By Tim Stannard
Barcelona back in action today in Spain's equivalent of a wet night in Stoke against Valladolid
For much of the season, Lionel Messi has appeared a tad curmudgeonly, downhearted, grumpy and offish. A player in a place where he doesn't want to be and failing to connect with those he is with.
Especially, Antoine Griezmann.
Although the Argentinean lacks a green tinge to his skin - at least for the moment - Messi has been distinctly Grinch-like.
Nevertheless, a campaign has been leaking out in the media over the past few days to try and show Messi in a more positive, perky light. Sports Burst is not entirely sure it is buying it.
Monday saw Messi confessing that yes, he was a little peeved about being forced to stay at Barcelona but that he was getting over it. Tuesday has the player telling Marca that Barca are actually "improving little-by-little," and admitting that the season's start has not been good enough for the team - "we shouldn't have dropped so many points."
The risk of dropping even more is very real indeed on Super Tuesday on beIN SPORTS with Messi in action at a cold, unwelcoming Valladolid, a club run by Ronaldo the First, a ghost of Barcelona's past.
The 101 on this game is that Barca's recored away in LaLiga is not good with just four points from 15 possible, while Valladolid has been fairly strong of late. All the more reason to suggest that Messi might be reverting to his natural Grinch state with anything less than a victory.
Valladolid vs. Barcelona is live on beIN SPORTS today from 3:50PM ET.
Real Sociedad with chance to return to LaLiga title chase against Atletico
That match is third in a line of absolute holiday humdingers on the network on Tuesday, and one of 22 live matches being broadcast by beIN in two days across four different competitions. Chuck a metaphorical pebble at the network, and you'll hit some top class soccer action.
It all starts from 11:20AM with Valencia against Sevilla. Valencia have been in a midway state this season - not bad enough to be in crisis, nor solid enough to go on winning streaks, but still capable of taking four points off Real Madrid and Barcelona this season.
Don't miss out on the best ⚽️🏀 in the world this Tuesday! Only on beIN SPORTS ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/0JaTg9vMwO— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 22, 2020
League-leading Atletico Madrid are next up from 1:35PM ET in a table-topping clash against a Real Sociedad side that was LaLiga's front runners for a while. A rough run of form has seen the team drop off, but a victory at home against Diego Simeone's men will reverse some of the damage done.
Indeed, Simeone explained in intrinsic detail if the title race was just Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid this season. "No," was the response.
Villarreal will be taking on Athletic Club at 3:50PM ET on our completely free beIN XTRA channel, so you can watch two matches at the same time. Remarkably, Villarreal under Unai Emery are on an unbeaten streak of 17 matches in all competitions.
The message is clear from Sports Burst - be in with beIN today and tomorrow.
Real Madrid warm up for Granada visit
Speaking of tomorrow, there is a full round of action from Ligue 1, Turkey, a Copa Libertadores quarterfinal second leg clash between Boca Juniors and Racing Club as well as a second day of games from LaLiga.
That is headlined by Real Madrid hosting Granada from 1:35PM ET, a sprightly team more than capable of giving any big bully a bonk on the spiritual nose.
And if you are cannot wait for the NBA season to return today, then get tune in to some top US college players in action in the FIBA Champions League - today's match-up between Igokea and Hapoel Jerusalem tips off at 12PM ET on beIN XTRA.