Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Neymar was given permission to return to Brazil to recover after playing with a groin injury in the Champions League.
Neymar was among the scorers in the 4-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade on December 11 and was able to finish the game, but Tuchel has revealed that he was already carrying a knock.
The world’s most expensive player subsequently returned home to Brazil for his rehabilitation and will miss Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash with Nantes.
“Neymar has travelled to Brazil with my permission,” Tuchel told a press conference, as reported by the French media.
“He was injured when he played against Belgrade and is still injured now. We were happy to see after the game that things were not any worse.
“He wants to play every match but we have to be intelligent and not take any risks with this injury. Now he can make the most of two weeks of holidays. It’s necessary, so we gave permission for him to return to Brazil.
“If it was a final or the last game of the season then it would have been a different decision.”
Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria is a doubt for the return to Ligue 1 action and will be subject to a fitness test.
“Angel has been playing with some pain for two weeks. We’ll know more after training. Do we take the risk with him now or do we give him a rest?” Tuchel said.
“It’s similar to what’s happening with Neymar. He has been playing through the pain fro two weeks. We’ll discuss it and then take a decision.”
“There’s a bit of physical and mental fatigue in the squad. But we are professionals, we have to adapt.”
PSG’s Ligue 1 campaign has been affected by postponements caused by the civil unrest in France and after two draws in their previous outings, Tuchel is targeting victory.
“We absolutely want to win this last match of the year. Me, the team, everyone wants to win the match. It would be perfect to close out this half year that way,” he said.
“It’s a big challenge because Nantes have a new coach with a lot of experience. They are a very courageous team.
“They’ve had cancelled matches as well, so have been had a similar problem to us. I’m confident that we’ll be ready for the game. It’s difficult to in win, but it’s our objective.”
Nantes are in mid-table but coach Vahid Halilhodzic is still targeting a win against the unbeaten league leaders.
“We’re going to Paris trying to do something. After that, will we succeed? That’s another question,” Halilhodzic said.
“Everything is possible from the moment you want it, but you still have to do things for it.”