The big center back had not featured for Tite’s Brazil side at the tournament, and a knee ligament injury picked up in training last week was cause for concern.
Initially, Felipe was expected to be out for a couple weeks at most. But despite that initial rosy outlook, Marca says Brazil have found a replacement for him in the squad, and he will now head back to Spain to focus fully on his recovery.
There is no confirmation yet regarding the damage to the 32-year-old’s knee, but it now seems likely that he could be in a race against time to be fit for the start of the 2021/22 season in August. Atlético are yet to confirm the news either way, though an update could be made available within the next couple days as the player flies back to Madrid.
Felipe’s second season in Diego Simeone‘s team saw him received minutes mainly as a third-or fourth-choice central defender. Los Rojiblancos clinched their first league title since 2014 on the final day, with Felipe starting the finale at Real Valladolid for one of his 32 league appearances. He adjusted to Atlético’s tactical overhaul as the 2020/21 season wore on, and the club now will have to explore whether to comb the transfer market to replace him, promote a younger player, or stand pat for the time being.