Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Neymar will miss three to four months after the decision was made to undergo surgery to repair his damaged right ankle after years of recurring issues. The latest injury came in the 4-3 win over Lille OSC in Ligue 1 and that on the back of the same problem in the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
"Neymar Jr has sustained a number of instances of instability in his right ankle in recent years," read PSG's official medical update. "Following his latest sprain on 20 February, the PSG medical staff recommended a ligament repair operation to avoid a major risk of recurrence. All the experts consulted have confirmed this necessity. The surgery will be performed in the next few days at the ASPETAR hospital in Doha. It will take 3 to 4 months before he can return to training with the team."
First of all, to say that Neymar has suffered "a number of instances of instability in his right ankle in recent years" is an understatement -- it is something of a miracle that he can still walk let alone run given some of the beatings it has taken since his arrival in Paris back in 2017. That experts outside of PSG were consulted is also damning of the poor condition that the 31-year-old's ankle must be in.
In the short-term, losing Neymar is a blow for PSG but not necessarily a terminal one as Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi can more than hold the fort in attack based on their recent exploits against the likes of Olympique de Marseille and FC Nantes. The French superstar is now Les Parisiens' all-time top scorer and their best chance of staying in the UEFA Champions League.
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What Neymar's latest surgery does mean is of interest in the medium to long-term sense given its potential ramifications. First of all, three of the Brazilian's five full seasons with PSG have been significantly impacted by injury with this one now on course to become the fourth of six while arguably the best one form-wise ended prematurely due to COVID-19.
This current campaign did look like it could be a special one for the former Barcelona man given his pre-Qatar form, but the same old injury issues blighted him again on the international stage and there has been little to no sign of similar mental and physical form since club action resumed. It is undoubtedly in the player's best interest to get this sorted out once and for all and allowed time to heal.
Another interesting ramification beyond the immediate season and the recurring nature of Neymar's frustrations is what this means for his future with PSG and specifically his journey with Mbappe and Messi beyond this summer. The legendary Argentine is out of contract soon and the Frenchman will not be sold by the French champions this summer.
Given that PSG have to slash their wage bill already, with Milan Skriniar also due to arrive and Messi and Ramos on sizeable expiring deals, there is the potential that this breaks up the Ligue 1 leaders' big three. Neymar is unlikely to attract interest of the level that PSG would need to do business, so it could be that they have to advance into 2024 with him, though of course , and if he were to leave it could mean that Mbappe, Messi and Neymar have now played together for the last time.
Presnel Kimpembe was previously thought to a potentially saleable asset and has also recently undergone surgery which will keep him out for a lengthy period and makes a summer move highly unlikely. There is also the question of recovery for Neymar and Kimpembe and what sort of condition PSG get the pair back in and how long it takes to bring them back up to speed.
Sadly, this is the latest in a long line of unfortunate developments in his time with PSG which is almost giving off cursed vibes at this point. The chances are that this means that the two are stuck together in a not necessarily happy marriage for the foreseeable future as Neymar gets further into his 30s and the Ballon d'Or so many were certain that he would win gets further out of reach.