SAO PAULO, April 18 — Brazil forward Neymar has ruled out returning to the pitch for Paris Saint-German this season as he focuses on being ready for the World Cup in Russia.
The 26-year-old has not played since suffering a cracked fifth metatarsal in his right foot in late February. He underwent surgery in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte on March 3 and has since been recovering at his mansion in Mangaratiba, near Rio de Janeiro.
Last week, Neymar raised the prospect of featuring in Paris Saint-Germain’s final matches of the season, but he dashed those hopes on Tuesday.
“There is no specific date for my expected return but the last exam is schedule for May 17 and, depending on my recovery, I’ll be free [to start training] after that,” Neymar said during a sponsor’s event in Sao Paulo.
PSG’s last fixture of the season is a Ligue 1 clash against Caen on May 19.
Brazil’s national squad will meet two days later in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro, to begin preparing for the World Cup, which starts on June 14.
“I speak regularly with [Brazil coach] Tite and [team coordinator] Edu Gaspar,” Neymar said. “We are sharing information. I’m progressing well and I hope to return as soon as possible.
Neymar has scored 28 goals and provided 16 assists across all competitions since arriving in the French capital from Barcelona for a world record fee of 222 million euros last August.
And despite his prolific 2017-18 form, the former Santos prodigy hopes his unscheduled rest will prove to be an advantage in Russia.
“I aim to come back better than I was before,” he said. “Of course there are doubts but I think that’s normal. It’s difficult not to be playing and training. It’s hard to be here watching my team play and winning the league [France’s Ligue 1]. I want to be with them.
“I want to come back strongly and I’m working as hard as possible. I’ve been waiting for four years for the World Cup to come around,” he concluded.