By Tim Stannard
Messi's Barca future remains in doubt as club reportedly cannot register new players
Kick a man while he's down. That appears to be the mantra for a ruthless, take-no-prisoners Neymar.
Poor Lionel Messi is without a club, uncertain of his future, struggling to make ends meet on mere billions of dollars of savings and sponsorship cash, and his former teammate wants to make his life even worse.
Neymar's "bring me Messi!" demand came after Brazil overcame Peru 1-0 on Monday night in the first Copa America semifinal, after a goal from Lyon's Lucas Paqueta.
Argentina are taking on Colombia in the second semifinal on Tuesday and Neymar wants the Albiceleste to come through to set up quite the final. "I want Argentina, I am cheering them on," boomed Neymar, "I have friends there... and in the final Brazil will win."
If Neymar gets his way, Messi will have yet another final disappointment with Argentina and the player will then need to cool his heels on a luxury yacht somewhere in the world while his club future is resolved. At the moment, it's not looking too good for a return to Barcelona. As it stands, the LaLiga outfit reportedly cannot even register the three new signings of Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia due to the budget-busting size of the club's wage bill.
Hence rumors today of Antoine Griezmann being the number one at the top of the list in a fire sale. However, the French international holds the power in this situation with the player having a contract with Barca to 2024. If the forward refuses to be the financial makeweight in a Messi return - and everyone else that Barcelona have signed this summer - then the Griezmann is the real powerbroker at the Camp Nou.
Italy favorites to move past Spain in Euro semi
The South Americans are ahead of the game by a day in terms of getting the semifinals underway. Euro 2020 begins its final four stage today with Spain playing France, at Wembley Stadium, England. This will now be the venue for the second semi of England and Denmark on Wednesday and also the eventual final, with 60,000 spectators being allowed into the games.
Those spectators are largely expected to be 'local' so will very much have to pick a side to cheer on or sit quietly and hope for the best team to win and give the best of British luck. "I do think it’s very unfair that we don’t have half the stadium full of Italian fans and half the stadium full of Spaniards," was the grumble from Italy head coach, Roberto Mancini.
Although both teams are flying by the seat of their soccer pants in the tournament, Italy are favorites to squeak through to the final with the team on a 32-match unbeaten streak.
However, those egg-heads at UEFA have made one very large oversight in terms of getting eyeballs on the game. The match will clash for one whole hour with a Champions League game. To be more precise, it's the start of the 2021-22 Champions League competition and the first leg, first qualifying rounds. Shkendija are taking on Mura in a big, old battle between North Macedonia v Slovenia.
USWNT make final step to Olympics
The USWNT completed their final warm-up match before heading off to the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. Mexico were the opponents and were defeated 4-0 in East Hartford, Connecticut. The US women's team has now gone 44 matches unbeaten with head coach Vlatko Andonovski, saying that “slowly but surely, we are fulfilling all the tasks necessary to be fully prepared for the Olympics."
USA in line for Formula 1 double date
The US of A might be getting not one but two Formula 1 events this season. That's due to Australia backing away from hosting its leg of the F1 jamboree in November due to tighter border controls in the country against COVID-19. A second race in Austin, Texas might well be one of the options as a replacement.
The F1 circuit returns in the UK on the weekend of 17th July, as does the W Series, the elite women's motor racing tournament that is live on beIN SPORTS. Catch all the action from Silverstone England in Race 3 starting with qualifying on Friday July 16th.
Here's your round 2 wrap up. 🔢— W Series (@WSeriesRacing) July 5, 2021
After a stellar weekend, @JamieChadwick finished P1 to take home the maximum points and now leads the championship 🏆
Two races, two winners, who will be on top for Round 3 at Silverstone?#WSeries