Sixteen days without playing. Neymar will start against Dortmund this Tuesday, February 18 in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League without the slightest minute disputed since February 1 and his rib injury (a chondro-costal injury) against Montpellier.
Going, really? There is still a doubt about the tenure of the Brazilian PSG in Germany. Number 10 will inevitably be out of rhythm, after missing four games in all competitions (Nantes, Lyon, Dijon and Amiens this Saturday). Pablo Sarabia, very legs and preserved for the trip to Amiens, is ready in case. But the doubt is small.
According to the entourage of the star and a few echoes at the club, the former Barcelona player will indeed hold Tuesday, February 18 at Signal Iduna Park. So why so many precautions? Neymar is a major strategic stake in a club where he missed three of the last four round of 16 of the European Cup for as many eliminations.
On Friday, he trained again normally, participating in a contact session, proof of a complete recovery. “You see him on the field and you wonder why he does not play in matches, exclaimed Thomas Tuchel before the announcement of the decision. But because in training he is more protected than in a match. “
A panic fear that the player will be injured again
Rather than precautions, it should rather evoke a panic fear linked to his absence and baroque management of a player decidedly stronger than the club. PSG thus preferred to put its master to play under bell for two weeks, fearing that it worsens its evil, that it is injured elsewhere, that a duel comes again to ruin the initial plan which consists this season to finally dispute the summits in full, at least with the major elements.
Paris hopes to get the Brazilian out of his box on Tuesday and that the magic of the past few weeks – he has returned to a sensational level – operates again. At Camp des Loges, nobody wants to take responsibility for a new failure that would represent their absence, in a stable where everyone is watching.
During this time, Neymar, who is aware of the expectations around his person and the new psychodrama which it generates, shows himself everywhere, at his birthday, at training, in Germany already – but for his sponsors -, but never on the ground.
Himself does not rush his return to the meadow. He has a fairly low pain tolerance threshold, which does not help the club to revive it from the perspective of the Champions League. The club is afraid, the attacker is afraid, everyone is afraid. Result: no minute disputed in more than two weeks, which can constitute a risk at a time of the immense intensity expected against the Germans.