PSG’s Neymar could return to Brazil for injury recovery

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has said he is open to Neymar travelling home to Brazil to recover from his latest injury.

Neymar hurt his left adductor during PSG’s 1-0 victory over Caen on Wednesday and is expected to be out of action for up to four weeks.

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Pochettino believes “a change of scenery” could speed up Neymar’s recuperation and see him back on the pitch in time for the Champions League round-of-16 return leg with Barcelona in Paris on March 10.

“I don’t know if Neymar will request to go to Brazil during his recovery process, but it will depend on the medical report,” Pochettino said. “Concessions given to players to have a change of scenery at times are necessary and allow them to recover faster.

“There is always hope that the recovery process will be favourable. I hope he will be in the return leg. Neymar’s commitment and motivation is huge.”

The former Barca star, who has preferred to be in Brazil in the past when injured, was looking forward to returning to the Camp Nou on Tuesday for the Champions League first leg.

“He was especially excited to play against Barca,” Pochettino said. “It’s a pity. He’s very sad. Neymar was made for games like this and that is why he is so affected. To lose Neymar and [Angel Di Maria, who is also injured] is an important setback, but we must adapt. I’m optimistic by nature and this is a challenge for the team.”

On Thursday, Neymar questioned his own style of play, and the criticism he receives, while wondering how much longer he can continue enjoying the game.

Meanwhile, his father, Neymar Sr., has hit out at Caen coach Pascal Dupraz for saying that “he left the crying for Neymar” when asked about his team not being awarded a penalty against PSG.

Neymar Sr. responded to Dupraz and wrote on social media: “REALLY MY SON HAS TO CRY, BUT NOT FOR WHAT YOU IMAGINE MR…In my opinion, he has to cry because there are coaches like you, referees of that level, negligent and silent leagues, journalists in the large minority biased and cowards in sport. Yes, he has to cry …But my crying and his, my son’s, the athlete, the magic of football, will last another night and after that he will rise again, as always, to beat them.”

While Dupraz regrets Neymar got injured, he stands by the comments he made as “football is a contact sport.”

“It wasn’t Caen that injured Neymar,” he said. “He limped out, injured himself. I do not dispute the fact that he is injured, that it is detrimental to him, his team and all of us, supporters of French football.”

Dupraz also added that it is Neymar’s provocative style of play that leads to him receiving more fouls.

“He complains of taking kicks while he controls the ball on his feet because he is an artist,” he said. “He is clever, he adds more, he provokes…. what bothers me is that he is in the provocation and the invective.

“That’s all, it’s just what bothers me. I am an educator, responsible and mature, I coach young players. They must learn to be respected.”

Dupraz has advised Neymar to follow the example of France legend Michel Platini and the late Johan Cruyff, who he describes as “artists, who had character but didn’t add it on [to their play].”

Pochettino disagrees with that notion and said: “Neymar enjoys having the ball on his feet. That is how he plays and it’s not a provocation. He loves football.

“Because of his play, many times Neymar gets more tackles than others, perhaps referees should apply common sense and protect him a lot more.”

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