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Barca are favourites no more

Barcelona
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Real BetisReal Betis
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 By PA Sport

Neymar to miss Barcelona opener

Neymar has likely been ruled out of Barcelona's season-opening game against Elche after spraining his ankle.

- Sergi Samper: Barca's new Guardiola?

The Brazil forward has only just recovered from the cracked verterbra he suffered at the World Cup finals and was back in full training ahead of Sunday's Primera Division match at the Camp Nou.

But a statement published on Barca's official website read: "Following the Thursday training session Neymar complained about some pain in his left ankle, and tests have confirmed that the player has a Grade 1 ankle sprain.

"The club's medical team has indicated that his return to training will depend on how the injury treatment evolves.''

The fresh setback comes only days after the 22-year-old scored twice in a 6-0 friendly victory over Leon.

The statement continued: "It's worth recalling that, last Monday, Neymar received his medical discharge from the back injury that he suffered during the World Cup in Brazil, and was able to take part in the Joan Gamper Trophy match on the same day.''

Barca were unable to offer a prognosis on Friday morning but it is likely Neymar will struggle to recuperate in time to face Villarreal at El Madrigal on Aug. 31.

Meanwhile, the Spanish giants have announced that Pedro is also a doubt for the match on Sunday, with the forward "suffering from gastroenteritis this week and now on antibiotics."

ESPN FC correspondent Dermot Corrigan contributed to this report.

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