On Sunday, the footballing world held its breath as Neymar left Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 fixture against Lyon on a stretcher and in tears.

The victim of a fierce challenge from Thiago Mendes, the Brazil star crumpled to the grass clutching his ankle. As he hid his face from the cameras, it was readily evident the pain he was suffering. This was no mere act.

For the third time in four seasons, it seemed that Neymar had suffered a serious injury that could rule him out through the crucial spring period of the campaign.

The initial scans, however, have returned a sunnier outlook. PSG are hopeful that Neymar will be return within weeks rather than months, and will easily be fit in time to feature a gainst Barcelona as they renew their push for a maiden Champions League title in February.

If the polemic nature of Neymar’s on-field demeanour means he is a figure who will never be universally celebrated, for those who appreciate his freestyling nature, news of him avoiding long-lasting harm is cause for relief.

But the incident at Parc des Princes on Sunday should also serve as a warning: the manner in which Neymar is currently treated on the field leaves him vulnerable and exposed. Continue reading

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