Neymar angrily rejected suggestions he is a "cry baby" as the Paris Saint-Germain star revealed the great sadness that had reduced him to tears following his latest injury setback.

In an emotive Instagram post, the Brazilian was evidently reeling from an adductor injury sustained in PSG's 1-0 Coupe de France win over Caen on Wednesday which has ruled him out for up to four weeks.

That means he will miss the visit to former club Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League next week, with the return leg on March 10 potentially also coming too soon.

It is far from the first time the 29-year-old has found himself sidelined, but he blasted the notion he was a soft touch on the pitch as he lashed out at his detractors.

"The sadness is great, the pain is immense and the crying is constant," he wrote.

"Once again I will stop for a while doing what I love the most in life, which is playing football.

"Sometimes I feel bothered by my style of play, dribbling and always end up being caught [by challenges].

"I don't know if it's me or what I do on the field. It really makes me sad.

"It makes me so sad to hear from a player, coach, or commentator... 'fall down', 'cry baby', 'spoiled' etc.

"I just want to be happy playing football. Nothing else."

Neymar has often suffered untimely injuries at a similar time in previous seasons during his stint at PSG.

In 2018, he sustained a broken toe in February, meaning he missed almost three months of action, with PSG losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual Champions League winners Real Madrid in the last 16 in his absence.

An ankle injury then kept him out from January to April in 2019, with PSG going out at the hands of Manchester United, though he was fit to help the Parisians overcome Borussia Dortmund in last season's tournament, prior to the coronavirus-enforced suspension.

PSG went on to lose in the final to Bayern Munich, though Neymar has lifted the trophy before, having scored in a 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 showpiece.

UEFA has opened proceedings against Romanian officials Sebastian Coltescu and Octavian Sovre in relation to the events that led to the postponement of Istanbul Basaksehir's Champions League match at Paris Saint-Germain.

The game at the Parc des Princes was suspended after only 13 minutes when it was alleged Coltescu had exposed Basaksehir assistant Pierre Webo to racist language.

Demba Ba, playing for the Turkish side, was seen remonstrating with Coltescu and could be heard saying: "You never said 'this white guy'. Why, when you mention a black guy, do you have to say 'this black guy'?".

The match was completed a day later with PSG running out 5-1 winners. Prior to the resumption, players from both teams warmed up in "No to racism" T-shirts and took the knee in the centre circle.

UEFA launched an investigation into the incident and confirmed on Thursday proceedings will now begin.

A statement from the governing body read: "Following an investigation conducted by a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector regarding the events that led to the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir on 8 December 2020 being abandoned, proceedings have been opened against Mr. Sebatian Constantin Coltescu and Mr. Octavian Sovre for a potential violation of Article 11 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations."

Article 11 states member associations, clubs and players must "comply with the principles of ethical conduct, loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship".

Speaking in December, Ousmane N'Doye – a former Senegal team-mate of Ba's who played for a number of Romanian clubs during his career – said Ba and Coltescu had a productive conversation during a phone call he had brokered between the two.

"When I was in Romania, I met a lot of people there, I know how Romania works," N'Doye told Sport.ro. "If something happens to someone you know about, you have to say something. I saw Sebi's character at matches – my favourite referees know each other.

"I found out Coltescu's number and I told him I was with him. I know he's not racist at all. It was a misunderstanding. I talked to Demba Ba, he's my very good friend. I provided the assist for his first goal with the national team.

"I explained to him and he understood very well. I gave Sebi his number and I told him to call him to talk.

"I've never seen racism in Romania – people were shocked when they found out what I said about Romania. It's my country!

"I explained that to Demba. He said that he had not heard anything bad from Coltescu but believed that the word 'black' should not be used in the stadium. He did not say it was racism, he said that you can't use that word in the stadium and Sebi understood that.

"They talked and they got along very well. They both called me back and told me they were very happy. Demba told me that Sebi is a very good man, as did Coltescu about Demba."

Neymar will miss Paris Saint-Germain's trip to former club Barcelona in the Champions League after being ruled out for up to four weeks.

The Ligue 1 club, who head to Camp Nou next Tuesday, confirmed the Brazilian had suffered an adductor injury in the Coupe de France win over Caen on Wednesday.

The estimated recovery time would also put Neymar in doubt for the return leg of the last-16 clash with Barca, which takes place on March 10.

Neymar suffered the injury around the hour mark of the 1-0 win, with the 29-year-old clutching at his groin.

Though team-mate and midweek match-winner Moise Kean told Eurosport afterwards that "all is well", head coach Mauricio Pochettino was less optimistic.

"His left adductor muscle is affected and they will examine him to see what type of injury he has," he said.

"The reality is that we do not know the extent of the injury, tomorrow we will know more."

Sure enough, a PSG statement released on Thursday confirmed a notable setback for Neymar.

suffered a lesion to the left adductor on Wednesday evening," it read.

"After analysis of clinical exams and scans, it is expected that he'll be out for around four weeks depending on the evolution of the injury."

Neymar has often suffered untimely injuries at a similar time in previous seasons during his stint at PSG.

In 2018, Neymar sustained a broken toe in February, meaning he missed almost three months of action, with PSG losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual Champions League winners Real Madrid in the last 16 in his absence.

An ankle injury then kept him out from January to April in 2019, with PSG going out at the hands of Manchester United, though he was fit to help the Parisians overcome Borussia Dortmund in last season's tournament, prior to the coronavirus-enforced suspension.

PSG went on to lose in the final to Bayern Munich, though Neymar has lifted the trophy before, having scored in a 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 showpiece.

Neymar will miss Paris Saint-Germain's trip to former club Barcelona in the Champions League after being ruled out for up to four weeks.

The Ligue 1 club, who head to Camp Nou next Tuesday, confirmed the Brazilian had suffered an adductor injury in the Coupe de France win over Caen on Wednesday.

The estimated recovery time would also put Neymar in doubt for the return leg of the last-16 clash with Barca, which takes place on March 10.

Moise Kean has moved to allay fears over Neymar's fitness, insisting "all is well" with his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate ahead of a crunch Champions League tie with Barcelona, though Mauricio Pochettino is uncertain.

Neymar started in PSG's Coupe de France clash with Caen on Wednesday, and supplied the assist for Kean's winner in a 1-0 victory.

However, the Brazil star was taken off on the hour, with the 29-year-old holding his groin area.

PSG face Neymar's former club Barca next week, in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 encounter, which comes three days after a Ligue 1 meeting with Nice.

However, Kean – who has now scored 12 goals in all competitions this season – claimed that Neymar is fit and well despite the concerns.

"All is well, he is ready," Kean told Eurosport. "Tomorrow, in training, he will recuperate. He will be ready for the match."

Pochettino, however, took a more cautious approach.

"His left adductor muscle is affected and tomorrow they will examine him to see what type of injury he has," Pochettino told reporters.

"The reality is that we do not know the extent of the injury, tomorrow we will know more."

Neymar has often suffered untimely injuries at a similar time in previous seasons during his stint at PSG.

In 2018, Neymar sustained a broken toe in February, meaning he missed almost three months of action, with PSG losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual Champions League winners Real Madrid in the last 16 in his absence.

An ankle injury then kept him out from January to April in 2019, with PSG going out at the hands of Manchester United, though he was fit to help the Parisians overcome Borussia Dortmund in last season's tournament, prior to the coronavirus-enforced suspension.

The first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea will take place in Bucharest, UEFA confirmed on Wednesday.

Chelsea were scheduled to travel to the Spanish capital to face Diego Simeone's side at the Wanda Metropolitano on February 23. 

However, due to travel restrictions on incoming flights to Spain amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the fixture could not take place as planned in Madrid. 

The two clubs will now head instead to Romania, with UEFA announcing the Arena Nationala has been agreed upon as a neutral venue. 

"UEFA would like to express its gratitude to Atletico Madrid and Chelsea for their support and close cooperation, as well as the Romanian Football Federation for their assistance and agreeing to stage the match," the governing body said in a statement. 

Chelsea are the latest Premier League club to see a change of location for an upcoming European fixture due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Liverpool will take on Champions League opponents RB Leipzig in Budapest on February 16, with the same location also staging Borussia Monchengladbach against Manchester City the following week. 

In the last 32 of the Europa League, Manchester United head to Turin for the first leg against Real Sociedad on February 18, the same day Arsenal are in Rome to start their tie against Benfica. 

Angel Di Maria will miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international sustained a thigh injury in PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille on Sunday.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino says the 32-year-old will be unavailable for the match at Camp Nou on February 16, as well as the Coupe de France game at Caen on Wednesday and Saturday's league clash at home to Nice.

"As the club said, there'll be further communication within the week concerning Angel but his participation in the match against Barcelona is compromised," Pochettino said on Tuesday of Di Maria.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player has been directly involved in 14 goals in all competitions this season, behind only Neymar (16) and Kylian Mbappe (27) within the PSG ranks.

"His absence isn't a reason to change our ideas," Pochettino said. "We'll find the best available solutions. Angel has played a lot and he's an important player for us. But there are other players who can play and enable us to win matches."

Pochettino plans to resist the temptation to rest too many of his star names for the cup match at Stade Michel-d'Ornano despite the importance of the Barca tie.

PSG will certainly be without Marco Verratti (hip), Colin Dagba (thigh), Juan Bernat (knee) and Timothee Pembele (coronavirus protocols), while goalkeeper Keylor Navas is only expected to return to team training the day after the game.

There are also doubts over Mauro Icardi, who is nursing a bruised thigh, and Ander Herrera, who only this week resumed training after a month out with a muscle problem.

However, Pochettino is determined to field a strong enough side to reach the next round rather than simply use it as an opportunity to rotate and experiment with his tactics.

"We're not testing things in other competitions," he said. "We need to perform in all competitions. Against Caen, we'll need to play the best we can in order to win.

"We're going to take the best decisions in order to be competitive against Caen. That's our first objective. I'll analyse today the condition and the fitness of each player. We'll say who is available and take into account the risk of injury.

"We're going to select the best possible team, with players who are at 100 per cent, in every position, in order to win the match."

Manchester City's away leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Monchengladbach will be played in Budapest, UEFA has confirmed.

The news comes a day after UEFA made the same decision regarding RB Leipzig's home clash with Liverpool on February 16 due to the travel restrictions on entry to Germany from areas affected by COVID-19 mutations.

German citizens or residents are granted exemptions but there have been no such special arrangements made for professional athletes, meaning City's squad would not be allowed entry to the country.

UEFA regulations do allow for ties to be switched or moved to a neutral venue, and European football's governing body has confirmed the Puskas Arena will host Gladbach and City.

A statement read: "UEFA can confirm that the Champions League round of 16 first-leg match between Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City will now take place at the Puskas Arena in Budapest. The date of the match (24 February 2021) and kick-off time (21:00CET) will remain the same.

"UEFA would like to thank Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City for their close cooperation and support, as well as the Hungarian Football Federation for their assistance and agreeing to host the match in question."

The second leg is scheduled to take place on March 16 in Manchester.

Budapest will stage the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie between RB Leipzig and Liverpool, UEFA has confirmed. 

The fixture had to be moved after Germany imposed travel restrictions on entry for arrivals from areas affected by COVID-19 mutations until at least February 17 – a day after the game was due to be played in Leipzig. 

Exceptions are in place for German citizens or residents but there are no special regulations for professional athletes, meaning Liverpool's squad would not be allowed entry into the country.

Rules put in place by UEFA do allow last-16 ties to be switched or, alternatively, moved to a neutral venue. 

In partnership with both clubs, the governing body has announced Leipzig and Liverpool will go up against each other at the Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital instead.

"UEFA would like to thank RB Leipzig and Liverpool for their close cooperation and assistance in finding a solution to the issue at hand, as well as the Hungarian Football Federation for their support and agreeing to host the match in question," a statement from UEFA read. 

The fixture will remain on the original date on February 16, with the return leg then scheduled for March 10 at Anfield.

Sergio Ramos was at risk of an even more serious injury if he had not gone for meniscus surgery, Zinedine Zidane has claimed.

Real Madrid captain Ramos could face around two months on the sidelines after going under the knife - a considerable blow against the club's fading title defence.

The 34-year-old appears certain to miss both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie against Atalanta and El Derbi against Atletico Madrid on March 7.

Madrid cut Atleti's lead at the top of LaLiga to seven points as Ramos' defensive colleague Raphael Varane scored both goals in a 2-1 comeback win over bottom club Huesca. However, Diego Simeone's men have two games in hand.

"It was important for him to be calm with [the operation]," Zidane told reporters when discussing Ramos after the match.

"It had to be done because he was on the edge. The operation went very well and that is the important thing. He will work from tomorrow to be with us again."

Madrid headed to El Alcoraz with two wins from their six games in all competitions in 2021 and were second-best for spells against their lowly opponents, who hit the crossbar either side of Javi Galan's emphatic 48th-minute opener.

But Varane smuggled home when a Karim Benzema free-kick looped back off the crossbar and the France centre-back was on hand once more to poke in when Casemiro's header was saved, easing the pressure on his countryman Zidane.

"We are happy with the victory. It was a difficult game but we added the three points," Zidane said.

"You have to keep fighting. This [season] is still long.

"It's never easy at 1-0 when your opponent scores a goal. We had minutes of difficulty, but we stayed in the game thinking that it could be changed and that's what we did, with personality."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has had surgery on a meniscus injury, the club have confirmed.

Initial reports in Spain suggest the centre-back could be out of action for up to two months after the operation on his left knee.

That would mean Ramos is almost certain to miss both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie with Atalanta and the derby with LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid on March 7.

The 34-year-old has been out since playing the full 90 minutes of their 2-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana on January 14.

In his absence, Zinedine Zidane's side suffered a humiliating Copa del Rey exit to Alcoyano and lost 2-1 to Levante in LaLiga after beating Deportivo Alaves 4-1.

In all competitions in 2020-21 prior to Saturday's meeting with Huesca, Madrid have won just 40 per cent of matches without Ramos compared with 61 per cent when he has played.

Indeed, they have won four and lost five of the 10 games without their captain, scoring fewer goals (1.5 compared with 1.8) and conceding more (1.3 compared to 1.0).

Such is the influence of Ramos on their play, Madrid's average possession drops from 63.1 per cent to 56 per cent in his absence, while they attempt two fewer shots and concede two more crosses per game.

The veteran Spain international scored 11 goals in 35 appearances in LaLiga last season as he inspired his side to the title but has managed only two goals in 14 league games in 2020-21.

His future beyond this term remains unclear, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United reportedly interested in signing him.

After taking on Huesca, Madrid face Getafe, Valencia and Real Valladolid before the first leg of the European tie with Atalanta in Bergamo on February 24.

Eden Hazard should recover from his latest injury setback in "two or three weeks", according to Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

A damaged rectus femoris muscle in his left leg initially led to concerns that Hazard could be sidelined for up to six weeks, making him a doubt for both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie with Atalanta.

However, the Belgium international should recover in half that time, meaning he could have a chance of featuring in the first leg against Atalanta in Bergamo on February 24.

Hazard has already had two spells out with muscular issues this season, while he also missed time after a positive coronavirus test.

"The best Hazard is exactly what we want, we want to see a fully fit Hazard – we look at how tough it's been for the football player, [who] wants to prove how good he is and wants to play for Real Madrid," said Zidane ahead of Saturday's LaLiga meeting with Huesca.

"It's not an easy time for the footballer. I'm sure it's a matter of time before we see him back playing and hopefully he won't pick up another injury.

"Hopefully, when he recovers, we see the best Hazard, maybe in two or three weeks when he recovers.

"I think it's a bit of bad luck. It's not been easy on the player. We have to maintain a positive attitude. He's a great player, we need him back 100 per cent."

He added: "Do you think he's happy with what's going on? Well, no. He's doing what he can to be in good shape, but you know in the life of a player you can be injured.

"We'll have to look at maybe changing something and improve this situation. He's the first player who wants to be fine, of course."

Madrid have been without captain Sergio Ramos for the past three games due to a knee injury and they will have to become accustomed to his absence if he does not extend his contract beyond this season.

Ramos has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and Zidane reiterated his hope that Madrid could reach an agreement with the 34-year-old.

"I don't know anything. I don't think anyone really knows what the current situation is," said Zidane.

"Hopefully it's something that gets sorted out and that Sergio can continue being a part of the club, and a captain."

Martin Odegaard was allowed to leave during the latest transfer window, with the Norway international joining Arsenal on loan for the rest of the campaign.

Zidane was reluctant to let Odegaard go but sanctioned the switch at the player's insistence.

"The footballer wanted minutes, wanted to leave the club. We had two or three conversations," said the Madrid boss.

"He's a footballer who wanted to try elsewhere. It was the player who requested this move, I was of course in the know.

"I thought maybe the player could have stayed here, fought for a place in the first team. I wanted him to come back to the club because he's a talented player.

"I think the player wanted to go out on loan, get more minutes. The important thing is he's happy, we're happy too. It's good for both parties."

Liverpool will not be allowed to travel to Germany for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig, government officials have said. 

The Reds are scheduled to face the Bundesliga side at the Red Bull Arena on February 16 at the start of the knockout stages in the competition. 

However, restrictions have been imposed in Germany since Saturday on entry for all arrivals from areas affected by COVID-19 mutations until at least February 17. 

Exceptions are in place for German citizens or residents but will not be extended for elite sports. 

"The Corona Protection Ordinance passed by the German government last Friday provides for only a few exceptions and no special regulations for professional athletes," read a widely released statement from the German government. 

"The Federal Police informed the club RB Leipzig today that the described case does not fall under the exceptions." 

Rules were put in place by UEFA allowing last-16 ties to be switched, so Anfield could yet theoretically host the opening contest. The game could also be held at a neutral venue, with the possibility open for the tie to be reduced to a single fixture.

When contacted by Stats Perform News, European football's governing body said it remains in dialogue with both clubs and also the German Football Association, who in turn are in contact with the German government. 

Real Madrid have confirmed Eden Hazard has sustained yet another muscle injury.

The Belgium star has damaged a rectus femoris muscle in his left leg, having reportedly failed to complete training on Wednesday.

It was hoped the problem was simply muscle fatigue, but tests have shown the former Chelsea forward has a more serious injury.

According to reports in Spain, Hazard could be out for up to six weeks, which would rule him out of the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Atalanta on February 24 and perhaps make him a doubt for the return fixture on March 16.

It is the latest in a succession of injuries that have blighted Hazard's time in Madrid since his €100million move from Chelsea in 2019.

The 30-year-old was out for nearly a month at the end of September and again from late November due to muscle issues. He was also unavailable for two weeks between the injuries due to a positive coronavirus test.

Hazard has only started 20 times in LaLiga, six of those coming this season, and scored just three goals. He has failed to complete a full 90 minutes in any match this season across all competitions.

Madrid, who are third in LaLiga and 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid after playing a game more, face Huesca away on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino is prioritising Ligue 1 over other competitions in his first season at Paris Saint-Germain and is backing Sergio Rico after a difficult showing in the defeat to Lorient.

PSG were beaten 3-2 at Stade du Moustoir on Sunday, as the Parisians suffered their first loss under new head coach Pochettino.

Spanish goalkeeper Rico deputised for Keylor Navas between the posts, with PSG's first choice missing due to a stomach injury.

But Rico received widespread criticism for his performance, raising further doubts regarding his suitability as Navas' understudy and highlighting the Costa Rican's importance.

Navas looks set to miss Wednesday's visit of Nimes as well due to a groin complaint, meaning Rico is likely to keep his place in the team.

Since the start of last season, PSG have boasted a far better win percentage with Navas in the team (78.4 per cent of 37 games) than when Rico has started (57.1 per cent of seven matches).

They also concede twice as often on average when Rico is in the starting XI (1.4 goals per game) compared to Navas (0.7 goals per game), but Pochettino was keen to offer his backing to the 27-year-old.

"It is important that all the players are available so that the competition between them helps them to reach their best level," Pochettino told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have such a team that those who play less often have to be able to play and perform well when they are on the pitch.

"It is sometimes difficult to find positive elements when you lose a game, but we are happy with Sergio and his level in the team, and we expect him to perform well."

The decision to not risk Navas seems a wise one given the important matches on the horizon for PSG, as they go to Marseille on Sunday for Le Classique and have the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Barcelona on February 16.

PSG reached the final of Europe's elite competition last season under Thomas Tuchel, though that seemingly only earned him a certain amount of credit given his recent dismissal.

Despite PSG's apparent fixation with the Champions League since their QSI takeover in 2011, Pochettino insists it is not his focus, instead urging his team to respond to the Lorient setback as they look to prioritise domestic success.

"We have to improve collectively," he said. "We lost the match in Lorient in two actions. We are looking for solutions.

"We do not have much time to train, but we discuss to try to find solutions. With my staff, we arrived with the circumstances that you know.

"We assume our great responsibility. The objective is to win, to optimise the team. We want to win Ligue 1, which is our priority objective and there is time to do so."

PSG head into the midweek round of fixtures sitting third in Ligue 1, three points adrift of pacesetters Lille.

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