appeal.
Brazil, who face Venezuela in their final group match on Sunday, would have
a maximum of only four games left if they reached the final.
Neymar saw red after a combative game with Colombia that ended in a
tumultuous melee, with the Brazil star appearing to aim a head butt at
Colombian goal scorer Jeison Murillo.
Colombian player Carlos Bacca, who shoved Neymar following his butt on
Murillo, was suspended for two games, CONMEBOL confirmed.
If Neymar has played his last game of the Copa America it would mark a
sensational fall from grace for the young forward, who had been carrying his
nation's hopes as they chased a first Copa America crown since 2007.
There was already bad blood between Neymar and the Colombian team heading
into Wednesday's match.
The Brazilian suffered a fractured vertebra when Colombia's Juan Camilo
Zuniga collided with him in their World Cup quarter-final clash last July, an
injury that sidelined Neymar for the rest of the tournament.