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Transfer Rater: Woodburn to Barcelona

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Neymar could play in Clasico pending Barcelona late ban appeal - sources

Barcelona maintain the slimmest hopes that Neymar could play in Sunday's Clasico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After an unsuccessful appeal of Neymar's three-match ban, Barcelona confirmed they will take their case to Spain's Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAD).

TAD met on Friday, but Barcelona did not file an official appeal in time for it to be looked at during the meeting.

Sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that Barca did finally file the appeal later on Friday, which is within the 15-day deadline, in a hopeful attempt to delay the start date of the ban.

The logic behind the delay is that once the appeal has been made, Barcelona feel Neymar's ban is effectively suspended until TAD makes a decision.

TAD would have to call an urgent meeting on Saturday to review the appeal; it usually gathers just once a week. If TAD does not meet Saturday, it could allow Neymar to feature in this weekend's game against Madrid, which could have huge implications in the La Liga title race.

A source told ESPN FC that Barcelona could be willing to risk playing Neymar, although no decision will be made until they see how TAD respond.

Neymar was sent off as Barca were beaten at Malaga on April 8 after picking up two yellow cards, earning himself a one-match ban.

His first booking was for obstructing the taking of a free kick by tying his laces, and the second was for a late challenge on Roberto Rosales.

He was later awarded an additional two-game suspension after referee Jesus Gil Manzano included in his post-match report that the Brazilian had "sarcastically applauded" the fourth official as he left the pitch.

The dismissal was Neymar's first in his four seasons with the club, and he became Barca's first player to be dismissed in La Liga since October 2015.

Barca travel to the Spanish capital three points behind league leaders Madrid but could go to the top with a win.

However, a defeat to Zinedine Zidane's side would leave them six points off the pace, having played one game more and with just five matches left to play.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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