Ligue 1: Neymar's father, Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi say superstar has future at club
With Neymar out for weeks while he recuperates from foot surgery, reports have emerged in the European media that the Brazilian is disenchanted with PSG.
Praia Grande: Neymar's father and the head of Paris Saint-Germain both poured cold water on Tuesday over rumours that the world's most expensive footballer wants to quit the French club after returning from injury.
"Neymar already has a future at PSG, Neymar already has a present at PSG," Neymar Santos Sr told journalists at his son's charity centre, the Neymar Junior Institute, in Praia Grande, Sao Paulo state.
With the superstar striker out for weeks while he recuperates from foot surgery, reports have emerged in the European media that Neymar is disenchanted with PSG and wants to return to his old club Barcelona — or even make a shock move to arch rivals Real Madrid.
Without the injured Neymar, PSG went crashing out of the Champions League to Real Madrid in the last 16 this month.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, his sports director Antero Henrique and club spokesman Jean-Martial Ribes visited the 26-year-old at his luxury house near Brazil's coast on Monday and his charity institute on Tuesday.
Their trip had been planned far in advance of the current uproar, Ribes told AFP. However, the meeting, which Neymar Sr recorded with photos on his Instagram feed, couldn't help having something of the look of a crisis summit.
Emerging in front of reporters at the institute, both sides seemed keen to quash the speculation.
Neymar "is happy, highly motivated and excited to come back as soon as possible," Al-Khelaifi said.
However, journalists were told that they could not ask about the Real Madrid rumours.
Question of timing
Neymar fractured a bone in his right foot on 25 February and faces a lengthy lay-up following surgery in early March.
Brazilian team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has said that Neymar — transferred to PSG from Barcelona after the French club paid his €222 million buyout clause last August — will need at least two and a half months, maybe three, to return to action.
PSG still hopes to get him back before the end of its season.
"Everybody is doing his best to come back as soon as possible, without any risk for sure," Al-Khelaifi said.
"But the doctors are going to say. I’m not in a position to say exactly when he will come back. The doctors are following and it depends on recovery, but I think he’s in good shape," the club president said.
Brazil's national team are hoping he will be back to full fitness in time to help lead them at the World Cup starting in Russia on 14 June. Experts say that while Neymar will be short of match practice, he could benefit by arriving at the tournament fresher than his rivals.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Champions League: Zinedine Zidane says he's proud of Real Madrid despite disappointing Round of 16 exit
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg at home back in February, before the coronavirus shutdown, Real Madrid lost by the same scoreline at an empty Etihad Stadium to go out 4-2 on aggregate
Champions League: Barcelona look to turn around poor season; under-fire Juventus face uphill task against Lyon
Ahead of the final four fixtures from the Champions League round of 16, we at Firstpost.com take a quick look back at where we left off all those months ago.
Champions League: ‘Very, very small’ hope of Kylian Mbappe playing in Atalanta clash, says PSG coach Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel was asked at a news conference on Thursday ahead of Friday's League Cup final against Lyon if he has any hope that Mbappé can play against Atalanta in Lisbon.