Sports Burst - Madrid’s Moment Of Truth

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by Tim Stannard


Madrid epic showdown in Estonia

See what Sports Burst did there with the title? Eh? Which Madrid are they talking about?

And that’s going to be the interesting back story to Wednesday’s European Super Cup clash between last season’s Champions League winners, Real Madrid and the Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid. Two teams, two destinies…in a world with no rules.

The Real Madrid side is stacked with stories – is Julen Lopetegui the new Coach Zizou? Is Gareth Bale the new Ronaldo? Is Vinicius the new Bale? Is Isco the new Asensio or Asensio the new Isco? And most thrillingly of all - if your life is as empty as this column’s - will Thibaut Courtois be the new Keylor Navas in goal?

But what of Atletico Madrid? – In the running for both the La Liga title and Champions League titles after an incredibly grown-up, organized, summer transfer market. Are the Rojiblancos going to bring the noise against their city rivals in Tallinn, Estonia? Deep down do we only pretend to care about Atleti through a sense of duty?

Find out on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT where our Kevin Egan and Dre Cordero will predict Atletico’s future this season.


Coach Zizou angling for Old Trafford opportunity

To be honest, Sports Burst is not sure if these are fresh rumors blowing in from an open window of truth or old ones recirculated like the air on a plane. But once again, Resting-Coach Zizou has been linked with a move to Manchester United, should life grow too intolerable under Jose Mourinho for both owners and players. However, l’Equipe is running with the story on Wednesday’s front cover, and the French sports daily is normally too grown up for such matters.  

There is absolutely no evidence to support the story aside from the fact that it sounds fun but there are several reasons to suggest why Zidane would be a top choice at Old Trafford. He’s not Jose Mourinho, he’s not Jose Mourinho, he’s not Jose Mourinho, he would probably get on well with Paul Pogba and the team is already stacked with top talent so he wouldn’t have to do much coaching.


Napoli didn’t get the Memo

It looks like Mexican goalkeeping nomad, Memo Ochoa, is set for another season in Belgian backwaters with a potential summer move falling through just a couple of days before the transfer market closes in Italy.

The Standard Liege man was set for a shot at the big time with Napoli but the club’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, revealed that the fact that the player was a non-EU citizen – that can clog up a squad - saw the move fall flat. Instead, it looks like David Ospina of Arsenal and Colombia fame will be the chosen one to take over from Pepe Reina, who left for Milan, although the Napoli big cheese said that three other keepers are also being probed from a list that includes Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet.

Napoli’s campaign under Carlo Ancelotti gets underway away to Lazio on Saturday. And tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT to see if our Dre Cordero thinks that Serie A will be a cakewalk for Juventus this season with Ronaldo hooking up with the Old Lady.


Valencia hopes to seal Man United Mata

Elsewhere in the TRANSFER TRACKER world and Real Sociedad (and Spain) winger, Mikel Oyarzabal, has explained why he turned down a move to Athletic to sign a new deal with La Real – more cash! Of course not, it was being happy, said the player on Wednesday.


From a player staying where he is, to another returning home. That footballer is Juan Mata who is rumored to be considering a return to Valencia seven years after leaving the club to head to the Premier League.

The much-travelled Costa Rican striker, Joel Campbell, who has spent nine years playing for eight different clubs – five while on loan from Arsenal – is set for a permanent new home with Serie A side, Frosinone. And what’s this? Another Milan signing? Yep – Genoa and Uruguay fullback, Diego Laxalt, is due to take a medical with the San Siro club ahead of a $16 million move. Which genuinely looks a bargain.

The beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page is the place to be at 12PM ET / 9PM ET every day in August for the live Transfer Tracker show.



The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. Sports Burst is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.