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Neymar tipped to build on morale-boosting Barca goal

Neymar’s goal in the Supercopa de Espana first leg on Wednesday will boost his confidence, according to Barcelona team-mate Xavi.

BARCELONA — Neymar’s goal in the Supercopa de Espana first leg on Wednesday will boost his confidence, according to Barcelona team-mate Xavi.


The Brazilian forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from Santos in June, scored in the second half to help Barca avoid defeat in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.

As well as being important for the team, Xavi also feels his first competitive goal for the Spanish champions will settle Neymar. “Neymar’s goal was pretty important. It will give him confidence,” said the 33-year-old.

Former Barcelona striker David Villa had given Atletico the lead after 12 minutes.

However, with the scores level ahead of the second leg, Xavi believes his side have every chance of coming out on top.

“Atletico are a strong rival and they defend really well,” he added. “We tried to do a good job both in the first and second half but it was not easy. Towards the end we found more space.

“We tried to be patient and we managed to score a goal that will help us in the return leg.”

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi could miss tomorrow’s La Liga clash with Malaga due to a thigh injury. The Argentina international was substituted at half-time in his side’s Supercopa de Espana first-leg draw with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after feeling pain in the back of his thigh.

And Barcelona have now confirmed the 26-year-old has “bruised the femoral biceps tendon in his left thigh”, meaning he could be unavailable for their second league game of the season at La Rosaleda.

In a statement, the Camp Nou outfit said: “Barcelona Medical Services have announced that they will be monitoring the player’s progress this week before deciding whether he will be fit to play on Sunday.”

Manager Gerardo Martino had said after the Atletico match that Messi — who scored twice in Barcelona’s opening La Liga fixture of the season against Levante last week — was unable to move freely, leading to the decision being made to withdraw him.

The second leg of the Supercopa tie takes places at the Camp Nou on Wednesday after the first game ended 1-1.