Neymar could miss the Clasico against Real Madrid later this month after the Barcelona forward sarcastically applauded the fourth official after being sent off against Malaga.
The Brazilian was sent off for picking up a second yellow card as his side were beaten 2-0 at La Rosaleda on Saturday, slipping three points behind Real Madrid, who had drawn 1-1 at Atletico Madrid earlier in the day.
A dismissal for two yellow cards only earns a one-game suspension, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano included Neymar’s petty reaction to the fourth official in his postgame report.
That could add up to three games to Neymar’s ban, though even one additional game would be enough for him to miss the April 23 clash at the Bernabeu.
The postgame report said: “The player Neymar Da Silva Santos J, after being sent off, when he was entering the tunnel, and [sarcastically] applauded the fourth official.”
In February, Luis Suarez was handed a two-game ban after the same referee wrote in his report after a Copa del Rey game that the Barcelona striker delayed his exit down the tunnel after being sent off.
Last month, Alaves’ Alexis Ruano was given a three-game suspension after confronting both the referee and the fourth official, while in the second division Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita was given a two-game ban after verbally abusing the fourth official.
In a 2012 case similar to Neymar’s, Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli was suspended three games after sarcastically applauding after his second yellow.
Barca’s next outing in La Liga is against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou and Neymar will definitely miss that game, with the trip to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid the following week.
Osasuna are then due at Camp Nou before the Catalan derby at Espanyol, and both are games which Neymar could also miss if he is given a four-game ban.
Neymar, who replaced his boots in the first 10 minutes of Barca’s last two games — something Luis Enrique had said on Friday was down to comfort, not marketing — was booked for fiddling with his footwear to delay a Malaga free kick in the first half.
A late challenge on Diego Llorente in the second half then earned him a second yellow card, leaving Barcelona with 10 men for the final 25 minutes.
Malaga already led at that point through former Barca youngster Sandro Ramirez and they completed a memorable night when Jony fired home from inside the area in the final minute.
The dismissal was Neymar’s first in his four seasons with Barcelona, and he became the first Barca player to be sent off in La Liga since Oct. 25, 2015.
He saw red three times with Santos before moving to Barcelona, and was last dismissed with Brazil at the 2015 Copa America in an incident which earned him a four-game suspension from CONMEBOL.