Skip to main content

With or without Neymar, Barcelona are prepared – Luis Enrique

Barcelona are ready for Sunday's Clasico whether Neymar is suspended for the crunch clash with Real Madrid or not, insists Luis Enrique.

Neymar is serving an extended ban after sarcastically applauding an assistant referee on his way down the tunnel having been sent off or two bookable offences during Barcelona's 2-0 defeat at Malaga.

With Barca three points behind Madrid, who have a game in hand, coach Luis Enrique conceded the match could be decisive in the LaLiga title race, but they go into the contest with an appeal over Neymar's ban still under consideration by the Spanish Sports Tribunal (TAD).

It is a course of action that Luis Enrique, whose side were knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus in midweek, fully supports – and he even refused to rule out playing Neymar regardless of the outcome.

"I think what the club has done is very correct, defending the interests of the club and the players. So in that respect I think it's correct and logical," he said.

"From a coach's point of view I'm preparing for the game both with and without Neymar.

"I think [overturning the ban] is something the club is working on as much as possible, whether it's fair or unfair, those aren't terms I like to classify.

"It makes no difference if I'm optimistic or not. I'm prepared to play with Neymar or without Neymar. End of matter."

Pressed further on the possibility of selecting the Brazil star while the suspension is still in place, the 46-year-old added: "You'll find that out when the game is played."

The reverse fixture ended 1-1 at Camp Nou in December, when Sergio Ramos scored a last-gasp leveller for Zinedine Zidane's side.