Skip to main content

Neymar clash just handbags, insists Luis Enrique

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique says Neymar's late clash with Celtic defender Mikael Lustig was "just handbags".

Both players went head-to-head after the Barca forward was penalised for a challenge on the defender late in a Champions League game that had seen them regularly do battle on Wednesday. 

Neymar was visibly angry with Lustig as they squared up and Celtic supporters were furious to see both players shown bookings for the incident. 

They then roundly booed the Brazil international when he avoided a punishment for another challenge on Lustig and he was substituted for Arda Turan shortly afterwards.

The yellow card means Neymar is now suspended for Barca's last Group C game against Borussia Monchengladbach, but top spot is already secure after the 2-0 win for Luis Enrique's side in Glasgow, which came thanks to Lionel Messi's double.

"It was just the last five to 10 minutes there was an issue with regards to the crowd shouting," Luis Enrique told his post-match media conference when asked about Neymar's negative reception.

"But the crowd were great, this is a great place to play. It was just handbags with a Celtic player. 

"We changed him to give him a rest, but it was nothing tactical [to avoid a red card]."

Luis Enrique continued: "It was quite a hard game. We expected Celtic to press high. We were good at the break and improved as the game went on.

"It was a very difficult group and it was great to finish first with a game to spare.
"In one of the toughest groups, we have come top. I have to congratulate the team.

"In the first half I can't remember Celtic having a clear chance and Messi as usual was at a really high level."

Luis Enrique also brought on 21-year-old defender Marlon for his Barcelona debut in the closing stages.

He added: "Gerard Pique received a knock to the foot, so it was to give him a rest.

"Marlon has just come from Brazil, so it's good to give him some time."