Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday as PSG visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup

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Neymar Jr might make his first appearance for Paris Saint-Germain since November when the club hosts Real Madrid in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday.

Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday as PSG visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup
Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday

After recovering from an ankle ailment, the Brazilian is back in training.

Sergio Ramos, the former Real Madrid defender, is PSG’s only absentee due to a calf ailment.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino stated, “Given the players involved, this could have been the final.”

Last season, Pochettino’s side fell in the semi-finals to Manchester City, and the expectation is mounting on the former Tottenham manager to deliver the French side their first European crown.

The Qatar-owned team fell in the final of the 2020 Champions League against Bayern Munich, but having previously been eliminated in the last 16 in three consecutive seasons.

Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday as PSG visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup
Neymar Jr with Teammate Messi in training

Lionel Messi, who joined from Barcelona in the summer, has scored five of his seven goals for the club in the Champions League, as well as a club-record 26 goals versus Real Madrid.

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“PSG has been wanting to win this trophy for 50 years, therefore we are the challengers,” Pochettino said of his squad, which leads Ligue 1 by 13 points.

“We hold Real Madrid in high regard as one of the top teams in the world. You don’t win 13 European Cups because of your coaches; it’s because of the club’s entire strength.

“We are the challengers; a lot of effort has gone into constructing a squad to realize our objective, but we are still the challengers, and Real Madrid has a habit of winning the Champions League,” he said.

Real have their own problems, with French duo Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema out since suffering hamstring injuries in a 2-2 draw with Elche last month.

Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday as PSG visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup

Left-back Mendy is anticipated to be healthy, but the condition of striker Benzema, the club’s leading scorer this season with 24 goals in all competitions, is less assured.

“I am always willing to push it for my club; otherwise, I would have stayed in Madrid,” Benzema stated. “However, I am not going to risk injuring myself again.”

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Gareth Bale was hauled back for Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Villarreal in La Liga, his first appearance since August, after Carlo Ancelotti’s side had scored just one goal in three games without him.

Bale’s contract expires at the end of the season, but Ancelotti has stated that the Welshman would continue to play a role until then.

Neymar Jr could feature on Tuesday as PSG visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup

“His contract is coming to an end,” the Italian explained. “He may not have had much motivation in the past, but now he is fine and wants to finish here the manner he deserves, because Bale has helped this club win so many titles.”

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