Injured Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has told friends and family that he wished he had “a new metatarsal” in a tearful 27th birthday speech in Paris on Sunday.
The Brazil international hurt his right foot while playing against Strasbourg in the Coupe de France round of 16 match on Jan. 23, with the club confirming that the playmaker will spend up to 10 weeks on the sidelines.
“What I wanted the most as a birthday present today is a new metatarsal,” Neymar said, “so I could be on the field fighting and doing what I love the most, which is playing soccer.”
During his speech, Neymar revealed that he had thought about canceling the celebration due to his injury, but after talking with friends he decided that it would be best to share a good time with his guests.
“It’s been very hard to be on crutches all this time. Every athlete knows how hard that is,” said Neymar, who also thanked his PSG teammates for their support. “They are giving me all the strength possible to help me return as soon as possible.”
It is the second injury in as many years to Neymar’s fifth metatarsal in his right foot, and it has occurred at almost exactly the same point in consecutive seasons.
Initial fears were that Neymar would miss the rest of the season, but after consulting medical experts at the Ooredoo Training Centre, PSG project that he will return in mid-April — with a potential Champions League quarterfinal second leg a likely target, should his team defeat Manchester United in the round of 16.