Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar criticised how the club delayed his return from a rib injury and said he could have played sooner to improve his physical condition.
Neymar returned after a four-match absence to play in PSG’s 2-1 Champions League round-of-16 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, where the Brazilian scored the visitors’ lone goal.
But the player said the time away from the pitch hindered his performance and blamed the club for keeping him out of competition.
“It was not how I imagined to get here. I didn’t play in the last [four] games. It was a PSG decision, by club doctors,” Neymar said after the match. “Unfortunately I had to accept that. I did not like what they proposed to me, but the club is in charge, unfortunately. But that ends up being bad for me and my teammates.
“I was injured, I had a crack in my rib, but it was nothing to stop me from playing. I was prepared to play against Lyon [on Feb. 9] but they postponed my return. Then they postponed it again and then they postponed it again.”
PSG have a history of losing Neymar to injury in the middle of the season, with two metatarsal problems cropping up in his first two campaigns since joining for a world-record €222 million from Barcelona back in 2017.
“I understand the fear, because I was injured in the last two years, I respect it, but it can’t be like that,” Neymar added. “It was very difficult for me to play a game like that, intense. I think that if I was in better physical condition, I would certainly have a much better game.”