P.S.G.’s Neymar Joins Growing Champions League Injury List

When the Champions League returns from its winter hiatus for the knockout stage beginning on Feb. 12, a lot of the acquainted groups will likely be current: Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Manchester sides City and United, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

But a big variety of stars will likely be absent, significantly from just a few groups hoping to win their first Champions League title.

The newest title added to the checklist is Neymar, the Brazilian star whose foot harm might maintain him out till late March, that means he would miss each legs of Paris St.-Germain’s Round of 16 tie in opposition to Manchester United, in line with a number of information media accounts, together with the French sports activities newspaper L’Equipe. Another title hopeful, England’s Tottenham Hotspur, already is lacking its two greatest attackers, and Atlético Madrid misplaced a key defender on Monday.

Paris St.-Germain had beforehand acknowledged doubts that Neymar can be prepared for the primary leg in opposition to United on Feb. 12. Neymar had left the sphere in tears with the harm, reportedly a fractured metatarsal in his proper foot, throughout a French Cup sport final week.

“It will be very difficult” for Neymar to return in time to face Manchester United, P.S.G.’s German coach, Thomas Tuchel, mentioned after a Four-1 Ligue 1 win over Stade Rennais on Sunday. “It is too early to talk about a possible return date.”

Neymar, a 26-year-old ahead, was acquired from Barcelona last season for $262 million, making him the most expensive player in soccer history. The goal was to finally push P.S.G. over the hump to Champions League glory after years of dominating the French league but coming up short in Europe.

With Neymar, P.S.G. won the French league by 13 points last season, and it leads this year by 13 again. But despite the presence of Neymar, P.S.G.’s Champions League run ended last year as it so often has, in the Round of 16, with a 5-2 aggregate loss to the eventual champion, Real Madrid. Neymar’s five goals in the competition this season ranks him tied for third behind Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

P.S.G. already is missing the playmaking midfielder Marco Verratti; he has a sprained ankle.

“I truly believe that we can handle the situation without Marco and Neymar,” Tuchel told reporters.

Spurs, which like P.S.G. is looking for its first Champions League title, will be without striker Harry Kane when it faces Germany’s Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16. The team’s top scorer in the Champions League and Premier League, Kane injured his ankle earlier this month; his expected return date is said to be sometime in March. Spurs midfielder Dele Alli also is out until March.

Atlético Madrid, another team seeking a first Champions League title, lost Diego Godin, its captain and central defender, when he tore a thigh muscle over the weekend. Atlético is set to face Italy’s Juventus in the last 16.

Source link Nytimes.com

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