Football: Sergio Aguero, Neymar hope to be ready for World Cup

English Premier League champions Manchester City on April 17 said Argentina striker Sergio Aguero will likely miss the rest of their term following knee surgery.
English Premier League champions Manchester City on April 17 said Argentina striker Sergio Aguero will likely miss the rest of their term following knee surgery.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON) - Two of South America's deadliest forwards are still expected to be fit for the World Cup despite a premature end to their respective domestic seasons.

English Premier League champions Manchester City on Tuesday (April 17) said Argentina striker Sergio Aguero will likely miss the rest of their term following knee surgery.

Aguero, who has not started a match since City's 1-0 league victory over Chelsea on March 4, injured the knee in training a month ago, and then aggravated the problem after a challenge by Ashley Young in the 2-3 loss to Manchester United on April 7.

He played the final 24 minutes against Liverpool in City's 2-1 Champions League quarter-final, second-leg defeat last Tuesday, but was in so much pain that he could barely walk afterwards so City sent him to see a specialist, who advised he undergo keyhole surgery .

Aguero is likely to miss City's final five games of the season, the last of which comes on May 13 away to Southampton.

Argentina's first World Cup group-stage game, against Iceland, does not take place until June 16, so Aguero remains confident he will have time to get back to his best for the tournament.

Earlier on Tuesday, Aguero tweeted: "Recovering from an arthroscopy on my knee. Fully motivated to get back soon to the field."

With the title wrapped up and City's Champions League campaign ended by Liverpool, the club should be able to cope without their all-time leading scorer, who has 199 goals for the club after scoring 30 in all competitions this season.

On Tuesday, injured Brazil striker Neymar has revealed May 17 as the date he has set for a return to training following foot surgery.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is currently recuperating in Sao Paulo after undergoing an operation on a fractured metatarsal suffered during a 3-0 French Ligue 1 win over Marseille on Feb 25.

The world's most expensive player at €222 million (S$359.9 million) expects to be training exactly a month before the five-time champions play their World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.

"I get my final exam, if I'm not mistaken, on May 17 and then I'll be free to play," he told reporters at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

"I had an exam last week, it is all perfect, evolving well, so I hope that continues so I can get back as soon as possible... I am having treatment every day, and from the moment I start training, I am going to work harder than I ever worked because this is a dream that's coming up, it's a World Cup.

"I've waited four years for this chance, it's close and I hope to get there in great shape."

Neymar, who has scored 28 goals in all competitions for the French champions this season, also admitted he was apprehensive about kicking a football again after almost three months out.

"Of course, doubts exist and I feel them too sometimes, but that's normal for a guy who has had the first surgery of his career. It's very difficult for me not playing and not training.

"I am more rested, that's the upside. We have to see the positive side of things."