By Tim Stannard
Dembele to miss el Clasico after being handed two-match suspension for red card against Sevilla
Well, that’s one less decision for Ernesto Valverde to make ahead of El Clasico on Saturday 26th October – live and exclusive on beIN SPORTS, of course.
The Barcelona manager will be spared questions on whether Ousmane Dembele or Antoine Griezmann will be his chosen starter for the big match because the Frenchman will be suspended.
Wednesday saw the Spanish FA hand out a two-match ban for Dembele for a red card against Sevilla last weekend for telling the referee that he was “very bad,” a complaint that Luis Suarez probably yelled at Mateu Lahoz every five seconds but with extra expletives. Funny that.
Anyhoo. The other big Barcelona news is that Lionel Messi is becoming quite the chatterbox after or a decade or so or near silence. The Barca man spoke to Catalan radio on Tuesday and revealed that he half-considered leaving Spain due to his legal issues over tax fraud but that he stayed for his children’s sake and that Antoine Griezmann will settle in just fine at the club once he finds his tactical feet.
But perhaps the most curious nugget was the revelation that Messi had not spoken to club president, Josep Bartomeu, since losing to Liverpool in the Champions League in May. That’s a total of five months. “When we have to talk, there are no problems,” shrugged Messi.
Messi also surprised a few by saying that he is very happy indeed with Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona coach and surprised no one when revealing that he wanted Neymar back at the club. “He sees going (to PSG) was a mistake and that he had taken the wrong decision.”
The Sports Burst live show will pick through all these gold nuggets. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.
Milan line up new manager to sack as Sampdoria lines up sacked Milan manager
Even before new Milan coach, Stefano Pioli, was announced on Wednesday as the Serie A side's latest scapegoat after Tuesday's swift sacking of Marco Giampaolo, a fan campaign has begun to remove the 53-year-old from his job despite Milan offering the Italian a two-year contract.
A lengthy resume with zero silverware and being a former Inter boss, sees Pioli fighting a battle on all fronts from the start. Sports Burst suspects that Kaka will be coaching the San Siro club before the season is over.
Meanwhile, continuing Tuesday's theory on Sports Burst that there are only about four or five Italian coaches in existence that simply move from club to club, rumors from Italy suggest that Gennaro Gattuso is being lined up to take over the vacant position at Sampdoria.
Gattuso is the former Milan boss, and is taking over from Eusebio di Francesco, who will probably end up taking over...another Italian side in about a fortnight's time.
US Eagles crash-land again as China turns back on NBA
Well, this is taking a long time.
Not only is the Rugby World Cup still dragging on in Japan, the tournament hasn't even gotten through the group stages yet. No wonder about three countries take the sport seriously.
This is why Team USA - the Eagles - are still over on the other side of the world getting hammered by opponents without the luxury of pads and helmets to protect them. Downright communist.
The US fared little better on Wednesday morning than in the team's previous two defeats by losing 47-17 to Argentina.
Speaking of Americans in Japan...NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took a stand on Tuesday while on duty in the country, backing the right of NBA players, employees, team owners to have freedom of expression. Which is nice.
👉 Morning practice in Shanghai underway! pic.twitter.com/uoo3SpOr3v— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 9, 2019
It all stems from what is proving to be a costly tweet on Friday from Houston Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, supporting what he sees as pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, but what the prickly Chinese government views as foreign-backed separatist agitators.
Silver's stronger statement than the NBA's initial pro-China statement continues to have an impact on the lucrative Chinese market.
Not only will two pre-season matches between the LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets not be televised on Chinese state TV but a NBA Cares charity event and fan session with the Lakers in Shanghai was cancelled on Wednesday. The NBA says the cancellation of the first event was not its decision.