Neymar’s Barca return cancelled by thigh injury

Neymar is out of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League last-16 first leg against former club Barcelona.

The Brazil forward has been ruled out for four weeks with a thigh injury suffered in the French Cup win over Caen, ruling out his return to play in the Nou Camp on February 16.

He is also a doubt for the second leg on March 10 at the Parc des Princes in a major blow for Mauricio Pochettino, who is already without Angel Di Maria for the game in Spain next week.

PSG confirmed on Thursday: “Neymar Jr suffered an injury to the left adductor longus on Wednesday evening. Upon analysis of the clinical examination and imaging examinations, an unavailability of approximately four weeks is expected depending on the course.”

The last time the two clubs met in the Champions League last-16, Neymar scored twice for Barca in a 6-1 thrashing in the second leg, overturning PSG’s 4-0 first-leg advantage to progress in the 2016-17 competition.

Neymar, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez
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Neymar formed part a formidable front-three at Barcelona alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

He then switched to PSG that summer, after Barca were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Juventus, in a then-world record £200m deal, reportedly against the advice of team-mates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Barcelona have been trying to bring Neymar back to the Nou Camp since, but a deal has not materialised and now Messi’s own Barcelona future is in doubt, with PSG wanting to sign him on a free transfer this summer.

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