SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian star Neymar expects to be in better shape at the World Cup in Russia than he was before his foot injury.
The Brazilian forward said on Tuesday that while it has been hard to miss a crucial part of the season because his first major surgery, the bright side is that he will be well rested when soccer’s showcase tournament begins on June 14.
[ REPORTS: Pogba to be sold ]
“I will have enough time to get to the World Cup in good shape and prepare myself,” Neymar told journalists during an event for one of his sponsors in Sao Paulo. He arrived using crutches and asked to be seated as quickly as possible when he was on stage.
“I expect to get there better than I was,” he said. “There are doubts, of course. I feel that too. But that is normal for someone who got injured. It has been hard not to play and practice.”
Neymar also said he will have his last post-surgery medical exam on May 17, and could be available for Brazil’s training sessions that start May 21 near Rio de Janeiro.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker had surgery in March on a cracked fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
The Brazilian also said it was hard not to be with his PSG teammates to celebrate their French league title on Sunday.
“It is very bad to see my team score, win a title and I am not able to be there. But my health is above this,” he said.
Asked about players who could have a great World Cup – aside from himself, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – Neymar did not single out any of his PSG teammates.
“Phillipe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus will make a difference (for Brazil), I hope. Mohammed Salah doesn’t play for a famous team, but could have a good World Cup. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Luis Suarez too,” he said. “I am glad to be part of a team that is the strongest, that has the skills to win.”