By Gabriel Pessoa
Zidane and Perez meet to decide the fates of Bale, Rodriguez and Pogba
By any standard, Florentino Perez and the Real Madrid board have enjoyed a successful silly season.
Following a long spell on the transfer sidelines, Los Blancos got back to doing what they do best: paying huge sums of money to bring in big name players.
And oh how they have brought in the big name players - not only landing top transfer target, Eden Hazard, and adding additional firepower in the shape of Luka Jovic, but also bolstering in defense with the arrivals of Ferland Mendy and Eder Militao.
But for all the contentment these shiny new action figures bring, there’s no disguising the fact that if Zinedine Zidane wants to add any more – which he most certainly does – he will first need to find some storage space in a toy chest bulging with superstar talents.
In this toy analogy, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale are stubbornly staring up at Zizou, dead-eyed, as the Frenchman petulantly folds his arms, stamps his foot on the floor and moans ‘life’s not fair.’
According to Marca, the coach met the president on Wednesday evening at the team's preseason camp in Montreal to see what book balancing would need to be done before the likes of Paul Pogba can put ink to paper.
Perez had to break the unfortunate news that Bale is not budging anytime soon, with the Welshman perfectly content to collect his paycheck from the Bernabeu bench as the club’s attempts to find him a new home are met with crickets.
Rodriguez provides another headache.
Atletico Madrid denied any interest in the Colombian earlier this week and Napoli, in case you’d forgotten, don’t like spending big on signings.
In the words of Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want.
Tune into today’s Sports Burst Live show with Gabrielle Amado and Eric Krakauer for more transfer talk and all the footy news of the day on the beIN SPORTS Facebook page at 12pm ET / 9am PT.
Zlatan takes a potshot ahead of ‘El Trafico’
As LA Galaxy prepare for Friday night’s clash with MLS frontrunners and bitter rivals LAFC, naturally Zlatan Ibrahimovic made himself available to the media to discuss Area 51 and ridicule the City of Angels’ other superstar striker, Carlos Vela.
After reading the Mexican forward’s stats for the season out loud, a brave journalist then asked the Swede if he still believed he was still the best player in the league.
Not missing a beat, Zlatan hit back by pointing out that when he was Vela’s age (29), he wasn’t plying his trade in MLS, but was still in fact playing on the biggest stage in Europe.
“Big difference,” said the Galaxy striker, insulting a rival and the whole division in one fell swoop.
"[Carlos Vela] is playing in MLS and he's in his prime. When I was 29 where was I?"— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 18, 2019
Ahead of El Tráfico, Zlatan says he's the best player in MLS "by far" 👀 (via @ahoraonuncaespn) pic.twitter.com/nAqYrM47sB
The 37-year-old quote machine also weighed in on the latest craze sweeping them internets: the misguided plan to raid Area 51.
And while Zlatan may not know what is in Area 51, but he surely knows what is not.
Copa Sudamericana’s RD of 16 rolls on
The third quarterfinalist for the Copa Sudamericana will be decided this evening when the dust settles on the battle between confusingly-named Ecuadorian side Argentinos Juniors and the team of irritable bowel syndrome suffers, Colon.
Los Bichos Colorados head into this match with a 1-0 aggregate lead.
Tune into what promises to be a thrilling match with a quarterfinal berth on the line live and exclusively on beIN SPORTS, starting at 8:20pm ET / 5:20pm PT.
Also on the network is the conclusion to the summer’s most thrilling competition: the Africa Cup of Nations.
Friday is the big one as Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane go toe-to-toe in a potentially Ballon D’or determining match that pits the Teranga Lions of Senegal against the Algeria.
Coverage begins at 2:50pm ET / 11:50am PT live on beIN SPORTS.