by Tim Stannard
Search begins for Messi's new locker room BFF with wannabe Uruguayan, Antoine Griezmann, auditioning for the role
Just two days before Barcelona's LaLiga debut against the mighty Villarreal and Ronald Koeman has yet another problem added to his expanded list of woes - Messi becoming the Incredible Sulk.
Previously, Lionel Messi was merely furious to be facing the new season in Spain wearing the Barcelona jersey having been duped - in his opinion - into seeing out the final year of his contract.
Ya me venía haciendo la idea pero hoy entré al vestuario y me cayó la ficha de verdad. Que difícil va a ser no seguir compartiendo el día a día con vos, tanto en las canchas como afuera. Los vamos a extrañar muchísimo. Fueron muchos años, muchos mates, comidas, cenas... Muchas cosas que nunca se van a olvidar, todos los días juntos. Va a ser raro verte con otra camiseta y mucho más enfrentarte. Te merecías que te despidan como lo que sos: uno de los jugadores más importantes de la historia del club, consiguiendo cosas importantes tanto en lo grupal como individualmente. Y no que te echen como lo hicieron. Pero la verdad que a esta altura ya no me sorprende nada. Te deseo todo lo mejor en este nuevo desafío. Te quiero mucho, los quiero mucho. Hasta pronto, amigo.
Friday, sees Messi in either in locker-room trashing mode or merely sat silently on the floor contemplating his new lonely existence.
Previously the situation with Messi could be summed up as 'person works at company he hates with a boss he thinks is an idiot.'
With the emotional departure of Luis Suarez on Thursday, it's now 'person works at company he hates, with a boss he thinks is an idiot, now doesn't have his best friend as a desk mate to keep him sane.'
That's the sudden realization from Messi who went via the centuries-old medium of Instagram on Friday to write an ode to his BFF and take another shot at the Barca bosses.
"You deserved to depart like what you are: one of the most important players in the club's history, winning things as part of a group & individually," sighed Messi before turning a little dark - "not for them to kick you out as they have done....but the truth is nothing surprises me any more."
Messi then suggested that the Barcelona locker room is going to be a bit of a grim place when revealing that "today I went into the dressing room and, truthfully, the penny dropped. How difficult it will be to not continue sharing the day to day with you, both on and off the pitch."
Although Antoine Griezmann - a man who seems to think he's Uruguayan - will be raising his hand to volunteer to become Messi's new life-buddy, the club's Argentinean ace now has few allies either in the locker room or in Barca's offices.
Barcelona's LaLiga campaign gets underway on Sunday away at Villarreal with full coverage beginning at 2PM ET.
Suarez starts new life as a Rojiblanco
While Messi was all with the Wordsworthian poetry on Friday, Suarez was arriving in Madrid to begin a brand new chapter of his life at Atletico Madrid.
The day sees the footballer taking his medical, being formally shown off by Barca's new official title rivals and then attending the first of two training sessions before Atletico's own season-opener against Granada on Sunday at 10AM ET.
However, there are two key people set to be missing from the big day. Diego Simeone is still under quarantine having tested positive for COVID-19, and that's the same situation with Uruguayan teammate Jose Gimenez who is also under lockdown.
However, through the miracle of Zoom and screen-sharing, Simeone would have been able to show Suarez a picture of a halfway line and explain to him the perils of crossing it without his permission.
The Sports Burst live show with our Dre Cordero and Ray Hudson will try and cram all 7,820 storylines into the first round of LaLiga with all twenty teams involved. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or beIN XTRA channel at 12PM ET.
Real Madrid looks to return of Hazard against Betis
No such Friday drama for Coach Zizou at Real Madrid, especially now that Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are long gone.
The Real Madrid manager is looking ahead to another tough encounter for the league champions with a visit to Real Betis, a team that is currently on a two for two streak under former Real Madrid boss, Manuel Pellegrini.
Although awaiting official confirmation from the Frenchman himself, Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio could be back in action having missed the goalless draw against Real Sociedad.
Real Betis vs. Real Madrid is live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday with coverage beginning from 2:30PM ET.
Elsewhere, and a brand new weekend of action gets underway today on beIN SPORTS.
The soccer sessions start at 12:50PM ET as Turkish Super Lig champions, Istanbul Basaksehir, aims to halt a start to the season that has seen two defeats from two.
Matchday 5️⃣ starts with @LOSC_EN hosting @FCNantes— Ligue1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) September 25, 2020
Read @davidmcrossan 's preview and then catch all the action 📺
🇺🇸 @beINSPORTSUSA (3 ET)
🇬🇧 @btsportfootball (20:00 UK)#LOSCFCN pic.twitter.com/8YjK1ZWTgZ
That is followed by the North American pairing of Jonathan David and Timothy Weah starring for Lille against Nantes at 2:50PM ET in Ligue 1.
Over on the free, free, free beIN XTRA channel the NISA Fall Championship continues from 5PM ET with two matches including the New York Cosmos against Chattanooga FC.