On the morning of the crucial match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Catalan club have announced that one of their star players, Neymar Jr, will not be included in the matchday squad. This comes after the club had hoped to overturn the forward's suspension via appeal.
Neymar decision left late
Right up until this communcation from the club, there was an expectation that Luis Enrique would include him in the travelling party to Madrid and could have potentially fielded the Brazilian, risking further sanction. The argument for doing so was that the communication from the Spanish Sports Tribunal (TAD) did not constitute a firm ruling.
The statement read: "Due to the legal uncertainty caused by the TAD not making a decision prior to 12 hours before tonight's game, and to focus all attention on sporting matters, the club has chosen not to select the player, Neymar Jr.
However, Barcelona express its astonishment at the TAD's inability to carry out their jurisdictional functions, something that directly damages both the club and the competition itself."
No MSN to face Real Madrid
With Neymar confirmed as missing, the Bernabéu faithful will not see the threat of the MSN combination with Messi and Suárez getting their support from elsewhere. Luis Enrique will be without arguably his best player of the season for what now looks to be his biggest game of the season.
Barcelona squad to face Real Madrid:
Ter Stegen, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Arda, A. Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Cillessen, Mascherano, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal (travelling with the squad), Umtiti and Aleñá.
- Roque Mesa1007Passes
*Update 23 de abril de 2017