FC Barcelona face Athletic Club Bilbao in the Spanish Supercup final in the 'Estadio de la Cartuja' in Seville on Sunday night.
Barca have a major doubt over the fitness of Leo Messi, who missed Wednesday's nerve-wracking semifinal win over Real Sociedad after a penalty shootout with a hamstring strain.
The Argentinean wasn't even on the bench on Wednesday and didn't train on either Thursday or Friday, to leave his presence very much in doubt.
Less than two weeks ago, Messi scored twice and hit the woodwork as Barcelona beat Athletic 3-2 in their La Liga clash in San Mames and his understanding with Pedri was vital in that game.
If Messi doesn't recover Barca coach Ronald Koeman is likely to field an unchanged side in the final with Ousmane Dembele's pace down both flanks as one of his side's key arguments in attack, while Ter Stegen continues to be a colossus in goal.
Athletic qualified for the final on Thursday after beating Real Madrid 2-1 in Malaga with a performance that showed just how much they have progressed under new coach Marcelino Garcia Toral in the 10 days since their defeat to Barca.
Marcelino has a couple of injury doubts ahead of the game with left back Yuri Berchiche still sidelined, while his replacement, Mikel Balenziaga suffered cramps on Thursday as did Iker Munian.
Inigo Lekue and either Jon Morcillo or Alex Belenguer would be the most likely replacements if Balenziaga and Muniain fail to recover.
Athletic and Barca have met several times in Cup finals in recent history, with Barca beating Athletic in the 2009, 2012 and 2015 Copa del Rey finals while Athletic hammered Barca 5-1 over two-legs in the 2015 Supercup.
Thursday's win was a huge morale boost to the Basques after a tough first half to the season. Even though nobody can travel to the game, fans have decorated their balconies with red and white flags and replica shirts to show their support.
Barca will be favorites, but Athletic will think they have a chance and if Messi isn't fully fit, that belief will only grow stronger.
Wayne Rooney has ended his playing career to become full-time coach at English Championship club Derby County.
The 35-year-old had been acting manager since the sacking of Philip Cocu in November, leading Derby to three wins and four draw in nine league games in charge. The club had taken six points from their first 11 games of the campaign under Cocu's guidance.
The decision to sign a two and a half year deal with the Championship side ends Rooney's playing career after 763 senior appearances for 4 different clubs, during which time he won five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, three EFL Cups, a Champions League, a Europa League and became England's all time maximum goalscorer with 53 goals in 120 appearances for his country.
"To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honor and I can promise everyone in involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club. Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me," said Rooney after his permanent appointment.
Former champions Sheikh Russel KC made a good start in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football beating Brothers Union Club by 2-1 goal in their first match at the floodlight Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Friday.
All the three goals of the match were scored in the first half.
In the day's match, M Abdullah put Sheikh Russel KC ahead in the 13th minute by good shot, utilizing a free kick (1-0)
Brazilian Giancarlo Lopez Rodrigues doubled the winner's margin just three minutes later by a header, off a Baktiar cross (2-0).
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S Zunapio reduced the Brother's margin in the 34th minute from a penalty (2-1).
Brothers Union Club played a better brand of football against their superior rivals Sheikh Russel KC, especially in the 2nd half, but failed to take its fruit.
Also Read: BPL Football: Ctg Abahani advance to top slot shocking Bashundhara Kings 4-3
Federation Cup finalists Saif Sporting Club will start their BPL campaign taking on Rahmatganj MFS in Saturday's lone match, will kick-off at 8:pm at the same venue.
The six times champions Dhaka Abahani managed a 1-0 win over Bangladesh Police in their first match of the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football on Thursday.
As the match was almost heading for a draw at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Abahani’s Haitian striker Kervens Belfort scored the match-winner in the 85th minute, using a lapse at the back from Police.
And Abahani, who managed to clinch only one trophy in their last five competitions, failed to impress their fans.
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However, The Sky Blue Brigade failed to field their best team in day’s match in absence of regular players like Rayhan Hasan, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Jewel Rana and Sohel Rana, who missed the game due to injury and suspension.
But the Federation Cup champions Bashundhara Kings made a flying start beating Uttar Baridhara Club 2-0 in the league opener on Wednesday, featuring two goals from Argentine striker Raul Oscar Becerra and local booter Mohammad Ibrahim.
And Sheikh Russel KC will play Brothers Union on Friday at 8pm at the same venue.
The Federation Cup champions Bashundhara Kings made a flying start in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football beating Uttar Baridhara by 2-0 in the opening match on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Football Federation Senior Vice-President Abdus Salam Murshedy inaugurated the 12th edition of the league at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The star-studded Kings made a good start in the league after clinching the season’s curtain-raiser meet Federation Cup title with an unbeaten record.
Argentine striker Raul Oscar Becerra and local booter Mohammad Ibrahim scored for the 2018-19 league champions Bashundhara.
Raul, who shared the top scorer’s trophy in the just concluded Federation Cup Football with Saif SC’s Kenneth, put the Kings ahead with a header in the 35th minute of the day’s match.
Later, Mohammad Ibrahim confirmed the Kings’ victory scoring one more goal in the 55th minute.
Ibrahim emerged as the first local booter to score a goal for the Kings this season, breaking the 100% domination of their foreign footballers in the Federation Cup.
However, Uttar Baridhara Club fought neck-and-neck with their mighty opponent Kings – who failed to impress the fans despite winning the match 2-0.
Raul Becerra alone spoiled two good chances in the match.
The six times champions Dhaka Abahani will play Bangladesh Police in the next league match on Thursday at 4pm at the same venue.
The league matches will be held at four venues in Dhaka and nearby areas, including two new ones.
The venues are Dhaka’s Bangabandhu National Stadium, Cumilla’s Shaheed Dhirendranath Stadium, Tongi’s Shaheed Ahsanullah Master Stadium and Munshiganj’s Bir Shreshtha Motiur Rahman Stadium.
However, all the six first-round matches will be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium during January 13-18.