By Tim Stannard
Real Madrid begins countdown on three matches to save a season starting with the visit to Sevilla on Saturday
Stern, nay dramatic scenes at Real Madrid on Thursday, the first time the squad had gathered together after a bleak night in Ukraine and an even bleaker trip back to Spain.
The orders were clear for Thursday, though, after a day-off permitted for soul-searching. Everyone was to gather at the Valdebebas training center early in the morning. The club president was coming in.
The message was even more underlined as it came just a day after a board meeting of the Real Madrid bigwigs.
Was Florentino Perez reading the riot act to the players after limp performances in LaLiga and Europe?
Is it a warning to Coach Zizou from the ruthless club president that Zidane had one more chance to save his job?
🗓️ Our calendar for the remainder of 2020:— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) December 2, 2020
✈️ @SevillaFC_ENG (05/12)
🏠 @borussia_en (09/12)
🏠 @atletienglish (12/12)
🏠 @Athletic_en (15/12)
✈️ @SDEibarEN (20/12)
🏠 @GranadaCdeF_en (23/12)
✈️ @Elchecf_en (29/12 or 30/12)#HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/aBOjHT7pnG
Actually, the reality was less interesting. It was the scheduled day of the club's team photograph to expose the smiling faces of Zidane and the players eternally for the ages.
Those same players and manager are just two days from a humdinger of a match in LaLiga with a trip to Sevilla on Saturday, a game that is live on beIN SPORTS from 9:30AM ET.
That is followed by a must-win Champions League game against Borussia Moenchengladbach and topped off by a Madrid Derby on Saturday, December 12.
Florentino Perez's trip to the Real Madrid training camp on Thursday may have been for pleasure. The next one might be all business for Zidane. And not in a good way.
The Sports Burst live show will begin the weekend countdown by running through the predictions for The Match, presented by Puma. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.
Neymar declares desire for Messi reunion
With two goals scored to give PSG an undeniably big 3-1 win at Manchester United in Old Trafford, Neymar might have taken the opportunity to reflect on a triple whammy of goodness for the Brazilian.
First, Neymar wasn't injured. Second, Neymar didn't get sent off. And third, Neymar was instrumental after scoring two goals in a victory that makes PSG's passage to the next round of the Champions League much easier.
But Neymar wanted to drag up transfer rumors once again, rumors that appeared to have been laid to rest with the forward settling in for the long haul at PSG. And that's why his comments from Wednesday night that "what I want most is to play with Messi again," might have a different spin.
The automatic reaction is the molehill coming to the mountain at Barcelona with Neymar making a return. But considering that the Camp Nou club has about seven dollars to spend over the next two years, the mountain coming to the molehill next summer is much more likely, with Messi out of contract and his desire to stay at Barcelona very much in the air.
Barcelona are back on beIN SPORTS on Saturday live from 2:30PM ET with an away trip to Cadiz, a team that has already taken down Real Madrid.
Carlos Tevez pays Maradona tribute with winning goal for Boca
The stars aligned in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday night, with a modern idol of Boca Juniors being able to pay tribute to one of the past, when Carlos Tevez scored the winning goal against Internacional to reveal a vintage number ten Boca jersey.
Boca were playing a rescheduled Last 16, first-leg game on a waterlogged pitch in Brazil and took a very handy lead back to Argentina for next week's finale.
Elsewhere, clicking, flapping and doing loops in the air did not impress Palmeiras with the Brazilian side showing no mercy to Delfin with a 5-0 victory to make it 8-1 on aggregate over the two legs.
Uruguayan outfit, Nacional, overcame Independiente del Valle on penalty shootout after both Last 16 legs ended goalless, while Jorge Wilstermann were taken to task by Libertad and eliminated.
The final Last 16, second leg match-up of the week is live on beIN SPORTS Espanol at 7:30PM ET with Gremio looking to move past Guarani with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
Today we've got Libertadores, Sudamericana and the start of the 2020 European Women's Handball Championship 🙌 pic.twitter.com/OiGuMVNzEp— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 3, 2020
Meanwhile, the EHF women's handball European Championships get underway on beIN XTRA channel today from 12PM ET, matches that are free, free, free with no subscriptions required.