PARIS — Neymar has said he has another month left of his recovery from a foot injury, although Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery expects him to play again before the end of the season.
Brazil international Neymar has been out of action since fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in late February, requiring surgery, and has been recovering in his homeland.
Two weeks ago it was reported that he would return to PSG by the end of April for the final three games of the Ligue 1 season, but speaking on Brazilian TV he suggested that may be too soon.
“One month left [of the recovery], but I’m making good progress, consolidating well,’ Neymar said in a segment that will be broadcast on “Altas Horas” on Saturday.
Neymar’s timeline means he could return either against Rennes on May 12 or for the Ligue 1 finale at Caen the following week.
PSG are 14 points clear at the top of the table and could secure the title as soon as Sunday with a home win against second-placed Monaco.
The Coupe de France final awaits in May if PSG beat Caen in the semifinals this month. The other finalist will be a third-tier team, either Les Herbiers or Chambly.
A PSG statement released on Friday afternoon said the next week and a half of Neymar’s recovery would determine when he will return to training.
“The medical assessment by [Brazil national team doctor] Rodrigo Lasmar confirms the excellent evolution of Neymar Jr’s injury, and authorises the specific re-education of the right ankle and progressive full weight-bearing on the foot,” it read. “The speed of recuperation over the next 10 days will allow the club to set a date for the player’s return to training.”
PSG coach Unai Emery told a news conference earlier on Friday he hoped Neymar could still feature this season.
“Neymar, the last I heard, is close to returning,” he said. “His recent medical test went well, and everything looks fine. He has progressed normally — he is close.
“When Neymar gets here, he will be very eager to play. We hope that he will be in the team for the last few matches of the season.”
Asked about his own PSG future, Emery said he would speak to his employers in due course amid reports that Thomas Tuchel will be named as his successor.
“Between now and the end of the season I am, and I will be, extremely focused on the next match and on the work that I am doing,” he said. “When we have achieved our objectives, then is the time to talk.
“For now, the players and I must concentrate on Sunday’s game and for each encounter.”
Emery praised rivals Marseille after their thrilling 5-2 win over RB Leipzig at Stade Velodrome on Thursday sealed a place in the Europa League semifinals.
“For me, as well as for France, OM reaching the semifinals is a good thing,” he said. “This gives Ligue 1 added importance and can help it develop.”
Meanwhile, PSG have confirmed that the partial closure of the Auteuil end of Parc des Princes against Monaco on Sunday would go ahead as planned.
An appeal failed to overturn the activation of a suspended sentence after the use of pyrotechnics against Marseille in February.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.