Neymar’s foot operation a success, in race to be fit for World Cup

Neymar broke his fifth metatarsal -- the bone leading to his small toe -- during Paris-Saint Germain’s 3-0 drubbing of Marseille on February 25.

football Updated: Mar 03, 2018 23:43 IST
AFP
AFP
AFP, Belo Horizonte
Neymar Jr,Paris Saint-Germain FC,Brazil football team
Neymar arrives at Mater Dei hospital for surgery on a fractured metatarsal and a sprained ankle in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.(REUTERS)

Surgery on the broken right foot of Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar went successfully on Saturday, officials said, leaving the planet’s most expensive footballer in a race to recuperate before the World Cup.

The operation, performed by Brazilian national team surgeon Rodrigo Lasmar, began early on Saturday morning in the Mater Dei hospital in Belo Horizonte.

READ | Neymar’s golden foot to go under the knife

Just after midday (1500 GMT), a spokesman from the Brazilian football federation announced that the operation was over.

“Neymar is already in his room. It went well,” he said.

Neymar broke his fifth metatarsal -- the bone leading to his small toe -- during a 3-0 drubbing of Marseille on February 25.

The striker -- whose transfer from Barcelona cost PSG a record 222 million euros ($264 million) last August -- has scored 28 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for the club.

READ | Neymar arrives in Brazil for foot surgery, to be ruled out for up to 3 months

Neymar will miss PSG’s make-or-break game against Real Madrid next Tuesday. But with Lasmar predicting a recovery period of two and a half to three months, Brazil is worried that Neymar, 26, may not be fit for the World Cup in Russia starting in June.

The rival demands from club and country appeared to erupt into tension just as he went under the knife, with Paris newspaper L’Equipe reporting Saturday that PSG believes Lasmar lied about Neymar’s condition.

The report said that Neymar was initially found to have suffered a minor fracture and that PSG was shocked to hear Lasmar say Thursday that it was a serious break requiring a longer than expected recuperation.

Globoesporte.com reported that PSG also insisted it control any future information on the player’s health.

Staff at the hospital in Belo Horizonte, were put on paparazzi lockdown, with a ban on using cellphones anywhere near the star.

World Cup still possible

After a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since the shambolic exit in a 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil are seen as top contenders in Russia.

But a big part of that optimism depends on the talented Neymar, who missed that infamous semifinal four years ago and looks likely to miss two warm-up friendlies against Russia and Germany in March.

Jose Luiz Runco, a former chief medical officer for the Brazilian team, told AFP that Neymar will walk with crutches after two to three weeks, exercise while putting weight on his repaired foot after about 60 to 75 days, and then returning to training.

“He’s likely to recover pretty quickly because he’s an athlete and young.”

A potential plus for Neymar is that the enforced break from competitive football may do him good.

“When you think how exhausting the European season is, he could even arrive fresher than the others, both physically and emotionally,” said Cristiano Nunes, the physiotherapist for Brazilian first division club Internacional in Porto Alegre.

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 22:25 IST