By Tim Stannard
"I have my doubts," admits Ronald Koeman on Barcelona's squad strength for the season
Barcelona's somewhat harassed media department could have done with a least a bit of downtime, especially after the EXPLOSIVE! comments from Antoine Griezmann's agent, that Lionel Messi was running a reign of terror at the Camp Nou.
This isn't the case though, with Ronald Koeman hitting the headlines in Spain on Wednesday by opining over the state of affairs at Barcelona going into the international break. In terms of the Champions League, it's all good with three wins from three. Not so much in LaLiga, where Barca are in eighth spot, with just the single league win in the past five matches. "We are at the beginning," admitted Koeman in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.
One of the big topics of conversation was whether the Dutch coach was happy with the squad he is working with. And the vibe is very much...mmm, not really. "I work with the players that I have," said Koeman not inspiring 100% confidence, "but if you were to ask me if it's the ideal team for me, I have my doubts."
The rumor mill suggests that Koeman still wants to bring in two players in the winter transfer window - Manchester City defender, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay from Lyon. However, Lyon president, Jean-Michel Aulas, is adamant that the Dutch forward will stay on to help the Ligue 1 team through a tough season - "we have the capacity to do better, so he will stay.”
The Sports Burst live show will pick through Koeman's comments including the sad sigh that Barcelona is "quite limited in some positions."
Tune into our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET to join in the conversation with our Gabrielle Amado and Gary Bailey.
AFCON 2021 qualifying gets back underway on beIN SPORTS
International soccer certainly doesn't let the small matter of pandemics, lockdowns and quarantines get in the way of footballers traveling the world, when everyone else is being told to go back home.
AFCON 2021 qualifying is back on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday with Sadio Mane's Senegal taking on Guinea-Bissau live at 11AM ET, followed by Libya facing Equatorial Guinea at 2PM ET. This kicks of seven straight days of top-class African soccer across the network.
There are also a series of friendlies in Europe including the struggling Netherlands taking on Spain and France hosting Finland. Kylian Mbappe will not be in action, still recovering from a hamstring injury and trying to be fit in time for PSG's Ligue 1 clash against Monaco next Friday.
Looking ahead and Thursday sees the continuation of the South American World Cup qualifiers - fingers cross Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez can stay fit ahead of the BFF-face off next Saturday between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
The USMNT will also be returning to action on Thursday with Sergino Dest very much the man at the center of attention. The Barcelona fullback has spoken about the chances of a newly-stacked US team winning one of the next two World Cups - "I mean the ball is round, so we always have chances, but I think we will have more chances in 2026 maybe."
Better late than never? - the US Masters set to tee off
It doesn't take much to take Sports Burst by surprise, but it was a little perplexed to discover that the US Masters was teeing off on Thursday. In the middle of November. Seven months after it was originally planned. Temperature wise, it might be quite pleasant but with a chance of showers. Or maybe even tropical storm ETA.
Onto the golfing side of things and Tiger Woods is there defending his 2019 Masters title, but the favorite is the slightly controversial figure of Bryson DeChambeau. The golfing obsessive transformed his body in the space of months, putting on nearly forty points to enable him to drive the ball further than anyone else before. All done with gym work and a lot of protein claims DeChambeau to a lot of raised eyebrows around the game, suspecting something 'baseball' was going on.
This basically means, the American will probably need a lot less shots than everyone else to go round Augusta. Which is the idea of golf apparently.