PSG's Neymar ahead of schedule in recovery - sources
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar is ahead of schedule as he recovers from a foot injury, sources have told ESPN FC.
The Brazil international has been out of action since January with a fractured metatarsal for the second time in as many years.
Last week, he raged against the use of Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) as he watched his teammates were eliminated from the Champions League by Manchester United on away goals.
Since that shock European exit, Neymar has spent time at the Aspetar facility in Qatar -- where he even put on football boots for the first time since his latest injury -- and sources say that he is making impressive progress in his recovery, even if no return date has been set yet.
📸 #بالصور | @neymarjr لاعب المنتخب البرازيلي و #باريس_سان_جيرمان يغادرالدوحة بعد أن استكمل ثلاثة أيام من التقييم الطبي الشامل في #سبيتار— Aspetar سبيتار (@Aspetar) March 11, 2019
#AllezParis #PSG #neymarjr #Neymar #NeymarJr10 #نيمار pic.twitter.com/jaG9vR1NVI
Physiotherapists Ricardo Rosa and Rafael Martini released a statement via Neymar's official website detailing the €222 million man's recovery and hinted that it is just a matter of time before PSG give their No. 10 clearance to resume training.
"His results are excellent -- some are even above those of your average football player," said Rosa in his part of the communique. "The idea is to continue until the PSG medical staff authorise him to train without restrictions.
"Physically, we have done evaluations and training sessions -- particularly based on strength.
"Neymar feels good -- he is no longer in pain and does not complain about his daily treatments," added Martini. "Of course, we must respect the restrictions, but he has responded excellently and without problems."
The Brazilian's importance to PSG has been emphasised in the capital club's annual report for 2018, as PSG championed the 'Neymar factor' since his arrival and pointed to his influence across a number of areas.
As well as being a "global icon in his own right" and a "prolific user of the latest digital platforms," PSG declared that the Brazilian has "gone global" in boosting the club and Ligue 1's visibility abroad with a 63 percent overall viewing figures increase of the previous season and a 223 percent leap in his native Brazil.
On top of the 42.3 million viewers in his homeland for his debut 2017-18 season, PSG claimed 414 million television viewers, as well as 1.23 billion in global TV contracts and a 64 percent increase of TV contracts in sub-Saharan Africa for the first four months of this current campaign.
PSG also pointed out that Neymar has led to lucrative deals with DAZN for Brazilian broadcast rights, CCTV-5 in China, as well as EA Sports' FIFA 19 Champions Edition -- with Neymar the cover star to have been seen "nearly one billion times on all media across the world."
Elsewhere, one of Neymar's Brazilian PSG teammates, Dani Alves, moved a step closer to a summer exit from Parc des Princes after talks over a contract extension hit the buffers.
Alves, 35, is represented by Dinorah Santa Ana and she was in Paris to negotiate with the French champions recently, as revealed by ESPN FC sources, but she was unable to secure an agreement with the club for a guaranteed extension of more than one year.
The Brazil international, who is keen to play on until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, wants at least a two-year extension, while PSG envisage one year with an option for another one at best.
Although talks are currently frozen, per sources, they could still resume before the end of the season with Alves out of contract this summer and keen to try the Premier League before he retires.
For now, though, negotiations are not ongoing, and it is possible that this will be Alves' final season with PSG.