Neymar is a doubt for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League tie against Manchester United after suffering a recurrence of a metatarsal injury in his right foot during a 2-0 victory over Racing Strasbourg in the French Cup on Wednesday.
The Brazil striker left the pitch after an hour after Strasbourg’s midfielder Moataz Zemzemi attempted to tackle him three times before the referee, Johan Hamel, awarded a free-kick. He was taken to hospital for precautionary tests, with manager Thomas Tuchel admitting he is worried about the forward’s condition and blaming the referee for not blowing for a foul sooner.
PSG issued a statement on Thursday morning, confirming the Brazilian had injured the fifth metatarsal on his right foot. The injury appears to be similar to the one he sustained against Marseille in February 2018, which kept him out of their final 15 games of the season, including the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid in which they were eliminated 5-2 on aggregate. Neymar did not return to action until playing for Brazil against Austria in a World Cup warm-up match in June.
The statement read: “Initial examinations have revealed a painful recurrence of his injury to the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. The treatment of this injury will depend on how it evolves over the next few days. All options can be envisaged at this time.”
“Neymar is worried, because it’s the same foot, the right foot, in the same area,” Tuchel had said after the win over Strasbourg. “I need to wait for the doctor to give me news about Ney. It’s always complicated [with these kind of injuries]. The referee did not whistle after one tackle, then a second, then a third. After that, he has twisted his foot.”
PSG travel to Old Trafford to face United for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on 12 February and are already sweating on the fitness of the key midfielder Marco Verratti, who is suffering from an ankle injury. The tie’s second leg is on 6 March, giving Neymar six weeks to recover.
Tuchel’s side prevailed at the Parc des Princes thanks to a goal in each half from Edinson Cavani and Ángel Di María, although Strasbourg midfielder Anthony Gonçalves expressed no sympathy for Neymar and even suggested the injury was a direct result of how he plays.
“It’s his style, but if you play like that don’t complain if you take some knocks after,” Gonçalves said. “He’s a great player, and I respect the player he is, but we’re not here so he has fun at our expense. If he wants to have fun, we’ll respond with the weapons we have. We have a jersey to defend. We’re not here for a laugh.”
Elsewhere, Barcelona slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final. Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder scored second-half goals to give Pablo Machín’s side the advantage. The second leg will be next week in Barcelona, when the hosts are expected to have Lionel Messi and the other regular starters who were rested in Seville.
Ben Yedder celebrated his goal by showing support to Argentinian player Emiliano Sala, who is missing after officials lost contact with the small passenger plane in which he was flying two days ago. Ben Yedder showed a shirt with a phrase in Spanish saying: “To my brother. Stay strong. E. Sala.”