Neymar to undergo surgery, set to miss three months
Brazilian superstar Neymar flew into Rio de Janeiro last night ahead of an operation on his fractured foot that will rule him out for up to three months, casting a long shadow over Paris Saint-Germain's season and Brazil's World Cup preparations.
The world's most expensive player, 26, arrived on an Air France flight from Paris and left in a wheelchair, a photo taken by one of his fellow passengers showed.
Dressed in a black hoodie, a black baseball cap and wearing sunglasses, the PSG star smiled and took selfies with passengers, before leaving on a private jet to an undisclosed destination.
Surgery will take place tomorrow, national team surgeon Rodrigo Lasmar said.
But, despite the hurry to put Neymar under the knife at a hospital in Belo Horizonte, he won't be back on the field soon.
"The (recovery) period will be around two-and-a-half to three months," Lasmar said, after arriving with the player on the same flight.
The injury has not only ruled Neymar out of PSG's do-or-die Champions League clash with Real Madrid but now also threatens the much fancied Brazil national team's build-up to the World Cup, which starts on June 14.
On Tuesday, his father had claimed the player would be out for "at least six weeks".
Neymar suffered a hairline fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot as well as a twisted ankle late in league leaders PSG's 3-0 win over Marseille in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Speaking to ESPN in Brazil before PSG's announcement, the player's father, Neymar Senior, said: "PSG know that they will not be able to count on Neymar for the upcoming matches."
PSG coach Unai Emery had said earlier that there remained a "small chance" of getting him back in time to face Real next Wednesday morning (Singapore time).
That chance has now gone. PSG lost 3-1 in the first leg in Spain two weeks ago and are in danger of being knocked out of the competition in the last 16 for the second season running.
Brazilians care little about the impact on PSG. Their attention is entirely trained on the World Cup. "We just might have lost the World Cup last Sunday," Brazilian radio commentator, Milton Neves of Bandnews FM, said on Wednesday. - AFP