Neymar is the head-and-shoulders leader of Brazil. The Canarinha defeated South Korea in the Round of 16 thanks to a goal scored by the PSG forward and will take on Croatia next.
Neymar will keep playing games at short notice and Paris Saint-Germain should be worried about this ongoing development.
In a season in which the calendar was already incredibly packed full of games giving room to smaller recovery periods, Neymar is playing football in Qatar while nurturing an ankle injury. That's more than a serious reason for concern for the coaches of PSG and the endeavors of the Parisian club.
Before the Round of 16 game against South Korea, Neymar was posting positive and hopeful messages in his social networks while also dropping encouraing and calming words to those fearing for his well being in terms of his ankle health.
That said, and while Neymar is the no. 1 source to trust when it comes to his health, it is obvious that he won't stop playing for his country even while having some ankle issues.
Remember that Neymar was forced out of Brazil-hosted 2014 World Cup and that he played the 2018 World Cup after suffering a serious injury in March of that same year, playing at less than a 100 percent of his capacities.
Neymar has avoided major injuries this season but is playing the World Cup with an injured ankle
Neymar has a large track record of injuries in the winter-to-spring months but he's avoided major problems this year. That said, he's entering a crucial moment of the season between the final games of the World Cup and the period leading up to the Champions League resumption two next February.
Speaking after the Round of 16 game against South Korea on Monday, Neymar said that he "didn’t feel any pain in my ankle" and was happy that "[his] performance was very good." Again, you have to trust what you hear from the man, but believing him poses more question marks considering the high-stakes stage.
Neymar spent 11 days recovering from the injury he suffered in Brazil's oppening game against Serbia forcing him to forfeit the second and third games of the group stages. He returned in time for Monday's matchup with South Korea.
"When I got injured I had a very difficult night and I was thinking of a million different things. I was afraid of not being able to play in this World Cup again." Worrying, to say the least.
Neymar was named man of the match on Monday after an all-around contribution that included scoring a penalty kick to put Brazil up 2-0 in the first half.
Between Monday and Brazil's next game on Friday (quarter-finals matchup against Croatia) there are only four days of recovery time for Neymar, even if he already was fit enough to face South Korea. Of course, Neymar will push hard to make it to the starting XI once more come Friday, let alone play at all.
All of this extenuating play will definitely impact Neymar upon his return to PSG and once he's back with the Parisian playing club-level games.
Brazil can't afford to give Neymar ample recovery time considering the tight margins of a tournament such as a World Cup, so Neymar will have to trust his feelings, the doctors of Brazil, and go from there.
The deeper Brazil advances in the competition, too, the harder it'll be for the nation and the player to keep going forward with stiffer competition to defeat on a round-to-round basis.
PSG is in command of a large lead at the top of Ligue 1 and won't face Bayern Munich until February in their Champions League Round of 16 matchup.
Even then, it will make sense for PSG to give Neymar (and most probably Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe) a few games of rest as they are all expected to reach the final rounds of the World Cup.
Whether that hurts PSG results or not, it's still yet to be known. What the French club should know, though, is that not having any of their three superstars for any period of time between the end of 2022 and February could very well impact their results and hamper their aspirations down the road.