There is a strong likelihood that Brazilian footballer Neymar will participate in a match held in India, representing the Saudi football club he recently joined. Al Hilal, the Saudi club, occupies a position in Group D of the AFC Champions League tournament, a spot shared with India’s Mumbai FC.
Neymar, a member of Saudi’s Al-Hilal, finds himself placed in Group D alongside FC Nassaji Mazandaran, PFC Navbahor Namangan, and Mumbai City FC for the AFC Champions League Group Stage matches. Within this context, there exists the potential for Neymar to make a visit to India during the Saudi club’s game against Mumbai City FC.
In front of a crowd of 60,000 spectators at the King Fahd International Stadium, Neymar received praise during a welcoming ceremony from Coach Jesus, who hailed him as an inventive and imaginative player. However, Neymar is presently recuperating from a minor injury, leading Jesus to express uncertainty about his return. He indicated that Neymar might be ready to play by mid-September.
Meanwhile, Al-Hilal’s coach, Jesus, also expressed astonishment at Neymar’s inclusion in the Brazilian squad for two forthcoming World Cup qualifiers. He expressed doubts about Neymar’s fitness and questioned the Brazilian national team’s decision.
Neymar’s absence from Brazil’s squad since the last World Cup can be attributed to an ankle injury sustained in February. Despite his ongoing recovery, he has been selected for the World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia on September 8 and Peru four days later.
Kandarp Chandra, the CEO of Mumbai City FC, conveyed a blend of excitement and disappointment regarding the upcoming season. He lamented the inability to bring AFC Champions League football to Mumbai due to the existing infrastructure constraints in Andheri. However, Chandra emphasized that this predicament presents an opportunity to extend the game to other areas of Maharashtra. He underscored that Mumbai City FC is not limited to Mumbai alone but is a club representing the entirety of Maharashtra. The AFC Champions League offers the chance for fans from Pune and nearby regions to observe their own football club competing against premier Asian teams. Despite Mumbai fans’ disappointment, Chandra assured them that dedicated efforts would ensure a memorable matchday experience in Pune. This occurrence signifies the inaugural instance of AFC Champions League football being witnessed not just within Maharashtra but across India as well.