Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Champions League: Neymar ruled out of Barca showdown

There will be no reunion for Neymar and Lionel Messi as French giants Paris Saint-Germain announced that the Brazilian has been rules out of their Champions League last 16 second leg against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Neymar, 29, missed the first leg 4-1 win in Catalonia after suffering a thigh injury, and PSG has confirmed that the glamorous forward would continue to train individually.

“We have not had to make a decision, it is simply the state of fitness of a player, in this case ‘Ney’, who can’t make it,” coach Mauricio Pochettino said during a virtual press conference ahead of the game at the Parc des Princes.

“He is not fit enough to play a competitive game. This is just a reality, a fact.

“It’s a shame because he had been really looking forward to this game. It is a difficult moment for him because he had been expecting to recover but clearly he is still a few days away from being able to help the team.”

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the first leg drubbing to put Pochettino’s team in a strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The match comes amid speculations that Barca talisman Messi is on the cusp of a move to Paris with his contract running out in the summer.

In the meantime, he leads Ronald Koeman’s men on a near impossible comeback mission in Paris.

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