Sports Burst - Isco: The Weight Is Over

Reuters

Real Madrid kicks of Copa del Rey crazy day in Spain 

 

Although the planet has an awful lot of more pressing challenges to face from climate change to how to heal Arianna Grande's broken heart, it seems that Isco's weight has been a concerning issue for the global community. 

Not, whether it is too confusing for both himself and Marco Asensio to have a beard at the same time, but if the Real Madrid midfielder is...how do we put this...storing energy for the winter. Isco strongly denied it in a Cristiano Ronaldo-style topless Instagram post. 

However, the story is part of an investigation from soccer sleuths looking for reasons as to why Isco has gone from a Ballon d'Or winner of the future to sitting in the stands for key games. Isco's physical form was just one of the theories. But Isco should be back, back, back on Thursday for Real Madrid and could even be captaining the team due to his seniority in the squad in terms of caps. 

 

It's quite the turnaround for the footballer in a Last 32, second-leg Copa del Rey clash against third-tier Melilla in the Santiago Bernabeu at the very peculiar time of 10:15AM ET / 7:15AM PT. So don’t be late! 

However, the appearance may only be a temporary measure for Isco with Santiago Solari clearing stating that "I do not believe in anyone being indisputable, neither now nor when I played." Except Gareth Bale per chance?

Anyhow, Madrid is currently 4-0 up in the tie, so the game will be a chance for the likes of Vinicius Junior and Mariano to get out on the pitch and rack some up goals. 

The clash is live on beIN SPORTS and sets up a special day with three Copa games back to back with Huesca against Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis v Racing Santander wrapping matters up. 

 

Riqui Puig becomes next Iniesta in overnight sensation 

 

Over in the Barcelona world and it was a good night, bad night for midfielder Riqui Puig. Actually, make that good night, bad night, good night. 

The good is that the 19-year-old was quite the star in his official Barca debut - a 35 minute-long substitute appearance in Wednesday's 4-1 Copa del Rey win over Cultural Leonesa with Ernesto Valverde beaming that his footballer "has such confidence in his play, both in attack and defense. He doesn't hide and wants the ball."

The bad news now is that the player who has been with the Barca system since the age of 14 and has 14 appearances with the second team this season is now being branded as the "new Iniesta".

However, the silver-lining is that the footballer has a very, very, very marketable first name - just as important as the skills these days. 

 

Mourinho survives firing squad by Gunners 

 

Thursday morning still sees Jose Mourinho in charge at Manchester United. The Red Devils avoided defeat against Arsenal in Old Trafford on Wednesday despite the best efforts of David de Gea and Marcos Rojo in particular in some tremendous defensive stylings from the pair. 

Although the performance of both teams resembled that of a hunger-over Sunday morning pub game in terms of quality, the fairly dirty challenges from a number of United players is suggesting that the "mad dog" element Mourinho has been claiming he is missing from the team is back. 

 

David de Gea was a player who came out before the media to say that the performance where United had to come from behind twice was a sign that the footballers were behind Mourinho despite being used as verbal punching bags on a daily basis by the Portuguese provoker. 

"(We) are moving forward together" claimed the Spaniard saying that a top-four finish was the target once again - a target that United is currently missing by four spots in the standings and eight points, with the side having picked up just three points from the last three league games.

 

More Ligue Un games cut over fears of weekend unrest 

 

Mais non! Zut alors! The French league calendar this weekend is disappearing faster that some tasty snails at a Bordeaux buffet house. 

Due to civil unrest – and some full-on car-burning – predicted this weekend across France, more matches from Ligue Un have been postponed. And a really good one, too.

 

PSG’s home encounter against Montpelier had already been struck off the list – Neymar’s sister’s birthday is not until March, so there is no link there – and now Monaco’s clash with Nice on Friday has been scrubbed off. Not only was it another key game for Monaco in its relegation battle, a local – very wealthy – rivalry, but it was a true old school French battle of the benches with Thierry Henry due to face Patrick Viera: World Cup winners reunited

Unfortunately, the world will have to wait for this particular legendary affair.