By Tim Stannard
Barcelona and Marseille negotiate over possible permanent move to Ligue 1 for Konrad de la Fuente
The club names listed alongside the players in roster call-ups for the USMNT were already looking impressive as if it was the French or Portuguese national teams that were being listed - Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Lille and Galatasaray.
Monday could see a brand new giant of the European game being added for future squads - Marseille.
19-year-old USMNT winger, Konrad de la Fuente, looks set to be announced as the new signing of the 16-times Ligue 1 champions. Technically speaking the Miami-born starlet already has a fancy club after his name on US squad rosters (Barcelona). However on a practical sense the club remained in parentheses as Konrad did not get a minute of action last season in LaLiga and just 17 minutes in two Champions League games, despite some encouraging pre-season performances last summer.
A need to create some space in the Barcelona squad and also give Konrad the opportunity he definitely deserves sees talks underway with Marseille for either a loan move or even a $6 million deal with a buyback option for Barcelona built in.
Marseille are in rebuild mode under provocative Argentinean coach, Jorge Sampaoli, after a troubled season that saw disgruntled supporters trying to invade the team's training ground. Once fans are allowed back into the Velodrome, Konrad will find a club that is not for the fainthearted. The soon-to-be 20-year old will also be starting a club rivalry with USMNT teammate, Timothy Weah, who is at the reigning Ligue 1 champions of Lille.
French soccer action returns exclusively to beIN SPORTS on August 1st with the Trophee des Champions between Lille and PSG.
Messi begins a new Copa America mission
From a Barcelona player set for a new club to a Barcelona player who could be without a club but lifting a trophy in a few week's time, if everything goes well - Lionel Messi.
The Argentinean ace will be making another run at the Copa America title like Charlie Brown trying to kick his football. Except this time, the Argentinean version of Lucy that is Gonzalo Higuain won't be around to blow any title-winning chances past the post.
Messi was supposed to be lining up against Chile today in Argentina, but instead the Albiceleste will be in the Olympic Stadium in Rio after the Copa America's multiple moves. COVID-19 will remain a common theme to the tournament. Venezuela fielded a scratch team against Brazil on Sunday with eight players testing positive before Sunday's 3-0 loss to Brazil. Chile will be missing Arturo Vidal for today's game due to COVID-19 as well.
But if Argentina get a little luck along the way, Lionel Messi could be lifting the Copa America trophy on July 10th in Brazil as an unattached player with any kind of contract-signing either for Barcelona or another team not expected until he returns to Europe.
Jokic ejected and dejected after Nuggets playoff defeat
Speaking of world-class players having a terrible time of it in tournaments...time to jump to the NBA playoffs with a 'when you are up, you are up and when you are down, you are down' moment for Nikola Jokic.
Just days after the Denver Nuggets center was named as the season's MVP, the Serbian was ejected from Sunday night's decisive playoff match against the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter. Jokic had taken a huge swipe at the ball that was in the hands of the Suns' Cameron Payne - a huge swipe from Jokic is akin to being swatted by a giant - causing an ejection and quite the on-court scuffle. "Windup, impact, follow through" were the reasons for the expulsion.
"I wanted to give us some energy, maybe change the whistle a little bit," admitted Jokic after the game, "so I wanted to make a hard foul."
The Nuggets were already doomed though and lost the series 4-0 to the Suns.