Gabriel Jesus will miss the rest of Brazil’s World Cup campaign with a knee injury and is a doubt for the Premier League restart with Arsenal later this month.
The striker picked up the injury during Friday’s 1-0 defeat against Cameroon and came off in the 64th minute.
Left-back Alex Telles, who also limped off injured in Brazil’s final Group G match with a right knee problem, has also been ruled out of the tournament because of injury.
A statement from the Brazilian FA read: “As announced by the Brazilian FA after the game against Cameroon, players Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus underwent tests on Saturday morning. Accompanied by the Brazilian National Team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, they underwent an MRI on the right knee that confirmed the injuries and the impossibility of recovery in time to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“The coordinator of the Brazilian National Team, Juninho Paulista, is in contact with the sports directors of Arsenal and Sevilla to define whether Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus remain with the squad in Doha to continue the treatment or return to their clubs.”
Brazil are already sweating over the fitness of Neymar, who has missed their last two matches with an ankle problem.
The news is a problem for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who restart their Premier League campaign on Boxing Day when they host West Ham.
Jesus is the second Arsenal player to prematurely leave his World Cup squad, as defender Ben White left England’s group in Qatar due to “personal reasons”.
The impact of Jesus at Arsenal following his £45m move from Manchester City has been clear to see both on and off the pitch.
Many in the Arsenal squad have spoken about how the Brazilian striker and Zinchenko have brought a “winning mentality” from City over the summer – while Jesus, as a centre forward, has been the Gunners’ player for the big moment with five goals and six assists in his opening 14 games.
But if Jesus was to start missing games for Arsenal then it would fall on Eddie Nketiah to take up the mantle up front. With five goals in seven league games at the end of last season, the 23-year-old showed that he can start regularly for the Gunners – but he has struggled to challenge Jesus for a starting spot since the summer.
Nketiah has managed three goals in seven non-Premier League games so he hasn’t lost his sharpness, but he is yet to find the net in 12 Premier League games from the bench.
While an impressive Saturday Night Football cameo against Fulham in August – where he played alongside Jesus in a front two – demonstrated the English striker’s the ability to impact games, the No 9 position is another area where Arsenal cannot afford to lose their top talent.