While it is certain that new signing Luis Suarez will not be available to play for quite a while, the situation of Neymar is almost as worrying.
The Brazilian forward fractured a vertebra during the World Cup and has been ruled out of action for at least a month, according to Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail. Neymar will certainly be back long before Suarez, but his absence could also have a silver lining.
Injuries are never a good thing, and clubs clearly suffer when their biggest stars are missing. However, there can always be good that comes from this situation, and the Neymar case is no different.
To begin with, Neymar’s absence is going to force several players to step up in a big way.
As of now, Gerard Deulofeu and Pedro are the only two wingers available to accompany Lionel Messi in attack. Though both will likely be role players this season, they will be vitally important when the new campaign kicks off.
Deulofeu, for instance, is going to benefit greatly from Neymar’s absence. The 20-year-old gained a lot of experience at Everton last season, and filling in for his Brazilian teammate will only help his development.
As the season progresses, Barcelona will need production from players like Deulofeu and Pedro. Though Neymar’s absence will hurt, it will also give these forwards the chance to find their place in the new system.
Additionally, players like Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic will have to step up on the offensive end as well. True, they won’t be able to cover for Neymar, but they will have to support the offense in a big way. Many players will be finding their place in the lineup, which could prove invaluable down the road.
While Neymar is out, there will also be chances for young players who likely wouldn’t see much time this season.
For instance, players like Adama and Joan Roman could be called upon to fill the bench as Barcelona only has two wingers available at the moment. Deulofeu and Pedro cannot be expected to play every game, so a few young wingers will have to be in the squad early on.
It is always a great thing when youth stars get their chances to shine, but that could also help Barcelona’s cause later in the season. When the club can feel confidence in turning to its youth, anything can happen.
Lastly, this injury can also be good for Neymar moving forward. In his first season with La Blaugrana, the 22-year-old struggled to fit into the Barcelona system. Now, he will have the chance to watch and learn Luis Enrique’s style of play.
What that means for Barcelona is that when Neymar returns from injury, he should already have the knowledge and vision of what is being asked of him. Granted, he won’t have experience playing in the new system, but often footballers need to learn the system first, which Neymar now has the chance to do.
Neymar being out for a few weeks is not a good thing by any means. His injury was an awful one, and it may be even longer before he is back to his best. However, some good can from his absence.
As the season progresses and gets tougher, Barcelona will have hopefully gained a lot while Neymar was out. Several players should be ready to play a bigger role, and the Brazilian will be expected to fully understand the new system.
It won’t be easy to cope without Neymar and Luis Suarez, but Barcelona is positive and looking to the future. The pieces are there, and the club now just has to put them all together.
How much will Neymar's injury hurt Barcelona? Will players be able to step up in his absence? Leave your thoughts and comments below!