Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba made it clear he will not miss facing Neymar on Tuesday when Paris Saint-Germain arrive at the Camp Nou in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Brazilian will miss the game against his former employers due to injury, and Alba told a pre-match press conference that Neymar’s absence is good news for his team.
We feel good, but there is no favorite in this tie. It will be a difficult match. We need to play both legs with a lot of intensity. Neymar’s absence is big. It’s better for us for players like him not to be able to play for the opposition. Them not having Angel di Maria is also a big blow. But, PSG still have other good players with a similar level. We also have important players missing.
Neymar joined PSG in 2017 in a shock move from Barcelona and has gone on to become a key player for the French champions. The 29-year-old has 13 goals in 17 appearances for PSG this season and is a big miss for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
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Neymar ‘Very Sad’ To Miss Barcelona Clash
The Brazil international has taken to Instagram to describe how he’s feeling after being ruled out for four weeks with an adductor injury. Neymar made it clear that his latest injury setback is hard to take.
For a while, I will once again have to stop doing the thing I most love in life, which is playing football.
I dribble and I get hit constantly. It makes me very sad. It makes me very sad to have to listen to a player, a coach, a commentator or whoever the hell it is say ‘they have to kick him’, ‘he dives’, ‘cry-baby’ ‘spoilt kid’, etc.
It saddens me and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I just want to be happy playing football. NOTHING ELSE.
Neymar was brought to PSG in a bid to help the French side win the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. Yet injuries have seen the forward miss some crucial games in Europe’s top competition.
The Brazilian was forced to sit out PSG’s last-16 defeat to Real Madrid in 2018 because of injury and was also sidelined when his team were dumped out of the competition at the hands of Manchester United in 2019-20.
Koeman Calls For Neymar Protection
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman was asked about Neymar in his news conference ahead of the match and called on referees to provide more protection to players.
I think we always need to protect these types of players. It could be Neymar, it could be Messi, it could be Ronaldo. I think they allow us to enjoy their individual quality. Referees should make an effort to protect them, but football is a contact sport and sometimes they get an ugly foul.
The absence of Neymar will deprive PSG of one of their key attackers, although Kylian Mbappe will pose a huge threat to the Barcelona defense. The Catalan giants are also without some key players with Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, and Ronald Araujo all missing through injury.