Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he takes no satisfaction from the injury that threatens to rule Neymar out of next week’s Champions League last 16, second leg between the Spanish club and Paris Saint-Germain. Neymar hurt his ankle and had to be carried off on a stretcher during PSG’s 3-0 win over Marseille on Sunday. He now faces a fight to be ready for the last 16 clash at Parc des Princes in eight days’ time.
Real hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg and PSG’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals will be greatly reduced without their star forward. Zidane, however, said on Monday: “I’m not happy with the Neymar injury and I hope he can be back for the game. I will never want a rival player to be out injured.” The European champions have two La Liga fixtures to negotiate before their crunch meeting with PSG, starting with a trip to Espanyol on Tuesday. They then host Getafe on Saturday.
One player hoping to cement his starting spot against PSG will be Gareth Bale, who scored and played 90 minutes in Saturday’s 4-0 thumping of Alaves. “That is what we want, we want to see a 100 percent Gareth,” Zidane said. “The other day he had a great game and scored a goal. The most important thing was his participation in the game and he did very well.” Marcelo and Luka Modric are both out with thigh injuries while Toni Kroos is nursing a knee problem.
Zidane declared himself “optimistic”, however, that the trio will recover in time to face PSG but added that an evaluation will be made on Wednesday.