The World’s most expensive player, Neymar, was stretchered off in “Le Classique” against Marseille on Wednesday 25 February.
The Brazilian international left the pitch in tears with the burden of trying to bring the Jules Rimet Cup back to its most frequently visited land very much on his shoulders. Medics later discovered the injury was far worse than first expected – it was revealed that Neymar had broken his fifth metatarsal.
After discovering the severity of the knock, Neymar flew out to his native Brazil where he underwent surgery at the Mater Dai hospital. The surgery has been a success and Ligue 1’s top assister looks set to begin rehab with the club physio immediately.
Whether or not the Paris Saint – Germain side will miss their celebrity is debatable. With the side currently 14 points clear of champions Monaco and also set to face Caens in their penultimate Coupe de France tie, the side should have enough fire power to win a domestic double.
Negative rumours have been circulating ever since Neymar’s shock arrival at the Parc Des Princes. Many members of the squad are said to be unhappy about the luxuries given to the newcomer. Edinson Cavani was reported to be in continuous feuds with the former Barcelona attacker. Having been the recognised spot kicker in the side, Cavani was later stripped of the honour as the childlike 26 – year – old Neymar got into a bit of a sulk.
Neymar then denied Cavani the opportunity to surpass Zlatan Ibrahimović’s 113 PSG goals when he opted to exert his perceived power and take a penalty in a game which PSG ultimately won by an eight goal margin. The Uruguayan has however broken this record since then.
In defence of Neymar, he was bitterly missed in last Tuesday’s 2 – 1 defeat to European champions Real Madrid in which Cristiano Ronaldo shone yet again as he scored the opening goal after converting a Vazquez cross.
Had Neymar played he may have been able to get the Ligue 1 champions elect into their third European quarter-final. However, with the European campaign behind them is he really that big a loss?
Perhaps the worst effected will be the Brazilian national team. The side are currently second favourites to win the tournament after holders Germany. This year is the 60th anniversary of Brazil’s first ever World Cup triumph in Sweden. That occasion marked the arrival of the nation’s greatest ever talent Pele, someone Neymar would surely love to emulate in Russia this summer.
Despite his dazzling display at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Neymar’s loss may not be as heavily felt as expected. Pele only featured in three matches due to injury and he was part of arguably the best international side of all time. Had Pele played no part in the 1958 World Cup, Brazil probably still had enough talent to win the tournament. Iconic Players like Garrincha, Vava, Mario Zagallo, Pepe and Dida all featured for the Seleção that summer as well.
Likewise, the Brazil of today are still a force to be reckoned with regardless of the Champions League winner’s inclusion. The side is jam-packed with offensive talent in the form of Phillipe Coutinho, Willian, Roberto Firmino, Lucas Moura, Hulk and Douglas Costa.
On the contrary, no one can argue that Neymar is not one of the World’s most prolific players. His samba – like skills are a typical product of the World Cup’s most frequent winners. He has won every trophy possible whilst plying his trade in Catalonia.
Having spent all his European career in the shadow of Lionel Messi, Neymar will be determined to prove Thierry Henry’s latest comments wrong. The former World Cup Winner stated that if Neymar wanted to get out of Messi’s shadow he would have to find a new sport.
For both the Brazilian and neutral fans, everyone will want to see the Ligue 1 star play. His performances for his country have arguably been the best of his career and who doesn’t want to see Neymar and Messi do battle for player of the tournament, the golden boot and ultimately the World Cup.
Whether or not Neymar’s injury will heal fully is the question. Should he be unable to participate would his absence really ruin all hope of a Brazilian triumph? The answer is unclear.
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