Neymar’s training absence on Thursday was “scheduled” and he will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s Coupe de France tie with Chateauroux, Christophe Galtier confirmed.
The forward suffered an ankle injury in Brazil’s opening World Cup match, missing the final two group-stage games, though he returned to score in both of the Selecao’s knockout ties as they crashed out in the quarter-finals to Croatia.
Neymar returned to PSG and featured in their first Ligue 1 fixture against Strasbourg, but he was given a second yellow card for a dive in the 62nd minute as a late Kylian Mbappe penalty snatched a 2-1 victory.
He was therefore suspended for PSG’s 3-1 defeat to Lens on Sunday, their first loss of the season, and he was a notable absentee from training on Thursday.
Galtier insisted Neymar not training was planned and he also confirmed the 30-year-old will play no part against Chateauroux in the Coupe de France on Friday.
“As for Neymar’s absence in training that had been scheduled, as it was for all of the players who went to the World Cup,” PSG boss Galtier told reporters.
“They were assessed by our medical staff and performance team.
“We decided as a group that Neymar, with everything he has experienced with his ankle problem, that he needed time for his ankle to recover.”
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) January 4, 2023
Asked whether Neymar was expected to miss the following game too, a Ligue 1 home meeting with Angers on Wednesday, Galtier replied: “Just tomorrow.”
Neymar was visibly upset after Brazil’s penalty defeat to Croatia, with his hopes of winning a World Cup now looking slim with the next tournament occurring when he will be 34.
However, Galtier is not concerned about the former Barcelona man, saying: “I’m not at all worried about Neymar.
“Based on what he has been doing since the start of the season, he is full of desire to play and he wanted to play in the league game but was suspended. He was very disappointed.
“We are lucky to have a very committed Neymar here, but we need to keep an eye on him physically.”
Leo Messi’s return to the Training Center! pic.twitter.com/ImsS8E0CFC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 4, 2023
After Brazil’s shock exit in Qatar, Argentina and France went on to play what many are calling the best World Cup final ever, with PSG’s Mbappe and Lionel Messi playing starring roles as La Albiceleste ultimately won on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time.
Galtier hopes Messi receives a warm reception in Paris on his return having beaten France in the final, while saying Mbappe has not changed after winning the tournament’s Golden Boot and scoring a hat-trick in the final.
“He [Messi] will not play tomorrow,” Galtier explained. “Having discussed it with him, we want him to be ready for the following game.
“I hope he will be celebrated by our supporters. Leo Messi is a Paris national player and World Cup winner. We are lucky to have a player like Messi here.
“We also need to appreciate we have [Mbappe] at the club. Just like Messi, he had a brilliant World Cup.
“Kylian Mbappe quickly wanted to get back into competitive football after the World Cup. I feel he is a very intelligent guy who learns quickly, and he knows the general consensus around him has changed.
“He is a player with huge personality and character who is capable of managing that. We have Kylian Mbappe here on a daily basis and he is the same as before.”
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