Barca forward Neymar Jr will not be playing in the El Clasico after being slapped with a three-match ban following his red card at Malaga last Saturday.
Neymar, 25, picked up a needless second yellow card for petulant body contact against Diego Llorente in the 65th minute in Barca’s 2-0 defeat at La Rosaleda, which earned the Brazil international a traditional one-match suspension per La Liga ruling.
However, his sarcastic applause towards the officials after he was given his marching orders has resulted in an additional two-match ban.
RFEF, the football governing body in Spain, deemed Neymar’s behaviour an infringement of article 117 of their disciplinary code, which addresses “attitudes of contempt or disregard for referees, managers or authorities”.
The extended ban meant that Neymar will miss a home game against Real Sociedad this weekend, the 23 April trip to face Real Madrid in a potentially trophy-deciding clash, and a home match against Osasuna three days later.
Real Madrid had earlier been held to a 1-1 draw by their city rivals Atletico, meaning Luis Enrique’s side could have moved top of the table with victory.
But as Malaga forward Sandro scored on the break against his former club on 32 minutes and as the substitute Jony Rodríguez added a late second after Neymar’s dismissal, Real finished the weekend three points clear of Barca and with a game in hand.