Connect with us

AFP

Neymar ban dispute rages ahead of El Clasico


Madrid (AFP) – Neymar looks set to travel with the Barcelona squad for Sunday’s El Clasico against Real Madrid as the Catalans continue to fight his suspension for the potentially title-deciding clash.

The Brazilian is in the midst of a three-game suspension for his red card and subsequent sarcastic applause of the officials in Barca’s 2-0 defeat to Malaga two weeks ago.

Barca’s appeal to Spain’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAD) wasn’t placed until after the court’s normal meeting time on Friday.

The club argue that until a ruling on the appeal is held, Neymar’s ban should be suspended and therefore allow him to feature at the Bernabeu.

“The club asks TAD to present a ruling and, unless it confirms the player’s ban, it grants the provisional suspension of the ban,” Barca said in a statement.

“As a coach I am prepared to play with Neymar or without him,” said coach Luis Enrique on Saturday.

However, even if no ruling from TAD is forthcoming before kick-off on Sunday (1845GMT), Barca would be taking an enormous risk by playing Neymar as they could be sanctioned with defeat for fielding an ineligible player.

Barca’s desperation for Neymar to be involved speaks volumes as the side most in need of the points.

Enrique says his last Clasico in charge is a must-win for the reigning La Liga champions.

Madrid hold a three-point lead at the top with a game in hand on their rivals as they close in on a first La Liga title in five years.

“Given how close it is to the end of the season it is a decisive weekend,” said Enrique.

“This time a Clasico can decide or almost decide the league or leave it very open. For us it is like a final, only a win will do.”

Madrid could be boosted by the return of Gareth Bale from injury, but the fact the Welshman may not be risked is a further sign that Real have far more room for error.

Bale has been sidelined by an inflammation of the muscles around where he suffered ligament damage in his right ankle that kept him out for three months earlier in the season.

Match: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
Kickoff: Sunday at 2:45pm ET
Looking to watch Real Madrid vs. Barcelona online from your work, home or on the go? If you live in the USA, there are several options to catch all the action.

We Recommend:
US Only.

“He will be with us on Sunday,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane. 

“You will see tomorrow what team we are going to start with.”

Should Bale not start, the on-form Isco is favourite to take his place, as he did for Madrid’s thrilling 4-2 Champions League win over Bayern Munich after extra-time in midweek.

Centre-backs Raphael Varane and Pepe are Madrid’s only injury absentees meaning Zidane is expected to name the same starting XI as against Bayern.

“It is another important game. There is a lot of tiredness, but also a lot of excitement and desire to keep doing what we are doing,” added the Frenchman.

Only victory will salvage Barca’s season just four days after crashing out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage to Juventus.

However, Enrique called on his players to embrace that challenge as an extra stimulus rather than be cowered by the pressure at the Bernabeu.

“For some it means it is a very attractive challenge and for others it means pressure,” he said.

“I prefer to take it as an attractive and marvellous challenge. It’s a chance to move level on points with Madrid.”

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in AFP

Translate »