Brazilian star Neymar has claimed that 'it was not his choice not to play' for Paris Saint-Germain in recent matches, but that the club took the decision to preserve their star forward for their Champions League endeavours.
The 28-year-old sat out the French champions' last three league matches against Nantes, Lyon and Amiens, supposedly because of a bruised rib. PSG picked up two wins and a draw without their talisman, dramatically dropping points against Amiens in a thrilling 4-4 share of the spoils.
But Neymar claimed the club "was afraid" to play him and instead rested him for those games, and the Brazil international admitted "it is I who suffers from it" after PSG's 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening, quoted by RMC Sport.
"The club was afraid and it is I who suffers from it."
Neymar was not at his brilliant best against Dortmund in the Champions League round of 16 first leg, and the French champions were undone by the clinical finishing of wonderkid Erling Haaland.
The former Barcelona man did notch the equaliser for the visitors, tapping home from close range following a pinpoint Kylian Mbappé cross, but it wasn't enough to maintain parity against a rampant BVB.
PSG now face the difficult task of overturning their first leg defeat to Lucien Favre's side, as they aim to progress deeper into the Champions League following the shock exit to Manchester United in the same round last season.
Neymar was unavailable for the second leg against the Red Devils, and despite entering the match with a 2-0 lead against a very under-strength opposition, the French champions were somehow knocked out on aggregate in front of their home fans.
The PSG hierarchy will be desperate for that nightmare to be banished this year, and Neymar's exclusion from league fixtures may continue until they welcome Dortmund to France for the second leg.