Will Neymar be fit in time for the World Cup?
There are just a few weeks until the World Cup, and for Brazil, they’re out to win it for a sixth time.
And if the South American side are to lift the famous trophy for the first time since 2002, they’ll need Neymar to be on top form.
But will the striker even be there? The Paris Saint-Germain forward is still recovering from surgery on a broken metatarsal in February.
It’s not an uncommon injury, and it is widely believed that Neymar will shortly resume training with PSG and shall be fit in time for Russia
But merely being able to play won’t be enough.
Speaking in a Brazilian interview last weekend, Neymar himself questioned the mental hurdle of returning to first-team action.
Will the striker go for a 50/50 ball? Or will he jump out of the way for fear of aggravating his injury? It’s those crucial moments which win and lose games.
Then there’s the question of match fitness. It can be argued that Neymar’s 10-week absence and enforced rest will be seen as ideal preparation.
But equally, it means the 26-year-old hasn’t seen first-team action for nearly three months.
Brazil need Neymar, but they need him to be at his best.
Selecao boast a fine squad of players, but they aren’t blessed with world-class talents as in the days of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldhino.
Neymar is their star man, and by some margin.
Coach Tite faces a crucial few weeks. He must assess whether the world’s most expensive player is both physically and mentally ready.
Brazil are 9/2 to win the World Cup this summer, but there won’t be much confidence in the samba legends if their key asset isn’t up to the job.
Click here for all our World Cup odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication