BARCELONA: Pictures of Neymar returning to Barcelona this morning night on crutches were a worrying sight for both club coach Tata Martino but also for Brazil’sLuiz Felipe Scolari.
The player expected to be Brazil’s inspiration in June at the World Cup finals was carried off after 25 minutes of Barcelona’s Spanish cup victory at Getafe in Madrid on Thursday night.
The early diagnosis was a right ankle tendon tear which would keep him sidelined for between three weeks and a month. However, further tests are being undertaken today.
Martino said: “The situation didn’t look good when you saw it happen and you thought he might be out for a while but thank God it is not as serious as it appeared and he’ll be back playing soon. The doctors after the game have said it is not so bad and so if tests confirm it then it is not something serious.”
If his absence is ‘only’ three weeks then Neymar should be fit to line up alongside former World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in the Barcelona attack against Manchester City in the second round of the Champions League.
This was a further setback, however, for Neymar who had not started a match since Christmas because of a lack of match fitness and then a stomach bug.
Barcelona’s 2-0 win took them forward 6-0 on aggregate after a game in which playmaker Xavi came off the bench to make his 700th appearance for the club since 1998.
Xavi has won 22 trophies at Barcelona including three Champions Leagues and seven La Liga titles. He has also been a key member of the Spanish national side that won the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.