by Tim Stannard
Chicharito promises goal celebration against Madrid as Zizou’s countryman brands Hazard as a back-end of a train
For the 98th time this week alone, Coach Zizou will be wondering just why he thought it would be a good idea to manage Real Madrid again, having walked away in June 2018 when very much on top after three Champions League victories in row.
A reported $13 million a year salary might well have tipped the scales, a figure that could hit Real Madrid’s finances hard should the club decide to jettison the Frenchman any time soon.
The universe is closing in on the French manager and ready to reduce him to pre-Big Bang theoretical atoms just two days ahead of a huge match-up with La Liga leading Sevilla in the Sanchez Pizjuan.
The Sevilla boss, Julen Lopetegui, will be up for a bit of payback having been culled by Real Madrid just over a year ago.
A former Madrid striker now playing for Sevilla is even willing to break one of the most ridiculous but unwritten rules of soccer by promising to celebrate when scoring against his old club. "If I play and score, I will celebrate it like I've celebrated all my goals against my former clubs,” declared Chicharito after scoring his first goal for Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday. The Mexican forward spent a season on loan at Madrid in 2014/2015.
A fellow countryman has made quite the rant on French radio against Zidane and Madrid’s star signing, Eden Hazard. Rolland Courbis declared that the Belgian was “seen as the locomotive in terms of signings, but in reality, he's the rear end (of the train).”
Courbis also blasted that Zidane wasn’t up for the job of changing Real Madrid’s trajectory – “he's made bad decisions and there are have been bad surprises, from the physical conditions to the quality of signings.”
It's a trajectory that has not been inspiring at all for Madrid, despite the fact that the team is currently sitting in third in the La Liga standings, a point above Barcelona. Madrid were just hammered 3-0 by PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday without firing a single shot on target, have conceded six league goals in four games and have mustered just one win away from home under Zidane since his return to the club in March.
Sevilla v Real Madrid is live on beIN SPORTS on Sunday at 3PM ET / 12PM PT.
Ansu Fati becomes a Spaniard just in time for U-17 World Cup
The Spanish government has pulled off some just in time delivery on Friday for Barcelona forward, Ansu Fati, who really is having quite the month.
From making his debut at the age of 16 for Barcelona in La Liga and the Champions League to scoring two goals, to getting a Spanish passport just in time for the player to be called up for his new country for the U-17 World Cup being held in Brazil in October.
With one of Ansu’s agents being Lionel Messi’s brother – a handy connection to have – the footballer certainly has all the behind the scenes backing – and talent – to succeed.
The La Liga weekend gets underway on Friday with Betis at Osasuna live at 3PM ET / 12P PT. Despite some promising moves in the transfer market the start of the season has been sluggish for the Seville side with just the one win in four. That run could continue against Osasuna who are nothing if not obstinate at home.
beIN CONNECT is offering up some French action as third-placed Nantes looks to continue a very sprightly start to the season against Strasbourg.
The Sports Burst live show will look ahead to the weekend and work out if Coach Zizou will be there in charge of Real Madrid at the end of it.
Copa Sudamericana shockers and a Titans sack race
Time to tie up a few lose ends in the wide, wide world of sport. A second shock took place in the Copa Sudamericana semifinals. Wednesday’s first leg match was won by Independiente del Valle against the strong favorites of Corinthians, the home stadium of the Brazilian giants.
Colon struck a blow for Argentina on Thursday with a 2-1 victory over Atletico Mineiro. Some superbly balanced second legs await next week and are all on beIN SPORTS.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated visiting Tennessee Titans in Thursday night football action. Not a good night all round for the Titans whose quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was sacked nine times in a Dolphins-esque performance.
The Rugby World Cup got underway in the early hours of Friday morning with the hosts, Japan, getting a 30-10 victory over Russia. The US team makes its debut in the tournament on Thursday against England.