We've been out of the woods for a couple of years, but our global nightmare has returned. Lionel Messi, patron saint of soccer/football/futbol, is injured and facing significant time away from the pitch. Messi tore an interior ligament in his left knee during Barcelona's 2-1 win over Las Palmas. Let's check in on our friends at Barca Blaugranes.
This is simply awful. There's no way to substitute a player like him, and expect the Catalan giants to suffer tremendously until the Argentine is back. What a stupid season.
Yeah, it's not great. Messi is either the best or second-best player in the world, depending on your thoughts of Cristiano Ronaldo, and he's going to miss roughly eight weeks. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique sums up everyone's thoughts: "Whenever there is an injury it is sad and unpleasant. If it's an injury to Leo Messi, even more so." How Barca performs without Messi over the next eight to 10 games may define the club's season.
Elsewhere in Europe
Remember a couple of weeks ago when Manchester City appeared to be invincible, a runaway train headed toward the Premier League title? City has now lost two Premier League games in a row and three out of four in all competitions. As for Tottenham, Spurs are heating up, and Harry Kane finally found the back of the net.
Speaking of a runaway train, Bayern has now won seven of seven in Bundesliga play, scoring 23 goals while conceding three. Bayern is good.
Fiorentina appears to be a contender for its first Serie A title since 1968-69. Meanwhile, Juventus, four-time defending champions in Italy, fell 2-1 to Napoli, dropping to 15th in the table.
Disney World SC showed up under the Friday night lights and ransacked the Supporters' Shield leaders. On top of the 5-2 victory, Cyle Larin scored a hat trick to set the MLS rookie record. On the bright side for Red Bulls, they did score a really cool goal.
What's happening in The A?
Three weeks, three come-from-behind wins for Atlanta United's future housemates. The Cowboys took a 28-14 lead with 40 seconds left in the first half, but the Falcons scored the final 25 points of the game and pitched a shutout in the second half.
And on the other end of the Atlanta sports spectrum are the Braves. Thankfully, there are only six games left this season.
The former Hawk dishes on the bizarre incident that resulted in a broken leg for key reserve Thabo Sefolosha.