Neymar Likely Out vs Manchester United in UCL, Could Miss Rest of Season

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What a difference a few weeks can makes when it comes to handicapping and previewing the Manchester United vs Paris Saint-Germain UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. When the knockout round pairing was first announced back in December, it looked like a cake-walk for the French powerhouse.

Now, with Neymar almost certain to miss the first leg, and potentially the rest of the season, the outlook shifts dramatically. Also, when Jose Mourinho was still in charge, United had a very bleak outlook for the rest of 2018-19. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer though, United have won all eight, and don’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.

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One of the hardest fixtures on the schedule ahead, if not the most difficult, just got much easier on paper. PSG Manager Thomas Tuchel gave the media an injury update on Neymar yesterday, with the Brazilian winger having fractured a metatarsal in the French Cup this past Wednesday.

“It’s going to be very difficult, that is clear,” Tuchel told reporters after Les Parisiens beat Rennes 4-1 in Ligue 1 action on Sunday.

“I do not have confirmation of a new diagnosis. As I explained yesterday (Saturday), it’s too early to talk about a return date. We have to wait for the first week, which is very important, and its reaction to treatment. Only after that can we be more precise, but it’s going to be very difficult (for the United match). It is not a secret.”

United host PSG in the first leg of their UCL tie on February 12 (the Paris leg is March 6). Given what Tuchel had to say there, it would be a medical miracle if the world’s most expensive player was ready to go in time for this clash.

And it looks like PSG could be without Neymar for much more than just this game.

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ESPN just reported that: “a medical source close to the French champions confirmed that the 26-year-old may well require surgery to fix his latest right foot problem.”

If surgery is required, then indeed Neymar would be done for the rest of 2018-19. The ESPN FC article adds that the £200 million man “has fractured the same fifth metatarsal in his right foot as last year — albeit in a different location — and that it is almost impossible that he will recover in time for the trip to Old Trafford on Feb. 12.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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