Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has been hit with an injury blow ahead of a La Liga trip to Malaga on Saturday (23 January) after the club revealed Neymar had been left out of the 18-man squad for the game with a hamstring problem.
The Spanish boss, however, will have Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Jeremy Mathieu available for the trip to La Rosaleda stadium after the trio missed the 2-1 Copa del Rey victory over Athletic Bilbao in midweek, with the former Liverpool striker suspended and the other two rested due to injuries.
Neymar played the full 90 minutes of the Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at San Mames, leading the attack in the absence of Messi and Suarez and scoring his 20th goal of the campaign. However, the Brazilian suffered a little discomfort later in the week, forcing him to miss Friday's training session.
Luis Enrique has therefore opted to leave him out the squad for the trip to Malaga, ahead of Barcelona's key games with current La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on 30 January and the second leg of their cup tie soon after.
"[Luis Enrique] will be without Neymar due to a problem in his hamstring. Tests conducted on [Friday afternoon] have ruled this an injury and the development [of the issue] will mark his availability for upcoming games," the club confirmed. They added that the suspended Gerard Pique will also miss the game, alongside Jordi Alba and long-term absentee Rafinha.
Luis Enrique, meanwhile, confirmed in the press conference ahead of the trip to Malaga that Messi and Mathieu are available. The boss rested Messi for the midweek game after the Argentine suffered a knock during the 6-0 La Liga victory over the Basque side.
However, the manager insisted that Messi only "had a little discomfort" and, after he had trained normally both on Thursday and Friday, he expected him to return to action at Malaga.
"[Messi and Mathieu] have recovered, they trained yesterday and today we'll see how things go in training. I don't think there'll be any problems."
Meanwhile, the manager claimed that Luis Suarez's absence due to suspension in the Copa del Rey game against Athletic could be beneficial for the Uruguay international, as it is the only way to rest him.
"It isn't easy to rest players like him. We made the most of the games he missed through suspension to give him a rest."
The Barcelona manager, meanwhile, refused to make comments about any potential signings before the end of the transfer window, amid the recurrent links with Celta Vigo forward Nolito and Villarreal's Denis Suarez.
"I'm not worried at all. We know what we want and if something can be done, great; if not, we won't stray an inch from what we want to get," he said, also confirming the club are likely to send Brazilian right-back Douglas on loan so he can get more pitch time.
"[Loaning Douglas] is an option I consider to be of interest, but only if the right circumstances come about and it's in the interests of all parties."