Neymar says he is confident of returning to play for Barcelona before the end of the season, when the Catalan side might still have a chance to lift the Liga trophy.
The Brazil attacker has not played since bruising a foot in Barca’s 2-1 Copa del Rey final defeat to Real Madrid on April 16, and it had been thought he could miss the remainder of the domestic campaign to ensure he was fully fit and ready for the World Cup, especially as his club are now outsiders in the title race.
However, the 22-year-old told Mundo Deportivo that he was hopeful of both playing against current leaders Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on May 18, and Barca then being in a position to overtake Atletico in what could be a title-deciding game.
“I hope to recover and to play the last game,” Neymar said. “If I have a chance to help the team, I will do it. We must fight until the end. The hope is the last thing you can lose. If we just have a 1 percent chance to win the title, we must keep going.”
Neymar’s first season in Catalonia has been a dramatic one, most notably for the controversy over the complex deal which took him to the Camp Nou, and also recently for his part in helping launch an anti-racism campaign in response to a banana being thrown at teammate Dani Alves during last Sunday's game at Villarreal.
The former Santos player did not talk about any specifics, but did admit it had all been a learning experience.
“This season has been a learning year in many things,” he said. “I came from another country, another football, it was a totally new situation for me. I had to adapt on a personal level, although I have learned a lot, also on a professional level.
"I hope this is useful for me so that I can give much more next season and we can achieve a lot of successes. I feel relaxed. In life everything is not easy, sometimes there are good mornings and others not so good. A while ago we lost the Copa final, and that was not good feeling, but you learn from everything. When you feel sad, you must lift your head and keep on smiling.”