Neymar is set to miss Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League round of 16 second leg with former side Barcelona due to injury.
The Brazilian picked up a knock in early February that ruled him out of the first leg, which saw PSG run riot and take control of the tie at Camp Nou.
Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for the French champions, who delivered a performance that suggested they weren’t missing their Brazilian talisman too badly.
He hasn’t featured since he was substituted against Caen on 10 February, but Mauricio Pochettino was hopeful of having him back in time to help finish the job against Barça and reach the quarter-finals.
Reports in France (per GFFN), though, suggest he will not be fit in time to return for the return leg in Paris, due to take place on Wednesday 10 March.
The absence coincides with his sister Rafaella’s birthday on 11 March – an occasion he rarely misses, or so the joke goes.
Neymar has been either injured or suspended for both Barcelona and PSG for fixtures around 11 March every season since 2014/15. In both 2015 and 2016 he picked up yellow-card suspensions that ruled him out for the big day.
The past two years the 28-year-old has been injured as the curse seemingly struck again. The attacker has even been known to fly back to his home country to attend Rafaella’s birthday parties.
There is no word on when Neymar could return for PSG, but his latest injury rules him out of at least their next three matches, with Bordeaux and Brest due to come before the Champions League decider.
In the midst of the pandemic, it remains to be seen whether his club permit him to return to Brazil for such a frivolous reason…