A wheelchair-bound Neymar touched down in Brazil on Thursday for surgery on his broken foot — with the Paris Saint-Germain star facing a race to be fit for the World Cup this summer.
The Brazilian required help from an airport assistant upon landing in Rio de Janeiro, and was seen with his right ankle strapped while being pushed through the terminal.
Neymar will soon travel to Belo Horizonte, where he will have surgery on the injury — which he sustained last weekend — this Saturday.
He fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during Sunday’s 3-0 win over Marseille. PSG were initially confident it wasn’t serious but their star man is now likely to miss the rest of the season — and could be out of the World Cup in Russia.
According to Brazil’s team doctor, the 26-year-old is expected to be out of action for up to three months after he undergoes surgery on his broken metatarsal.
Rodrigo Lasmar, quoted on the website of Brazilian newspaper O Globo, said the world’s most expensive footballer was resigned to the lengthy lay-off.
Lasmar said: ‘Neymar suffered a fracture to the fifth metatarsal, it is an important fracture in a foot bone. The operation will be in Belo Horizonte on Saturday morning, and the recovery takes from two and a half months to three months.
‘Neymar is sad, but understands that he has no alternative now. He will devote himself to being well as soon as possible. We will do our best to get him ready as soon as possible.’
The lay-off means Neymar may miss the rest of the season with PSG, returning to fitness just weeks before Brazil’s World Cup campaign.
Neymar left the field in tears and, after consultation with Brazilian national team bosses, it has now been confirmed that he must go under the knife.
A statement on the club’s official website on Wednesday read: ‘After an initial treatment period of three days in line with a strict medical protocol, a joint decision has been taken between the medical staffs of both Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team.
‘In accordance with the player, it has been decided that Neymar Jr will undergo surgery in Brazil at the end of this week.
‘He will be operated on by Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar, accompanied by Professor Saillant, representing PSG.’