Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Neymar Jr could have been up against Barcelona if it was not for his recent injury. The Brazilian forward was subject to a horrendous foul play during the French Cup clash, following which he sustained an adductor injury. Now, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has urged match officials to see to it that the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are protected on the field.
Neymar was seen limping off in the 59th minute during the game against Caen. The subsequent medical reports have suggested that the player will sit out on the sidelines for at least four weeks, thus effectively ruling him out for PSG's trip to Camp Nou when they play the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16.
Koeman is disappointed that Neymar will not be up against his side on Tuesday. Speaking to the media in the pre-match presser, Koeman insisted that the referee should protect players like Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo. "Because they are the players who allow us to enjoy ourselves. Referees have to protect them, although there is contact in this sport," Koeman said.
The Dutch tactician goes on to insist there's no other team better than Barcelona in the competition at the moment. He claimed the Camp Nou outfit have some of the most fantastic players in the world, which suggests they could beat any team in Europe.
Apart from Neymar, PSG superstar Angel Di Maria also misses out due to a thigh injury. But Mauricio Pochettino is ensuring that their absence does not impact his plans for the game at the Camp Nou. Speaking to the media, Pochettino said, "It's true that the absence of Neymar and Di María is painful but we have a team that is ready to play this match and, if possible, to win it."
PSG star Leandro Paredes appears in high spirits as he goes on to suggest that there are no favourites in the tie. Speaking to the media in the pre-match presser, he said, "The absence of several teammates is a shame but we have a squad with excellent quality who will take on their responsibility. There is no favourite in this match. We are a big team, just as FC Barcelona are. It will be very difficult, but we are ready to play this match. The best team will win it.”