Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Antero Henrique has lamented the timing of Neymar’s injury as he branded the forward "the world’s best player".
The 26-year-old sustained a broken bone in his foot playing against Marseille last Sunday, and though he underwent successful surgery in Brazil, PSG believe that the player they bought for €222 million from Barcelona last summer will be missing from training for six weeks.
Consequently, he will not be available for the club’s return match against Real Madrid in the Champions League and with the Parisians seeking to overcome a 3-1 deficit, Henrique admits he will be sorely missed.
"On the field, he’s the best player in the world," the sporting director told L’Equipe. "He helps us in a fantastic way.
"But off the field he helps us, too, with his spirit, his relationship with the other players, staff and the fans.
"Even if can’t play against Real, we feel that Neymar’s with us. He’s already sent many messages of encouragement."
Henrique has explained that the injury the forward has sustained is not a severe one, but that its timing is unfortunate.
"It’s not a nightmare," he said. "It’s a classic football injury, he can run.
"It just comes at the wrong time, before this crucial meeting with Real. We’d prefer to play with the best player in the world than without him – that makes sense.
"Neymar is the leader of the team, but his team-mates will give everything for him and the club."