RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Brazilian superstar Neymar will be sidelined for up to three months – perilously close to the eve of the World Cup – after undergoing surgery on his broken foot, his doctor says.
The worse than previously announced prognosis came as the Paris Saint-Germain striker, 26, arrived in Rio de Janeiro from Paris for Saturday’s operation.
“The (recovery) period will be around two and a half to three months,” national team surgeon Rodrigo Lasmar, who flew with Neymar, said Thursday.
The injury has not only ruled the world’s most expensive player out of PSG’s make-or-break Champions League clash with Real Madrid on March 6, but more worryingly for the football-mad public in Brazil, also threatens the much-fancied national side’s build-up to the World Cup, starting in Russia on June 14.
Lasmar, who will lead the surgery at a hospital in Belo Horizonte, said there is no quick fix for the striker.
“It’s not a simple fracture, but a fracture in an important bone in the middle of the foot,” Lasmar said.
Dressed in a black hoodie, a black baseball cap and wearing sunglasses, Neymar left the plane in a wheelchair. He smiled and took selfies with other passengers before leaving on a private jet to an undisclosed destination.
Neymar could arrive at the hospital on Friday by helicopter for maximum privacy, according to local press reports.
From the airport he may have headed straight for his villa in the Rio area, the reports said.
At the Mater Dei de Belo Horizonte hospital, an entire wing has been reserved for Neymar and his entourage, and staff have been warned to uphold the facility’s policy regarding confidentiality, said GloboEsporte.