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Neymar out until at least May 17, eyes ‘dream’ World Cup 

Brazilian superstar Neymar out of action until at least May 17 © AFP / Nelson ALMEIDA

SAO PAULO, Brazil, Apr 17 – Brazilian superstar Neymar said Tuesday that he won’t be back playing at least until the second half of May, when he is scheduled to have his final medical exam following foot surgery.

“There isn’t an exact date yet. I have the last exam, if I’m not mistaken, I’m not sure, on May 17,” the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward told a press conference in Sao Paulo.

“I’ll be cleared to play. Then I’ll see, it depends on how things develop, it depends on my next exams…. It has not been decided,” he said.

The timing leaves the world’s most expensive footballer in a tight race to feature again for PSG with the freshly crowned French champion’s season ending on May 19 with a game against Caen.

However, his prospects for starring in Brazil’s much fancied side at the World Cup in Russia, which runs from June 14 to July 15, look much better. Brazil open their campaign on June 17 against Switzerland in Rostov.

“I hope I won’t watch the World Cup on TV,” Neymar joked, calling the tournament a “dream”.

“I will have enough time to prepare,” he said at the press conference, where he walked with crutches and his foot immobilized in a medical boot. “It’s evolving well.”

With the enforced rest period Neymar added, “I will arrive better than I was before.”

Neymar, 26, broke a bone in his right foot on February 25 in a Ligue 1 game against Marseille, before returning to his home country for surgery and rehabilitation.

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Brazil’s national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar, performed surgery on March 3 and then estimated that Neymar would be out for “two-and-a-half to three months”.

In his absence, PSG were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in the last 16 in March.

Brazil will also face Costa Rica and Serbia in their group, as they target winning a sixth World Cup, four years after the nightmare of their 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals on home soil in 2014.

For now, Neymar said he spends much of his time playing poker, his “favorite pastime,” and “playing video games and going on the computer”.

Not that he enjoys the couch potato experience much.

“There are doubts, of course. I feel them too. But it’s normal for a guy who ended up injured. This was the first surgery in my career,” he said. “It’s really hard seeing my team score and becoming champions without me being with them.”

“Still, I am more rested,” he said. “We have to look on the bright side.”

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