Liverpool, Jun 3 (AFP) Neymar made his eagerly anticipated return from injury as a half-time substitute for Brazil in their World Cup warm-up against Croatia today.
Neymar had been sidelined for over three months after fracturing his foot while playing for Paris Saint-Germain against Marseille in Ligue 1 on February 25.
But the 26-year-old striker has made a strong recovery and handed Brazil a pre-World Cup boost, 11 days before the start of the tournament, when he came off the bench to replace Fernandinho for the second half at Anfield.
Neymar sprained his ankle and fractured his fifth metatarsal, requiring an operation which had left him facing a battle to be fit in time for Brazil’s opening World Cup match with Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don on June 17.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player following his blockbuster move from Barcelona last year, had spoken last month of his concerns about winning that race and described his rehabilitation as the biggest challenge of his career.
He also sat out training with the five-time world champions in London on Thursday as a precaution.
But Brazil coach Tite said he intended to play Neymar at some stage during the game with Croatia, his country’s penultimate match before the World Cup campaign starts.
Brazil only have one more game remaining – against Austria in Vienna on June 10 – before their World Cup quest gets underway in Russia one week later. AFP SSC SSC SSC
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.