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Injured Brazil striker Neymar has targeted May 17 for a return to training, vowing to work harder than ever to be ready for this year’s World Cup in Russia.

The Paris St Germain player, who joined the club from Barcelona in August, had an operation on his foot after being injured in a French league game against Olympique de Marseille on February 25.

He has been receiving treatment in Brazil and said he expects to be training exactly a month before the five-time champions play their World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.

“I get my final exam, if I’m not mistaken on May 17 and then I’ll be free to play,” he told reporters at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

“I had an exam last week, it is all perfect, evolving well, so I hope that continues so I can get back as soon as possible.

“I am having treatment every day and from the moment I start training I am going to work harder than I ever worked because this is a dream that’s coming up, it’s a World Cup.

“I’ve waited four years for this chance, its close and I hope to get there in great shape.”

Neymar played for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, but missed the catastrophic 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany through injury.

Brazil struggled in the two years immediately after their home World Cup, but have since rebounded and go to Russia as joint favourites with bookmakers along with Germany.

Players from the Premier League champions-in-waiting Manchester City dominated the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Team of the Year announced on Wednesday, occupying five out of 11 spots.

City defenders Kyle Walker and Nicolas Otamendi, midfielders David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne as well as all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero were named in the side.

Tottenham Hotspur had three players on the list, including England striker Harry Kane, who made the team for a third straight year along with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who has 40 goals across all competitions this season and was nominated for the PFA’s Player of the Year award, also made the team.

Chelsea had a lone representative in defender Marcos Alonso.

PFA Team of the Year: David de Gea, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Alonso, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero.

Zinedine Zidane believes Cristiano Ronaldo will be remembered at Real Madrid in the same glowing terms as Alfredo Di Stefano, AFP reports.

Di Stefano was the face of Real´s domination during the 1950s and 1960s, when they won five European Cups and he scored more than 300 goals.

Ronaldo is now trying to lead another prolonged period of European success, with Real gunning for their third consecutive Champions League triumph, and fourth in five years.

They take a 3-0 lead into Wednesday´s quarter-final second leg at home to Juventus after the Portuguese scored twice last week in Turin, a double that included a sensational bicycle kick.

Ronaldo already has 14 goals in this year´s tournament, three short of his best ever 17, which he posted when Real were crowned champions in 2014.

“I do not think of playing without Cristian, we have him and we are happy,” Zidane said on Tuesday.

“There are many people who remember Di Stefano, it is normal – many people, and I am one of them, will now remember Cristiano with this club.

“We have him and it is necessary to take advantage of this. All the teams in the world would be happy to have this player.”

Leading UEFA Champions League scorers after Tuesday’s quarter-final, second leg ties:

14 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

8 goals: Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Salah (Liverpool)

7 goals: Cavani (Paris SG), Kane (Tottenham), Mane (Liverpool)

6 goals: Dzeko (Roma), Messi (Barcelona), Neymar (Paris SG)

5 goals: Aboubakar (FC Porto), Coutinho (Liverpool), Higuain (Juventus), Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Lukaku (Manchester United)

4 goals: Aguero (Manchester City), Aubameyang (Dortmund), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Mbappe (Paris SG), Oberlin (Basel), Son (Tottenham), Sterling (Manchester City), Talisca (Besiktas), Tosun (Besiktas)

AFP.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had to watch the second half of his side’s pulsating Champions League quarter-final, second leg against Liverpool from the stands after being sent off by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

Guardiola furiously approached Lahoz at the half-time whistle with City leading 1-0 on the night but still trailing 3-1 on aggregate.

Minutes before the break officials had wrongly disallowed a second City goal when Leroy Sane was flagged offside despite the ball into the German coming off Liverpool’s James Milner.

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