Neymar ‘will come back stronger’ from ankle operation

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 19, 2023 Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian striker Neymar (C) stretches during the French L1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille LOSC at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

Neymar vowed to “come back stronger” after Paris Saint-Germain said on Monday the striker requires ankle surgery and will be sidelined for three to four months.

The Brazilian, who injured his ankle on February 19 against Ligue 1 side Lille, “has had several episodes of instability in his right ankle in recent years,” the club said, adding that his medical staff “recommended a ligament repair operation to avoid injury. higher risk of recurrence.

Neymar tweeted that he would not be discouraged by his latest injury.

“I will come back stronger,” he wrote with a praying hands emoji.

Qatar-owned PSG said Neymar would undergo surgery in Doha “in the next few days” and said it would take “three or four months before he can return to training with the team.”

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That would seem to end any chance of Neymar playing again this season, with the Ligue 1 season ending on June 3 and the Champions League final, should PSG get there, a week later in Istanbul.

PSG, still awaiting their first Champions League title, will try to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the first leg of the round of 16 against Bayern Munich in Germany on Wednesday.

Neymar, who has scored 18 goals in all competitions for his club this season, was in fine form for the French champions before the World Cup break.

But the 31-year-old has scored just three times in nine appearances since returning from Qatar, where he injured the same ankle while playing for Brazil.

He came off with a sprain in his country’s 2-0 win over Serbia in their opening game and did not play again in the group stage.

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The former Barcelona player returned in the round of 16, but Brazil lost to Croatia on penalties in the quarter-finals, despite Neymar putting them ahead in extra time in that match.

He has had injury problems in World Cups before.

In 2014 he suffered a fractured vertebra in the quarterfinal against Colombia and missed the semifinal, which Brazil lost 7-1.

Neymar’s fitness has been a regular concern for PSG since he signed from Barcelona for a world-record fee of 222 million euros ($264 million) in 2017.

He has scored 118 goals in 173 games for PSG, but has missed more than 100 games through injury or suspension. In Ligue 1, he has played just 49 per cent of PSG’s Ligue 1 games since his arrival (112 of 228).

In his first season at PSG, a metatarsal fracture ruled him out for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid, which he lost.

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He did not play for his club again that season and faced a race against time to be fit to play for Brazil in that year’s World Cup in Russia.

The following year, another metatarsal injury saw him miss the round of 16 tie against Manchester United, as PSG lost again in the first knockout round.

PSG will also be without Presnel Kimpembe against Bayern on Wednesday, and the France centre-back will miss the rest of the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

On Saturday, during the celebrations of Kylian Mbappé’s 201st goal for the club, Neymar jumped onto the pitch on crutches.

In his absence, Mbappé and Lionel Messi have eight goals and four assists between them in three games.

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