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Martino Defends Neymar

Barcelona boss, Gerardo Martino, has once again defended his Brazilian star, Neymar, ahead of his side’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Atletico Madrid tonight.

Neymar was involved in five of Barcelona’s last eight goals, but is rumoured to drop to the bench for the tight game against the La Liga leaders.

Martino often plays Neymar on the right wing, where the 22-year-old sometimes looks out of his comfort zone and struggles to track back.

When asked whether the Brazil international can help his side on the right wing, the Barcelona coach responded: “When Brazil win the World Cup with Neymar playing down the right side, what will you say?

“We know that Neymar is making a sacrifice playing on the right side.

“But also you have to remember the second goal we scored against Manchester City (came) thanks to him playing down the right.

“Sometimes it’s better to analyse these kind of things after the game rather than before it.”

Neymar has been involved in 30 goals (14 scored and 16 assisted) in his first 35 games since joining Barcelona, but has come under mounting pressure given his record-transfer fee and the controversy around his move.

Martino, however, stays committed to his Brazil star, whom he believes can be decisive anywhere in Barcelona’s offense.

“I’ve said it before and I will say it again. A player of Neymar’s class can play anywhere on the pitch,” he added.

“Obviously there are position where he is more comfortable, but he can be decisive in any of the front-three positions.”

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