By Tim Stannard
Lionel Messi goes against the grain in Spanish soccer's restart as he looks to mark another remarkable milestone
That's why Lionel Messi is still at top of the tree after fifteen years.
By not giving two hoots and a bag of owls to convention.
While everyone else grew out their hair, beards, and everything else unmentionable under lockdown, Messi decided to go back in time to a clean-shaven, throwback, 'my Mom cut my hair, what of it?' 2008 look.
Instead of taking it easy in the opening day back for Barcelona on Saturday ahead of a run of matches every three days, Messi played the entire 90 minutes and came up with a goal and two assists. In the immortal words of Take That from 1993, Everything Changes But You.
While Quique Setien spoke on Monday about the Barcelona team having no starters or substitutes, there was one exception - Lionel Messi. Especially on Tuesday at home to Leganes seeing as Messi needs just two more goals to score 700 for club and country.
"You don't only have to assess the goals he scored, but also the rest of his contributions, like assisting. That gives us a lot of points," noted Quique Setien who will be certain of picking Messi in the club's return to the Camp Nou but has a decision to make on who else to start up front amongst Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Martin Braithwaite.
Coverage of Barcelona vs Villarreal gets underway on beIN SPORTS at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT but there will be a full preview of the match with our Ray Hudson on the Sports Burst live show at 12PM ET / 9AM PT as well as everything else going on in the world of sport today.
Mexican Messi could break LaLiga record in Mallorca debut
Doomed before his career has even begun?
That's the possible fate of Luka Romero who has been called into the Mallorca squad for today's match at Villarreal and should he set foot on the pitch will break a LaLiga record as the youngest footballer to play at 15 years and 221 days, beating a milestone that goes back to the 1939-40 season.
That sounds fantastic but the problem is that Romero's nickname is 'The Mexican Messi.' No pressure there.
The match for a struggling Mallorca gets underway on beIN SPORTS at 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT while Getafe try and right their Champions League wagon by hosting Espanyol on our beIN SPORTS Spanish channel at the same time. Coverage of everything gets going at 1PM ET / 10AM PT. Don't be tardy.
Bayern Munich look to clinch 8th Bundesliga title in a row
The sound engineers in charge of piping through the crowd noise in the Bundesliga are going to have a challenge on Tuesday, as they could be trying to program Bayern Munich celebrating the league title for the eighth time in a row. In another ground.
If the Bavarians beat struggling Werder Bremen on their travels today then the title is theirs. This was definitely not a given at the beginning of the season with the team struggling under Niko Kovac. Hansi Flick took over initially on a temporary basis in November, placated a notoriously prickly locker room, was nice to Thomas Muller and the rest has been smooth sailing.
However, once the players go back to Munich there will be no raucous Oktoberfest style celebrations in lederhosen. "We're actually only allowed to go to the stadium, the training ground and back home," noted a glum Manuel Neuer to CNN.
If the rumor mill is true then Bayern might celebrate instead by hoovering up Kai Havertz from Bayern Leverkusen and Manchester City's Leroy Sane in the transfer market.
US Open set to announce details of Flushing Meadows return
A bit of tennis drama is brewing today. Despite rumors of a cancellation, US Open organizers are expected to announce details of the rescheduled 2020 tournament to be held on 31st August.
It's probably a bad time to do that with concerns of a second wave of COVID-19 breaking out and Flushing Meadows, the location of the US Open, being in Queens which has the second highest death toll of any county in the US from the outbreak.
Smh - people that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead 🤦🏽♂️ ‘Selfish’ I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return.— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 16, 2020
The normally reticent, Nick Kyrgios, is not happy about the plans at all with the Australian having to quarantine for two weeks on his return to his homeland after the tournament due to local restrictions.
"People that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead - selfish," opined Kyrgios on Twitter. "I'll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for two weeks on my return."
MLB start plans fading over impasse
While the 2020 US Open is very likely to happen, the same cannot be said for the 2020 baseball season with the MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred , telling ESPN that he is "not confident" of a league this year.
The MLB and the Players' Union are currently at an impasse over salaries and number of games in the reformatted season which has yet to start. "As long as there's no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue," said Manfred.
The NBA is still confident of plans to finish of the season in hub location in Orlando from July despite reported concerns from players for having to be kept in isolation for up to three months in social background of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
"I'm incredibly sympathetic and empathetic to what's happening in people's lives," said NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.