Neymar back in PSG training ahead of Real Madrid tie, Ramos remains doubtful

By Sports Desk February 10, 2022

Neymar took part in Paris Saint-Germain training on Thursday and has a chance of featuring in next week's Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid.

Brazil international Neymar has not played for PSG since November 28 after spraining the ligaments in his left ankle during the 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne.

The 30-year-old, who was initially due to miss between six and eight weeks, has sat out the Parisians' past 12 matches.

However, he has stepped up his recovery programme by playing a small part in group training on the eve of PSG's Ligue 1 meeting with Rennes. 

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Neymar out of Friday's game, but a decision on whether he can play any part against Madrid in five days' time will be made next week.

"He's a great player who wants to play in the big games," Pochettino said at a pre-match news conference. "But he's an experienced player who has had injuries before. 

"He has the maturity to be able to handle these types of situations and use these situations to bring out the best in himself.

"We will wait and decide in the next few days if he will be there for Tuesday."

Neymar struggled for top form prior to his spell on the sidelines, managing three goals and three assists in 14 appearances in all competitions this season.

Real Madrid great Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, also still has a chance of playing against his former side in next week's first leg at Parc des Princes.

Ramos sustained another calf injury two week ago and has missed PSG's previous two games, but he started running again on Thursday and will be evaluated in the next 48 hours.

The Spain international has played just five times for Pochettino's side in all competitions since arriving in July, totalling 284 minutes of action on the field.

Indeed, he played just eight matches in all competitions at club level in 2021, while his last appearance for Spain was against Kosovo last March.

The Ligue 1 leaders also announced ahead of their meeting with Rennes that Ander Herrera is on course to return to training on Sunday.

While PSG's injury issues are clearing up, Madrid are still unsure whether star striker Karim Benzema will be available after missing Madrid's most recent two games.

Benzema has scored in his past four Champions League appearances, netting five times in total, but faces a race against time to be fit.

"If he is not there, it would be a big loss for Madrid," Pochettino said. "He's one of the best strikers in the world. 

"He's a great player who shows his talent in a club like Real year after year. But I'm not saying that it will benefit PSG because Real have a very large squad."

Related items

  • Liverpool winner at Forest should have been ruled out, says Mark Clattenburg Liverpool winner at Forest should have been ruled out, says Mark Clattenburg

    Nottingham Forest referee analyst Mark Clattenburg claims Paul Tierney made an mistake in allowing Darwin Nunez’s last-gasp winner in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

    Forest’s players, bench and fans were furious after the substitute’s stoppage-time effort denied them a draw.

    Referee Tierney had stopped play before the build-up to the goal for an apparent head injury to Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate.

    The official blew with Forest in possession on the edge of Liverpool’s area and, after Konate had quickly recovered, Tierney dropped the ball to visiting goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who then started the move that led to the goal.

    Clattenburg, appointed to his role at Forest last month, said after the match: “The law states that, if the referee is going to stop the game – which he is entitled to for a head injury – the ball has to go back to the team that has possession. Nottingham Forest clearly had possession.

    “The laws of the game clearly state that, when the referee blows his whistle, the team that has possession should get possession when the game is started again.”

    Former Premier League referee Clattenburg added: “When Liverpool were given possession, they went on the attack and eventually scored from it.

    “It is another decision that has gone against Nottingham Forest… We just need to hope that this luck changes.”

    Forest’s players and staff surrounded Tierney at the final whistle, with coach Steven Reid shown a red card, while boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to comment on the incident.

    Forest dismissed reports club owner Evangelos Marinakis had to be restrained after chasing Tierney down the tunnel after the final whistle, but said he did approach the official.

    Clattenburg added: “The owner is quite upset because, of course, he has invested a lot of money in the club. He wants to see results and he feels that another decision has gone against the club.

    “He is upset. Everyone at the club is upset that they have lost in this way.

    “As a club, Nottingham Forest feel as though there have been one or two decisions that have gone against them in the last few weeks.”

    Clattenburg said he would speak to the referees’ governing body, the PGMOL, about the incident.

    “With the relations I have with the PGMOL and the Premier League, we will discuss what has happened today and then plot what the next course of action is,” he said.

    “The law is clear. When you have possession outside of the penalty area, you get possession back.

    “In that crucial moment, Forest had the ball in the corner. They could have absorbed a bit of time and got the result, with the score at 0-0.”

    When asked if he had been in contact with Tierney after the game, Clattenburg added: “I have not spoken to him myself. I tried to go into the referee’s room and he would not allow me in.”

    The PGMOL declined to comment, while the PA news agency has also approached the Premier League for its response.

  • Late Lucas Digne goal sees Aston Villa snatch win over battling Luton Late Lucas Digne goal sees Aston Villa snatch win over battling Luton

    Aston Villa maintained their push for a top-four finish in the Premier League as substitute Lucas Digne headed an 89th-minute winner to defeat Luton 3-2 at Kenilworth Road.

    Unai Emery’s side looked to have thrown away two points, allowing Luton to fight back from two goals down in the second half, until Digne arrived at the far post to turn Moussa Diaby’s deep cross past Thomas Kaminski and into the net, in front of ecstatic away fans.

    The hosts had fought back bravely to level the game at 2-2, Tahith Chong and Carlton Morris scoring after a brace from Ollie Watkins had seemingly put Villa in control at the break.

    Defeat for Rob Edwards’ side was their fourth in a row, whilst Villa maintained their five-point lead over Tottenham in the race for the Champions League.

    Kaminski had been the home side’s hero in the opening quarter, first diving full stretch to turn away a right-footer from Jacob Ramsey, then yet more acrobatically when Watkins got in down the right and lashed one towards the near post, beaten behind brilliantly by the goalkeeper.

    Yet his endeavours were rendered in vain a minute later when from the resulting corner Watkins headed Villa in front. Leon Bailey’s ball arched invitingly into the six-yard box where the Villa striker had got free, and he used the space afford by slack Luton marking to rise up and direct the ball coolly past Kaminski into the top corner for his 20th goal of the season.

    Villa lost the influential Ramsey to injury on the half-hour mark, but it did little to break their confident stride. Watkins almost made it two 10 minutes before the break, standing up Teden Mengi on the right before knocking it round the defender and cracking a low shot off Kaminski’s far post.

    Luton had been warned about Watkins’ pace in behind but their high line continued to allow him space, and soon he had made good on his threat of a second.

    The defence had pushed up towards near the centre circle when Douglas Luiz lumped one over the top for Villa’s top scorer to stride on to. With no one in orange near him, he made light work of clipping Villa’s second goal in off the post. VAR checked for offside, but Watkins had timed his run perfectly.

    Edwards’ side emerged with renewed urgency after the break and the home support responded in kind, roaring their team on as they began to find success attacking down the right with the lively Issa Kabore.

    A goal to give them hope arrived after 66 minutes. Villa failed to deal with a corner, forcing Matt Cash into a desperate headed clearance off the line. Still the defence dithered, and as the ball ricocheted back into the six-yard box, Chong pounced to thump it home.

    Suddenly Villa were tottering. Six minutes later, their lead was gone and it was the simplest Luton goal.

    Alfie Doughty hit a huge, raking free-kick from near the touchline which sailed over everyone to the back post. Arriving unmarked with time to pick his spot was Morris, who timed his run expertly and with barely an upwards glance swept it beyond Martinez.

    Luton were now rampant and an almost identical move gave Morris the chance to win it, fractionally failing to make the required contact as the ball was flashed across goal from Doughty’s free-kick.

    They looked at least to have done enough for a point, but then came Digne’s dramatic intervention at the death to break Luton hearts and keep Villa in the Champions League driving seat.

  • Jurgen Klopp saw nothing wrong with Liverpool’s winning goal at Forest Jurgen Klopp saw nothing wrong with Liverpool’s winning goal at Forest

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted he saw nothing wrong with Darwin Nunez’s controversial stoppage-time winner at Nottingham Forest.

    Nunez marked his return from injury by heading home in the ninth minute of time added on to seal a 1-0 win, which lifted his side four points clear at the top of the Premier League.

    But the Uruguay international’s last-gasp effort left Forest’s players, staff and fans furious at the final whistle after referee Paul Tierney had stopped play before the build-up to Liverpool’s winner for an apparent head injury to Ibrahima Konate.

    Tierney blew with Forest in possession on the edge of Liverpool’s area and after Konate had quickly recovered, the official dropped the ball to visiting goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who then started the move that led to his side’s dramatic winner.

    Klopp said: “It happened exactly the same in the first half didn’t it? Exactly the same, just the other way round.

    “I accepted it would happen like that because it happened in the first half. If it didn’t happen in the first half, I would have asked the question as well.

    “I would assume that’s the rule, I don’t know. But because it happened twice and got handled exactly the same, I don’t really see their reasons for a discussion.”

    Earlier in the game, Tierney halted a Liverpool attack after Forest skipper Ryan Yates was felled by Harvey Elliott’s shot and play resumed with home goalkeeper Matz Sels taking possession.

    Klopp said: “I understand 100 per cent the excitement and the anger of Nottingham, of course, they fought for everything. But it happened twice the same and was consistent.”

    Nunez’s last-gasp effort secured Liverpool their first league win at the City Ground in almost 40 years and 14 matches to heap the pressure on Manchester City and Arsenal, who play on Sunday and Monday respectively.

    Klopp said it had been a huge effort from his injury-hit squad, who have registered six straight wins in all competitions, including last Sunday’s League Cup final win over Chelsea.

    “Four games in 11 days, come on. Five in 15,” Klopp added. “It’s really tough. With our squad situation it’s super-tough and how the boys fought through that is really special.

    “The fourth game was the toughest. It was an unbelievable effort the boys put in. A proper, proper shift.

    “If you had asked me 12 days ago if it was possible to win all four games, I’d have said no.”

    Forest’s players and staff surrounded Tierney at the final whistle, with coach Steven Reid shown a red card, while boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to comment on the incident after the final whistle.

    Forest later dismissed reports that owner Evangelos Marinakis had chased Tierney down the tunnel.

    Nuno said: “I will not comment on the referee. We played a very good game against a very good team, fantastic players and manager and we limited them.

    “They had chances, we had chances, it was a good game of football. We had clear chances to do better, to improve. We should have been more clinical.

    “I’m proud of the boys because they worked very hard. They combined, they helped each other, they defend the box, they did two-on-ones – they did everything. But we can improve.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.