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PSG gear up for Real Madrid clash without Neymar

Brazilian footballer Neymar in Paris earlier this this. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Paris Saint-Germain go into their Champions League showdown against Real Madrid on Tuesday without star forward Neymar, who is recovering from foot surgery.

In Neymar’s absence, Angel Di Maria is likely to start for PSG, alongside Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

“When one player is missing, it opens the door for someone else,” said coach Unai Emery. “Whoever comes in through that door tomorrow will do so with all their force.”

Neymar is in Brazil recovering from surgery on a small fracture to a metatarsal in his right foot and is now recovering with the aim of being back towards the end of the season.

PSG paid a record 222 million euros for Neymar and hope to have him back for the latter stages of the Champions League, but first need to improve their fortunes without their star player if they hope to reach quarter-finals in April.

Even before losing the Brazilian forward to a foot injury last month, PSG were already down 3-1 following the first leg of the last-16 against Real.

“For sure, we will feel his absence,” said defender Dani Alves of his teammate and compatriot. “But I insist that between sitting down and crying and getting up and getting on with it, I always opt for the second option.”