Neymar is set to return to action for Barcelona in the La Liga game against Alaves on Saturday (10 September) after more than three months out. Yet, it is still uncertain whether Luis Enrique will hand the Brazilian a starting spot in his line-up as he only came back to the Catalan city on Thursday following international duties.
The former Santos star played his last game for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final 2-0 victory over Sevilla on 22 May, scoring the second goal of the game to help his side to win the domestic double, having previously clinched La Liga title.
But Neymar has since been more than three-months out due to both his holidays and international commitments. The 24-year-old forward didn't play the Copa America after Barcelona reached an agreement with the Brazilian Football Federation for Neymar to only play the Rio Olympic 2016.
After the Copa del Rey final, he went on holidays before leading his country to Olympic gold medal, scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Germany, having also netted his team's only goal during standard time.
The Barcelona star thus missed the Spanish Super cup double leg victory over Sevilla and as well the La Liga opener against Real Betis. The Brazilian was expected to return for the second league game at Athletic Bilbao on 28 August, but Luis Enrique decided to give him instead an extended break following his participation in the Rio Olympics.
Thus, Neymar continued to help his national team in his homeland in the two World Cup qualifying victories over Ecuador and Colombia. But on Thursday, he returned to the Barcelona training session after 108 days out and is now set to play in the Saturday game against Alaves.
Neymar is surely going to be in the squad but Luis Enrique will need to assess whether the Brazilian is ready to make his line-up. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, also remains a doubt for the game due to his groin niggles so summer signing Paco Alcacer may make his debut.
The Spanish international striker was presented by the club on Thursday after having arrived from Valencia with the mission to serve as a back-up for Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez.
"Joining Barça is a step forward in my career," Alcácer said in the press conference. "For me it is a great experience to play with the likes of Luis Suárez, Leo Messiand Neymar. My main position is centre-forward but I have played in a number of positions, and if have to play out wide, I will."
"I will do everything I can to make the most of my opportunities," he vowed. "When the chance to play for Barça comes along, it is a chance that you cannot turn down."