By Tim Stannard
Messi makes Monday headlines after brilliant Betis display as the Barca man returns to Argentinean fold
This new-fangled, might-just-catch-on Ronaldo versus Messi rivalry steamed ahead this weekend as one player won by not even playing and another received a standing ovation from opposition fans. It's the kind of generous gesture of goodwill that has no place in the beautiful game, quite frankly.
While Juventus suffered its first league defeat of the season with Ronaldo absent on Sunday, Leo Messi was winning more hearts and minds with a showing-off hat-trick - including a stunner of a third goal - against Betis.
That makes Leo the king of the hill in Monday's papers with 'Marca' pondering what the Argentinean's limit is and 'Sport' blasting from its front cover that LaLiga only has "one owner" - a reference to both Messi and Barca's rather hefty 10-point lead at the top of the table.
The good people of Argentina will be hoping that this golden streak of form continues with Messi now returning to the national team this week after a bit of post-World Cup break. To add to the bubbling fizz, Messi will spend the week training at Real Madrid's home ahead of Friday's friendly with Venezuela in Madrid that is live on beIN SPORTS.
The Locker Room will look back at more miracles from Leo Messi live on beIN SPORTS at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM.
The Real Madrid rumor mill returns after Zizou's return
Over at the Santiago Bernabeu, Coach Zizou got the old band back together on Saturday by playing Keylor Navas, Marco Asensio, Isco, Marcelo and Gareth Bale against Celta Vigo in a 2-0 win is in stark contract to the blind panic of last Monday which resulted in Santiago Solari's sacking and Zidane's return.
With a twelve-point gap between Los Blancos and the top of the table and therefore not much else going on - another international break is not helping - the transfer rumor mill is in full effect.
The latest target for Madrid remains Mauro Icardi, an increasingly doable move considering the Incredible Sulk has currently exiled himself from Inter.
Another name now on the agenda is Bayern Leverkusen striker, Julian Brandt, according to German outlet, 'Bild'. "It's an honor," beamed the 22-year-old, who would have had quite the shock on Monday morning.
Join the Sports Burst live show with Gabrielle Amado and Ray Hudson who will look back at quite the weekend in LaLiga. Just head to our beIN SPORTS Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.
Icardi exile could be over and another Sarri saga for Chelsea
So what else might happen in the international break this week aside from the US of A getting into quite the lather over brackets?
Well, the aforementioned Mauro Icardi exile might be over with wife and agent, Wanda Nara, stating that the forward is "close to finding peace" but still struggling with a coincidental knee injury.
Chelsea might sack Maurizio Sarri (again) after the apparent shame of losing to Everton at the weekend. Sports Burst gets that.
While that firing seems fanciful, Rayo Vallecano might well dispose of their manager, Michel, in a bit of a panic after seven straight defeats in LaLiga to leave the Madrid club jammed in the relegation zone.
The XTRA will bring you up to date with everything you could possibly need to know and more with Kevin Egan at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.