Neymar Jr, Brazil and Paris Saint Germain’s megastar has begun a race to recuperate before the World Cup in Russia, moments after officials announced that the surgery on his broken right foot went successfully Saturday.
The operation, performed by Brazilian national team surgeon Rodrigo Lasmar, began early on Saturday morning in the Mater Dei hospital in Belo Horizonte.
Just after midday (1500 GMT), a spokesman from the Brazilian football federation announced that the operation was over.
“Neymar is already in his room. It went well,” he said.
Neymar broke his fifth metatarsal — the bone leading to his small toe — during a 3-0 drubbing of Marseille on February 25.
The striker — whose transfer from Barcelona cost PSG a record 222 million euros ($264 million) last August — has scored 28 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for the club.
Neymar will miss PSG’s make-or-break game against Real Madrid next Tuesday. But with Lasmar predicting a recovery period of two and a half to three months, Brazil is worried that Neymar, 26, may not be fit for the World Cup in Russia starting in June.
The rival demands from club and country appeared to erupt into tension just as he went under the knife, with Paris newspaper L’Equipe reporting Saturday that PSG believes Lasmar lied about Neymar’s condition.
The report said that Neymar was initially found to have suffered a minor fracture and that PSG was shocked to hear Lasmar say Thursday that it was a serious break requiring a longer than expected recuperation.
Globoesporte.com reported that PSG also insisted it control any future information on the player’s health.
Staff at the hospital in Belo Horizonte, were put on paparazzi lockdown, with a ban on using cellphones anywhere near the star.
After a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since the shambolic exit in a 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil are seen as top contenders in Russia.
But a big part of that optimism depends on the talented Neymar, who missed that infamous semifinal four years ago and looks likely to miss two warm-up friendlies against Russia and Germany in March.