PARIS, May 12 (Reuters) – Brazil forward Neymar posted a picture of himself wearing the 2018-19 Paris St Germain home shirt on Saturday amid growing speculation that he could leave the French champions at the end of the season.
“Proud to wear the new jersey and to continue giving you joy,” the 26-year-old striker, who is recovering from foot surgery, posted on his verified Twitter account.
Media reports claim that Neymar, who joined the Ligue 1 club from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($265.11 million) last August, has told PSG directors he wanted to leave the club after only one season.
The most recent articles say the Brazilian wants to move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who originally tried to sign him in 2013 before he opted to join Barcelona from Santos.
Spanish newspaper Marca reported on Friday that the player’s father and agent, Neymar Sr, had told PSG his son wanted to leave immediately.
It said his father met Real directors in December on the day Cristiano Ronaldo received the Ballon d’Or in Paris.
Neymar has been out of action since spraining his ankle and fracturing his fifth metatarsal on Feb. 25, which led him to undergo surgery in Brazil as he bids to regain fitness in time for the June-July World Cup in Russia.
Neymar reveals World Cup injury fear
Rio de Janeiro: Injured Brazil forward Neymar has revealed that he will need to overcome a psychological barrier as he bids to return to full fitness ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Neymar has not played since suffering a cracked fifth metatarsal in his right foot while playing for Paris Saint-Germain in late February, reports Xinhua news agency.
He underwent surgery in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte on March 3 and returned to Paris last week for the final phase of his recovery.
“I have started to walk again, but there is always a fear about coming back,” the 26-year-old told Brazil great Zico in an interview published on YouTube.
“I need to get over that fear as quickly as possible so that I can be flying by the time the World Cup comes around.”
The former Santos prodigy said he was not sure if he would play for PSG again this season. Les Parisiens’ last 2017-18 fixture will be a Ligue 1 clash against Caen on May 19.
Earlier this month, Brazil national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar predicted the Brazil No.10 would be in peak condition for the World Cup. The Selecao will open their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17.
Neymar has scored 28 goals and provided 16 assists across all competitions since arriving in the French capital from Barcelona for a world record fee of 222 million euros ($264 million) last August.
He spoke fondly about his four seasons at Barcelona, especially his lethal partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
“We were inseparable and had enormous understanding,” Neymar said. “Just by looking at each other we knew what to do,” the 26-year-old said.