The Warm-Up: PSG announce Lionel Messi as director of football
Plus: Aaron Wan-Bissaka proves he’s not worth £50 million, Marta breaks more records and there’s a special USA-themed treat in Retro Corner.
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Messi orders PSG: 'Sign Griezmann and give Neymar to Barca'
Ever the professional, the Argentine has immediately got to work and is already on the verge of his first coup: signing Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.
Now you might think this deal represents a conflict of interest with Messi’s other pastime, playing for Barcelona. But he has a solution. What if Griezmann arriving in the French capital paved the way for Neymar to return to Catalonia? Everyone would be happy, right?
"The attempts to re-sign Neymar is at the behest of attacking star Lionel Messi while the pre-arrangement reached with Atleti player Griezmann will be transferred to PSG. In what appears to be a convoluted operation, Griezmann agreed terms - including a salary cut - with the Blaugrana in March, but they are now exploring the possibility of transferring this directly to the Parc des Princes."
Sure, it’s a bit embarrassing for Griezmann, especially as he had apparently already agreed to join Barcelona for much less cash, but can he really refuse the will of Messi?
"Hello, is that Mr Woodward?"
"It’s Steve Parrish from Crystal Palace. We’ve had a rethink and we’re prepared to accept your £50 million bid for Aaron."
"Look, we've messed you around a little, so why don't we drop the price? How does £40 million sound?"
"Honestly, we've struck on such a good relationship since the whole Wilfried Zaha thing, so why don’t we shake on £30 million?"
"Swap deal for Ashley Young?"
You see, the problem with holding a club to ransom over a player on international duty is that if they slice the ball into their own net in the last minute of a crunch match, the entire transfer fee is likely to disappear.
In 2017, the Warm-Up briefly considered putting a bet on Venezuela to win the 2026 World Cup. The South Americans had just reached the Under-20 World Cup final and boasted a host of exciting young players, with Wuilker Farinez, Yeferson Soteldo and Adalberto Penaranda leading the way.
Obviously, that was insane and we spent our hard-earned £1 on Manchester United to be relegated before 2022 instead. But maybe we were wrong to have doubts. Venezuela have a new defender that could take them to Copa America glory this summer. His name? VAR.
To condense a pointless opening gambit into a couple of sentences... Venezuela have conceded five goals in Brazil. All five have been disallowed – four by VAR.
Awkwardly, they failed to score in their first two games – bore draws against Peru and Brazil – but we hear VAR is handy from set-pieces too...
HEROES AND... HEROES
Forget zeroes, it’s all about the good guys and gals today.
Hero I: Marta
The Brazilian scored her SEVENTEENTH goal at the World Cup finals to become the all-time leading scoring at men’s or women’s World Cups. Sorry, Miroslav Klose.
Hero II: Phil Foden
Dear Pep Guardiola,
Play Phil Foden more.
Everyone in England.
It’s Brian McBride’s birthday! So contain your excitement and relive his lovely diving header from the USA’s shock 3-2 win over Portugal at the 2002 World Cup. What a treat.
Can you smell it? There’s a whiff of It’s Coming Home spreading around England ahead of the final group game with Japan in the Women’s World Cup. That’s live from 8pm BST.
Ran out of time to think of a witty introduction for Jack Lang, so think of your own hilarious comment to say he's here tomorrow.