Neymar reached out to Brazil colleague Gabriel Jesus for recovery tips after suffering a broken foot.
The PSG forward fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in a 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille at the end of last month, leaving him in a race to reach peak fitness ahead of the Selecao’s World Cup campaign in Russia.
Jesus had a flying start to life at Manchester City interrupted in February last year when he also suffered a metatarsal break and the 20-year-old striker confirmed his compatriot had been in touch.
“He sent me a message. I did not know what he had [at first] and he asked me about the problem,” said Jesus, who was back in action after two-and-a-half months out with the injury – a timeframe Neymar would gladly accept as it would leave him with a month to prepare for Brazil’s World Cup opener against Switzerland in Rostov on June 17.
“I explained to him how I felt, how the recovery was. He has already been operated on, is recovering and is starting to walk again.”
Jesus made his first start for City since New Year’s Eve on Wednesday following another enforced spell on the sidelines, this time with medial knee ligament damage.
He opened the scoring and completed 90 minutes as Pep Guardiola’s side went down to a 2-1 Champions League defeat at home to Basel – a last-16 result rendered academic by a 4-0 first-leg romp.
Competitive action is likely to be at a premium for Neymar before Russia 2018 and, although he was pleased to get minutes and a goal under his belt, Jesus conceded there are mental scars to address when it comes to finding out whether a freshly healed injury will stand up to the rigours of top-level competition.
Gloria a Deus Muito feliz por voltar a jogar, infelizmente não saímos com a vitória porém classificados ! #comeoncity
A post shared by Gabriel Jesus (@dejesusoficial) on
“When you are in the game, without wanting to, you end up thinking about the previous game where you got injured. You have a bit of fear,” he explained.
“But, as you are playing more and more, you are going to get that fear away and play your football.
“I think [against Basel] I still played with some fear. There were some movements when I still had some fear about getting injured again. I know anything can happen but I’m sure that the more you play, the easier it is for that fear to go away.”
During his absence, Jesus has seen Sergio Aguero hit a rich vein of scoring form for City, while his main rival for the number nine spot with Brazil – Roberto Firmino – has continued to win rave reviews at Liverpool.
“This does not impact anything on my football,” he added. “More than competing by position, I’m a good friend and supporter.
“So if Firmino is doing a big season, I’m happy. He is a friend I always talk and joke with a lot – just not when he is playing against City!
“With Aguero it is no different. We play in the same position but he’s my team-mate and I will always pray that he can help the team in any way.”