Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could be granted a period of extended leave in March by new manager Mauricio Pochettino, allowing the forward to return to Brazil so he can celebrate his sister’s birthday.
The 28-year-old has rarely taken to the field on March 11 over the past five years, missing out through convenient suspensions in 2015 and 2016, before suffering even more convenient – some might say – injuries in 2018 and 2019.
But this time around Neymar may seemingly not need an excuse to miss out on any action this March, as Spanish radio station El Larguero report he may be granted a form of extended leave by former Spurs boss Pochettino.
Indeed, the Argentine has admitted that he is considering allowing Neymar to celebrate sister Rafaella Santos’ birthday with his family, stating that although tactics are important for a coach, player ‘management is fundamental’.
“When the time comes, we’ll see. It’s important to be very good at tactics, but management is fundamental,” Pochettino remarked. “When I started coaching, I told myself that I was going to be inflexible and that I would not let anything go.
“But after 12 years, I realise that I am more flexible each time and that I like to negotiate everything. Today, the new generation like to give their opinions, to be listened to. Discussion must take precedence.
“Nothing is won by imposing things. You have to discuss, negotiate.”
Neymar actually played on March 11 last season, featuring in PSG’s vital 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. This time round, Les Parisiens face the small matter of taking on Barcelona on March 10, before entertaining Nantes four days later.
It’s unlikely that the forward will pass up the opportunity of challenging his former employers in the second leg of a Champions League round of 16 clash, but he will probably spy the opportunity to travel home after the match and dodge the less appetising Ligue 1 clash.