By Tim Stannard
A lot of 'i's in team for Neymar who says PSG medical staff made him play without full fitness after rib injury scare
If PSG were hoping to let a fun game against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League slip quietly into the night - a 2-1 loss, but certainly all to play for in the second leg in Paris - then Neymar had different plans.
The Brazilian usually does.
Neymar was in sulky mode after a quite match for the PSG forward, complaining that he was not in the right shape for the game due to being forcibly sidelined with an apparent rib injury for four matches (and a late night, epic birthday party).
However, Neymar declared that he was in fine fettle all the time and was stopped from playing by PSG's overly cautious doctors. "I was feeling well, but the club were afraid and in the end I'm the one suffering," declared Neymar who did acknowledge that he understood the club's caution considering the player's tendency to be absent through injury during key moments of the season.
Meanwhile, the club that did not manage to land Neymar this summer is set to sign another forward due to a LaLiga loophole.
That club is Barcelona and the player is Martin Braithwaite - a Danish striker who will wake up as a player for Leganes, a small club in the suburbs of Madrid that is second from bottom of the standings - and will end up at the Camp Nou. That's thanks to six league goals in 24 league appearances that puts Barca's apparent new forward 24th in the top scorer rankings for LaLiga this season.
The Sports Burst team will look at whether this stellar signing will be enough to lead Barcelona to the double this season. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page, YouTube channel or beIN SPORTS XTRA at 12PM ET.
Mourinho rues Tottenham not playing in La Liga
What's the difference between Barcelona and Tottenham?
Well, about 300 trophies for starters, but also the ability to plead squad poverty, and bend the rules of space-time to make an 'emergency' signing outside of the transfer window, largely due to poor planning.
Jose Mourinho is facing the rest of the season without two key strikers due to injury, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min but is not playing Spain.
"There is nothing you can do. We are going to play with the players that we have available," sighed Mourinho on Tuesday in the kind of defeatist talk that Barcelona certainly wouldn't permit.
The Special One was talking ahead of a first leg, Last 16 Champions League clash against an RB Leipzig side that doesn't have forward issues with the Bundesliga outfit having scored 56 league goals this season including 20 from Timo Werner, the striker that Real Madrid intended to sign last summer but accidently got Luka Jovic by mistake.
Atalanta are hosting Valencia in the day's other Champions League game, a 2-2 draw that could be bags of fun.
🎥 ¡Un gran estadio y los mejores trofeos! En el Atahualpa, los campeones de la @Libertadores y de la @Sudamericana abren la #Recopa.— Recopa Sudamericana (@RecopaConmebol) February 19, 2020
😍 Um belo cenário, lindos troféus! É no Atahualpa que os campeões da @LibertadoresBR e da @sulamericana abrem a #Recopa!
🏆 @Flamengo @IDV_EC pic.twitter.com/DBp1qVyUnD
South America are not missing out on the cup action on Wednesday. Oh no. The first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana gets underway this evening with the winners of the Copa Libertadores taking on the winners of the Copa Sudamericana.
In this case, that's Flamengo v Independiente del Valle with the first leg in Ecuador. Coverage gets underway at 8PM ET on beIN SPORTS and forms just part of a huge night of action taking place in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana across the network.
Pep Guardiola set to discuss Manchester City commitment
While UEFA get very finicky indeed about other big games being played while the imperious Champions League is on, Manchester City are playing West Ham United today in a rearranged Premier League clash.
Normally, this match would be a little humdrum with City 25 points off an admittedly free-falling, in-crisis Liverpool and West Ham not exactly moving the needle of interest.
However, the game will afford Pep Guardiola the opportunity to publicly address the issue of Manchester City's two-year ban from European competition and possible sanctions from the Premier League for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations.
The word on the street in England is that Pep has pledged to friends and players that he would remain with City. That was also the vibe from the manager's agent on Tuesday.
Whether that same commitment lives with the players remains to be seen. Two years is a long time to lose the ability to fall short and disappoint in the Champions League.
Listen I know I don’t play baseball but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be F*^king irate! I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do! Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your.....— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 18, 2020
Speaking of cheating in sports, baseball will continue to simmer and feud on Wednesday after LeBron took to social media to mull over the Houston Astros relatively tame punishments for sign-stealing - a stark contrast to the sanction that Manchester City have been handed.
"I would be (bleeping!) irate," noted Lebron if he was a player who suffered ill by the trash-can bangers from Texas.