Mascherano angry as Neymar could miss Clasico

Sporting News

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano believes team-mate Neymar should be available for the Clasico clash against Real Madrid despite his red card against Malaga.

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The Brazil international received a second yellow for a rash tackle on Diego Llorente during Barca's 2-0 La Liga loss on Saturday, with the standard punishment for his dismissala one-match ban.

However, Neymar sarcastically applauded the match officials as he left the pitch, an act that could see his suspension extended.

Neymar red Malaga Barcelona La Liga 08042017
Neymar red Malaga Barcelona La Liga 08042017

And if he is banned for more than one league game he will be unavailable for the April 23 Clasico at the Bernabeu, a decisive day in the Liga title race with Madrid currently three points clear.

Ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final at Juventus, Mascherano suggested Neymar's ban should remain at a single match, citing previous examples of similar acts that have not been punished by longer suspensions.

"We'll have to see what happens," Mascherano told reporters."There have been other players who have done the same and have only received one-game suspensions. We'll see.

"It is very easy to talk from the sofa at home and very difficult to make decisions in high intensity. Sometimes you arewrong, it has happened to me, and there is nothing left to learn from the error.

"We are not going to point blame between us. When someone is wrong or gets into trouble, we tend totry to help him."

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Neymar will be available to face Juventus, with the Brazilian expected to feature alongside his feted 'MSN' colleagues Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Mascherano said the latter does not need to win an international trophy with Argentina to secure his legacy as one of the greats of the game.

"It's a question that is too far-fetched," added Mascherano, who has lost the Copa America final with Messi on three occasions since 2007.

"I am not one of those who thinks of what would have happened, because it has already happened and it does not make much sense to look to the past. Also it is necessary to clarify that this is a collective sport, we donot lose or winalone.

"Each player brings hisquality to the best of the team. Football has these things, fate does not go hand in hand with what one deserves. In the case of Argentina I have lost in these three finals, in more than one we have done enough to win, but it has not been possible."

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