The last image that fans got of Neymar during the 2014 World Cup was of him being carried off on a stretcher in pain during Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinals victory over Columbia. Neymar broke a vertebra in his back when Colombian defender Juan Camillo Zuniga inadvertently kneed him on a header attempt.
Over one month removed from this injury, Neymar was back on the pitch during Barcelona’s preseason tuneup game against Mexican champion Leon. And he contributed two goals during the 6-0 route of Leon along with an assist to Lionel Messi.
The assist came just three minutes into the match. Then Neymar added his two goals in the 12th and 44th minutes. He was substituted out at halftime, making way for Barcelona youth forwards Munir El Haddadi to score in the 54th and 77th minutes and Sandro Ramirez to score in the 89th.
Going back to Neymar, he definitely looks to add another dimension to Barca’s high-powered attack. The 21-year-old, who scored four goals in five World Cup matches, now has two goals in his lone preseason match. So if you’re into Spanish La Liga betting, definitely keep his star power in mind.
Suarez also returns
Neymar’s return wasn’t the only big news for Barcelona this past weekend. Luis Suarez also played his first match since the 2014 World Cup, where he was infamously banned for biting an Italian defender. Unlike Neymar, though, Suarez didn’t have quite the dramatic impact.
He entered in the 75th minute as a substitute, drawing lots of cheers from the Camp Nou crowd in Barcelona. Suarez only touched the ball a few times in his limited minutes, but there should definitely be more to come from the talented striker.
He transferred over from Liverpool after FIFA imposed a 4-month ban on him. Suarez was originally not allowed to practice with Barcelona or participate in exhibition matches. However, FIFA has since softened their stance, which is why he was allowed to play in the match against Leon. He also just started practicing last Friday – a big reason why he only got to play 15 minutes.