RIYADH, May 22 —Neymar remains sidelined from knee surgery and will miss his Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal’s pre-season training, coach Jorge Jesus said yesterday.

“All I know now is that the time given to Neymar to recover and during similar injuries is approximately from 10 to 11 months.

“If we calculate mathematically, he will not be ready at the beginning of the pre-season training,” Jesus told reporters in Riyadh.

Neymar underwent surgery in his native Brazil last November to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus damage suffered during a national team match the month before.

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The 32-year-old was stretchered off in tears during Brazil’s 2-0 loss to Uruguay in a World Cup qualifying match on October 17, after colliding with opposing midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz.

Whilst he may have been absent from the pitch Neymar has been busy off it recently.

He was ringside to witness Oleksandr Usyk beat Tyson Fury to win the world’s first undisputed heavyweight championship in 25 years in Riyadh on Sunday.

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Last month a Brazilian court suspended a US$3 million (RM14.1 million) fine imposed on the player for building a lake at his mansion on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro without an environmental licence.

In March he performed a ceremonial first pitch before the Marlins’ home MLB opener in Miami against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was on the grid before the Formula One season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir.

In January the French finance and economy ministry was searched as part of a probe into the 2017 transfer of the Brazil football superstar to Paris Saint-Germain.

Officers with anti-corruption units carried out the searches amid suspicions that PSG may have received favourable tax treatment as part of the transfer.

Neymar joined Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record fee of 222 million euros (RM 1.1 billion), scoring 118 goals in 173 matches despite a series of injuries.

The injury-prone player left the French club for Al-Hilal in 2023, the latest world-famous footballer snapped up by the big-spending Saudi Pro League.

He earns 100 million euros a season in Saudi Arabia, according to a source close to the negotiations, while PSG pocketed 100 million euros in the deal.

This month he was omitted from Brazil’s Copa America squad by national coach Dorival Junior.

His club coach in Saudi, Jesus, conceded his absence was an issue, but added Tuesday that “the solution was Malcolm” referring to the Brazilian winger who scored 22 goals in 46 games. — AFP