Paris Saint-Germain suffered a major setback this week with Neymar’s injury, but chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi is still confident ahead of taking on Real Madrid.
As noted by BBC Sport, the Brazilian international will undergo surgery after sustaining a fractured metatarsal, and so while that undoubtedly rules him out of the Champions League tie next week, it will potentially also raise doubts over his ability to fully recover in time for the World Cup this summer.
The 26-year-old has been in fine form this season for the French giants, scoring 29 goals and providing 18 assists in 30 appearances to leave PSG on course to win major honours this season.
However, with a 3-1 deficit to overcome, losing their best player isn’t going to be ideal heading into the second leg in the French capital next Tuesday night.
Al-Khelaifi remains confident though, or least he is putting on a brave face in front of the cameras and attempting to lift the squad to respond in the right way to Neymar’s setback.
“Real? Of course we believe. If not, why even bother to play? We have a team that can beat Real,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN.
“We will qualify in the Champions League, the supporters and the players together. We will go through. I repeat, we have the players and the team for it.”
The Brazilian forward was particularly wasteful in the first leg at the Bernabeu, although PSG will rightly feel aggrieved that they came away with a 3-1 loss having played so well for a large part of the encounter.
With or without their talismanic striker, they’ll have to now plot a way to keep things tight at the back and find the goals required to advance. Madrid lost to Espanyol this week to show further signs of weaknesses in their current team, and so it remains to be seen whether or not Al-Khelaifi is right to feel so confident.