Life without Neymar ... At Paris Saint-Germain, we begin to know. And we have (almost) learned to do with it. Whether due to injury or suspension, the Brazilian footballer, snatched at a price of gold (220 million euros) in the summer of 2017 at FC Barcelona, has often failed the Paris club since his arrival.
It will still be the case on Tuesday, October 22: when he should have made his return to the Champions League, after serving his two games of suspension against Real Madrid and Galatasaray, Neymar will still be absent for the match between PSG to Bruges (21 hours).
Released for a left thigh injury in a match opposing, on October 13, the national team of Brazil in Senegal, organized in Singapore at the international truce, the number 10 in Paris is unavailable for four weeks. In just over two years in the capital, this is his tenth absence due to injury, as identified by the website Transfermarkt.
60 missed matches
If we also count the meetings where he was left to rest by the Parisian staff, Neymar has almost as often been in the stands as on the score sheet: out of the 123 possible matches he could have taken part, he has missed 60, according to our calculations. That's almost half.
"Too many competitions, too many friendly matches. Thomas Tuchel, PSG coach
The repeated physical pains of the Brazilian did not begin with his arrival in Paris. If he escaped Santos, in his professional debut in Brazil, Neymar began to miss matches for various injuries upon his arrival in Europe, Barcelona.
"Too many competitions, too many friendly matches" : this is the explanation put forward by Thomas Tuchel, the PSG coach. "We are convinced that to avoid injuries, you need a good preparation phase. But everyone plays without preparation. Everyone has other competitions, " lamented the Paris coach on October 17, before a league match against Nice.
🎙️ @TTuchelofficial: "@KehrerThilo, @IGanaGueye and @neymarjr are injured. @JuanBernat is suspended." #PSGlive https://t.co/TXivBCriJg- PSG_inside (@Paris Saint-Germain)
While recalling that the appearance of an injury is due to several factors, Jean-Pierre Paclet, the former doctor of the team of France (between 2002 and 2008), also puts forward a certain lack of physical preparation to explain the situation of Neymar.
But he considers that it is rather the Paris club that is responsible for this situation, preferring tours abroad early in the season to optimal physical preparation. "It has no effect, even harmful , he regrets. We spend hours in planes with changes in temperature, climate, it is not ideal. "
In the Paris squad, if injuries are a recurring problem, few players spend so much time away from the field.
Certainly Neymar gets a lot of hits in his matches, and "it can play," said Jean-Pierre Paclet. But during his career, the number 10 in Paris has rarely hurt on direct trauma, he notes.
The difference, he thinks, is in terms of individual preparation. "That's what Guy Roux called" invisible training , "he explains. To be fit, the player must be able to rest. It sounds innocuous, but it's important. When we see how things are at PSG, we do not feel that there is a lot of pressure on this invisible training. The football job is not just two hours of training a day. "
If Neymar is still young (27), the Brazilian already has a long career behind him. If he has long had less need to be "physically ready because his technique allowed him to get out of certain situations" , as Jean-Pierre Paclet believes, today, the habit of not working probably ends up To pay oneself.
In the past two years, the Brazilian's absences have often occurred at key moments.
The four weeks of unavailability will deprive Neymar of the double confrontation against Bruges in the Champions League and three league games, including the always-awaited PSG-OM, Sunday 27 October.
In the past two years, the Brazilian's absences have often occurred at key moments. In February 2018, he missed the round of 16 second leg against Real Madrid (2-1 loss, with elimination) after a crack in the fifth metatarsal, which finally pushed him off the field until the end of the second half. the season.
A year later, in January 2019, he relapsed, and missed the next 18 games, including the double confrontation against Manchester United (2-0, 1-3), which caused a new elimination in the round of 16 of the League champions.Read also Football: Brazil wins its ninth Copa America
Even in selection, Neymar is not spared. A few days before the start of the Copa America in June, he had injured his ankle and had to watch his teammates in the Brazilian selection lift the continental trophy from the stands.
Reduced typing capacity
In any case, these repeated absences weigh on the "strike ability" of the PSG. In one more than two seasons, Neymar was finally associated only 44 times to Kylian Mbappé in the Paris attack.
As for the trio formed with Edinson Cavani (the famous "MCN"), it has been seen at work only 32 times, the equivalent of one match out of four. The three men have also been seen together on a ground since April 27 against Rennes, during the final lost in Coupe de France (2-2). And we must go back to January 19 to find traces of their last tenure together (against Guingamp, 9-0).
All this is reflected in the performance of the Paris attack. According to data from the sports statistics company Opta, provided to L'Equipe , PSG scored an average goal more in the games where his three stars were titular, compared to those where they were not aligned together. Against Bruges, the Parisian club will have to do without it again.