By Tim Stannard
Lionel Messi given some downtime by Ronald Koeman for Barcelona's Champions League clash against Dynamo Kiev
Yes, it does look like Gerard Pique could well be out for the season having suffered a knee ligament injury against Atletico Madrid, leaving Barcelona with just one fit center back. Even the prospect of signing a stopper, Eric Garcia, from Manchester City in the winter window looks dicey with Barcelona having to heavily cut expenses.
Practically speaking, there is no one in charge to actually make the signing for much of January with Barca currently experiencing a presidential interregnum until the elections take place at the end of the month.
And yes, Sergi Roberto is also out for the next two months with a muscle tear.
Admittedly, matters look a little bleak in LaLiga too, with Barcelona having made their worst start to the season since 1991-92, in 12th place in the standings with just four points picked up from the past 12. And nine off the top of the table. And still behind newly-promoted Elche in the standings.
But there is perhaps a reason to be cheerful?
Lionel Messi looks set to stay at the Camp Nou whether he likes it or not with Manchester City reportedly losing interest in bringing the player in once his current Barcelona contract expires next summer.
That's the prediction reported by Sky Sports which claims that the combination of Messi's age and salary demands are such to make the move both unaffordable and unadvisable for the Premier League club.
Heck, even Pep Guardiola was cool on the idea at the weekend with the City boss saying that he hoped that Messi ended his career at Barcelona.
There may be another reason to be cheerful, too. Barcelona are one of the few sides that have aced the Champions League test so far this season with three wins from three. This leaves Tuesday's trip to Dynamo Kiev as a little less fraught as it might have been on a day that mirrors the week, that mirrors the month, that mirrors 2020 as a whole - rubbish.
It's for that reason that Koeman has announced in a pre-match press conference on Monday that Messi will not be making the trip to the Ukraine, nor Frenkie de Jong. "The situation in the Champions League is good and they can rest. They have had a lot of games."
Over all, It's a year so lamentable for Barcelona that not even the hopeful news of Messi staying may be enough to turn some frowns upside down for fans.
The Sports Burst live show with Hope Solo will breakdown the Barca...breakdown at 12PM ET on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page and XTRA channel.
But that's nothing compared to the deep dive analysis of the weekends for both Barcelona and Real Madrid on Monday Night Soccer from 9:30PM ET.
Luis Suarez gives COVID warning from quarantine
If Barcelona's mood and outlook is bleak on Monday then it is the polar opposite for Atletico Madrid, whose coach, Diego Simeone, risks breaking the LaLiga record for saying "taking each game as it comes" for the season.
A first LaLiga win for Atletico Madrid over Barcelona in 21 attempts on Saturday sees the Rojiblancos as serious title contenders, especially with Real Madrid looking so flakey this season as well. Atleti are second in the table, just three points off the top of the table from the remarkable Real Sociedad, but have two games in hand.
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez has spoken about the positive COVID-19 test he received while on international duty, warning that "let this serve all young people and all people that no one is immune." Suarez is now back in Madrid and in quarantine and is set to miss Atletico's visit of Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday in the Champions League.
The action in a LaLiga season for the ages is not yet over as the big beasts of Athletic Club and Betis do battle live today at 3PM ET / Noon PT on beIN SPORTS.
The Turkish Super Lig also wraps up on the channel at 11:30AM ET with Galatasaray looking to move into second spot with a win over Kayserispor.
Ronaldo set to stick around at Juventus
If Manchester City has removed Lionel Messi from the summer transfer window - unless PSG have a surprise in store for us next summer - then Cristiano Ronaldo may have done the same for 2021.
Reports from Italy suggest that Ronaldo is now content to see out his contract with Juventus that runs until 2022. That seems a wise decision from the 35-year-old who is on a hot streak for Juve once again, having scored two Serie A goals at the weekend to make it eight all season - still not enough to overcome another golden oldie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has racked up 10.
Such is the topsy-turvy nature of megastar-coach relationships these days, it is Ronaldo who has taken a shine to Juve's boss, Andrea Pirlo, and not the other way round, that sees an apparent change of heart for an old man now wanting to stay on with an old lady.