Neymar returns to PSG squad for Champions League clash with Dortmund

The Brazil international has been included in Thomas Tuchel’s 21-man squad for the trip to Westfalenstadion after recovering from a rib injury

Paris Saint-Germain have welcomed Neymar back into the first team fold ahead of their Champions League last-16 meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

Neymar picked up a rib injury during PSG’s 5-0 home win over Montpellier on February 1, which has forced him to sit out the team’s last four fixtures.

The Brazil international missed Ligue 1 victories over Nantes and Lyon, and was also absent during a French-Cup quarter-final win over Dijon.

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The 28-year-old had been touted for a return to action when PSG faced off against Amiens on Saturday, but Tuchel ultimately decided to against risking the attacker for the fixture.

The French champions were held to a 4-4 draw at Stade de la Licorne, with Kylian Mbappe also granted extra time off to recharge his batteries heading into a crucial European tie.

Tuchel refused to confirm post-match whether Neymar would travel with the rest of his team-mates to Germany, insisting a late decision would be made over his fitness.

Neymar’s inclusion has now been officially confirmed, however, with PSG posting the final 21-man squad on their official website on Monday morning.

The former Barcelona superstar has not quite managed to live up to expectations since swapping Camp Nou for Parc des Princes in a world-record breaking €222 million (£200m/$263m) deal in the summer of 2017.

Niggling injuries and off-field issues have blighted his time in Paris, but his record for goals and assists in a PSG shirt is still very impressive.

Neymar has contributed 13 goals and six assists to the team’s Ligue 1 cause this season, and also found the net in the Champions League group stages against Galatasaray.

The mercurial playmaker won the competition during his hugely successful four-year spell at Barca, while also masterminding PSG’s downfall the season before his exit.

Neymar scored twice in Barca’s stunning 6-1 comeback win over PSG in the first knockout stage, but he has not been able to reach the quarter-finals of the competition with the French outfit.

Tuchel’s men exited in the last 16 against Real Madrid in 2018, before being bested by Manchester United a year later, and they will be desperate to buck that trend this time around.

Earlier in the campaign, Neymar expressed his belief that PSG are well placed to win an elusive Champions League crown come May, insisting this is the “strongest year” they’ve had “in terms of the team and players”.

After the first leg at Westfalenstadion, PSG will have four domestic fixtures to attend to before welcoming Dortmund to Parc des Princes for the second leg on March 11.

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