by Tim Stannard
Koeman correctly suggests press may have been trying to start a fight between Griezmann and Messi
There is a reason why Lionel Messi is seen by some as the GOAT. The Argentinean ace has the capacity to take on not just one, but two rivals at the same time.
Messi is set to be spearheading Barcelona's charge against Atletico Madrid on Saturday and make it 21 times in a row in LaLiga that the Rojiblancos have failed to beat the Catalan club. Although BFF, Luis Suarez, will be out of action due to COVID-19 issues, Atletico will still be lining up with the hot to trot Joao Felix and maybe even an appearance from Diego Costa.
But Messi is also set to do battle - in a spiritual sense - against his Barcelona nemesis, Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman's first crime against Messi was to publicly turn down a move to Barcelona in a form of a documentary video.
The second was to not be Neymar, the player Messi always wanted along side him.
The third is Griezmann's former agent declaring Messi to be running a "reign of terror" in the locker room, a comment that Leo has not taken too well, judging by his testy response on Wednesday after his return from Argentina - "I'm a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club."
The gentleman trying to hold all this together - as well as deal with an imminent 40% wage deduction in the camp, Messi to Manchester City rumors and a leading presidential candidate insulting Griezmann - is Ronald Koeman who spoke on Friday ahead of the match.
The Dutch manager did a skillful job of throwing a damp tea towel over media grill pan fire by suggesting that Messi's treatment by the press was a little iffy. "Such a long journey and to ask him things straight after, it's a lack of respect. Perhaps the intention was to create some drama."
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona is live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday with coverage beginning from 2:30PM ET.
Real Madrid play waiting game on defense
Thursday was very much a good day, bad day for Real Madrid in terms of the preparations for Saturday's testing clash at Villarreal.
While Eden Hazard and Eder Militao were cleared to be back in contention for the game after testing negative for COVID-19, a hamstring injury was confirmed for Sergio Ramos to see the Spanish stopper out of action for the next three games.
☕ Good morning!— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) November 20, 2020
Here's today's agenda at #RMCity, where we'll be bringing you all the latest ahead of tomorrow's @LaLigaEN clash against @Eng_Villarreal!
⏰ 15:30 CET
-LIVE Press conference 💬
-LIVE Training 🏃♂️ pic.twitter.com/n3nWkMm9Hu
There will be a late test on Raphael Varane on a shoulder injury picked up on France duty, not that the French defender has been in ship-shape without Ramos beside him to point and shout. And that could be a problem with Madrid off the back of a 4-1 loss to Valencia and in the same part of the world on Saturday to take on a Villarreal side that is considerably stronger, sitting in second place in the standings.
Mbappe and Neymar return in PSG boost
The weekend gets underway on beIN SPORTS at 1PM ET on beIN XTRA - free, free, free, no subscriptions - with Eduardo Camavinga returning to the Rennes line-up after injury to take on Bordeaux.
The main event follows that with the last two teams to win Ligue 1 going head to head as a revitalized Monaco face PSG. The good news for PSG is that Kylian Mbappe is set to start for the league leaders and the match could even see some minutes for Neymar - both players have been suffering on the sidelines with injury this season.
Monaco take on PSG live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET.