Sports Burst - Can The Best Boost Barcelona?

REUTERS/Albert Gea

By Tim Stannard

 

Rebooted Messi set to start for Barcelona in La Liga Camp Nou clash against Villarreal 

 

It's official. 

The argument is over. For the moment anyway. 

Lionel Messi is the best player on the planet. 

FIFA says so, and they had dancers suspended in glowing balls in Monday's The Best ceremony in Milan. And Marcelo was named as the best left-back of the year. Truly impeccable credentials.

The timing of an award given to a genuinely tickled pink Messi could not be better for Barcelona who need a rebooted Argentinean ace back in the starting line-up for a big match on Tuesday, after a period of inactivity due to injury. 

 

While the club's struggles in La Liga (eighth place!) and the Champions League have been on the road this season, a virtuoso Camp Nou display is needed by Messi alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez against Villarreal in a game that is live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET / 12PM PT

The match is surrounded by off-the-field intrigue with stories circulating that coach, Ernesto Valverde, is losing the faith of the players especially after a limp 2-0 defeat against Granada on Saturday. 

The live soccer day gets underway at 1PM ET on the network with a Ligue 1 clash as Marseille relishes a trip to take on Dijon and the chance to move into second spot in the table. 

beIN SPORTS is happy to offer up a fine serving of sport today across the network.

 

Ronaldo takes time-out to discover astronomy 

 

For the yin of Leo Messi winning his award, there had to be a yang. 

That yang was Cristiano Ronaldo who did not make the 100-mile trip from Turin, Italy to Milan for the awards. While the player apparently got wind of the fact that he would not be receiving The Best award, the Juve man was still named in FIFA's best XI of the year. Well, best ten.

 

Only ten names were read out at the awards for the ten players on the stage. At that time, Ronaldo was casually relaxing and reading at home as shown in an Instagram post. "Dawn always comes after night," said Ronaldo in a helpful explanation on how the 24-hour cycle works. 

CR7 won't even be in action for Juventus in a Serie A away match against Brescia today due to a thigh strain, according to boss, Maurizio Sarri. Time to explain photosynthesis to the world perhaps. Or osmosis. 

Today's live edition of Sports Burst is likely to be all over this story and everything else. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET

 

Russia faces World Cup ban after more doping 'discrepancies'

 

Well, here's a show-stopping story for Tuesday. Russia could be banned from all major sporting competitions over the continuing thorny issue of doping. All competitions. All sport. Including the 2022 World Cup and 2020 Olympics. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has given Russia's sports authorities three weeks to respond to "inconsistencies" in doping reports handed over to the organization who have been monitoring the country due to alleged state-sponsored doping schemes. 

Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and the country's athletes will miss the IAAF track and field World Championships in Doha due to start later this week. The nation's rugby players were in action on Tuesday, however, in a World Cup clash against Samoa in Japan. 

Elsewhere in the wide, wide world of sport and Monday Night Football in the NFL produced a convincing 31-15 win for the Chicago Bears against the Washington Redskins, who are now 0-3 for the new season and 1-17 for Monday night games.