Wednesday now officially renamed Messiday

The top news from yesterday: The story from Barcelona quickly changed from “Hey, can Arsenal really win at the Nou Camp?” to “Do we go ahead and put Lionel Messi alongside Pele and Maradona?” The young Argentine, just three years removed from being hyped alongside Freddy Adu as one of the potential stars of the U-20 World Cup, scored four goals to silence any talk of Arsenal advancing to the semis. Inter Milan advanced past CSKA Moscow in the other Tuesday quarterfinal.

Also:

Soccer: Speaking of four-goal outbursts, Cruz Azul waited until the last 20 minutes to turn an aggregate tie into a rout against Pumas in the CONCACAF Champions League semis. (The Original Winger – video)

Soccer: Former D.C. United goalkeeping prospect Milos Kocic has turned up with Toronto FC, where Mo Johnston says he can learn from Stefan Frei and Jon Conway. Kocic, though, is a year older than Frei and therefore might not have much of a future there unless Frei gets snapped up by a European club at some point — which shouldn’t be out of the question. (Toronto FC “beta” site)

Soccer: A far more curious story from Toronto — unconfirmed reports say Jim Brennan will abruptly retire as a player and join the front office. The club has scheduled a 1:30 p.m. ET “player announcement.” (Toronto Sun)

Curling: Pete Fenson and the USA won their must-win against Italy to move into a tie for a playoff spot in the World Championships. (USOC)

MMA: Suspended heavyweight Josh Barnett seems resigned to sitting out a year before applying to get his California fight license again, frustrated with delays in his appeal that he blames on California authorities. He’s been busy fighting overseas and working on his “film career” along with every other MMA fighter. It’d be a pity not to give the articulate Barnett a day in court to see if he can address his second U.S. doping offense. (MMA Junkie)

Golf: Story too strange to pass up — John Daly didn’t qualify for The Masters, so he set up shop in August selling merchandise. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Soccer: And in this amusing video, Philly defender Danny Califf aims for a cup atop Danny Bonaduce’s head and misses several times, the last one catching Bonaduce flush in the face. Bonaduce also has been KO’d by Sugar Ray Leonard in the studio, so he takes the shot pretty well. But we’d fear for his safety if fellow Union defender Toni Stahl showed up. (The Offside Rules)

TODAY’S TV

– Now: Cycling, Tour of the Basque Country, Universal Sports webcast

2:30 p.m. ET: Soccer, Champions League quarterfinals, second leg. Manchester United-Bayern Munich is on Fox Soccer Channel. Bordeaux-Lyon is on Fox Soccer Plus, then replayed at 5 on FSC.

10 p.m. ET: MMA, The Ultimate Fighter, Spike. Check back for the recap by 11:30 p.m.

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