Sports Burst - Bilbao or Bust for Barcelona


By Tim Stannard


Eric Abidal reportedly keeps sporting director job despite getting on bad side of Lionel Messi 


In the last episode of 'Barcelona:2020' the club's sporting director, Eric Abidal, got to keep his job despite upsetting the team's star player, Lionel Messi, and also potentially the club's next manager, Xavi Hernandez - who, basically, was called a liar with the suggestion that his pants very much on fire over a job offer.

Quique Setien refused to get involved in the Abidal v Messi spat and instead looked ahead at a game of football on Thursday. "I'm nobody's dad," sighed Setien, which would be news to his son, Laro, who is a footballer in Spain's lower leagues. 

The Copa del Rey quarterfinal match against Athletic Bilbao is a chance for Barcelona to reset the headlines a little with a rousing victory and join Granada and the mighty Mirandes in the semifinals. Or lose which would reset the panic-o-meter to Defcon 2. 

On the plus side for Barca ahead of the game, Athletic have not been in the best of form with the Copa del Rey producing the only wins for the team since the beginning of December. In other corner, Barcelona lost to Athletic in San Mames at the start of the season. 

The Sports Burst live show will be dipping into the wacky world of Barcelona at 12PM ET. Tune into beIN SPORTS XTRA or head to our Facebook page or Youtube channel for all the fun. 


Barcelona look to recruit emergency striker 


Barcelona are also at the center of some very early transfer news. Due to the mother of all loopholes, the team might be able to pick up a forward player in an emergency signing to cover the loss of both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele. 

The restrictions would mean that footballers currently without a deal or already playing in Spain would be the selection pool.

This has seen Barca linked with every striker not playing for either Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid - hence Angel Rodriguez (Getafe) and Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) might be turning out for Barcelona in the near future.

However, Sports Burst senses that the team's case of pleading 'emergency' might be slim considering it was so comfortable with the squad situation, that Barca's bosses - looking at you Eric Abidal - loaned the forward Carles Perez to Roma in January.  

While Barcelona seem unprepared that is not the situation with Always Ready, who would not let themselves get into such a pickle. The Bolivian outfit forms part of a sensational night of South American soccer on beIN SPORTS, a night that also includes... Barcelona in action in Ecuador. It's a long story.


Coronavirus takes its toll on region's sporting events with Shanghai F1 race in doubt


Onto sports news that actually matters and touches on the real world. 

The coronavirus outbreak, which is currently centered on China could well have an impact on the 2020 Summer Olympics, due to get underway in July in Tokyo, Japan.  

Organizers have admitted to being "extremely worried" about the progression of the virus that has so far killed 563 people. 

While the summer games are still five months away, the impact to another sport could be more immediate. The Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix is due to be run in Shanghai on April 19th and it looks increasingly likely that the event will be postponed to cause significant scheduling issues later on in the year. "It looks very difficult," admitted F1's managing director, Ross Brawn.

The virus has already had an impact on Asia's Champions League with teams from China having their matches postponed until April or May.