by Tim Stannard
Messi lowers bar to Arsenal levels ahead of new Copa America campaign
Let's go back just a few years of summers for Leo Messi. Only one of them could have been assigned with the concept of 'enjoyable' and that's because football wasn't involved.
2017 - got married! Yay!
2016 - Copa America Centenario final failure for Argentina.
2015 - Copa America final failure for Argentina.
2014 - World Cup final failure for Argentina.
One enjoyable summer in five years. With two more Copa Americas to come in 2019 and 2020, the chances are that this unenviable record will be extended. At least the 2022 World Cup is in winter so it will be Christmas being completely ruined instead for a nice change of pace.
With a heavy heart, Messi embarks on a brand new downer to really top a damp squib of a campaign for Barcelona that culminated with a Copa del Rey final loss against Valencia to go with the infamous Champions League wipe-out against Liverpool.
"I'm more tired and frustrated in my head than physically," admitted Messi, giving off the good vibes ahead of his new spell with Argentina
The Albiceleste are in friendly action against Nicaragua today on beIN SPORTS at 8PM ET / 5PM PT ahead of a Copa America where Messi has already set the bar so low, he could be an Arsenal player - "we are not candidates like other times."
Let the good times roll.
Women's World Cup gets underway in France
If there is an anti-Messi in terms of the summer stakes it's the USWNT.
You know what most of their summers are spent doing whether it is at the World Cup or the Olympics? Winning! Damn straight. And it's going to happen this year too.
The FIFA Women's World Cup gets underway on Friday with the host nation of France taking on South Korea. The defence of the US of A's title begins on Tuesday against Thailand as Coach Jill Ellis begins a quest to deliver a fourth World Cup title for the country since the tournament began in 1991.
However, this year is likely to be the toughest challenge yet with a significant number of teams with a chance of lifting the trophy including the US, France, Germany, England and Japan. "It's getting harder and harder which is a good thing for the women's game," says Carli Lloyd who scored a hat-trick in 16 minutes in the 2015 final against Japan.
Watch and learn, Mr Messi!
Frowns turned upside down for Real Madrid's jersey launch
So, Real Madrid has gone for the mean and moody look for its 2019/2020 kit launch.
And that's not too surprising either considering some of the players chosen to pose for the cameras are Gareth Bale (not playing, not wanted), Keylor Navas (not playing, not wanted) and either Isco or Marco Asensio. It's hard to tell which is which. Especially when beards are involved. Both might have been playing last season, but no-one really noticed.
It might even be Nacho.
Anyway, no news from the Spanish capital on Friday over whether the Eden Hazard deal is ready to be announced but Sports Burst suspects that it will now be much ado about nothing until early next week when Belgian's Euro 2022 qualifiers are done and dusted.
Elsewhere, Bruno Fernandes of Sporting is such a fan of Europa League football that the Portuguese midfielder is choosing it for the next few years by reportedly opting for a move to Manchester United for around $90 million.
The Sports Burst live show with Kay Murray in the house will be onboard the transfer train at 12PM ET / 9AM PT. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page.