Ronald Koeman admits concern over Barcelona's financial future as club tries to bring back Messi
In just over a day, Lionel Messi won't even have an international team to claim as his own, at least for a few months. The Copa America will be over on Saturday night and the soccer player will technically only be able to claim the activity of kicking a ball about as a hobby, and not a profession.
How happy Messi will be about that prospect depends on the outcome of Saturday's final against Brazil in the Maracana. A victory against Argentina's fiercest rivals on Brazilian turf and quite the Quasimodo back-burden of angst is removed with Messi having lost three previous Copa America finals in 2007, 2013 and 2016. It also gives Messi an all-important new point in the Forever War against Cristiano Ronaldo.
A loss and Messi goes off on vacation contemplating another so-near, so-far moment for Argentina and also how long his holidays are going to be. Normally, the forward would have a date metaphorically circled in his diary of when he would be due back with Barcelona.
But not in 2021.
As it stands, Barca still seem to be a billion miles away from being able to offer Messi a new deal, as the club struggles to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in wages and debt off its books to fund a new contract for the soon to be hobbyist.
While Ronald Koeman on Friday did his duty by showing confidence that Messi would eventually be back for the new season, he admitted that the general state of the economic affairs at the club has everyone "worried".
The myth-busting Gold Cup kicks off
While the Copa America and European Championships wrap up over the weekend, the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup begins.
Sports Burst was planning the traditional lazy joke about going why we have to go through the motions of a tournament just for the USA and Mexico to meet in the final. Unfortunately reality got in the way and despite this Gold Cup myth, there has only been the single USA v Mexico final over the past four tournaments.
This year the USMNT is largely based on MLS talent with the European stars being left out as not to upset the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Juventus unnecessarily. Canada looks the same but with Cyle Larin of Besiktas taking part due to the Turkish Super Lig not getting back to business until later in August. The USMNT kicks off its Gold Cup against Haiti in Kansas City on Sunday while Canada plays Martinique.
Regional rivals meet in CAF Confederations Cup
Africa is also a hosting a big soccer final in the form of the 2020-2021 CAF Confederations Cup, taking place in Benin. This year, it's a North African power play with Raja Casablanca of Morocco taking on JS Kabylie of Algeria and it's all live for free on beIN XTRA from 2:50PM ET / 11:50AM PT on Saturday.
Suns shine once more against the Bucks
The Phoenix Suns have taken another step towards an NBA title win with another playoff victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to grab a 2-0 series lead. The Bucks need to get back in the game on home soil on Saturday to stop the Suns from winning their first title in 53 years. Another defeat and it could be a case of the Bucks stop here, on Wednesday night in match four.