Despite Zinedine Zidane’s inference that Neymar would indeed start Tuesday’s Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, Thomas Tuchel is still yet to make a decision and is facing a difficult choice regarding the Brazilian’s fitness.Having missed Neymar for over a month, Tuchel has just welcomed the former Santos star back to training, yet his apparent readiness for first-team football could change his plans.
Of late, Mauro Icardi has found his feet in the French capital alongside Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani.
However, with Neymar back available it seems likely that Cavani will drop to the bench for the trip to Spain.
Starting with four attackers could also pose a question for the German coach though, with it likely to impact on his midfield.
It would require him to move away from the 4-3-3 system that he’s used of late, unless of course, Di Maria takes up a position in central midfield as he did for Carlo Ancelotti in Madrid.
This would then have an impact on what has been an excellent midfield pairing of late between Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye, with the Senegalese midfielder adding a much-needed balance to the team.A 4-2-3-1 formation would give Tuchel a decision to make over which midfielders to pick from Gueye, Verratti and Marquinhos.
In attack though, he would be able to line-up with Di Maria, Mbappe and Neymar just sat behind Icardi in the centre-forward position.
Footballing matters aren’t the only thing on the former Mainz coach’s mind though, with politics having a say in whether Neymar is selected or not.
The Brazilian wasn’t happy with being substituted 60 minutes into his comeback against Lille on Saturday, and he walked straight down the tunnel, but that would be nothing compared to the storm that would occur should Tuchel not select Neymar for a match as important as Real Madrid.