Neymar back in PSG training ahead of Real Madrid tie

February 11, 2022
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Neymar took part in Paris Saint-Germain training on Thursday and has a chance of featuring in next week’s Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid.

Brazil international Neymar has not played for PSG since November 28 after spraining the ligaments in his left ankle during the 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne.

The 30-year-old, who was initially due to miss between six and eight weeks, has sat out the Parisians’ past 12 matches.

However, he has stepped up his recovery programme by playing a small part in group training on the eve of PSG’s Ligue 1 meeting with Rennes.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Neymar out of Friday’s game, but a decision on whether he can play any part against Madrid in five days’ time will be made next week.

“He’s a great player who wants to play in the big games,” Pochettino said at a pre-match news conference. “But he’s an experienced player who has had injuries before.

“He has the maturity to be able to handle these types of situations and use these situations to bring out the best in himself.

“We will wait and decide in the next few days if he will be there for Tuesday.”

Neymar struggled for top form prior to his spell on the sidelines, managing three goals and three assists in 14 appearances in all competitions this season.

Real Madrid great Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, also still has a chance of playing against his former side in next week’s first leg at Parc des Princes.

Ramos sustained another calf injury two weeks ago and has missed PSG’s previous two games, but he started running again on Thursday and will be evaluated in the next 48 hours.

The Spain international has played just five times for Pochettino’s side in all competitions since arriving in July, totalling 284 minutes of action on the field.

Indeed, he played just eight matches in all competitions at club level in 2021, while his last appearance for Spain was against Kosovo last March.

The Ligue 1 leaders also announced ahead of their meeting with Rennes that Ander Herrera is on course to return to training on Sunday.

While PSG’s injury issues are clearing up, Madrid are still unsure whether star striker Karim Benzema will be available after missing Madrid’s most recent two games.

Benzema has scored in his past four Champions League appearances, netting five times in total, but faces a race against time to be fit.

“If he is not there, it would be a big loss for Madrid,” Pochettino said. “He’s one of the best strikers in the world.

“He’s a great player who shows his talent in a club like Real year after year. But I’m not saying that it will benefit PSG because Real have a very large squad.”

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