Neymar ruled out of PSG-Barcelona Champions League clash with thigh problem

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Barcelona after failing to recover from a thigh problem in time.

Neymar, 29, has been sidelined since picking up the injury in the French Cup win over second division side Caen on Feb. 10.

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The Brazil international returned to light training a few days ago but PSG confirmed on Tuesday that this week’s second leg against Barca in the round-of-16 of the Champions League comes too soon.

Neymar, who joined PSG from Barca for a world record €222 million fee in 2017, also missed the first leg at Camp Nou, when Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as the French champions won 4-1.

“He’s very sad,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said when Neymar was denied the chance to play against his former side last month.

“He was really looking forward to going to Barcelona. He loves Barcelona. He’s a player who loves to play these games, he’s made for them.”

Sources have told ESPN that Pochettino considered adding him to the squad but didn’t want to take any risks and Neymar agreed with the decision.

Neymar has regularly suffered injuries at this stage of the season, missing Champions League eliminations against Real Madrid and Manchester United in 2018 and 2019 respectively with fitness issues.

However, he was fit for the latter stages of last year’s competition, helping PSG reach the final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

Information from ESPN’s Julien Laurens has been included in this report.

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