By Tim Stannard
Newly-appointed Athletic Club coach, Marcelino, triggers crises for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Lionel Messi in wild Supercopa rampage
While Marcelino winning a trophy for Athletic Club after 13 days in charge did not pip Mauricio Pochettino's Trophee des Champions victory with PSG just 12 days into his tenure, the Spanish coach had a few extras to go on top of his Spanish Supercopa victory.
Not only did Marcelino's Athletic Club throw a previously stable Real Madrid into CRISIS! with a semifinal victory, but the double whammy was inflicted on Barcelona on Sunday with a 3-2 win and by drawing the first ever red card for Lionel Messi in his Barca career.
Both teams will now be navel-gazing on whether the tournament was worth the hassle in the first place. That's especially so for Barcelona who had to play an extra 120 minutes on Sunday for nothing, to add to the team's already stacked schedule. The loss also undid a nice run of form in LaLiga suggesting that Ronald Koeman had got Barca back on track.
Not so fast.
Koeman now has to wait to see how long Lionel Messi's suspension will be after his very late, very irate fling at Asier Villalibre in the dying seconds of the game. The suspicion is two to three games which will see Messi sit out Barcelona's midweek Copa del Rey clash against Cornella, and LaLiga match-up next Sunday at Elche for starters.
The job for the Barcelona boss now is fulfill the promise that Sunday's defeat is a mere cross-dimensional blip and "not a step backwards" when the real deal of LaLiga returns for Barcelona next weekend.
The Sports Burst live show will look at what's really going on with Barcelona at 12PM ET on our Facebook page at 12PM ET.
Trippier back on the sidelines with suspension upheld
Bad news has broken for LaLiga leaders, Atletico Madrid.
The brief return of Kieran Trippier to the team's line up that had boosted the team's title chances is set to be short-lived to just the single match, with FIFA confirming the English fullback's worldwide ban from soccer.
Trippier had been hit with a 10-week ban from all soccer activity after breaching gambling regulations on his own transfer to Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019. Atletico had appealed that suspension, but while FIFA was reviewing the case, the block was lifted allowing Trippier to play a key role in a 2-0 victory over Sevilla.
Unfortunately for Diego Simeone, FIFA has now turned down the appeal, issuing a statement that "the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee passed on 23 December 2020 is confirmed, extending sanctions imposed on the player by the English FA to have worldwide effect."
That ban continues with Atletico Madrid's return to action in LaLiga on Thursday and an away game at Eibar and is expected to last until the end of February.
The Eibar match wraps up a midweek round of action in La Primera for the 16 teams not involved in the weekend's Spanish Supercopa activity.
Mesut Ozil on brink of Fenerbahce move
Well, at least there will be one non-gloomy face out there on a particularly bleak Monday for some soccer big cheeses. A delighted-looking Mesut Ozil is on the brink of leaving Arsenal after a near-eight-year spell, that did not end so well for the German playmaker, to join Fenerbahce.
Although Ozil may not have enjoyed the final few years of being left out of the squad and only contributing to the Arsenal cause by paying the salary of the club mascot, Gunnersaurus, a reported weekly salary of around $300k would certainly have cushioned the blow.
Ozil is now in Istanbul to finalize a deal with Fenerbahce. The move is expected to be a free transfer from Arsenal.
The former Real Madrid man might even be able to celebrate a move by catching Fenerbahce in action with Monday's Super Lig match against Ankaragucu. And you can do the same by tuning into beIN SPORTS from 10:50AM ET.
beIN XTRA has top-class soccer as well with the continuation of the Africa Nations Championship. Morocco take on Togo at 11AM ET followed by Rwanda and Uganda at 2PM ET and both games can be watched completely for free.