PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain said on Wednesday that superstar striker Neymar Jr. would undergo surgery to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, a decision that rules him out of the second leg of the club’s Champions League round-of-16 clash versus Real Madrid.
Neymar was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering that injury, as well as a sprained ankle, during PSG’s 3-0 win Sunday against rival Marseille.
“In accordance with the player, it has been decided that Neymar Jr. will undergo surgery in Brazil at the end of this week. He will be operated on by (the Brazilian national team’s) Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar, accompanied by Professor (Gerard) Saillant, representing PSG,” the French club said.
Neymar’s absence is a big blow for the Ligue 1 side ahead of the teams’ second leg at Parc des Prince on March 6, when PSG will try to come back after losing 3-1 to Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Feb. 14.
The Brazilian striker is the face of PSG, which paid a world-record transfer fee of 222 million euros ($270.8 million at the current exchange rate) to acquire him from Spanish-league powerhouse FC Barcelona last summer.
PSG head coach Unai Emery said Tuesday there was a slight chance Neymar might play against Real Madrid, but the striker’s father and agent, Neymar Sr., dashed those hopes when he said he expected the player would be out for between six and eight weeks.
Neymar’s health also became a source of tension between the French club and the Brazilian national team, which is concerned that the lack of a full recovery could jeopardize the star player’s availability for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Lasmar was even dispatched to Paris to meet with PSG’s doctors, and apparently the Brazilian national team’s more conservative approach won out.
Argentine attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria is expected to take Neymar’s place in PSG’s attack in the second-leg match against Real Madrid.