by Tim Stannard
AFCON 2019 gets underway with Mo Salah's Egypt looking for glory in front of home fans
Before we get started, here are some caveats. Always great ways to kick off an article.
Point one - if Sports Burst had plotted a path for Luka Modric to the 2018 Ballon d'Or title a year ago, then eyebrows would have been raised. But Sports Burst would have been prevailed.
Point two - the Ballon d'Or is actually a global media conspiracy designed to distract the masses from a legion of issues raging from climate change to Steph Curry's mini-golf meets Wipe-out show.
Point three - an award for individual achievement in a team sport is largely pointless.
Nevertheless, Ballon d'Or is a thing and everyone seems to love arguing about. So here's a footballer to throw into the hat of destiny for the 2019 prize - Mo Salah. And it makes perfect sense.
The striker was (equal) top scorer in the Premier League and his Liverpool team came just a point from winning the EPL title. Liverpool then went on to win the Champions League with Salah scoring in the final.
Thirdly, the Egyptian now has the chance to lead his country to glory in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which gets underway today. If that happens, don't even book that private jet CR7 and keep working on the beard Leo Messi as neither of you will be needed come presentation day.
Torres hangs up boots as Real Madrid bring Felix from the flames
Fernando Torres has announced a transfer...into retirement.
The World Cup-winning former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea man is wrapping up an 18-year-old footballing journey using the medium of social media to declare that "the time has come to put an end to my football career." The main hope from the 35-year-old is that people stop calling him 'El Niño' at last.
Moving onto the world of transfers and Real Madrid has been linked with a $135 million move for a hot soccer property in the summer window. And no, it isn't Paul Pogba. Or a knock-down Neymar. Or Christian Eriksen.
Instead, Friday's 'Marca' is declaring that Benfica forward Joao Felix is now a target with Madrid considering paying the 19-year-old's buy-out clause to snatch the player from under the noses of Atletico Madrid.
$135m sounds pricey but after the sale of Marcos Llorente to Atleti for around $45 million, Madrid are looking at the fine performances from James Rodriguez at Copa America and pondering that the midfielder is now worth a cool $50 million. First world problems there.
As well as looking over the runners and riders at Copa America, the Sports Burst live show with Jeremy St. Louis will pour over the transfer rumors and talk Paul Pogba with Manchester United legend, Gary Bailey. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.
Women's World Cup gears up for drama as Copa America faces more Var-city blues
Time to pivot back to what else is going on in the multi-tournament world that is this summer. The Women's World Cup takes a break before the first of the Last 16 knock-out games begin on Saturday with Germany taking on Nigeria followed by Norway against Australia.
The Gold Cup also trundles along with two games after Costa Rica and Haiti booked their spots in the knockout stages last night. Friday sees El Salvador playing Jamaica and Honduras up against Curacao.