Neymar injury blow: PSG superstar in race against time for Bayern tie


Neymar Junior of Paris Saint Germain (C) lies injured during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille OSC at Parc des Princes on February 19, 2023 in Paris, France.

“Oh, not again!” Neymar must have cursed his luck from the depths of his heart when the Paris Saint-Germain superstar landed awkwardly on his ankle after being tackled by Lille defensive midfielder Benjamin Andre during their Ligue 1 clash on Sunday.

It is the same right ankle that has caused Neymar severe problems in recent years.

The world’s most expensive footballer has sustained ankle injuries in 2018, 2019 and 2021, forcing him to miss Champions League ties against Manchester United and Real Madrid. The Brazil striker also had similar ankle troubles at the World Cup in Qatar, which kept him sidelined for a couple of crucial games.

Like all PSG fans that are anxiously awaiting the prognosis, Neymar feared the worst. He was noticeably in excruciating pain from the moment that he hit the turf. He received lengthy medical treatment before being stretchered off, and was caught leaving the pitch in tears.

PSG revealed later that Neymar underwent an MRI scan after the Lille game and he seems to have avoided a career-ending fracture, but “a new ligament assessment will be carried out” in coming days.

The French giants did not offer details on how long Neymar would be out of consideration, but according to several French media outlets, he might be sidelined for at least a few weeks, which means he is in a race against time to be fit for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich on March 8.

PSG already face a stern test to reach the next round of the showpiece event after falling to a 1-0 home defeat to Bayern in the first leg. Before the do-or-die Champions League showdown, the French Ligue 1 leaders have to take on Marseille, who are five points behind in second, and host Nante the next weekend.

It would be a huge loss for PSG if Neymar, who has netted 18 goals this season so far, ends up missing all the extremely significant ties.

According to stats provider Opta, he has missed 172 days of action due to his ankle problems since joining PSG in 2017.

For all the gloom and doom, PSG coach Christophe Galtier remains defiant. “This is not bad luck,” he observed when asked about Neymar’s dismal injury record during a press briefing.

“There are always reasons for injuries – the schedule, the sequence of games. It is never random. He is being examined to know the severity of his sprain… Of course, it complicates things and that’s the way it is.

“We have to keep our heads down.”

PSG’s upcoming games

February 26: vs. Marseille

March 4: vs. Nantes

March 8: vs. Bayern Munich

March 12: vs. Brest

March 19: vs. Rennes

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