When it was confirmed Barcelona forward Neymar was to miss Sunday’s Clasico showdown with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, panic engulfed those associated with the Catalan giants.
Indeed, while the Brazilian’s petulance was there for all to see in the loss to Malaga, Barcelona are reportedly ready to launch an appeal to get the ban reduced. According to Marca (via Football Espana) if the Administrative Court for Sport hear their case on Friday, he could yet feature.
There’s a degree of desperation about the way the Blaugrana have approached the matter. But that’s because it’s difficult to see this side winning in the capital without the raiding Brazilian.
By contrast, Real Madrid have dealt with their own potential key absentee with a little more calm.
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Gareth Bale, who is a doubt for the fixture having missed the midweek showdown with Bayern Munich in the Champions League with an injury, has a similar status to that of Neymar in Catalonia—the potential heir to the main man. He provides the thrust from the flanks and counter-attacking potency too.
But Madrid won’t be doing all they can to rush him back prematurely. There’s a feeling they can cope with what should be a key absentee.
This dynamic is illustrative of the key difference between these two behemoths of Spanish football this season. Madrid simply have superior depth.
Because you’re scratching your head wondering how Barca are going to cope without Neymar, aren’t you?
Granted, there’s no player in world football who can offer the same influence from the left flank as the No. 11. But the options are underwhelming. Paco Alcacer has toiled during his debut term, Arda Turan is still recovering from injury and Denis Suarez has delivered inconsistent displays since his summer arrival.