Neymar Injury: Updates on Barcelona Star's Hamstring and Return

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured Columnist

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05:  (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been processed using digitals filters.)  Neymar JR of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Estadi de Mestalla on December 05, 2015 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Neymar was forced to miss a Jan. 23 match against Malaga due to a hamstring complaint.

Although he played in Jan. 27's Copa del Rey match against Athletic Bilbao, boss Luis Enrique confirmed he was struggling ahead of Saturday's match with Atletico Madrid. However, he is now fit for competitive action.

Continue for updates.

Neymar Ready for Atletico Test

Saturday, Jan. 30

The Brazilian was named in Enrique's starting lineup, per the team's Twitter account, for the top-of-the-table clash against Atletico.

Enrique Provides Latest on Neymar's Playing Status

Friday, Jan. 29

"Neymar has a knock. Regardless, it would be foolhardy not to play him," Enrique said, per Ed Maylon of the Daily Mirror. "If I didn't put him in they'd kill me! He'll play for sure."

Tests Reveal Neymar Absence Was a Precaution

Friday, Jan. 22

Javier Giraldo of Sport reported, "[Neymararrived at the Ciutat Esportiva with a hamstring problem in his left leg, although after medical tests they discarded a muscular injury."

Giraldo added, "The tests revealed there was no injury, but the player feels a disturbance and the technical body decided to be prudent."

In-form Neymar Becoming a Leader for Barca

The Catalans have had to battle through a series of injuries to their star attackers already this season, as Lionel Messi missed a stretch of matches early in the campaign and Neymar was out for a time just before the festive period.

The Brazilian and Luis Suarez more than held their own without Messi, but the Blaugrana seemed to struggle more when Neymar was sidelined for a period.

The 23-year-old continues to improve with every passing season, and he has become a true contender for the Ballon d'Or during the 2015-16 campaign.

No longer just a brilliant dribbler, Neymar has become a remarkably efficient forward capable of beating his man out wide or playing a big role through the centre. His excellent movement pulls defences out of position constantly, opening acres of space for Messi and Suarez.

When the three are healthy and in form, they're almost impossible to defend against, so Enrique will be delighted to see his Brazilian back to full fitness.