By Tim Stannard
Neymar returns to Paris as Messi hints that Barcelona could have done more to bring the player back to the Camp Nou
Lionel Messi speaking words is rare enough to cause a volcanic media eruption, even if opining on what his smoothie flavor of choice is in the morning. But when Messi is talking about Neymar, then it’s an extinction level footballing Krakatoa.
That’s what has happened on Thursday with Barcelona-based outlet, Sport, publishing an interview with the player where he reveals – not that surprisingly - that he would have loved Neymar to have returned to Barca. However, the quote that has got the juices flowing was when Messi spoke about Barcelona failed attempts to bring in the Brazilian over the summer. Or should that be failed ‘attempts’?
“I don’t know if the club really tried or not,” said Messi. Now, he could have been talking very literally in that he was not up to date on what bids were made and how much Barca put on the table to re-sign Neymar.
However, Sports Burst much prefers the theory that Messi was being in a more passive-aggressive vibe in the manner of an airline passenger debating the reason for plane cancellation being to weather conditions – “I don’t know if the storm conditions are too strong.”
Meanwhile, Neymar himself is back in Paris after an international break with Brazil and on Friday the world should get an indication from PSG boss, Thomas Tuchel on whether the forward will feature in the league clash with Strasbourg on Saturday.
There is no need to wait two days to see PSG in action though, as the women’s team is in action on beIN SPORTS today in a Champions League, Round of 16, first-leg clash at Sporting Braga – tune in at 3PM ET / 12PM PT.
Valencia’s rebellion continues as Madrid miss out on Modric
Valencia's internal problems have been rumbling all summer. Basically, it was bit of a personality issue between the (former) coach Marcelino in Spain and the club's owner in Singapore, Peter Lim, over signings and sales.
Rather than taking the issue to task in the summer, or even the start of the international break, Valencia' boss decided to put the club into a proper Sports Burst CRISIS by choosing Wednesday to fire Marcelino and appoint Albert Celades, who confessed that his own head was spinning by the turn of events.
This has caused a locker room revolt and then some with leading players questioning the decision as ludicrous, including Dani Parejo and Ezequiel Garay who yelled through social media that Marcelino's departure "IS NOT FAIR!" All in all, this Mestalla kerfuffle certainly can't do Barcelona's chances any harm on Saturday in a match that is live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET / 12PM PT.
Real Madrid have been dealt another injury blow on Thursday. Space is going to have to be found for Luka Modric in the treatment room, with the player having suffered a muscle injury, according to the club.
The Croatian midfielder will miss Saturday's game against Levante and also next week's Champions League opener at PSG. Madrid will also be without Sergio Ramos and Nacho in Paris due to suspensions from last season's competition.
World Cup inquest continues as NFL mulls over Antonio Brown suspension
On Wednesday, a large chunk of America woke up to a double dose of shock by discovering that the basketball World Cup existed and that Team USA was no longer in it after a defeat to France in the quarterfinals.
The rest of the day was spent rapidly trying to find someone to blame. That is set to continue into Thursday while the USA lingers in China to play a series of matches to discover where the final tournament finishing position will be 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th.
Meanwhile the semifinals will get underway in the very early hours of Friday morning with Spain taking on Australia and France facing Argentina.
Although the NFL Week 2 gets underway on Thursday, the biggest talking point of the day will continue to be Antonio Brown and whether NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will put the brand-new Patriots player on the Exempt list, just days after joining the franchise. That would see the wide receiver unable to play. Brown was hit by sexual assault and rape charges in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday.
On the field, the Carolina Panthers are hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Thursday night football. Both lost their respective Week 1 matches.