Real Madrid faces Leganes in Copa clash with chance to ease pressure of current crisis
While a true CRISIS! in soccer can arrive in seconds, the good news for Santiago Solari is that the worst effects of the CRISIS! can be blown away with a simple football match.
The task is a very simple one for Real Madrid on Wednesday in a Copa del Rey Last-16, first-leg game against Leganes in the Santiago Bernabeu: win.
Actually, the job will be to win fairly comfortably and with a bit of a swagger, which is something Madrid has not really been able to deliver since the start of the season under the early days of the dear departed Julen Lopetegui.
Theoretically, this is a very doable proposition for Real Madrid. On a really basic, as simple-as-it-gets tactical level, the reigning Champions League winners and Club World Cup holders are considerably better than the visiting side from the south of Madrid. That's even with the absentees from the match-day squad announced on Wednesday which includes Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Toni Kroos, Marcelo, Thibaut Courtois and Raphael Varane, either through injury or being rested.
To balance those absentees from the proceedings, one inclusion in Solari's selection is Brahim Diaz, who is already earning his corn after Monday's arrival from Manchester City.
Real Madrid against Leganes is the stand-out fixture in four Copa del Rey encounters across the network today starting with Atletico Madrid taking on Girona at 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT live on beIN SPORTS which precedes the big Bernabeu battle.
Rumors of Mourinho's return to Real Madrid continue
Staying with Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho's return to manage the club really is an actual 'thing' despite the fact that the only two people who would be in favor of the concept are Jose Mourinho and the all-powerful club president, Florentino Perez. To be fair, those are the only two people who count.
According to The Sun, the club has been in contact with Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendes, about returning to Madrid where he managed between 2010 and 2013. The stumbling blocks to a move to completely blow up the internet are reportedly an agreement with Manchester United on Mourinho's pay-off after his rather sudden departure and also the financial demands of the Special One who will want a special budget.
However, according to Spanish radio station COPE, Solari will remain in charge until the summer - although an awful lot will depend on the next month with challenges in La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
VAR-city blues in London as Asian Cup continues
Elsewhere in the wide, wide world of soccer and Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea players and fans will be wondering how Manchester City got away with playing third-tier Burton Albion in the semifinal of the English League Cup today, when those two mega-teams were pitted against each other on Tuesday night in an eventual 1-0 win for Spurs, that was smothered in VAR controversy. "English referees can't use VAR!" fumed Mauricio Sarri after a Harry Kane penalty award.
The AFC Asian Cup continues on Wednesday - a geopolitical jamboree which pits together a whole host of countries with serious beefs against each other. Saudi Arabia v Qatar in the group stages anyone? China taking on North Korea? Iran facing Iraq?
Japan got its campaign underway on Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates with a 3-2 over Turkmenistan.
The XTRA with Kevin Egan is the place to be at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the best of the day's action
Bayern Munich poaches Pavard in traditional transfer move
Bayern Munich have been busy bees in the transfer market on Wednesday by striking a deal in the traditional manner of FC Hollywood - simply scoop up the best talent elsewhere in the Bundesliga.
Stuttgart and France fullback, Benjamin Pavard, will join Bayern in the summer after the buy-out clause was met and a five-year deal was agreed with the player. The club's pursuit of Chelsea's Callum Hudon-Odoi continues.
The other big stories dominating the transfer tracker scene is the enigma of Gonzalo Higuain and if the complex deal ever can be devised which would see the Argentinean returning to Juventus early after a loan spell with Milan, being sold to Chelsea and then the San Siro side finding the cash to bring Alvaro Morata back to Serie A.
Sports Burst's live show will ponder this puzzle along with everything else live on our beIN SPORTS Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.