Barcelona superstar Neymar will be suspended for three games for his behavior in the team’s last match against Malaga. That suspension includes the upcoming Clasico between Barcelona and archrival Real Madrid. Neymar was initially given a yellow card for tying his laces where a free kick was taking place, thus wasting time off the clock. He was then ejected for an outburst at Malaga player Roberto Rosales. The standard suspension from two yellow card is one game, but it seems the suspension was lengthened because Neymar sarcastically clapped for the referees as he left the pitch. That marks the first ejection in La Liga since October 2015, and Neymar’s first dismissal in his Barcelona tenure.
Barcelona is expected to appeal the suspension, which would cause Neymar to miss the Clasico, as well as matches against Real Sociedad and Osasuna. Barcelona had to deal with a similar situation in February, when Luis Suarez was ejected from a Copa Del Rey match and suspended for two games because of delay of game as well. That appeal was unsuccessful. Barcelona fans hope this appeal works, since losing Neymar, the team’s second-best player, for the key Clasico, which could’ve been a great help in dethroning Real Madrid from the top spot, is a huge blow.
Supporters of Neymar point to a series of unfair tackles he received during that game, and that he was rightfully indignant at the referees. La Liga referees are notorious for ignoring these tackles, so Neymar is justified in the eyes of Barcelona fans. Luis Enrique, the manager of the team, was also suspicious of the referees’ judgment, saying, “If we book players for this, we have to book players for everything. It’s curious that a team like us that doesn’t usually kick people get so many yellow cards in such an incomprehensible manner. Then there are players on the other team that during the game commit fouls and don’t get any cards.”