PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain will be without superstar Neymar on Tuesday at Sochaux in the Coupe de France round of 16, after coach Unai Emery decided to give him some rest.
The Brazil international was left out of PSG’s 18-man squad, and he is joined in missing the encounter at Stade Auguste Bonal by Giovani Lo Celso, just days after the pair both scored in a 3-0 Ligue 1 win away at Lille, and Adrien Rabiot.
However, Thiago Motta is finally back in the squad, while Julian Draxler also makes his return as part of the travelling party.
Following his lavish 26th birthday party last Sunday, Neymar has been left out for Sochaux for “training” and “rotation” purposes, according to PSG’s official website.
Les Parisiens‘ No. 10 has been nursing various minor injuries lately and now into the final week before Real Madrid away in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 clash, Emery appears to be taking no risks.
Lo Celso is suspended after an accumulation of yellow cards, while Emery confirmed during his prematch news conference that Rabiot is still in pain.
Motta’s return to the squad is a boost as the Italy international last featured away at Rennes in the Coupe de France at the start of 2018 and Draxler being passed fit is further good news with Real fast approaching.
Lassana Diarra is still likely to start over Motta but Emery may well be able to choose between the Frenchman, the Italian and Lo Celso at Santiago Bernabeu next week.
Presnel Kimpembe was a doubt when Emery faced the press at Camp des Loges on Monday but evidently proved his fitness in training as he has also been included in the squad.
Once again, there is no room for Hatem Ben Arfa in the group and third-choice goalkeeper Sebastien Cibois is not required.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.