FC Barcelona are a close knit unit, and national team rivalries has not stopped team mate Lionel Messi joining Javier Mascherano in lamenting Neymar’s four match ban as a result of the brawl following Brazil’s loss against Colombia.
South American federation CONMEBOLa s disciplinary committee has extended the provisional one game ban for Neymar to four games following his behavior in the aftermath of Brazila s 1-0 defeat to Colombia.
The suspension means that Neymar will miss the crucial final game with all four teams locked at three points in Group C, as well as the entire tournament should Brazil reach the finals.
The FC Barcelona star has come under increased criticism including from former Real Madrid star and Brazil legend Ronaldo.
While Neymara s FC Barcelona team mate Dani Alves had accused that the FC Barcelona star was provoked by Real Madrida s James Rodriguez and his Colombian team mates, Lionel Messi has joined in the chorus of outgoing FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu and Javier Mascherano to defend the Brazil star.
Messi said: “All I can say is that Neymar is my friend and that I would have liked him to have played until the end of the tournament.”
“It’s a shame the tournament has been deprived of a player of that quality, but I don’t want to say whether the punishment was right or wrong.”
Neymar fumed at the referees in South America in the aftermath of the incident, suggesting he is being unfairly targeted by the officials.
He said: “They have to use the rules against me. The ball hit me on the hand without any intention and I got a yellow.”
Brazil have, since then, confirmed that they will appeal the four game ban, although reports have emerged stating that the FC Barcelona star had grabbed the referee by the neck and used abusive language leading for his four match ban as opposed to Carlos Bacca’s two game ban for his role in the brawl.
Contrary to the reports of things getting physical, the referee’s report does not mention the neck grabbing incident, making it pretty obvious that it did not happen. Should it have, the referee would have definitely mentioned it.