Neymar passed fit to face Marseille
The Paris St Germain forward had been struggling with illness.
Neymar handed Paris St Germain a huge boost on the eve of Sunday’s French league Classique against Marseille when he returned to full training after sickness.
The Brazilian striker was named in the squad for the Parc des Princes clash in Ligue 1, the first of two home matches for PSG versus Marseille in just four days.
He had missed training on Friday and appeared a doubt at that stage, so his recovery is timely.
Former Barcelona man Neymar has scored 19 goals in 19 league appearances this season, and the world’s most expensive footballer will be aiming to at least maintain his goal-a-game strike rate.
PSG’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery has called for his players to pour heart and soul into the match, as they aim to move another step closer to clinching the championship.
“When I lived in Spain, I already knew that this was a big match,” Emery said. “It’s important for the fans of Paris and Marseille, but also for football fans all over the world.
“This is a great moment in the season, a key moment with these two matches against Marseille and then the game against Real Madrid.”
Quoted on PSG’s website, Emery challenged his side to make their home advantage count both on Sunday and in Wednesday’s Coupe de France quarter-final against the same opposition, and inevitably with the Champions League last-16 second leg against Madrid in mind.
The Madrid clash will happen on March 6, with plenty of football to be played before then, including a trip to Troyes next weekend.
Two big Classique wins before then would send Paris spirits soaring.
“We played away a lot in January, travelled a lot,” Emery said. “Now we play twice at home to Marseille, two ‘Classicos’, two big matches.
“It’s the best way to prepare for the upcoming matches.”
Marseille captain Dimitri Payet was highlighted by Emery as a player that could pose a threat to PSG.
Speaking to French reporters on Saturday, Payet said: “I’d rather play PSG twice than play less able teams. There is a rivalry. We know how important this is to our fans.”
Quoted on Marseille’s Twitter feed, Payet took the opportunity to claim Marseille are France’s number one club, regardless of the recent success enjoyed by Sunday’s opponents.
The France international said: “I don’t have envy about them. I’m playing in the biggest French club.”