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Neymar to be benched for PSG’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid

16:31 EAT 26/11/2019
Neymar PSG Paris Saint-Germain 2019-20
The Brazilian returned to action in Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI against Lille, but his fitness will not be risked against the Blancos on Tuesday

Neymar is set to be missing from Paris Saint-Germain’s starting line-up for their Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday, with Thomas Tuchel dropping the Brazilian to the bench.

Goal can confirm that no risks are being taken on the South American’s fitness after he returned to domestic action following another injury-enforced break with a place taken up in PSG’s XI against Lille last Friday.

He did, however, look a little rusty and Tuchel is prepared to ease the 27-year-old back onto a European stage.

That decision means that the Ligue 1 champions can stick with the 4-3-3 system that they have been favouring of late.

Any tweaks to that formation, with it possible that four forwards could have been worked into the side, would have forced Tuchel to shuffle his pack.

The German tactician has opted against doing so after seeing Mauro Icardi, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe impress as an attacking trident.

Establishing stability and consistency in the final third also means that PSG can continue working with a three-man midfield of Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye.

One member of that trio would have been expected to miss out had Neymar been shoehorned into the side.

PSG’s probable starting XI against Real Madrid: Navas; Meunier, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Gueye, Marquinhos, Verratti; Di Maria, Icardi, Mbappe.

While Neymar misses out on a starting berth against Madrid, he is likely to figure at some stage.

He was heavily linked with the Liga giants over the summer, but made it clear that his preference was to secure a return to Barcelona if a move was to be made.

No deal was put in place and the Brazilian is having to work his way back to full fitness and favour in France.

Tuchel has admitted that managing an enigmatic presence is not easy, with Neymar never far away from the headlines.

PSG’s head coach has told France Info: "It's not easy to manage him at all!

"He has a big, big heart, but, unfortunately, he does not always show that he is a generous, reliable boy.

"Sometimes it is provocative and it's very bad because it's not necessary.

"Yes, yes, I tell him that. We laugh a lot together and I always try to tell the truth. He accepts it, but it's difficult.

"Ney is provocative when he feels that something is wrong, but he isn't when he is calm."

Neymar has been restricted to just six appearances for PSG this season, but does have four goals to his name and remains a useful option for Tuchel to be able to call upon.