Neymar banned from important game against Real Madrid

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was not impressed with referee Jesus Gil Manzano's decision to send off Neymar in Saturday's 2-0 LaLiga defeat at the hands of Malaga.

The referee included the incident in his match report, stating: "In the 65th minute player (number 11) Da Silva Santos J, Neymar was sent off for the following reason: second yellow".

Barcelona winger Neymar will miss this month's El Clasico with Real Madrid after receiving a three game suspension.

The first card came after Neymar bent over to tie his boot laces and did not give space for a Malaga player to cleanly take a free kick.

It was the first red card of Neymar's career at Barcelona and the team's first dismissal of the season in any competition.

It's possible that Neymar will be banned for three matches for sarcastically applauding the ref.

Even with a win in the Neymar-less Clasico, Barcelona would need help from one of Real's remaining opponents to win the league. If they would have won against Malaga, who are now in the 14th spot of the points table, they could have leveled on the points table with Real Madrid.

And whilst the 25-year-old will definitely miss next week's home clash with Real Sociedad, there's danger he could be suspended for their clash against Madrid the following week.

The news is a major blow to the Catalan side, who now lie three points behind Real Madrid in the race for the La Liga title, having played a game more than their rivals. Barcelona are now noticeably weaker with Neymar absent from their three-pronged attack comprised of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.

Malaga produced a battling display as Jose Miguel Gonzalez's men secured a second successive victory to move them further away from the relegation scrap.

A highlight of the Spanish season, the game between the league leaders is on April 23 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

'What I do believe is that the interpretation of the yellow card was special, ' said Luis Enrique after the match.

  • Julie Sanders