It confirmed that Lionel Messi will not travel to Glasgow after suffering a thigh injury in Barcelona's victory against Almeria on Saturday. The other is expected to be delivered at Celtic Park tomorrow evening, when the Argentine's absence allows Neymar to ditch the deference demonstrated to the man he has taken to calling "an idol" and announce himself as more than just another team-mate.
To some observers, Neymar is Messi's heir. Others will paint him as a pretender to the Barcelona crown, the rival who is better equipped than any other to depose the king of Camp Nou. Most agree it will not end well. Johan Cruyff, the father of the modern Barcelona, is the chief sceptic, arguing that "a ship can't have two captains."
History suggests the Dutchman is correct. David Villa, Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all tried and failed to displace the diminutive forward, but Messi's relationship with the latter is perhaps the most instructive.
The Swede made his mark quickly in Catalunya, scoring on his debut and adding a winner in a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in his first El Clasico in 2009. Messi was perturbed. According to Ibrahimovic, he sent a text message to manager Pep Guardiola while the squad travelled home, complaining about the Swede - who had become a threat to his role in the centre of the side's attack. "It must have been like I'd gone round to his place and got in his bed," the Swede wrote in his autobiography. Ibrahimovic, who became estranged from Guardiola and embittered at playing second fiddle to Messi, was subsequently offloaded to Milan.
Given the efforts Barcelona went to to sign Neymar, and the ties he has to the boardroom, such a simple solution will not be an option should Cruyff's suspicions be proven right. Defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals last season accelerated negotiations to sign the Brazilian, negotiations that had begun some months earlier at the instigation of Sandro Rosell.
As a former Nike executive who worked in Brazil, and the man who recruited Ronaldinho 10 years ago, the Barcelona president was obsessed with signing the 21-year-old and pushed to make the down-payment of €10million that appeared in the club's accounts last January. The subsequent €57m purchase price - excluding €8m for three optioned Santos players - was very much the president's call.
That is not to say it was not a wise move. After all, the £48m fee is around half of what Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale, a player with a far less established marketing base than Neymar and, arguably, a less enticing track record given that the Brazilian scored 52 goals in 58 games in 2012, including nine from 11 outings with Brazil.
The statistics might chime with Messi's but the similarities are strictly confined to the pitch. It was Guardiola who outlined the differences between the two when Barcelona played Santos in the World Club Cup final in Tokyo in December 2011. Neymar unveiled a special haircut for the match and had a Japanese inscription carved on to his boots. "Now look at Messi," said the former Barcelona coach. "Best player in the world. Perhaps in history. But still just Messi."
In May, SportsPro magazine listed Neymar as the world's most marketable athlete and he holds contracts with 13 major brands, including Nike. Half his earnings last year came from endorsements and deals and he has featured in some strange advertisements, including one in which he dressed up in a cow suit and milked himself.
Before moving to Spain, Neymar was a ubiquitous presence on the Brazilian landscape - emblazoned across billboards, appearing on talk shows and music videos and even making a cameo on television soap opera Amor a Vida.
Barcelona have, to date, been careful to police their new star. He was encouraged to get rid of his trademark peroxide blond Mohawk haircut, and has been applauded for his restraint in weathering some roughhouse treatment in La Liga; he has been fouled three times as much as Messi and Andres Iniesta this season. With the exception of a lazy, nonchalant flick to evade a tackle on the halfway line against Sevilla a couple of weeks ago, Neymar has curbed his flamboyant flourishes. He has been keeping strictly to his pass-and-move brief, contributing three assists for Messi, and conspicuously hugging the left touchline during matches - the wing where a disgruntled Rivaldo finished his days at the Catalan club.
Messi has continued taking the close-in free kicks but tomorrow night that will change. So what can Neil Lennon and Celtic expect? Neymar, who was rested for the weekend win, is fast, two-footed and a merciless finisher, possessed with eye-boggling dribbling skills, hewn from years as a kid playing futsal, the hard-court, indoor football game popular in South America. In a bizarre case of art imitating life, he admitted a couple of years ago that himself and international team-mate Ganso try to replicate the moves of animated players on computer football games.
Last season during a club game against Mineiro, he found himself corralled at the corner flag by three defenders. Undeterred, he ran along the touchline towards his own goal, scooping the ball over the head of the nearest opponent with his heels before drawing a free kick from another onrushing defender. The flick drew an admiring grin from Mineiro's Ronaldinho.
By then his reputation had already preceded him. He came to the notice of European audiences at the age of 14 when he spurned Real Madrid in favour of continuing his footballing education at Santos, for whom he made his first-team debut at 17. A year later he scored against the USA in his first appearance for Brazil's national side.
He has scored some audacious goals. One hat-trick against Internacional in 2012 included two slaloms through their defence that began from inside his own half. He reportedly covered 71 yards at 19mph for the goals. "I could never score two goals like that even in a video game because you have to touch the ball so quickly," he said. "I am going to have to watch it all on television to see exactly how it happened because I'm still not sure. I only know that I was running and dribbling, and when I looked up the goal was in front of me."
He led Santos to a Copa Libertadores title that season, its first since the days of Pele in 1963, but the final of South America's Champions League is remembered for a mass brawl after the final whistle, during which Neymar stamped on the foot of an opponent.
He is not without his petulant moments, then. A year earlier, he threw a tantrum when coach Dorival Junior would not allow him to take a penalty as he had missed his previous three. He had to be restrained by a linesman and threw a bottle of water at the ground in disgust. After the game, Dorival Junior recommended the club suspend Neymar for 15 days for his insolence. Santos sacked the coach instead. Neymar's influence, then, should not be underestimated. Neither by Celtic, nor by Messi.