Lionel Messi spat with Barcelona? Nope, Spain loves drama. Shocker.

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So Lionel Messi has decided to use Argentine doctor Luis Garcia to care for his injury instead of Barcelona physiotherapist Juanjo Brau.

Big deal or no deal?

The answer, in short, is no deal.

As in, non-story. As in, the Spanish press is bored and loves drama. So let’s wrap this one up, put a nice bow on it and keep you moving.

La Pulga went down with another hamstring injury this week meaning he faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines. Problem is, this is the third such setback Messi’s suffered this season.

So he’s sought outside care in the form of Garcia, who is not an employee of the Spanish champions, which at this point seems perfectly reasonable. Nevertheless the decision has created enough of a buzz in Spain that sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta had to come out and deny any unrest claiming Garcia is “very well known to our medical staff.”

Translation – We’re cool with it.

Still, speculation persists of potential discord at Camp Nou which has forced the Lionel Messi Management team to issue the following statement:

The process of recovery from the injury suffered last Sunday began on Monday. This injury, although of the same type and to the same leg, is not related to any previous ones.

Being a player of the Asociacion de Futbol Argentino (AFA), and having games programmed with the national team, the licensed kinesiologist Dr Luis Garcia arrived yesterday in Barcelona to represent the national team, to monitor the injury, and to know the state and scope of the same.

Barca’s medical services, as always, are those who take charge of accompanying him and treating him, like any other player at the club in other occasions.

So they will be supervising his injury during the whole process, including when Leo travels to Argentina during the Christmas period.

We want to deny completely the information published in some media, and confirm the comments of different club figures.

Juanjo Brau, a great professional who has been close to Messi for a long period of time in recent years, no longer works day-to-day with Leo because FC Barcelona promoted him professionally.

His current responsibilities are coordinating the club’s first team squad physios.

There have been no professional or personal differences, nor a distancing outside of not being as close during their daily work.

So again, nothing to see here folks.

Little Lionel is simply looking to get healthy. Still loves Barca. Just wishes he wasn’t injured.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.