After having to cope with injury issues during a busy 2018, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar insists he is now fully fit again.
Neymar has confirmed he is “back to 100 per cent” after an injury-hit 2018 – and is already looking forward to Paris Saint-Germain taking on Manchester United in the Champions League next year.
The Brazil international suffered a fractured foot in a game against Marseille in February and while he returned in time for the World Cup, he could not inspire his country to progress beyond the quarter-finals.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, has suffered further setbacks this term too, with a groin issue sustained on an international friendly hindering him of late.
But, having helped PSG top their Champions League group to progress to the knockout stages, he now believes he is firing on all cylinders following a “tough” start to the season.
“Coming back and getting to play alongside and be with your team-mates is always great,” Neymar told PSG’s official website.
“It was a pretty sad situation, with my injury and then our defeat at the World Cup, but you need to draw inspiration from such episodes and come back to focus on new objectives.
“I think it was a tough start to the season, but it was very important and the work we did was excellent. Now I feel back to 100 per cent.
“It was tough to adapt to my return to competition and playing matches after my injury and the operation. But now I feel really good.”
Neymar’s relationship with Edinson Cavani has appeared strained in the past, but the forward says the pair, along with Kylian Mbappe, are dovetailing well.
“We’re very happy that our link-up play is getting better and better in each match; we’re getting to know each other better as time goes by,” Neymar said.
“And that’s our objective: that everyone be happy to provide assists for the others to score, so that everyone ends the match happy – even though the most important thing is, of course, to win the match.”
And Neymar is relishing a last-16 European meeting with United, who have appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the remainder of 2018-19 following the departure of Jose Mourinho.
The first leg takes place at Old Trafford on February 12 before they meet in the return fixture on French soil on March 6.
“I was happy [with the draw]; they will be two great matches between two great sides,” he said. “We know the quality that Manchester United have and we know that their players have a winning mentality.
“The coach has changed and it will be a different playing style – they’re in the process of changing things up – but we know the quality they have.
“I love the big matches and it’s always a pleasure to play in them. I’m very happy to be taking on Manchester United.”