QPR's stable of stars has struggled in recent weeks. Can they pull it together and snatch an automatic promotion spot?

Joey Barton: The FA is ‘archaic,’ ‘utterly out of its depth’

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Always outspoken, Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton said on Thursday that it’s a “scary” time to be English and in top-flight soccer. At the Leaders in Football Conference at Stamford Bridge, Barton laid into the English Football Association and its new 10-man commission on the national team.

“What’s the point?” he asked (via Sky Sports). “I don’t get it. The whole point of hiring [FA chairman] Greg Dyke surely was because he knows what he is doing or at least has got an idea. Don’t turn around and say, ‘I am going to bring nine other people from all different fields of the game, and hopefully, we’ll make a group decision.’ It is never going to work.”

Barton recently returned to England from a one-year loan at Olympique de Marseille in Ligue 1. Even there, he was unable to escape the spotlight for the wrong reasons when he received a two-game suspension for calling Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva an “overweight ladyboy” on Twitter.

He was in fine form again on Thursday with his comments directed toward the FA.

“The Football Association is archaic,” he said. “It is completely and utterly out of its depth. It does not even run the major league in our country. The FA’s responsibility is to care about English football. They have no power apart from banning players.”

Barton said Dyke was smart to set up a commission to deflect the criticism that will inevitably find him when England “fall short” at the next major tournaments. At the same time, the Premier League is right to stay out of FA affairs.

“The Premier League have made a smart move in terms of isolating themselves,” Barton said. “Why would you want to be a part of it when you’ve got such a great product?”

Barton is often honest to a fault, and he was again unafraid to speak his mind on Thursday.

WATCH: Carrasco levels Champions League final, finds partner for long kiss

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid celebrates afte scorig the equalizing goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Milan on a starry night sounds romantic. Add in a massive match-tying goal, and it was all too much for Yannick Carrasco.

The 22-year-old Belgian attacker got on the end of Juanfran‘s cross and beat Keylor Navas at the near post.

[ MORE: Griezmann’s PK miss ]

In celebration, Carrasco raced toward a pitch side suite and into the arms and lips of what we presume is his partner for a gift that must count as much as a few dozen roses (but probably smelled much worse).

WATCH: Griezmann misses Torres-won PK in huge Champions League moment

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid speaks to head coach Diego Simeone during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Frankly, Antoine Griezmann embodied the Atletico Madrid attack in the first half, so it was no surprise when he stepped up to the penalty spot early in the second half.

Fernando Torres had won a penalty kick from Pepe after the Portuguese back stamped on his ankle in the 46th minute, and Greizmann got Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas going the wrong direction before cranking the ball off the bar.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

The miss looms large.

Argentine star Messi leaves Honduras match with back injury

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L-R) Jose Juan Vazquez #23 of Mexico and Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.

The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.

“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.

“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.

Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”

Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.

Hull City secures PL position next season

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Ross Wallace of Sheffield Wednesday make a break during Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.

After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.

Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.

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