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Neymar’s recovery from World Cup back injury “almost 100 percent”

Jul 31, 2014, 9:03 AM EST

Neymar AP

Barcelona’s attempt to retake La Liga has received a much-needed boost from one of its most important players.

It’s been less than a month since the broken back injury that ‘could’ve’ paralyzed Brazilian star Neymar, but the playmaker says he’s nearly ready to return to the pitch.

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In Japan to film a mattress commercial, Neymar gave the media thoughts on his fitness and the fortunes of Blaugrana. The club lost Alexis Sanchez, who transferred to Arsenal, but sees the return loanee Gerard Deulofeu from Everton in addition to the signing of midfielder Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla and Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

From the Associated Press:

“It’s all good. My back is improving. It’s almost 100 percent,” Neymar said. “I’m looking forward to joining my (Barcelona) teammates and helping them win the title.”

Neymar’s first World Cup ended in disappointment when he was carried off the field on a stretcher with a fractured vertebra during Brazil’s quarterfinal win over Colombia.

Before his injury, Neymar had scored four goals in five games and was considered one of the standout players of the tournament. Half of Brazil’s goals until then were scored by him.

Barcelona’s season starts on Aug. 24. The club has said Neymar’s recovery was progressing “very well.”

If the club has Neymar back at full health, showing no ill effects, and can manage the four-month Suarez suspension, Barca could make a run for the title in what should be another three-way race with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

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