Possible Neymar return date revealed as PSG prepare to face Messi and Barcelona
The return of Neymar will be on the agenda at PSG again after the Brazilian was taken off against Caen, having suffered an injury which looks likely to keep him out for the best part of 4 weeks.
This means that he is in line to miss both legs against Barcelona in the Champions League last-16 round, a big blow for a side which has plenty of controversial history with the Blaugrana.
Neymar forfait pour BARÇA – PSG !
Indisponibilité prevue : 4 semaines. @telefoot_TF1
— Julien Maynard (@JulienMaynard) February 11, 2021
Supposedly, Neymar pushed to start against Caen, a decision that he was left to rue.
“For a while, I will once again have to stop doing the thing I most love in life, which is playing football,” the attacker said. “I dribble and I get hit constantly. It makes me very sad. It makes me very sad to have to listen to a player, a coach, a commentator or whoever the hell it is say ‘they have to kick him’, ‘he dives’, ‘cry-baby’ ‘spoilt kid’, etc.
“It saddens me and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I just want to be happy playing football. NOTHING ELSE.”
The French media has been speculating as to who will start in Neymar’s place, with the trident looking set to be made up of a combination of Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and one of Pablo Sarabia and Moise Kean. The Italian has performed well since joining the French champions on loan from Everton during the summer.
Sans Neymar et Di Maria, voici la composition que pourrait aligner le PSG face au Barça mardi pic.twitter.com/uTyIqqOlFy
— Téléfoot (@telefoot_TF1) February 14, 2021
Pochettino hits back at Barca
The constant stream of back and forths between PSG and Barcelona over Lionel Messi’s contract situation continued this week. The latest instalment saw PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino hit out at Barca’s claims of disrespect from the French club’s camp:
“I understand that you should talk as little as possible about a player who is not in your team but that is not only applicable for PSG, but for all teams to carry out their transfer strategies and for are players who are ending their contract. From Paris, no one has been disrespected,” he said.
“For a player to express a desire that he would like to play in the same team with another player, it seems to me to be valid. Many Barça players expressed their desire for Neymar to return.
🔺Pochettino en @ElTransistorOC sobre los mensajes a Messi: “Desde París no se ha faltado el respeto a nadie”
— Radioestadio (@Radioestadio) February 12, 2021
“I have been watching all the teams for more than a year, so yes, I have studied Barça. Messi is a machine, a competitive animal.”
With less than 6 months remaining on his deal, Messi could still end up staying at Barca, moving to PSG, or even heading somewhere completely unspoken of. Only time will tell.