Last chance for Lopetegui to save Real Madrid skin
Happy Julen Lopetegui Sacking Day!
At least it will be if the current - 'current' being the really operative word here - Real Madrid coach does not squeeze a win out of his players against the collection of consonants that is Viktoria Plzen.
That's the name of the Czech team visiting the Santiago Bernabeu today in a Champions League Match Day 3 clash. And that's the outfit that could be the final undoing of Lopetegui whose tenure at Real Madrid hangs by a thread - a thread that has been covered in lighter fuel and dangled near a bonfire.
The 101 on Real Madrid is that the team is merrily on a run of four defeats in five in all competitions with just the single goal scored in that time. And with El Clasico just around the corner on Sunday, there is still time for Madrid to eject Lopetegui and go into damage limitation mode if matters go awry today.
However, the all-important Real Madrid players seem to be behind the manager. "If you have to sack the coach, then you have to sack us all," boomed Isco, who promised doubters that the Champions League could still be won under Lopetegui.
Head to the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for our extensive coverage of a busy few days in El Clasico country and the eventual fallout from today's Champions League cracker.
Cristiano Ronaldo makes Old Trafford return against familiar foe
Multiple challenges for Jose Mourinho today in a Champions League clash against Juventus in Old Trafford.
Avoid saying anything potty-mouthed in Portuguese to the cameras. Try not to get into touchline scraps. And beat the runaway leaders of Serie A. Tough to know which will be harder for Mourinho.
To add extra spice to an already intriguing clash, there will be a familiar face in the Juventus line-up with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford. "It's special for me to return to Manchester," announced CR7 dutifully on Monday.
Open the curtains. The Theatre is set 🏟👌.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 22, 2018
📸➡️ https://t.co/2ENHDzUcK1 #MUFCJuve #UCL #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/MYiGaNKfQw
Although both Mourinho and Ronaldo are both Portuguese, that is about all the duo have in common with some bad blood from the spell together at Real Madrid which often saw Ronaldo barred from crossing the halfway line as Mourinho started developing the tactics so loved by fans today.
Elsewhere in Tuesday's games..erm...actually there's not too much juice about unless Young Boys against Valencia flips your lid. Champions, Schmampions.
Want to see Sports Burst in human form? Then head to our Facebook page at 11AM ET / 8AM PT today for all the today's big predictions.
Barcelona to offer clue on Messi-less future
Tuesday should see some clues from Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde, on what he plans to do in his current world without Leo Messi.
The absence of the elbow-challenged Argentinean means that there are two spots available in the team's front three. Considering that a good $300 million or so have been sunk into both Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele over the past 18 months, it should be fairly easy to fill the vacuum.
However, the erratic form of the latter now sees a campaign for Malcom to be let loose. So far the Brazilian has been a peripheral figure for Barcelona since arriving this summer from Bordeaux.
Barca will be in action at the Camp Nou against Inter on Wednesday.
The XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT is the place to be for all the best Champions League action and predictions for the next day.
Usain Bolt suffers setback in soccer dream
Usain Bolt's soccer dream has still to get off the blocks. Despite scoring in his debut (in a friendly) for the Central Coast Mariners, it appears that there is no place for the Jamaican 32-year-old in the Australian side's team. The footballer was not in the squad for the Mariners' A-League opener against the Brisbane Roar.
We would like to offer clarity around the contract negotiations between #CCMFC & @usainbolt.— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) October 22, 2018
Usain Bolt Update ⚡️ https://t.co/UxFKlmUEwU#CCMFC #ALeague pic.twitter.com/TzWMd1UMqC
Despite Bolt's agent claiming that a professional contract had been offered - denied by the club's manager - it seems that no deal can be done without third-party money to help out.
"Without the financial contribution of an external third-party, it is unlikely that Usain Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners will agree to terms," the club said in a statement. The statement also noted that the athlete will not be attending training this week until an agreement can be reached.