By Tim Stannard
UEFA fans' team of the year tweaked to unusual formation to squeeze Cristiano Ronaldo in starting XI
In a sly move that will infuriate Remainers in the UK's Brexit battle, UEFA have asked the opinion of the common people, carefully considered it...and then rejected it, knowing better, apparently.
After three days of rather weighty news concerning Barcelona - although more on that in a moment - the comfort blanket of Messi v Ronaldo has returned with an absolute doozy of a story.
According to the Daily Mail, UEFA was forced to tweak an online supporters' poll of the 2019 team of the year to let the previously outcast Cristiano Ronaldo into the fold.
The original 4-3-3 formation had Sadio Mane, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski up front, backed by a midfield that included Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.
No room for Ronaldo, who received only the fourth highest total of votes for forwards and missed the cut. UEFA apparently decided that this certainly wouldn't do, shifted the planned formation to a tremendously attacking 4-2-4 to accommodate Ronaldo, booting out Kante in the process.
The poor midfielders now expected to cover quite a lot of ground in this theoretical team are Kevin De Bruyne and Frenkie de Jong.
UEFA were not the only parties to have CR7's back. Juventus boss, Maurizio Sarri, was speaking on Wednesday after his club's Italian Cup win over Udinese - where Ronaldo did not play - to complain that Leo Messi having more Ballon d'Or trophies than Ronaldo was "a little annoying." "I would like to help Ronaldo win a sixth Ballon d'Or," declared the Italian coach.
It's good to have friends.
The Sports Burst live show will ponder all things Messi v Ronaldo at 12PM ET. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or go to the beIN XTRA channel.
Xavi Hernandez reveals reason for turning down Barca job
In a decision that ultimately disturbed Quique Setien's admiration of the bovine population of his village on Monday, Xavi Hernandez has confirmed that he was offered the chance to take over the Camp Nou hot seat from Ernesto Valverde, but turned down the opportunity.
Speaking ahead of the Qatar Cup final, the current Al Sadd boss revealed on Thursday that he declined the job offer claiming that it was too soon in his development but that, of course, it was a dream to take on the role one day.
This adds to the certain inevitability of Xavi being on the Camp Nou touchline to see out the final days of Lionel Messi as a player. On Wednesday, Barcelona club president, Josep Bartomeu declared in an interview with 'Sport' that "clearly, Xavi will be the coach of Barca one day."
At that point, Quique Setien will literally be put out to pasture with no shade of graze in this particular part of Barcelona's managerial future.
Inter on brink of Premier League double deal
Thursday sees Inter about $11 million dollars away from a very handy couple of winter window transfer deals that could tip the Serie A title in their favor.
The Serie A side that is currently battling Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus - that is the new official title of the club - is a mere $1 million away from snaring Chelsea and France striker, Olivier Giroud. The final price tag might be a mere $5.5 million for a footballer who, at 33, is a mere spring chicken in Italy.
Christian Eriksen is also in Inter's sights this week. The Tottenham midfielder is about $10 million from moving to Italy. Spurs want $20 million. Inter want to pay about $10 million for a footballer who is out of contract in the summer.
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil has committed to Arsenal for the next year and half, declaring that he is now happy under Mikel Arteta. Which is nice.