By Tim Stannard
Real Madrid face off against two top-five teams with Real Sociedad on Monday followed by Sunday's Madrid Derby
Monday sees a CRISIS! crisis in LaLiga for Sports Burst. Aside from the soccer dumpster fire that is Valencia these days.
Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-0 to move into second on Saturday and then Atletico Madrid overcame Villarreal by the same scoreline to open a five-point gap on Barca with a match in hand. However, there was one team missing - Real Madrid.
That's because Coach Zizou's dwindling number of merry men are in action on Monday in a royal rumble against visiting Real Sociedad. With nine first-team players out injured, Zidane was able to grind out narrow victories in LaLiga. However, the opposition was Valladolid, Valencia, Getafe and Huesca - teams in the bottom half of the table.
Fifth-placed Real Sociedad are a very different kettle of footballing fish - a side that brings the forward-line swagger of Alexander Isak and Mikel Oyarzabal, backed by an impressive midfield spearheaded by the timeless David Silva.
The better news for Madrid though is that some of the walking wounded are returning to the team, although that list does not include Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard or Sergio Ramos. Instead, Marcelo, Fede Valverde, Alvaro Odriozola and Rodrygo return to the squad.
Zidane claimed on Sunday that "we’ve regained confidence and that can be seen on the pitch." The French coach also noted that "in critical moments, this team prevails." That will be tested to the full this week with today's visit of Real Sociedad and then Sunday's Madrid Derby at Atletico.
Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad is live today at 3PM ET on beIN SPORTS and tune into the Sports Burst show at 12PM ET on Facebook live for some big predictions.
If that wasn't enough action to kick off your week, the AFCON U-20 also get underway today, with Ghana taking on Gambia, and Uganda facing off against Tunisia, at 11am ET and 2pm ET, respectively.
Both those games are available to watch FOR FREE - no contracts, no strings, no catches - on beIN SPORTS XTRA.
Police pay a visit to Barcelona's offices
Barcelona began a genuinely crucial week in its history with something a little bit different, even for this particular crisis club - a visit from the police.
According to radio station, Cadena Ser, the drama unfolded when police dropped by to search the club's offices on Monday for an inspection in relation to 'Barcagate' - the truly bizarre story of a company allegedly being contracted by the board of former president, Josep Bartomeu, to spin against some players in the realm of social media. Indeed, there are even reports that Bartomeu himself was held and questioned by the police.
This will be just another question for Ronald Koeman to bat off on Tuesday as he moves from being in a happy place in LaLiga to crisis mode for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal, second-leg against Sevilla where the Camp Nou club are 2-0 down in the tie.
But the really big stuff happens on Sunday with the postponed presidential poll takes place. Three men are in the running to become the new club president with the club's members having already begun voting by mail.
Joan Laporta - a former president in the Pep Guardiola era, and a man who brings the charisma and big promises. Victor Font - a man with a plan in a very Elizabeth Warren way. Finally, Toni Friexa who served on the Barcelona board until 2015.
beIN SPORTS will be all over a decisive week in the short and long term of history of Barcelona.
Rennes accept Julien Stephan resignation
Switching over to France now and a surprise managerial resignation in Ligue 1 with Julien Stephan, the coach of Rennes - and once very hot property. The 40-year-old had been with Rennes for nine years and offered to step down on Saturday after a 2-1 home loss to Nice the day before saw Rennes slip to ninth with five losses in seven in all competitions. That offer was accepted.
The departure of Stephan could be key in the future of 18-year-old midfielder, Eduardo Camavinga, who has been linked with Real Madrid, among others, but was making noises about staying on with Rennes for a few more years.
Meanwhile Marseille are looking to fly in new coach, Jorge Sampaoli, on Tuesday, but the Argentinean might have to self isolate for a week due to COVID-19 restrictions in France.
Wednesday sees a full round of action in Ligue 1 with Marseille at league-leading Lille on beIN XTRA at 3PM ET. beIN SPORTS has the title-chase double-header of Lyon vs. Rennes at 1PM ET followed by Bordeaux vs. PSG at 3PM ET.