Antics that were thought to be behind Neymar Jr., Barcelona’s young 25 year old striker surfaced after Barcelona suffered a 2-0 defeat to Malaga.
Neymar Jr. earned himself two yellow cards within the first 70 minutes. This is the first red card that Neymar Jr. has received in four seasons with Barcelona, and the first to Barcelona player to be sent off in La Liga since October 2015.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, during his exit Neymar sarcastically applauded the referee– a senseless act that ratcheted the typical one game suspension to three. Article 117 of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, which addresses, “attitudes of contempt or disregard for referees, managers or authorities,” was invoked in justifying the increase of Neymar’s suspension.
This leaves Barcelona in a pinch as they sit three points behind Real Madrid with Los Blancos having played one fewer game. If they wish to retain La Liga, Neymar’s individual behavor made that goal inexplicably harder for the whole squad as he won’t be available for El Clasico.
Luis Enrique did not throw his star to the flames, rather remarking on the circumstances surrounding Neymar’s two yellow cards:
“We have to take a lot of care in these types of games because I think there were ugly challenges from behind which clearly deserved bookings; other things such as tying your boots…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. It’s curious, but we’re used to it.”
Barcelona plan to appeal to shorten Neymar Jr’s ban, but their last appeal, in the case Luis Suarez, was summarily denied.