PSG have confirmed Neymar has injured the same metatarsal in his right foot that led to him nearly missing the World Cup last summer, making him a major doubt for next month’s Champions League clash with Manchester United.
The world’s most expensive player hobbled off after an hour in the French Cup win over Strasbourg, leaving manager Thomas Tuchel furious with the referee for not protecting his player. Neymar’s injury though was rather innocuous as he went down without being touched.
However, Strasbourg manager Thierry Laurey and two of his players have criticisied Neymar’s showboating by deeming it disrespectful to them on the pitch before claiming that his style of play can lead to him being on the end of some heavy treatment.
Neymar receives medical attention after seeming to have pain in his right leg on Wednesday
The Brazilian heavily limped off the field during PSG’s French Cup match with Strasbourg
Neymar injured his metatarsal when he went down in the second half at the Parc des Princes
The incident that caused the injury saw Neymar go down without being challenged but the forward had been on the end of rough treatment throughout the match on Wednesday.
Strasbourg midfielder Anthony Goncalves, who left a mark on Neymar with a brash challenge of his own, expressed no sympathy and even suggested it was a response to Neymar’s showboating towards his team.
‘It’s his style. But if you play like that don’t complain if you take some knocks after,’ Goncalves told Eurosport. ‘He’s a great player, and I respect the player he is, but we’re not here so he has fun at our expense. We’re not here to make him look good.’
Tuchel now faces an anxious wait as the extent of Neymar’s injury is determined. A PSG statement in the early hours of Thursday said that Neymar’s treatment will depend on how his foot heals in the coming days.
PSG travels to play Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on February 12 and are already sweating on the fitness of key midfielder Marco Verratti after he sprained his ankle last weekend.
The 26-year-old appeared to leave the field in tears after suffering a heavy injury
‘Neymar is worried, because it’s the same foot, the right foot, in the same area,’ Tuchel said. ‘There’s no news for the moment, he’s gone to hospital. I need to wait for the doctor to give me news about Ney.’
‘The referee didn’t whistle on one occasion, then two, then three and after that he ended up twisting his foot,’ Tuchel said.
Television images showed Neymar rolling off his sock and pointing to the side of his right foot, which he also fractured nearly exactly one year ago while playing in the French league against Marseille.
The Brazil forward had just received the ball on the left when he raised his hand to seemingly signal to Tuchel he was in pain, and looked to be in tears as he left the field at the Parc des Princes.
Neymar is tackled by Strasbourg duo Dimitri Lienard (centre) and Nuno Da Costa (right)
Neymar goes down under the challenge of Strasbourg’s Tunisian midfielder Moataz Zemzemi
That time he cracked the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, and he underwent surgery back home in Brazil. Although he recovered in time for the World Cup last summer, he was not at his best in Russia.
Goncalves suggested Neymar, who has a tendency to showboat and even toy with opposing players with his skillful trickery, lacks humility.
‘If he wants to have fun, we’ll respond with the weapons we have. We have a jersey to defend. We’re not here for a laugh,’ Goncalves said.
‘He can amuse himself, that’s his style and I think people come to watch that. But he shouldn’t come and moan about it afterward (and) he likes to do that. It’s part of his arsenal and we respond in our way.’
Neymar complains to referee Johan Hamel during the French Cup match on Wednesday
Laurey also said Neymar’s attitude is all wrong.
‘Sometimes when you’ve gone too far, you have to face up to it,’ Laurey said. ‘I can understand my players having enough of players who are looking to tease them, mock them. It’s right that after a while it also catches up with him.
‘I’m all for protecting players, but there are limits. When you make a pass that comes off your back, you’re mocking a bit.’
Strasbourg defender Pablo Martinez added: ‘Of course he’s a marvellous player, but because of his attitude he’s not someone I like on the pitch. Apart from teasing you, he talks to you badly.’
Edinson Cavani was on target for PSG as they ran out 2-0 winners against Strasbourg
Angel Di Maria sealed victory for PSG in the French Cup tie with an 80th minute strike
Neymar limped heavily as he walked to the dressing room, consoled by a PSG staff member, and looked upset as he wiped his face with his right arm.
Two months ago, Neymar was substituted with a groin injury during the first half of Brazil’s friendly against Cameroon on November 20.
Despite Neymar’s injury, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria were on target for the hosts to put them through into the last 16 of the French Cup.