Neymar will miss Barcelona’s game with Athletic Bilbao this weekend and won’t return to Spain until after the international break at the beginning of September, according to multiple reports in the Spanish media.
After scoring the winning penalty against Germany to secure an Olympic Gold medal for Brazil on Saturday, the 24-year-old had been expected back in training for his club side on Wednesday.
However, both Sport and Mundo Deportivo claim Luis Enrique has given the forward permission to remain in Brazil until September.
Barca’s second league game of the new campaign against Athletic on Sunday is followed by the first round of international fixtures of the season.
Brazil will play World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia during that time and Neymar would join up with his country next week.
A ti, toda a honra e toda a glória �� ⚽ pic.twitter.com/pE1t1meuYc
– Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) August 21, 2016
Luis Enrique, therefore, has decided it is best to allow the former Santos forward to remain in his homeland in order to avoid an excess of flights between South America and Europe.
Instead, he will return to Catalonia ahead of the game against Alaves at Camp Nou on Sep. 10.
Midfielder Rafinha, who was also part of Brazil’s Olympic success, will return to training with Barca this week.
Meanwhile, following Brazil’s Olympic victory Neymar stood down as captain of the national side.
He said: “It was an honour to be captain, but from today I stop being captain. I will send a message to [senior coach] Tite that, from now, he can look for another captain.”
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.