by Tim Stannard
Zidane feels coaching empathy for fate of Valverde after Barca pull a Madrid with a mid-season coaching change
Barcelona might think that they are all high falutin by hogging the limelight this week with their dramatic change of manager. But take a step back, Camp Nou, posse as it is still Real Madrid who are the kings of chaos when it comes to coaches.
Last season, Madrid had not one, not two, but three managers with Coach Zizou mimicking the Quique Setien scenario by receiving a sudden phone call one day to interrupt a sabbatical, rather than a spot of cow-tipping as preferred by the new Barcelona manager.
Friday was the first chance for Zidane to be probed on his thoughts over Barcelona's antics. And it was probably a delight to do so, as opposed to being quizzed on Gareth Bale again. Being French, Coach Zizou was in philosophical mood and reflected on life as a big cheese at a big club. “If I lose two games, they are going to criticize me a lot like they did a couple of months ago,” shrugged Zidane. “We know the job we have. I feel bad for Valverde.”
Real Madrid are taking on Sevilla on Saturday - live, live, live on beIN SPORTS at 10AM - and there is a leftover of Madrid's coaching carousel from last season with Julen Lopetegui on the opposition bench, the first of three managers for Real Madrid last season.
LaLiga's Round 20 - the start of the second half of the season - gets underway on Friday with a mini-Madrid derby as Leganes takes on Getafe. It's a fairly short hop for Getafe to take on Javier Aguirre's men with the two grounds less than three miles apart. Tune in at 3PM ET for a local feisty affair.
Ashley Young on brink of Inter move after Maguire made Man United captain
Inter's pursuit of a couple of thirty-somethings continues. The Oliver Giroud deal from Chelsea is still bubbling under but the Ashley Young poach seems imminent.
Thursday saw reports of a $1.6 million fee being agreed with Manchester United for the 34-year-old. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doubled down on that story by announcing on Friday that Harry Maguire would be the new club captain, admitting that Young was all about going to Inter on a two-year deal.
Meanwhile, a transfer target for Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes of Sporting CP might well be playing his last game for the team on Friday, in a Lisbon derby against Benfica.
Staying with United and the club has been thrown into the Edinson Cavani rumor mill with the story that the PSG striker will be offered to the club in the summer when the Uruguayan is a free agent in what will be some competition with Atletico Madrid.
The Sports Burst live show will be live with our Jamie Easton in Barcelona to look ahead at the weekend and bring the transfer gossip noise. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET to join in the fun.
Carlos Sainz wins Dakar as American sport gets strange
Elsewhere in the wide, wide, world of sport and Carlos Sainz has won the 2020 Dakar Rally - although the race has not been anywhere near Dakar for quite some time. Formula 1 driver, Fernando Alonso finished 13th.
American sport looks set to continue on its peculiar ark with more fallout expected over the arrest warrant issued on Thursday for Odell Beckham Jr for allegedly slapping a security guard's bottom as the LSU players celebrated their National Championship win over Clemson. Yep.
There may even be room to talk about the AFC and NFC championship games this weekend, as the NFL organization desperately hope that the Tennessee Titans don't make it to the Super Bowl final.
The shock, horror and pretend surprise over the Houston Astros' dastardly sign stealing scheme can expected to rumble on too with potentially more heads falling.
Finally, two loon bags will try to beat each other to death on Saturday as Conor McGregor fights Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.