Football: Neymar's father and PSG boss on collision course over star's recovery period

PARIS • Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar's father are on a collision course after the latter told ESPN Brazil that the forward would be out for "at least six weeks", in direct contradiction to club manager Unai Emery's comments on Tuesday.

The Spaniard had insisted the Brazilian had a "small chance" to face Real Madrid in the return leg of PSG's Champions League last-16 tie at home next Tuesday with the French Ligue 1 leaders trailing 1-3.

But Neymar Sr, who also acts as his agent, has poured cold water on the claims, and all but ruled him out with PSG desperate for a maiden Champions League triumph.

"PSG know that they will not be able to count on Neymar for the upcoming matches: his treatment will last six to eight weeks, whether there is an operation or not," he said.

Tests confirmed that Neymar suffered a hairline fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot as well as a twisted ankle late in PSG's 3-0 win over Marseille in their French league game last Sunday.

He was in tears after being stretchered off the field at the Parc des Princes, and his absence is a hammer blow for PSG, who are in danger of being knocked out of the competition in the round of 16 for the second season running.

Brazilian newspaper Globo Esporte had claimed Neymar would undergo surgery, and that he would be sidelined until May.

And his injury has alarmed the Brazil national team, so much so that Selecao national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar travelled to France on Tuesday to assess his foot injury and decide whether surgery would be the best option in conjunction with the PSG doctor.

He denied media reports claiming that the 26-year-old is seeking surgery to avoid complications ahead of the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.

"There has been no decision about the treatment," Lasmar told Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

"That will be taken on Wednesday after I meet the PSG doctor."

Brazil's national team coordinator Edu Gaspar also said PSG have the final say over how to treat Neymar's injury.

"Dr Lasmar will go there to assess what PSG are doing but PSG are responsible for him. All we can do is accompany (them during the) process," he said.

Earlier, Emery had described speculation that Neymar would undergo surgery as "false".

Neymar has scored 28 goals and provided 16 assists across all competitions since arriving in the French capital from Barcelona for a world-record fee of €222 million (S$361 million) last August.

  • Some famous victims

  • DAVID BECKHAM

    The former England midfielder broke his second metatarsal while playing for Manchester United in the Champions League against Deportivo La Coruna in April 2002. The captain recovered in time to make the World Cup squad that summer but was a shadow of his former self.

     • Recovery time: Seven weeks

    WAYNE ROONEY

    The Everton striker has twice fractured his fourth metatarsal, once while playing for England at Euro 2004 against Portugal, and the other time in Manchester United's loss at Chelsea in April 2006.

     • Recovery time: Six weeks

    GABRIEL JESUS

    The Brazilian forward suffered a broken fifth metatarsal against Bournemouth last February, slightly a month after joining Manchester City in a £27 million (S$49.7 million) move from Palmeiras.

     • Recovery time: 10 weeks

His injury prompted Brazil coach Tite to postpone the naming of the Selecao squad for upcoming friendlies against Russia and Germany from tomorrow to March 12, according to the Brazilian Football Confederation.

On the possibility of rushing Neymar back for the Real second leg, experts say that PSG would be taking a huge risk, possibly even jeopardising his World Cup participation.

"It would be very risky as it's a fragile bone in the foot which is difficult to protect," Jean-Marcel Ferret, a former doctor with the French national team, told AFP.

"(Playing against Real) could compromise the rest of his season."

Real coach Zinedine Zidane declined to be drawn on how Neymar's injury would affect the Parc des Princes tie.

"I don't know what will happen. We have to wait and see," he said after their 0-1 LaLiga loss to Espanyol on Tuesday.

"We know that he's picked up an injury and we do not know if he will be ready for the match against us or not."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'PSG boss, Neymar's father in spat over recovery period'. Print Edition | Subscribe