Injury shatters Kaka's Copa America dream

LOS ANGELES • Brazil's Copa America injury crisis deepened on Wednesday after veteran striker Kaka withdrew from the squad with a hamstring injury - three days before the team's tournament opener against Ecuador.

The 34-year-old Orlando City attacking midfielder had been looking forward to competing in his first Copa America but saw his dream dashed after suffering an injury at Brazil's Los Angeles training base.

"Kaka has had discomfort in training and the MRI showed a small problem. Doctors indicate between 15 and 20 days of recovery," said Brazilian Football Confederation official Gilmar Rinaldi.

The former Fifa World Player of the Year will be replaced by Sao Paulo's Paulo Henrique Ganso.

Brazilian officials have already spoken to Sao Paulo to secure Ganso's participation and are awaiting formal clearance from the South American Football Confederation.

Kaka's withdrawal brings to five the number of Brazilian players who have dropped out from the squad through injury.

Kaka himself had been an injury replacement for Bayern Munich's Douglas Costa.

Other players ruled out through injury include Ricardo Oliveira Santos (replaced by Jonas), goalkeeper Ederson (Marcelo Grohe) and Barcelona midfielder Rafinha (Lucas Moura).

This year's special edition of the tournament kicks off today in Santa Clara when hosts United States face Colombia.

Brazil open their campaign against Ecuador at the Pasadena Rose Bowl tomorrow.

They will also face Peru and Haiti in the group stage of the tournament, which is being held in the US for the first time.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Injury shatters Kaka's Copa America dream'. Print Edition | Subscribe