Neymar could be out of action for as long as three months, the Brazil national team's doctor has warned as the Paris Saint-Germain forward arrived home for an operation on his right foot.
PSG confirmed Wednesday that Neymar will have surgery in Brazil later this week after he sprained his ankle and cracked the fifth metatarsal in his right foot near the end of Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille.
The Ligue 1 leaders have revealed that after three days of rest and various tests, the only option available is to operate on the world's most expensive player. The surgery will take place on Saturday morning at Hospital Mater Dei in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Neymar, for whom PSG paid Barcelona €222 million in a blockbuster transfer in August 2017, will miss next week's Champions League round-of-16 second leg with Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes. However, Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar said on Thursday that the 26-year-old may not return to action until the start of June, just two weeks before the start of the World Cup finals in Russia.
Speaking as Neymar arrived at Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport, Lasmar told reporters: "We hope that he will be in the best conditions for the surgery."
Lasmar said that the injury was worse than the initially suspected hairline fracture of Neymar's fifth metatarsal.
"Neymar has suffered a fracture to his fifth metatarsal. It is a significant fracture to the bone in his foot. There are several types of fractures. For a fracture of this type, many times it is unnoticed and it ends up being much bigger, as has happened to Neymar, there is no doubt," Lasmar said. "The best and only indication is surgery, because, with a more conservative treatment, there is a great chance that there would be another fracture within a short period of time. And we cannot run that risk to the athlete."
Lasmar said that the nature of the fracture also could prolong Neymar's recovery.
"The recovery time is between two and a half and three months," Lasmar said. "Every player is different. The intention is to monitor how the situation is and have regular control of the recovery.
"Neymar is sad, but he understands that now he doesn't have any other options. He will work to be well as soon as possible. We will do everything possible for him to be ready as soon as possible."
Brazil begin their campaign for a record-extending sixth World Cup crown when they take on Switzerland in Sochi, Russia, on June 17. Host nation Russia will kick off the tournament against Saudi Arabia in Moscow three days earlier.