Brazil Drops Antony from World Cup Qualifier
Brazil's forward Antony has been removed from the national squad set to compete in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru. This decision comes in the wake of assault allegations brought to light by Brazilian media outlet UOL, with Antony's ex-girlfriend, Gabriela Cavallin, accusing him of physical assault. Antony vehemently denies any wrongdoing.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced this decision, citing the need to investigate the allegations and safeguard both the alleged victim, the player himself, the Brazilian national team, and the CBF. In their statement, the CBF stated, "Due to the facts that became public on Monday involving Manchester United striker Antony that need to be investigated, and in order to protect the alleged victim, the player, the Brazilian national team and the CBF ... (Antony) is withdrawn from the (squad)."
Antony took to social media to refute the allegations, emphasizing his cooperation with the ongoing police investigation. He stated on Instagram, "Since the beginning I have treated this matter with seriousness and respect, providing the necessary clarifications before the police authority. I can confidently state that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and the others that will be produced demonstrate that I am innocent of the accusations made. I trust that the ongoing police investigations will demonstrate the truth about my innocence."
Authorities have confirmed the initiation of a police investigation into the matter. Manchester United, Antony's club at the time of the incident, has not provided an immediate comment.
In light of these developments, Brazil's coach, Fernando Diniz, has called up Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus to replace Antony in the national squad. Brazil's upcoming matches include hosting Bolivia and visiting Peru as they kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign.