Kolkata: Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior has been ruled out of this month’s El Clásico after being hit with a three-match ban. Neymar has been suspended as a result of his sarcastic behaviour following the red card he received on Saturday against Malaga by a La Liga committee. He was booked twice in a game against Malaga, his first yellow card was for obstructing the taking of a free-kick by tying his laces and the second was for a late challenge on Roberto Rosales resulting in him being sent off.
That carries a one-match ban but referee Jesus Gil Manzano wrote in his report that the Brazilian international had “sarcastically applauded” the fourth official as he left the pitch. The Spanish league rules dictate that players can receive a longer suspension if they show ‘clear contempt’ for the match officials.
Barcelona can appeal to the concerned authorities regarding the ban but if he does indeed serve the ban as stipulated then he’ll miss the monster clash with Real Madrid on April 23, which could go a long way in deciding the title race with arch rivals Real up by three points at the moment.The suspension is only for games in La Liga and does not apply to the Champions League, where Barcelona will be facing Italian giants Juventus.
Along with the Classico, Neymar will also miss the matches with Real Sociedad and Osasuna. Luis Enrique will dearly miss the services of Neymar, he has no player like him in his squad. There’s no way Enrique can replace him adequately for a game as big as the one in Madrid. There are options, but they’re not the same. Barca do boast the likes of Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto but they both lack that cutting edge in front of goal that Neymar provides.
Yet given the sort of comeback Barcelona pulled off against against Paris Saint Germain a few weeks ago, showed that Enrique’s men can squeeze out a win even when the odds are against them. Go back to last season and one will realise that they beat Madrid 4-0 away from home with arguably their best player being a mere spectator on the bench. That certain player being 5 time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi.
(With inputs from ESPN)