Sports Burst - Real Madrid Wave Bye-Bye Barcelona With Title Chase Stumble!

beIN SPORTS/Reuters

Tim Stannard

Unforgiving Spanish press reflect on another failure to launch for Real Madrid

"Back to reality" was the front cover of Spain sports daily, AS, on Friday. "A reoccurring nightmare," sighed Marca as both reflected on Real Madrid returning from a FIFA Club World Cup victory to be brought back down to earth by throwing away yet more points in La Liga and potentially a chance at winning the title.

Holding a 2-1 lead against Villarreal, an imperious Santi Cazorla equalized for the hosts with a late header in Thursday's clash to see Real Madrid jammed in fourth spot in the standings, a full seven points behind Barcelona. "We had the win in our hands," sighed Madrid boss, Santiago Solari.

While Manchester City screwed its courage to the sticking place in its own crucial encounter at the same time by defeating Liverpool, Real Madrid's courage was akin to an adhesive bathroom hook fixed to a waterfall.

Madrid is back in action on Sunday in a home encounter with Real Sociedad while Barcelona has a cosy affair at Getafe. Meanwhile, the whopper of the round is Atletico Madrid against Sevilla, a second against third encounter. 

Round 18 of La Liga - the halfway point - gets underway on Friday with back-to-back matches on beIN SPORTS.

Levante takes on Girona at 1PM ET / 10AM PT followed by a badly struggling Espanyol trying to stop a run of six defeats by hosting Leganes.

 

Tune into the Locker Room at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT where Ray Hudson in the gang will assess Real Madrid's chances of closing down Barcelona at the top of the table.

Solskjaer feels invincible at Manchester United ahead of FA Cup clash

Fighting talk from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday with the Norwegian pushing to be made the permanent Manchester United manager in the summer once his stand-in deal runs out. "The more you are here, the more you enjoy it," revealed the man who, like a fired research assistant in a Petri dish storage lab, was recently in charge of Molde.

 

The Norwegian has lead United to four victories from four - all be it against less than lofty opposition in the Premier League - and claimed that "I think we can win every single game." The latest challenge will be an FA Cup match on Saturday against Championship side, Reading. The round gets underway on Friday with Tottenham at third-tier Tranmere Rovers.

All the highlights and the best action of the day can be found on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT - your home for the beautiful game.

Transfer Tracker

Super Mario linked with moves to Newcastle United or Marseille

Sources out of Newcastle United have closed down a fun rumor that Mario Balotelli would be making a return to the Premier League by swapping Nice for Ray Hudson's beloved side. Balotelli has pretty much been told by Nice coach, Patrick Vieira, that the Italian misfiring forward is free to leave whenever he wants. 

 

However, the French newspaper, L'Equipe has Balo making a move down the Med to Marseille

Gabigol looking for a new chance at Inter

Gabigol is back in the news! The  is currently being linked with a move to West Ham United however the Brazilian says that he wants another chance with Inter, the club that currently owns him but has been loaning him out across the planet of late.

"I'd like a chance at Inter," revealed the forward who has just come off a successful spell with Santos. The fact that Mauro Icardi is reportedly requesting a doubling in his salary might make Gabigol suddenly more attractive.

Aaron Ramsey could be joining up with Juventus as early as January apparently. The Arsenal midfielder is out of contract with the Gunners in the summer and has reportedly agreed a deal with the Old Lady, but could go sooner rather than later.

The Sports Burst live show at 12PM ET / 9AM PT hosted by our Gabrielle Amado will plough through the deals or no deals. Just head to the beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or watch back at your leisure.