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Neymar out for ‘six to eight weeks’

PSG played the last 10 minutes a man down as they had made all their permitted changes before Neymar went off

PARIS, France, Feb 28 – Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of getting Neymar back for their crunch Champions League clash against Real Madrid next week look to be over after the Brazilian’s father claimed the player would be out for “at least six weeks”.

Speaking to ESPN in Brazil on Tuesday, Neymar Senior said: “PSG know that they will not be able to count on Neymar for the upcoming matches: his treatment will last six to eight weeks, whether there is an operation or not.”

That was after PSG coach Unai Emery claimed earlier that “no decision” had been taken on whether Neymar would require surgery and that there remained a “small chance” of getting the world’s most expensive player back in time to face Real next Tuesday, March 6.

Tests confirmed that Neymar suffered a hairline fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot as well as a twisted ankle late in PSG’s 3-0 win over Marseille in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

He appeared to be in tears as he was stretchered off the field at the Parc des Princes, immediately raising fears that the 26-year-old could miss the Champions League last 16, second leg against Madrid.

PSG lost 3-1 in the first leg in Spain two weeks ago and are in danger of being knocked out of the competition in the last 16 for the second season running.

Brazilian newspaper Globo Esporte had claimed Neymar would undergo surgery, and that the former Barcelona player would be sidelined until May.

If his father’s estimate is correct, Neymar would not return before the semi-final stage of the Champions League in late April.

On the possibility of rushing Neymar back for the Real second leg, experts say that PSG would be taking a huge risk, possibly even jeopardising Neymar’s participation at the World Cup in Russia in June and July.

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“It would be very risky as it’s a fragile bone in the foot which is difficult to protect,” Jean-Marcel Ferret, a former doctor with the French national team, told AFP.

“(Playing against Real) could compromise the rest of his season.”

In the meantime, PSG are preparing to do without Neymar for Wednesday’s French Cup quarter-final at home to Marseille, the second meeting of the clubs in four days.

Argentine star Angel di Maria should replace the Brazilian at the Parc des Princes, with PSG hoping to stay on course to win the French Cup for the fourth season running.

Neymar has scored 28 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for PSG since his 222 million-euro ($264 million) move from Barcelona last August.

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