Like a worm-filled peach, Barcelona appear to be rotting from the inside. After the departure of Neymar and the inability to bring in a replacement (they reportedly have given up on Philippe Coutinho), Barcelona's business-folk have not been holding up their end of the bargain.
After flirting with relegation last season, Deportivo La Coruna were not expected to prove a very significant challenge for Real Madrid as they opened their La Liga campaign on Sunday, and the Estadio Riazor in Galicia proved to be a comfortable site to begin their title defense for Los Blancos.
With Ousmane Dembele’s transfer opera turning sour and Luis Suarez out for up to five weeks with a knee injury, Barcelona opened their La Liga campaign on Sunday with Lionel Messi shouldering the burden of his side’s attacking ambition.
But the play of the day wasn’t provided by Messi, it was provided by the only Argentinian teammate he can rely on, Javier Mascherano.
Real Madrid are going to win La Liga. It's better to come to terms with this now so you can actually enjoy the season. If you go into the season thinking someone else might have a chance and Real Madrid open up a 10-point lead by Christmas, you are going to be disappointed. So ward off the disappointment. Barcelona are depleted and Atletico Madrid are plucky but outgunned. Real Madrid are going to win La Liga.
This is fine! Lots of people enjoy the Bundesliga even though they know Bayern Munich are going to win. You can still enjoy the season even if you know how it ends already.
Lionel Messi has agreed to sign a new contract with Barcelona, but Messi has not actually signed said contract yet.
This is obviously not good for Barcelona, who have to deal with the fallout from Neymar's transfer. Messi's current deal runs out after this season, but Barcelona have always maintained Messi would stay at the Camp Nou. It seemed like that was a certainty when La Pulga's new deal was announced earlier in the summer, to be officially signed when Messi showed up for pre-season training.
Real Madrid’s 5-1 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup wasn’t a Real marker, it was a proclamation: player for player, this is the strongest squad in the history of the game. No player on Real Madrid is irreplaceable, every player on Real Madrid is valued because they’re sensational.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation upheld Cristiano Ronaldo’s five-match ban on Wednesday, keeping the Real Madrid star out of Wednesday evening’s second leg of the Spanish Super Cup and the first four games of the La Liga campaign.
Ronaldo received two yellow cards in Sunday’s first Super Cup leg in Barcelona to be sent off early. His first came for taking his shirt off after scoring a brilliant goal. The second was when the referee deemed he took a dive in the box.
Before Neymar came along and threw a wrench into the machinery, Barcelona's big transfer project for the summer was finding a long-term replacement for aging (but still devilishly good) midfielder Andres Iniesta.
Obviously, the Neymar business changed things, as evidenced by the fact that Barcelona are flinging cash at any attacker in Europe with two feet and a pulse. They seem to have abandoned the hunt for a new number 10. And, no, Paulinho doesn't count.
Nothing like a good Twitter trolling to spice up a Champions League match. İstanbul Başakşehir hosts Sevilla in a Champions League qualifying playoff first leg on Wednesday.
The Turkish club sent a friendly message to the Spanish club, suggesting they’d be much happier winning another Europa League, the tournament into which the loser of the home-and-home series will fall.
Lionel Messi is the good, wholesome boy while Cristiano Ronaldo is the arrogant bad boy. It’s a typical narrative when comparing the temperaments of the two, but there is evidence to support the claim, at least in terms of disciplinary records.
Ronaldo picked up his 10th career red card on Sunday in the Super Copa against Messi’s Barcelona. Messi’s lone red card came 43 seconds after making his Argentina debut in 2005.