The Brazilian has become far too familiar with the physio’s room in recent years as he struggles to live up to his potential in Paris
Among the many ways to describe Neymar, ‘injury prone’ has sadly become an all too familiar one of late.
The Paris Saint-Germain star has been once again set to miss up to a month of football after picking up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Brazil last week.
Neymar limping from the pitch has been an image fans of the talented attacker are now very accustomed to seeing as the 27-year-old struggles to get his body right during what should be the peak of his career.
Since moving to PSG from Barcelona in 2017, Neymar’s injury woes have only worsened as he fails to live up to the lofty expectations his world record €222 million (£198m) transfer fee demanded.
According to Transfermarkt, prior to his latest injury, the Brazilian had already missed 53 matches for the Ligue 1 champions since making the move to Paris.
That’s in stark contrast to the 29 games he skipped during four years with the Catalans.
All in all, since leaving Santos in 2013 as a 21-year-old, Neymar has been sidelined for a total of 469 days. That’s more than a year and three months of being stuck on the treatment table.
And this number has been only set to move closer to the 500-day mark, considering he’s expected to miss a month with his latest injury.
In 2018, the Parisians failed to overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Real Madrid in the last 16 with Neymar missing the clash due to a metatarsal fracture. The Selecao superstar had scored six goals in that season’s group stage before being unable to step up when his side really needed him.
A year later and an eerily familiar story was served up as Neymar struck five times in the group stage before missing both legs of PSG’s Round of 16 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
Signed at astronomical expense to finally deliver PSG their European dream, Neymar’s injury run has so far prevented him from being able to make the difference.
“PSG will be Champions League champion,” Neymar promised in an interview with Red Bull in early 2019.
“PSG has been not just about me – it has an awesome team with great athletes and a genius coach. Besides, the PSG fans are like a 12th soccer professional when we are playing in Paris.
“I have no doubts that we will be champions and that I will be playing.”
Currently both injured and suspended from the Champions League, PSG will once again have to find a way to win in Europe without Neymar when they face Club Brugge on Tuesday.
Having won both of their group games to date in Neymar’s absence, Thomas Tuchel’s men are showing signs they can shine in Europe without the forward, who will be desperately hoping he can get his body right for the knockout rounds this season.
In a recent interview with Ronaldo Nazario on YouTube channel Otro, the younger Brazilian confirmed that he has learned to go to ground as a way to protect himself.
“You see I didn’t protect myself and now my leg hurts,” Neymar said.
“It’s hard. For us athletes, I think the hardest moments are the injuries. Having so much time off the pitch, it’s horrible. I can’t stand not playing any longer.
“It’s really bad but it’s part of our career, part of football.”
When fit, Neymar has been outstanding in Paris – as he demonstrated on his return to action this season.
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After putting the summer’s transfer drama behind him, he announced himself by scoring three match-winning goals in his first four games back.
Overall, Neymar has scored a stunning 55 goals and added 29 assists across just 63 appearances for PSG.
Those numbers may speak for themselves, but it’s his recent run of injuries that are currently screaming the loudest – an issue that he must overcome soon if he has been to truly cement his place as one of the game’s greats.