Neymar suffers new ankle injury blow in PSG win

Neymar faces a race to be fit in time for the second leg of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich after being stretchered off with an ankle injury in his side’s Ligue 1 win over Lille on Sunday.

The Brazilian was in tears as he came off on a stretcher early in the second half of PSG’s dramatic 4-3 victory at the Parc des Princes after turning his right ankle.

Coach Christophe Galtier said after the game that Neymar had suffered a sprain, with the club later confirming that tests had shown no fracture.

“Neymar underwent an MRI scan today after suffering a sprained ankle against Lille,” said a club statement.

“This showed there was no fracture. A new assessment on the damage to the ligaments will be carried out in the next 48 hours.”

Neymar had earlier scored his team’s second goal in a remarkable game, with PSG leading 2-0 before finding themselves 3-2 down in the second half.

Kylian Mbappe, who had scored the opener, equalised with three minutes to go before Lionel Messi netted a 95th-minute winner from a free-kick as the Ligue 1 leaders ended a run of three straight defeats.

PSG must now hope that the 31-year-old Neymar does not face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with a crunch Ligue 1 game away at Marseille next weekend and then the second leg against Bayern on March 8.

The French champions will head to Germany looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, when Mbappe was restricted to a second-half cameo as a substitute on his return from a thigh injury.

PSG will be looking to avoid going out of the Champions League in the last 16 for what would be the fifth time in seven seasons.

But Neymar’s fitness has regularly been a cause for concern for PSG ahead of big European games ever since the world’s most expensive player arrived from Barcelona in 2017.

– ‘Not bad luck’ –

In his first season at PSG, a fractured metatarsal ruled him out of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid, which they lost.

He didn’t play again for his club that season and faced a race against time to be fit to play for Brazil at that year’s World Cup in Russia.

The following year another metatarsal injury saw him miss the last-16 tie against Manchester United as the Qatar-owned club again went out in the first knockout round.

“This is not bad luck,” said Galtier on Sunday when asked about the reasons behind the injury.

“There are always reasons. The busy fixture calendar doesn’t help. This complicates things but we will just need to get on with it, and doing so with a victory is more enjoyable.”

Neymar injured the same ankle playing for Brazil at the recent World Cup in Qatar.

He came off with a sprain in his country’s 2-0 win over Serbia in their opening game and didn’t play again in the group stage.

The ex-Barcelona man returned in the knockout rounds but Brazil lost to Croatia on penalties in the quarter-finals, despite Neymar putting them ahead in extra time in that game.

He returned to action with his club straight after the World Cup but has since been rested in several games in an attempt to put that injury firmly behind him.

“I hope ‘Ney’ is going to come back quickly because he is an important player for us,” Mbappe told broadcaster Amazon Prime.




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