Neymar criticizes PSG after loss, says club prevented early return from rib injury

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Neymar felt that Paris Saint-Germain's handling of his rib injury was overly cautious, and cost him during Tuesday's Champions League match. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Neymar felt that Paris Saint-Germain's handling of his rib injury was overly cautious, and cost him during Tuesday's Champions League match. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain lost 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 encounter with Borussia Dortmund, but Neymar is taking it hardest — and angriest.

Neymar is upset at PSG leadership for being overly cautious with a recent rib injury. The club decided to rest Neymar for more than two weeks leading up to the Borussia Dortmund match, and Neymar wasn’t happy with that decision.

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“It’s hard not to play for four games,” Neymar said, via the Guardian. “Unfortunately it was not my choice, it came from the club, the doctors; they’re the ones who made the decision, one that I did not like. We’ve had a lot of discussions on that. I wanted to play, I was feeling well but the club were afraid, and in the end I’m the one suffering.”

Neymar told reporters that the crack in his rib shouldn’t have prevented him from missing the four games before the Borussia Dortmund match, and that he was actually ready to play against Lyon on Feb. 9. However, the club didn’t agree and continued to postpone his return.

Neymar is clearly frustrated with his club, but the history here runs deeper than that. He’s missed PSG’s last two Champions League exits due to injuries. While he was ultimately cleared to play this week against Borussia Dortmund — and scored PSG’s lone goal — he felt the long layoff leading up to the game affected his athleticism.

Via the Guardian:

“I understand the fear that the club was suffering from, because in the last two years I was not able to play in the round of 16. I respect the decision, but it cannot be like this, because the player ends up suffering.

“It was very difficult to play a match like this, intense, 90 minutes without stopping. It is different. Had I been in better shape, I would certainly have played better.”

Being out of shape (or at least out of shape by his standards) is not how Neymar wanted to start this season’s Champions League knockout stage.

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