Neymar is unlikely to play when Paris Saint-Germain travel to Manchester United in the Champions League next month, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.
The Ligue 1 champions announced that the world’s most expensive player had suffered a ‘painful recurrence’ of the injury he sustained to his right foot last season. The recent injury saw him limping out of this week’s 2-0 win over Strasbourg in the Coupe de France.
PSG returned to action in the absence of their star attacker on Sunday, swatting aside Rennes 4-1 as Edinson Cavani hit a brace.
As the match was being played, RMC Sport reported that Neymar would not be fit to play in the first leg of the last-16 tie at Old Trafford on February 12.
Speaking to Canal Plus afterwards, Tuchel acknowledged this was the most likely outcome.
‘It’s going to be super difficult,’ he said.
‘As I explained [on Saturday] it’s too early to talk about a return date. We have to wait for the first week, which is very important, and his reaction to treatment.
‘Only after that can we be more precise. But it’s going to be super difficult – that’s not a secret.’
While the likes of Cavani and his fellow weekend goal-scorers Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe can deputise for Neymar ably enough, Tuchel’s squad is not so amply stocked in central midfield.
Marco Verratti’s injury absence and Adrien Rabiot’s exile from first-team affairs left Brazilian defenders Marquinhos and Dani Alves to form a central two against Rennes.
It makes the long-mooted signing of Leandro Paredes from Zenit all the more pressing, although Tuchel made light of not getting the deal over the line this weekend as had been expected.
‘I’ve been expecting him already for a few days, but he isn’t here,’ he said.
‘I’ve been looking in the shower, in the dressing room, in the treatment room, with the goalkeepers… but he isn’t there.’
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