Pochettino says he’s hopeful that Neymar could be in PSG squad to face Madrid

Chidalu Obiajulu

Mauricio Pochettino says he is hopeful that Neymar will be in the squad for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League fixture against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.

The Brazilian has not played since the end of November, when he was stretchered off with an ankle injury during PSG’s 3-1 victory over Saint-Etienne.

However he has returned to full training over the last week, leading to speculation that he could feature against the Spanish outfit.

Speaking after PSG’s 1-0 win over Rennes on Friday night, Pochettino gave an update on Neymar’s chances of making the game.

“You have to be careful with expectations, then it’s not reality,” the Argentine said. “Everyone creates their own expectations. Expectation is something that is not supported by science and reality is something else,” he continued.

“It may be there. Evolution is very good and he may be in the squad. Hopefully, because he’s an important player for us.”

PSG host Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday, before travelling to the Bernabeu for the second leg three weeks later.

In Neymar’s absence over the last two months, Pochettino’s side has gone unbeaten in Ligue 1 and extended their lead to 16 points at the top of the table, but have been knocked out of the Coupe de France by Nice.

The forward – who turned 30 years old last week – had scored just three goals in 14 games this season before his injury.

He is without a goal in his last eight Champions League appearances, his longest ever drought in the competition.