Neymar said last week he would not return to the pitch until at least May 17. Photo: Christophe Ena/AP

RIO DE JANEIRO – Neymar is working hard to recover from the foot injury that sidelined him in February and will be back in action by this summer’s World Cup, the Brazil team doctor who operated on him promised on Friday.

“Neymar is recovering the best way possible,” Rodrigo Lasmar told GloboEsporte.

“He is working hard, and the expectation is that he will arrive well-prepared so he can take part in excellent World Cup training,” Lasmar said.

Neymar who is recuperating in a Rio de Janeiro coastal mansion, said last week he would not return to the pitch until at least May 17 – the date of his final medical exam following his surgery in Belo Horizonte on March 3.

That pretty much puts a lid on his season with Paris Saint-Germain – whose last fixture is scheduled against Caen on May 19 – but he remains on track to play in the World Cup in Russia from June 14 to July 15.

Brazil’s players will attend a training camp from May 21 to 27 in Teresopolis, but Lasmar acknowledged that Neymar’s time off the pitch means he’ll at first need a tailored fitness programme in the run-up to the World Cup.

“We need to improve his physical fitness because it has probably decreased. Players recovering from injury deserve individual evaluation to design the best strategy for them,” Lasmar said.

The 26-year-old forward – the most expensive player in history – broke a bone in his right foot on February 26 during his team’s 3-0 rinsing of Marseille.

But optimistic, he said last week he hoped to bounce back to being even better than before in a bid to earn another star as a world champion with the Brazilian men’s national team.