Pochettino hopeful Neymar will return in time for Real Madrid clash

By Sports Desk February 12, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino remains hopeful Neymar will return from injury in time to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Neymar sprained the ligaments in his ankle during a 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne on November 28 and has not played since.

The Brazil international, who was initially due to miss between six and eight weeks, has been absent for PSG's past 13 matches but returned to training on Thursday.

The former Barcelona star was unavailable for his side's 1-0 win over Rennes on Friday, with Pochettino's men next set to face a huge Champions League last-16 clash against Madrid.

Speaking after the victory over Rennes, Pochettino provided another update as Neymar hopes to be involved against Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"Neymar's development is very good," Pochettino said. "I hope he will be in the group [for Madrid], he is an important player for us."

It will be the fourth time that PSG and Madrid have met in the knockout stages of a European competition, with the Spanish side progressing from the most recent Champions League last-16 tie in 2017-18.

However, the Ligue 1 outfit were 3-0 victors the last time they hosted Madrid in Europe's premier tournament, with that triumph coming in September 2019.

Neymar's return would provide an obvious boost for PSG, even if the 30-year-old has been slightly below his usual standards this season after returning three goals and three assists from 14 appearances across all competitions.

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