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Is there football on today?

No rest for the wicked. Champions League! All 2:45 PM EST kick-offs today too, so you’ll have to pick and choose. The highlights are Real Sociedad vs Manchester United, Juventus vs Real Madrid (this so this OMG this), and Manchester City with their rematch against CSKA Moscow and their allegedly (and probably–who are we kidding) fans. The entire fixture list is here.

Word to the wise: if you have only today or tomorrow really commit to a slate of matches to clandestinely view at work, pick tomorrow. Lots more to choose from.

What’s the big story today?

Admittedly, Counter Attack doesn’t have a lot of time for Irish football. I’m not going to apologize for this…we also don’t cover Zambian football, which is, arguably, more important globally speaking. But the optics of the latest news–Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane are in talks with the FAI to be manager and assistant manager respectively of the Irish national team–are curious indeed. O’Neill is Northern Irish, which is, well, meh as far as this news go. But Keane is another story altogether. Here’s the Guardian:

Keane was thought to have queered his pitch with the FAI after walking out on the team during the 2002 World Cup finals when he fell out with the coach, Mick McCarthy, but the Irish officials are now happy to go along with the wishes of O’Neill. “There should be a line drawn in the sand in terms of Saipan and what happened,” said Delaney. “We were all younger people then and it was 13 years ago.”

Referring to Keane’s past criticisms of Delaney, when the then Republic of Ireland captain had said “I wouldn’t take any notice of that man”, the chief executive said: “People would have known Roy and I wouldn’t have had much contact in the past, because he was a player with the team, I was probably treasurer.”

Bygones be bygones! It remains to be seen whether fans of the Ireland squad, who might have though Keane walking out on his team in the midst of a World Cup was pretty unforgivable regardless of the passage of time, feel the same way.

Any other news?

How ‘awesome’ are CSKA Moscow fans? ‘Awesome’ enough that seven of them managed to divert a Easyjet flight bound for Manchester to Copenhagen in order for the airline to eject them from the aircraft for “disruptive behaviour”, ie being completely wasted.

And in Messi news:

Lionel Messi could have signed for Chelsea in the summer after adidas offered to pay half of his £210million buy-out clause, according to Barcelona sports paper Mundo Deportivo.

And not just Chelsea, but the other Adidas clubs like Bayern Munich and–wait for it–Real Madrid. This latter instance would have been a far, far more mind-blowing development. As you were.

And Fulham’s Sascha Riether has been charged for stamping Adnan Januzaj after the fact as part of the FA’s new post-match punishment “pilot scheme” (alliteration!).

Gimme that good stuff!

Ronaldo makes a baby seize in this slightly odd short:

Any good reads today?

The New York Times’ Sam Borden makes the argument for temporary subs in case of a head injury like the one Spurs’ keeper Hugo Lloris suffered on Sunday against Everton’s Lukaku:

Calls for those sorts of changes may need to come from FIFA, and they could involve a shift in how substitutions are handled. A team is allowed only three substitutions, and a player who has been substituted cannot return to the game. Given the risks involved with head injuries, FIFA could consider allowing for a temporary substitution in the case of a suspected head injury, so coaches and doctors would not feel pressured to make a decision on a player because of the situation in a game.

An interesting argument and otherwise a solid indictment of the praise of Lloris as “heroic” by several commentators this past weekend.