Due to the injury he picked up in the match against Marseille, PSG & Brazil forward Neymar is going to miss significant football time, keeping him out almost until the World Cup. A lot of players and fans are happy to see this turn of events.
There have been conflicting reports regarding the severity of his injury since he twisted his foot, which led to a crack in it and a sprain in his ankle. Initially the damage report said three weeks, but it’s gotten worse since, with the timeline suggesting 2-3 months. In time to play for Brazil in the World Cup (in Russia), but not in time to try and help Paris Saint-Germain come back from a 3-1 loss in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage clash against Real Madrid.
While Zinedine Zidane said he isn’t gloating or happy about the absence of Neymar from the second leg, it’s hard to believe many people feel the same way. Neymar, simply put, is an A**hole kind of footballer; you love him when he’s on your side, hate him otherwise. Cristiano Ronaldo is the same. So is Luis Suarez. Players that are incredible, the best in the world. But they also try to cheat or bend the rules at every opportunity, and don’t seem to be hindered about getting caught here and there, both by referees and the TV cameras.
In France, it’s hard to find anyone sobbing besides PSG fans. Even Neymar’s teammates, some of them at least, might be happy about the way cards have been dealt. The most expensive footballer in history, making more money than anyone on this team by far, who allegedly gets preferential treatment; it’s bound to rub some people the wrong way.
PSG hold a 14 point lead in Ligue 1 with 11 matches to go. Neymar’s injury won’t help anyone, whether it’s Monaco, Marseille or even Lyon catch up with them. But Neymar has been another step in PSG’s less than subtle way of killing title competitiveness in the French league, which enjoyed quite a bit of parity and variety once Lyon’s reign in the ’00’s ended. He has made enemies on almost every team in France due to his behavior.
PSG are about to win their first non-Zlatan championship since 1994. Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe will make sure they finish the job. But who knows if Neymar ever plays again for the French side. Unless his return is before May, Neymar has probably played his last club match for this season. With the rumors growing stronger regarding his desire to leave the team (Real Madrid?), perhaps his Parisian venture will be a short lived one.
Neymar, although not the first high-profile and expensive signing by PSG, represents the aggressive manner in which the Qatar ownership bulldozed its way towards taking over the league. Financial fair play seems to be irrelevant in cases when it’s a nation’s government backing the club. Neymar isn’t just the crown jewel in PSG’s attempts to conquer Europe. It’s Qatar’s big name in promoting their World Cup hosting gig, which is also shifting through immense problems and criticism.
There’s something nasty about wishing someone to get injured. And yet Neymar, in a very short time, has managed to position himself as one of the most hated footballers on the planet, making his injury a cause for celebration among many, worldwide. Sad, almost unethical, but true.