Neymar should not be banned for Clasico, says Mascherano
Javier Mascherano believes Barcelona's Neymar should only be banned for one game after he was sent off in a LaLiga defeat against Malaga.
Barcelona's Javier Mascherano believes team-mate Neymar should be available for the Clasico clash against Real Madrid despite his red card against Malaga.
The Brazil international received a second yellow for a rash tackle on Diego Llorente during Barca's 2-0 LaLiga loss on Saturday, with the standard punishment for his dismissal a one-match ban.
However, Neymar sarcastically applauded the match officials as he left the pitch, an act that could see his suspension extended.
And if he is banned for more than one league game he will be unavailable for the April 23 Clasico at the Bernabeu, a decisive day in the Liga title race with Madrid currently three points clear.
Ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final at Juventus, Mascherano suggested Neymar's ban should remain at a single match, citing previous examples of similar acts that have not been punished by longer suspensions.
"We'll have to see what happens," Mascherano told reporters. "There have been other players who have done the same and have only received one-game suspensions. We'll see.
"It is very easy to talk from the sofa at home and very difficult to make decisions in high intensity. Sometimes you are wrong, it has happened to me, and there is nothing left to learn from the error.
"We are not going to point blame between us. When someone is wrong or gets into trouble, we tend to try to help him."
Neymar will be available to face Juventus, with the Brazilian expected to feature alongside his feted 'MSN' colleagues Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Mascherano said the latter does not need to win an international trophy with Argentina to secure his legacy as one of the greats of the game.
"It's a question that is too far-fetched," added Mascherano, who has lost the Copa America final with Messi on three occasions since 2007.
"I am not one of those who thinks of what would have happened, because it has already happened and it does not make much sense to look to the past. Also it is necessary to clarify that this is a collective sport, we do not lose or win alone.
"Each player brings his quality to the best of the team. Football has these things, fate does not go hand in hand with what one deserves. In the case of Argentina I have lost in these three finals, in more than one we have done enough to win, but it has not been possible."