At that very time, the biggest derby in Serie A, the biggest clash in France's Ligue 1 and the biggest game in world football will all be under way concurrently. That's right: Milan v Inter, Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona v Real Madrid are all on this evening. Brutal for the neutral, but the interesting thing about the Clasico especially is that, while Barca and Real may still be the best sides in the world, both come into this clash rather worse for wear.
Barcelona's record will tell you otherwise. It states they've won nine of the 10 competitive games they've played this season, the only exception being the 2-1 setback in the return leg of the Spanish Super Cup. But, in fact, they've already conceded 11 goals and have had to come from behind with late goals on four different occasions.
Compared to the Barcelona admired in recent seasons, this is a different side. Part of it is personnel: Carles Puyol, their stalwart centre-back, is injured, while his defensive partner Gerard Pique will undergo a late fitness test, as will midfielder Andres Iniesta.
Iniesta's absence could be, at least in part, absorbed by the fact that Cesc Fabregas is there to fill in. But no Puyol and no Pique (or a half-fit Pique) sets up a defensive partnership of Javier Mascherano and Alexander Song, two midfielders recycled as centre-halves.
Part of the difference is the man in charge. Tito Villanova was Pep Guardiola's long-time number two and his "tactician". In terms of philosophy things are pretty much the same, but you no longer have a man of Guardiola's charisma giving out the instructions. And sometimes the way the message is relayed and absorbed can be as important as the message itself.
Real Madrid have already dropped eight points in La Liga. Last season that didn't happen until March. It's easy to point to the laundry of issues on and off the pitch for the less than stellar form. Cristiano Ronaldo's "sadness" and his decision to make it public, at least until the "happy pill" of a new contract is administered. Jose Mourinho criticising his players in public, whether for their ineptitude at defending set-pieces or their supposed lack of hunger.
Unnamed players questioning Mourinho's training methods in pre-season. Sergio Ramos dropped and then shunted out to right-back. Ramos, supposedly one of Mourinho's internal critics, wearing Mesut Ozil's jersey under his own in some kind of bizarre show of solidarity (Mourinho insists it wasn't an attack on Ozil, though the fact Luka Modric was brought in as an alternative to the German isn't lost on anyone).
Mourinho loyalists argue that the master motivator is simply pushing buttons and knows exactly what he's doing. Maybe so, but you have to wonder whether losing twice already this season (as many losses as they had all year in La Liga last season) is also part of the grand plan.
The biggest danger for Real tonight is to believe they need to win at the Camp Nou to keep their Liga hopes alive. It's true that a win would reduce the deficit to five points, but it's also true that a defeat would leave them 11 points back. The reality is that a draw would not be a bad result. Yes, there would be eight points left to make up, but there's the return leg at the Bernabeu to play.
And, given the deficiencies of this Barcelona side, you could see them dropping another five along the way. This will only be a Liga decider if Real lose. Any other result and expect the holy war between these two to rumble on.
Roy Hodgson has apologised to Rio Ferdinand after a newspaper reported that he told random fans on the tube on the way to the Emirates in midweek that the Manchester United defender's England career was over.
It was obviously a major mis-step for the England boss and humiliating. Yet, at the same time, you wonder how ethical it is for reporters to eavesdrop on a conversation between the England manager and a passer-by on a train.
I was taught that, before quoting someone, you had to identify yourself as a reporter or, at least, be sure the guy you were going to quote knew you were present and a member of the media. Guess different folks are taught different things.
OK, we get it. Ashley Cole is not likeable. And, given the offensive tweet he launched at the Football Association, his judgment isn't particularly good either. But nobody likes to be called a liar. Especially by a body whose methods for collecting witness statements is straight out of the Keystone Kops manual.
When Jenni Murray and her FA colleague Adam Sanhaie took witness statements from John Terry and Ashley Cole, they decided to tape-record Terry but not Cole, instead taking "handwritten notes". Fine, but when you do that, it stands to reason that, after you write it up, you'd send it back to him for approval. Which they did and Cole, via Chelsea's club secretary, elected to make an amendment to his statement. Based on this, the report writes about Cole's "evolving testimony" and clearly implies it's somehow unreliable because he chose to add to it later, possibly to help Terry's case.
Let's be clear on this. What's unreliable here is two FA employees who are investigating the England captain on a very serious charge but who can't be bothered to turn up to the interview fully equipped to do their job. If they had taped Cole, as they did with Terry, this would never have been an issue. And, as anyone who has ever filed a police report – or indeed been interviewed on anything – will attest to, there can be a difference between short- hand quotes and what is actually said. That's why cops, when taking statements, ask you to sign off on what they've written afterwards.
If you don't agree or want to add or clarify something, you have every right to do so. Without being called a "liar". One more thing. Murray and Sanhaie both took notes that day. You'd expect both sets would then be submitted to the defence. Sanhaie's were not. They "fell through the net" as the report notes until the substantive hearing itself, some 10 months later.
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