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Ben Hayward: Neymar stepping up to make light of Messi absence

No more Neymar in 2013. Barcelona's Brazilian forward will miss the Catalans' Liga clash at Getafe next weekend after he picked up his fifth booking of the season in his side's 2-1 over Villarreal on Saturday. But before that, the 21-year-old once again made the difference in the continued absence of Lionel Messi.

As said with increased regularity of late, this was not vintage Barca, but boss Gerardo Marino was pleased to see his side come through another tricky test without its star man. As Messi continues his recovery from a troublesome hamstring problem in Argentina, Neymar was there to round off a wonderful week with two more crucial strikes.

"This is the victory which satisfies me most," Martino said afterward. "We miss Messi and our rivals are happy when he is not playing. We don't only miss him when we lose, we always miss him. And if he had been here, we would have played better."


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