FC Barcelona have announced that Neymar will not be in the matchday squad when the reigning La Liga champions travel to La Rosaleda on Saturday to face 12th placed Málaga.
The Brazilian forward was ruled out with a slight hamstring problem but, in theory, should be back for next week’s clash against top of the table Atlético Madrid on January 30.
However, Luis Enrique will be happy to see Lionel Messi in the squad and available to play after coming off injured at half time in Barcelona’s La Liga match against Athletic Club last week and subsequently missing the first game of the Copa Del Rey tie against the Basque team in mid-week.
Neymar’s absence could lead to Luis Enrique turning to utility man Sergi Roberto to play on the left wing, a position he has played once throughout the season.
Another possible solution for Enrique could be to play Arda Turan in place of Neymar, but the Turkish midfielder’s lack of defensive contribution could be a worry with him designated on the same side of the pitch as Andres Iniesta.
As a result, it is most likely that Munir El Haddadi will come in for Neymar on Saturday. Munir has scored 3 goals in his last 2 matches and is also the top scorer of the Copa Del Rey with 5 goals.
With Barcelona expected to beat Málaga, it would not come as a surprise to see Luis Enrique rest some of his star players and give the former Spain international another chance to impress.