Paris Saint-Germain defeated Montpellier HSC 5-0 on February 1 but one of the biggest bits of news to come out of that result was the rib injury to Neymar Jr.
The injury wasn’t originally thought to be that devastating and it was thought that the Brazilian could play in the Ligue 1 match against Olympique Lyonnais on February 9. Not only did Neymar miss that game, but he also missed the following matches against Dijon FCO and Amiens SC.
Before each of these matches, manager Thomas Tuchel hid behind his medical staff and said that he was listening to them and that when Neymar is cleared he will play. Unsurprisingly, Neymar was cleared to play against Dortmund but not before.
The entire situation was to keep Neymar healthy enough to play against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, which PSG lost 2-1.
Neymar did score PSG’s only goal of the night but he was a step slow and didn’t have his usual impact. Some of that is a credit to Dortmund’s tactics of not allowing him any space to create, and according to Neymar, some of the blame is on PSG.
Speaking to RMC Sport (via Le Parisien), Neymar was obviously disappointed about the result and expressed his frustration at PSG’s decision to keep him from playing for more than two weeks leading up to the most important match of the season.
“It was difficult to stay four games without playing but unfortunately it was not my choice. It’s a choice of the club, the doctors. They made this decision and I did not like it.”
“We had a lot of discussions around this because I wanted to play. I felt good but the club was afraid. In the end, it is I who suffer from it.”
“I understand the fear that the club will suffer because in two years I found myself out of the knockout stages. I respect the decisions, but it can’t be like that, because the player ends up suffering.”
“It was very difficult to be able to play a match like this, intense, 90 minutes without stopping.”
“It’s different. If I was in better shape, I would certainly have made a better game.”
“We have 90 minutes to play a big game. I am sure that at home we will give 100 percent and I hope that we will qualify.”
Neymar’s words are damning but he’s correct. Tuchel found it important to play Marquinhos 45 minutes against Amiens last Saturday after being out for weeks due to a more severe injury but Neymar was unable? It doesn’t make sense.
From PSG’s point of view, I get why they were cautious with Neymar as an injury right before the match against Dortmund would have been catastrophic, however, the decision to not play him for 17 days and then throw him to the wolves against Dortmund is asking a lot, even for Neymar.
There are four matches between now and when PSG host Dortmund at the Parc des Princes on March 11. It will be very interesting to see how many games Neymar plays now that he’s made these comments.
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