What to watch in international soccer this weekend
France’s Paris Saint-Germain — and perhaps Brazil — faces a future without Neymar this weekend while Juventus hopes to (finally) gain ground in Italy and Barcelona has a chance to beat back its closest pursuer in Spain:
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain will be without Neymar, its $500-million-dollar man, when it meets Troyes on Saturday (BeIN Sports, 8 a.m. PST). But that’s not the biggest news here because the Brazilian forward is expected to miss up to three months after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his right foot. That means Neymar, who broke the bone nine minutes into last week’s win over Marseille, will miss what remains of PSG’s Champions League campaign and will be racing the clock to get fit for this summer’s World Cup.
Serie A: Juventus hasn’t lost this year, winning its last nine straight. But it’s actually lost ground over the last three months to front-running Napoli, which has won 10 in a row. However the six-time defending Serie A champion can pull within a point of the leaders with a win Saturday at Lazio (BeIN Sports, joined in progress at 10 a.m.) and a Napoli loss to Roma. Lazio, which boasts the league’s leading scorer in Ciro Immobile (23 goals) is one of only two teams to beat Juventus this season.
La Liga: Barcelona is the lone unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues yet that has earned it just a narrow four-point lead over defensive-minded Atletico Madrid heading into Sunday’s showdown (BeIN Sports, 7 a.m.) of the league’s top two teams. Barcelona has gotten there in large part thanks to Lionel Messi, who leads La Liga in goals (22) and assists (12). Atletico, which played Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in October, has an exciting attacker of its own in Antoine Griezmann, whose 15 goals ranks fourth-best in Spain.
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11
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