Barca yet to rule banned Neymar out of El Clasico

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Barca yet to rule banned Neymar out of El Clasico

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is still preparing for the possibility of suspended striker Neymar being available for Sunday’s game against Real Madrid.

The Brazilian’s one-game ban for being sent off against Malaga was extended to three matches because he sarcastically applauded the fourth official when coming off.

The Spanish football federation rejected Barca’s appeal on Friday, so the club took their case to Spain’s Court for Sport (TAD).

TAD called an emergency meeting on Saturday, but it could not take place because all of its members could not attend.

With no judgement given, there could be some legal ambiguity on whether Neymar is eligible until a ruling is made.

TAD said: “All participants in sport are free to interpret the rules as they see pertinent in relation to their rights and interests, without prejudice to the fact that competent bodies may subsequently determine the correctness or incorrectness of their interpretation.”

Some reports in Spain claim Barca plan to take Neymar to Madrid with them.

Enrique said on Saturday: “The club have done things well, defending the interests of the player. I think it’s logical.

“I’m preparing for the game with and without Neymar – the club are right to do what they’re doing with the appeal.”

Real forward Gareth Bale could return from injury for El Clasico as they look to close in on a first La Liga title since 2012.

The Wales forward, 27, has missed the past two matches with a muscle injury but returned to training on Thursday.

Real, who have one game in hand, lead second-placed Barca, champions for the past two years, by three points.

A home win at the Bernabeu would send Zinedine Zidane’s side six points clear of Barca, who have five games left after Sunday. It would also give the European champions the head-to-head advantage – which is used to separate teams level on points in Spain.

Enrique’s side are looking to bounce back against their bitter rivals after being knocked out of the Champions League quarter-final by Juventus in midweek – the second successive season they have failed to reach the semi-finals.

This is Enrique’s last El Clasico in charge of Barcelona after the 46-year-old announced in March he was stepping down at the end of the season.

Barca are in the final of the Copa del Rey but Enrique knows that even if his side beat Alaves on 27 May, it will be scant consolation if they fail to win La Liga following another disappointing European campaign.