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Barcelona will not risk Neymar in Club World Cup semi-final, says Luis Enrique

Ed Ran
ANALYST
News
4.14K   //    17 Dec 2015, 00:42 IST
Neymar Barcelona Club World Cup
Neymar trained for the first time after Barcelona landed in Yokohama, Japan

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is yet to decide whether Neymar will be risked in the Club World Cup semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday in Japan. The Brazilian forward did train for the first time after the squad arrived in Japan after missing the first two days. In all likelihood, he might not play a part against the Asian champions led by former World Cup winning coach with Brazil Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Barcelona are two-time winners of the Club World Cup – a competition founded in 2000. They will be looking to be the first club to win the trophy three times. They won the competition in 2009 and 2011 beating Estudiantes and Santos.

It was in 2009 when Neymar first came up against his current employers. Neymar had scored in the semi-final but was on the losing side as Barcelona won 4-0.

The 23-year-old forward had suffered a groin injury in a training session before the Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen and did not play the final group game. Although they drew with the German side, they had already secured qualification to the Round of 16.

Neymar will not be risked: Enrique

“I am not a fan of taking risks,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said when asked about the possibility of seeing Neymar take part in the semi-final against the Chinese club.

“We will decide when the moment arrives, if that moment arrives, because first we must get to the final.

“He is following the normal process for an injured player. That you don't see him practice doesn't mean that he isn't training. There are lots of places to do training. The only thing I am concerned with is that he recovers 100 percent.”

Barcelona will not miss Neymar: Scolari

Evergrande come into this game on a 28-match unbeaten streak, they haven't lost a game since May this year. When questioned about Neymar’s possible absence, Scolari was all praise for the forward but insisted that the Catalan club would not miss him.

“Neymar is one of the three best players in the world,” Scoalri said. H”e has been improving over the past five years.

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“Barca have a lot of players at a top level. Any other team would feel the loss (Neymar) but Barca are different. They have 25 other players like him.”

The winner of this semi-final will play the Copa Libertadores champions River Plate. The Argentine club had defeated Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in the first semi-final. 

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