Sports Burst – Madrid’s Maverick Midfielders

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by Tim Stannard


Zidane says that Bale and James are “missing something” to play for Real Madrid on Saturday against Eibar


Well, that certainly made Sports Burst sit up and take notice on Friday ahead of another bamboozling weekend of sport.

The column was expecting Zinedine Zidane to say something space-filling and box-ticking about Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez being important members of the Real Madrid team, wanting to stay at the club, nothing to see here, move along, etc, etc.


But instead, it was something quite different from Coach Zizou on Friday. It appears that the footballers might be on some kind of strike.

Admittedly, this conclusion is a stretch but it was Zidane himself who said on Friday morning that neither nor Bale or James are available for Saturday’s away trip to take on Eibar, even though there appears to be nothing wrong with them. "It's not that they're injured, they're not available to play," said Zidane bluntly on two players who have not trained fully this week, but through their own choice, apparently. "It's they who decide whether they train with the team and they're still missing something in order to do this."


What that ‘something’ could be is anyone’s guess. But something definitely doesn’t sound right at the Bernabeu. Eibar against Real Madrid is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday at 12:30PM ET.

More on what else Zidane said in quite the morning in a moment.



PSG begin tug of war with Madrid over Mbappe 


Friday is also busying itself with future transfers, some set to take place sooner than later. 

L'Equipe in France is all over Kylian Mbappe and PSG's so far unsuccessful attempts to tie the star striker up to a long-term deal. The 20-year-old is currently secured until 2022, however PSG are reportedly more concerned about whether Mbappe could be off as soon as next summer. 


Real Madrid have not exactly been subtle in their interest in Mbappe with Coach Zizou opining this week that the player had always dreamed of running out for Real Madrid. 

The response was a rebuke from the no-nonsense PSG Sporting Director, Leonardo. "It annoys a bit and it bothers. It's time to stop all this," fumed the Brazilian to RMC Sport. 


“I didn't say anything. I only said what the player said; that his dream was to play here," was the mental shrug in response of Zidane on Friday.

PSG are back in action in Ligue UN on Saturday away at Brest, a game that is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS CONNECT at 11:30AM. 


MLS v MLS in Zlatan future battle


King Zlatan's infinite realm of soccer possibilities looks like ending on a return to Milan, where the Swede played between 2010 and 2012. Zlatan is set to be out of contract with LA Galaxy until the end of the month and has been linked with a host of new gigs from Bologna to Boca Juniors. 

The source of the latest news was none other than MLS Commissioner Don Garber who suggested that King Zlatan was being "recruited" by Milan. 


However, a swift denial on such scurrilous rumors was issued by...MLS with communications bod, Dan Courtemanche, tweeting that his boss was being misinterpreted. 

With beautiful symmetry another story in the MLS world concerns a heavyweight player coming in. And it looks like being Luis Suarez with his Uruguayan countryman, Nicolas Lodeiro revealing that the Barcelona man had been asking about the league. Lodeiro is currently with the Seattle Sounders preparing for the MLS Cup final against the Portland Timbers on Sunday. “He wants to come to the MLS. He’s always asking me about the league here,” confirmed midfielder.