Barcelona Braces for Victory at FIFA Club World Cup With Neymar’s Return to the Pitch

Lead Photo: PHOTO BY AP
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Happy days, Barça fans! It looks like Neymar will be ready just in time for the FIFA Club World Cup final against River Plate on Sunday. The Brazilian phenom has already completed individual ball work and sprints, as well as changes in direction on his quick road to recovery after suffering a groin injury back on December 8.

Neymar was rested midweek during Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Guangzhou, but Luisito Suárez’s hat-trick more than made up for his absence. He will, however, look to play a role in the final this Sunday, praying that this time he’ll be on the winning side of things.

Photo courtesy of FIFA.COM
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Neymar reached the Club World Cup final with Santos back in 2011. His rival? Barcelona. Before the game, he confessed that Carles Puyol was his “favorite;” He “knew him from PlayStation.” He also said that his own style of play was “greatly influenced by Leo [Messi]. Claro que sí.” His side eventually suffered a terribly one-sided 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Catalan giants.

It was Barça’s second title in the competition, the first a result of a 2-1 victory over Estudiantes in 2009. A win on Sunday would make Barça the first team to ever accumulate three trophies in the tournament’s history. It would also reverse Neymar’s luck and relinquish that bitter taste of loss in a cup final.