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Lionel Messi was clearly struggling against Atletico Madrid and El Loco sees Neymar as the man to take on the responsibility as the best in the world recovers


Neymar scored his first competitive goal for Barcelona in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

And it was via a rare but superb header which even impressed Atletico manager Diego Simeone.

Now the 21-year-old Neymar, signed from Santos earlier this summer, has to shoulder that extra burden and play a bigger role for the Catalans.

And the reason? Lionel Messi is now bothered by a persistent injury to his left thigh.

Messi was replaced after the break in the Atletico match. The truth, however, is that he wasn't doing much in the first half.

He was bothered by that injury. Bad news indeed for Barcelona.

Since picking up an injury on April 2 against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarterfinals, the 26-year-old Argentine wizard has only played the full 90 minutes once in five months.

His injury is a cause for concern for Barca. A missing Messi is a massive blow for the Catalans, obviously.

Their fans all over the world are praying hard to see him recover as soon as possible but things do not look good, at least for now.

Ironically, Messi has been named in the Argentina squad by coach Alejandro Sabella for their 2014 World Cup qualifier  against Paraguay on September 10.

It's unwise on Sabella's part if he decides to take the risk by playing his captain as Argentina are already in a good position to earn a place in Brazil 2014.

Neymar is also frustrated to see Messi suffering.        .

"It's a shame not being able to play with Messi. He's the best in the world and everyone wants to play with him," he said, after the Atletico match.

Neymar, with his first La Liga goal on Wednesday, is eyeing for more and he is working hard to achieve this.

The Brazilian sensation has reportedly denied he is suffering from an anemia problem - which can hamper his performance.

"People talk too much. They don’t live with me. There is no problem with my health. People make stuff up that have nothing to do with the truth," Neymar said.

He underwent surgery to remove his tonsils this summer and maintained that "to lose weight after the surgery is normal".

"I lost six kilos but I’ve put them back on. People talk a lot but nobody knows the truth," he added.

An angry young man, full of passion is good for Barca.

Anyway, an interesting development elsewhere.

It seems that Barca are ready to challenge Arsenal for Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

According to The Daily Express, Barca are devising a way to bring Casillas to Nou Camp.

The Spainish international has become increasingly disenchanted with life at Real and was benched for their opening-day Primera Liga victory against Real Betis in Carlo Ancelotti's first game in charge.

The 32-year-old has been linked with Chelsea and Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger distinctly unimpressed with Wojciech Szczesny's display in their surprise defeat at home to Aston Villa.

Barca do need another established goalkeeper. After all, this is supposed to be Victor Valdes' last season at Nou Camp.

With due respect to the charismatic Pinto, of course.