Barcelona news

Ramalho questions Neymar fitness plan

August 9, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Former Santos coach Muricy Ramalho thinks Barcelona’s plan to build-up Neymar’s upper body could lead to the player suffering serious injury problems later in his career.

Neymar
GettyImagesRamalho fears Neymar could suffer the kind of injuries that hampered Ronaldo.

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Barca club doctors have reportedly designed a special diet to help Neymar, 21, beef-up his current slimline figure, after being surprised to find the Brazilian starlet weighed only 60 kg when carrying out medical tests in June prior to his €57 million transfer.

The issue was brought further into the spotlight when the player’s father claimed his son had lost 7 kg when suffering from anaemia after a recent tonsil operation.

Ramalho told radio station Jovem Pan, in quotes published in AS, that a change in body-shape could negatively affect Neymar’s performances, and more seriously his former charge could end up facing physical issues similar to those that plagued the career of former Brazilian centre-forward Ronaldo.

“It would be a serious error,” Ramalho said. “[Neymar] would lose his speed, and what he has better than Xavi, Messi or Iniesta is his speed. He already has a well-defined body. If he gains weight he could end up with a knee injury, as happened with Ronaldo.”

Ramalho was in charge at Santos as Neymar came through the Brazilian club’s youth ranks, and together the pair won the 2011 Copa Libertadores.

Ronaldo was widely regarded as the best player in the world early in his career, and won two FIFA World Player of the Year awards by the age of 22. He subsequently went on to suffer a string of serious knee injuries during his career, as well as more general fitness problems that the player put down to a thyroid issue.

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