Sports Burst - Real Madrid's New Zidane

Reuters

Three wins from three sees Solari becoming Madrid's New Zidane 

 

If smiling was a 'thing' that Florentino Perez did, then the facial muscles around his mouth would have raised a few millimeters today. 

The Real Madrid president will look back at that the last week with some pleasure. Santiago Solari has delivered three victories in three games. It took the previous coach, Julen Lopetegui eight matches to achieve the same feat. 

 

Pesky Keylor Navas appears to have been cast permanently to the bench with the Florentino-anointed Thibaut Courtois now the chosen keeper for both La Liga and Champions League. 

Even the often rebellious Sergio Ramos appears to have rediscovered his mojo by sending out sneaky but brutal flying elbows to take care of opposition threats. And Karim Benzema is both scoring goals and grinning - a minor miracle indeed. 

All in all, it looks like Solari's short test run on the Santiago Bernabeu bench looks like being a more permanent move for Real Madrid and the Argentinean is set to become the new Zidane in a glorious journey to future glory. Or not. 

Head to the XTRA for the latest on the situation with our Jamie Easton from Spain. 

 

Coutinho sidelined but Alba back in Spanish good books 

 

Good news, bad news, good news, good news and good news for Barcelona today. 

The good is that Lionel Messi looks increasingly likely to be playing in this weekend's La Liga fixture against Betis. The bad? The Argentinean will not be playing alongside Philippe Coutinho, with the club reporting that the player has a muscle tear which will see him out of action for the next three weeks

 

The good news there is that the injury coincides with an international break and it might give Malcom or Ousmane Dembele a chance. Or both, if Messi isn't fit after all. 

And some plucky performances from Jordi Alba at left-back has persuaded Spain coach, Luis Enrique, that this up-and-coming player is worthy of a return to the national team. Whatever grudge Enrique held over Alba from their days at Barcelona has been overlooked today with the flying flank-man returning for games against Croatia and  Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

 

Europa League teams look to turn from zeros to heroes 

 

It's Europa League time! Time to break into a La La Land style song and dance routine! 

You know the Sports Burst drill in the competition to find the best sixth-placed finishing team from Europe's big leagues or finest Champions League drop-outs.

Today, on Matchday 4 we are going to look at those poor bedraggled clubs that have yet to pick up a point. So come on Rosenborg of Norway who cannot a-fjord another bad night against Salzburg. 

 

And allez Bordeaux! A team that really should be doing better than zero points. Zenit is there for the taking, today. Go Qarabag in your mighty battle against Vorskla! 

F91 Dudelange - let's do the mighty land of Luxemburg proud with a historic performance against Olympiakos. Akhisarspor! 

Ok. This isn't fun anymore.

Catch the best of the Europa League action on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT. 

 

Timber!!!!!!! MLS match up as Portland looks for playoff win against Seattle 

 

Time for a quick wrap-up of everything else going on out there. 

The MLS playoffs continue with an epic encounter between local rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers with the visitors holding a 2-1 lead in the conference semifinal clash. The remaining three playoff matches take place on Sunday. 

 

And here's a curious one. ESPN in Mexico is reporting that former Valencia and Watford manager, Quique Sanchez Flores - a candidate for most interesting man in the word - is in talks for the job as national team coach. 

This would be a sideways move in the story with Tata Martino thought to be the clear front runner once the Argentinean's MLS duties with Atlanta United were done. 

Head to the live version of Sports Burst on our beIN SPORTS Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT. Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on. Go on!