Barcelona forward Neymar will miss the Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen after picking up a groin injury during training. The news is a blow to Barca boss Luis Enrique, with his squad scheduled to depart for Japan next week to play in the Fifa Club World Cup.
A statement on Barcelona's official website said Neymar suffered a "slight" groin strain in the final training session at the BayArena on 8 December, ruling him out of the Catalans' final Group E fixture.
Neymar is the top scorer in La Liga this season with 14 goals and was named the player of month in November by the Spanish Football League (LFP).
Barcelona have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, with four wins and a draw in their five Group E fixtures. Leverkusen, meanwhile, need to better Roma's result against BATE Borisov to reach the round of 16.
Barca are expected to rest several of their star players at the BayArena, but Enrique insisted that his team would take the match seriously and try to force a victory. "We will go out there and look for the win and enjoy a top quality match," Enrique was quoted as saying by the club's website. "We have been offered the chance to enjoy a great match, we don't have to be worried about the result, we have to just play our own game. I consider it a great opportunity.
"Our team has an identity, a way of playing and I would not expect us to go out there and not be competitive. My motivation is to pick up three points and play well. Whoever goes through us will deserve it, regardless of my preferences," he added, when asked if he wanted to do his former club Roma a favour by beating Leverkusen.
Barcelona return to La Liga action at the weekend with a home encounter against Deportivo La Coruna.