Neymar keen to work with Guardiola

Neymar at a training session in London on Monday. The Brazil star, who suffered a broken metatarsal in February, says he is working on unimpeded movements and that he will be ready for his country's World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.
Neymar at a training session in London on Monday. The Brazil star, who suffered a broken metatarsal in February, says he is working on unimpeded movements and that he will be ready for his country's World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Brazil star Neymar has revealed that he has to overcome a psychological barrier ahead of the World Cup after suffering a broken metatarsal playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February .

"Physically I am well, my foot is fine," the 26-year-old told journalists at Brazil's football confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro before leaving for London.

"(I'm) not 100 per cent yet. But that comes with time. It is normal that I have this fear of making complete movements. Let's take it easy, there are still many days until the opener and I will be 100 per cent then."

The five-time world champions begin their Group E campaign against Switzerland on June 17.

Prior to training with his Brazil team-mates at the Tottenham Hotspur training centre on Monday, Neymar had opened the door to a possible transfer to Manchester City by claiming that he would love to play for Pep Guardiola.

Neymar's future at PSG is in doubt even though he joined the French club less than a year ago from Barcelona.

Neymar is being courted by Real Madrid amid claims he has not settled in Paris, but the Brazil international says he wants to work under Guardiola, the City manager.

"I've always wanted to work with Guardiola," Neymar told ESPN Brasil. "He's different. I arrived in Barcelona a year after he left. I really want to work with him."

Guardiola quit Barcelona in 2012 after leading the club to 14 trophies over four seasons.

The City boss, who last month signed a two-year extension to commit to the club until 2021, is determined to strengthen his front line this summer, with Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City thought to be his top target.

According to The Daily Mail, the Algerian is set to move to the Etihad Stadium by the end of the week in a deal worth £75 million (S$133.8 million).

But Neymar's comments could spark interest in the former Barcelona forward, although PSG would want a transfer fee in excess of the €222 million (S$345 million) they paid for him last August.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline 'Neymar keen to work with Guardiola'. Print Edition | Subscribe