Neymar to miss UEFA Super Cup clash
BARCELONA’s bid to emulate their record-breaking year of 2009 suffered a blow on the eve of their UEFA Super Cup clash against Sevilla with the loss of Neymar to illness.
The Brazil superstar has been struck down with the mumps and treble-winners Barca say he will be sidelined for the next two weeks.
That means the 23-year-old will not only miss today’s clash with Europa League champions Sevilla in Tbilisi but he will also sit out the two-legged Spanish Supercopa against Athletic Bilbao later this month.
If Barca win those two titles then they will be just one step away from matching their incredible success of six years ago when, under Pep Guardiola, they became the first club to win all six major trophies available to them in a calendar year.
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who joined Barca from Sevilla last summer, told a press conference: “We want to carry on making history and win the sextet. But we have to take things each step at a time. And the first chance is today in Tbilisi. “We are confident in ourselves and in our strengths.
We’ll work even harder than we did last year, but we know there will be hard times this season too.” He added of today’s clash: “This is not any old game for me. There is a lot of Sevilla in me, but not for this game. As I have always done, I’ll be giving everything I have to Barca.”
Even without one third of their all-star attacking triumvirate – the others being Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – Barca will still be favourites to overcome Sevilla and if they do they will equal AC Milan’s record of five wins in the Super Cup.