WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Bye, Bye, Bartomeu

There's an Irish goodbye, which is a personal favourite of mine because it allows you to silently slink away into the night and avoid a lot of awkward and time-consuming goodbyes while also ensuring you get home earlier, and then there's the Bartomeu farewell, where you overstay your welcome by a few months (years?) before finally, on your way out, declaring that you are saving your soon-to-be old club's financial future by accepting to play in a tournament which currently does not exist.
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Yes, we're obviously talking about the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu and co. with the Barcelona board all departing after a tumultuous 2020 featuring – now breathe in for this bit – three different managers, a home Clasico defeat, an away Clasico defeat, a humiliating 8-2 defeat, the resignation of six board members in April, accusations a company was hired to defame the club’s own players on social media before being cleared of wrongdoing, a La Liga title within their grasp then lost, and of course the very public fallout with the greatest player of all time, who wanted to go, watched his close friend pushed out the door, then eventually, reluctantly, stayed himself.
Lionel Messi has, to the relief of Barca fans, outlasted Bartomeu, and while talk of presidential elections and frontrunners will begin today, so too will the rumbles continue from Bartomeu’s declaration the club will join the European super league, whenever, if ever, it starts.
“I can announce some extraordinary news,” Bartomeu said, a la Professor Farnsworth. "Yesterday we accepted a proposal to participate in a future European super league, which would guarantee the future financial sustainability of the club. And we have accepted the future Club World Cup format."
In ‘helping secure the club’s financial stability’ it is one final act from Bartomeu to mask over his own failings in believing he is going out on a high. La Liga president Javier Tebas did not miss the chance to strike low, meanwhile. Tell us what you really think Javier.
Tebas tweeted: "Unfortunate @jmbartomeu statement on his last day about @fcbarcelona joining a weak and imaginary competition which would be their ruin. It confirms his ignorance about the football industry. Sad end for a president with successes and lately many mistakes."
A new dawn awaits Barca, but quite how long this hangover lasts remains to be seen.

Real Madrid are… what?

We were all ready to say Real Madrid are joining Bartomeu in exiting before Christmas and then they go and score two late goals to salvage a draw at Borussia Monchengladbach - bless you - and avoid losing their opening two European matches of a campaign for the first time in their history.

Casemiro of Real Madrid celebrates after he scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B stage match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Real Madrid at Borussia-Park on October 27, 2020 in Moenchengladbach, Germany

Image credit: Getty Images

Group B is a right corker, and we haven’t even got to the Real Madrid double-header with Inter yet.
Going into their first of two meetings in November at the NOT Santiago Bernabeu (must stop writing that without thinking) but in fact the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Real and Inter remarkably find themselves third and fourth in the group after some darn good showings from Shakhtar Donetsk and Gladbach.
Gladbach so very nearly followed Shakhtar’s lead until Karim Benzema and Casemiro came to Real’s rescue on Tuesday night, while fresh from their win at Real, Shakhtar then proved how difficult winning in Ukraine will be for the Spanish side come December after battling to a 0-0 draw with Inter last night.
Got that? Good. It’s the group to watch.

James Milner. Centre-back.

Liverpool fans were slowly coming to terms with the loss of Virgil van Dijk, potentially for the season, given at centre-back they still had the quickly-formed but cohesive partnership of Joe Gomez and Fabinh-o ffs not another injury.

Jürgen Klopp und Fabinho (FC Liverpool)

Image credit: Getty Images

Hobbling off before half-time of the 2-0 win over Midtjylland, Fabinho added to Liverpool’s defensive problems by highlighting the fact they are quickly running out of defenders - a couple of months after Dejan Lovren left the club.
Klopp told BT Sport: "It's exactly the last thing we needed. What can I say? I know he felt his hamstring, that's not good, he didn't feel it that much, he said he could have played on but with no sprints any more so that doesn't help in that position obviously.
"We'll see, we have to do a scan and then we'll know more, but that's not good, of course."
With Joel Matip also struggling it appears 19-year-old Rhys Williams could be set for a run in the team, although the versatile James Milner will look to give the youngster a run for his money in his bid to sew another position badge onto his pyjamas.
Let’s face it, Milner would probably do a job too, and it’s not overly unrealistic to think he may get the call soon at this rate.

IN OTHER NEWS

Reading are how many points clear?

The Premier League fan among us can often be guilty of not looking below all too often, so it’s worth a PSA and telling you Reading are SEVEN points clear at the top of the Championship.
That may not interest you, but we aren’t apologising, for the Royals have got off to a majestic start - just eight games gone and seven clear, blimey.
PSA over.

IN THE CHANNELS

The look of love. Mr Marcus Foley rightly waxed lyrical about Harry Kane’s ever-improving passing yesterday, and so it was delightful to see footage emerge of Heung-min Son’s reaction when he realised it was the Spurs captain who assisted him (again) for Monday’s winner against Burnley.

RETRO CORNER

Happy 36th birthday to Obafemi Martins, which is enough of an excuse to remember this rocket for Newcastle at Spurs way back in 2007.
Foot like a traction engine.

COMING UP

More Champions League! Including Juventus v Barcelona, sadly no Ronaldo v Messi, then also Chelsea at Krasnodar, Manchester United hosting RB Leipzig, and PSG at Buyuksehir. Do join us for live updates from all four! We did ask kindly.
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Koeman walks out of press conference after reading statement requesting patience
22/09/2021 AT 11:56
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Exclusive: Barcelona talk just 'rumours', says tight-lipped Martinez
22/09/2021 AT 11:04