Zidane hopes Neymar recovers to face Real | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 27, 2018

UEFA Champions League

Zidane hopes Neymar recovers to face Real

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is hoping Paris St Germain forward Neymar recovers from injury for the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on March 6.

The world's most expensive player was seen crying as he was carried off towards the end of PSG's 3-0 win over Olympique de Marseille on Sunday, meaning his side had to play the remainder of the game with 10 men as they had used all three substitutes.

PSG coach Unai Emery said he wanted to be optimistic that his 222-million euro ($273 million) signing would be available to face Real as the French league leaders bid to overcome a 3-1 deficit to avoid an early exit from the tournament.

"We will be optimistic. If I had to say today (whether or not he will face Real) I would rather say yes," said the Spaniard.

"I don't like to see players get injured and I hope he can be back for the game, I never want a player to miss a game due to injury," Zidane told a news conference ahead of his side's Liga game against Espanyol on Tuesday.

"I don't think it (the injury) will have a big influence on the game, as there will always be someone who can play instead of him. I was watching the game and I was sad when he (Neymar) got injured."

The Brazilian has scored 28 times and provided 16 assists for PSG this season, although he gave a disappointing display against Real at the Bernabeu two weeks ago

Le Parisien newspaper reported that the 26-year-old underwent tests at a hospital just outside Paris in the early hours of Monday that ruled out a "fracture or a serious sprain".

Speaking to French television after Sunday's match, PSG captain Thiago Silva said: "I'm not a doctor, but I don't think he'll be available on Wednesday (when PSG face Marseille again in the French Cup). He has to rest."

Le Parisien suggested that the world's most expensive player will definitely miss Wednesday's French Cup quarterfinal at home against Marseille as well as next Saturday's trip to Troyes in Ligue 1.

Neymar himself posted a picture on Instagram of his right leg with the ankle and foot heavily bandaged. "08:10. Finished for today," said the caption.

The Champions League last 16, second leg against Real at the Parc des Princes in Paris on March 6 is just over a week away, leaving Neymar little time to recover fitness as PSG look to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg in Madrid.

PSG are 14 points clear of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 after Sunday's game, but the Champions League is crucial to the French club, who lost to Neymar's Barcelona at the same stage last season.

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