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Sorry, Pep: Possession isn't everything. Just ask Atletico and Dortmund, football's 'medieval minimalists'

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 01:18:00 GMT

The final matchday of the UEFA Champions League group stage was a very good one for teams who saw little of the ball, as several sides who had 40 percent or less possession claimed some notable victories. The most striking of those wins came at the Santiago Bernabeu, where CSKA Moscow, who had just 31 percent of the play, defeated titleholders Real Madrid 3-0. In doing so, they not only became the first opposition to beat the stumbling Spanish giants both home and away in the Champions League in...

Messi's brilliance tops Player Power Rankings ahead of Shaqiri, Griezmann

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 09:51:00 GMT

Relive the weekend's action from around Europe, including Liverpool's win over Manchester United, another Lionel Messi masterpiece and more. When you directly contribute to all five goals in your side's convincing win, you're likely to find yourself on top of the Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Also receiving votes: Dyego Souza (Braga), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis). Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Power Rankings: Barcelona top, Liverpool climb; Juventus, Man City drop

Thu, 13 Dec 2018 02:18:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop reveals his latest power rankings which see Barcelona edge Liverpool for the pole position. The FC panel wax lyrical about Lionel Messi's latest performance and say he no longer places any stock in individual awards such as the Ballon d'Or. The FC panel assess if Manchester City deserve to be ahead of Barcelona and Juventus as the oddsmakers' favourites to win the Champions League. All change! After last week's top two suffered shock defeats, the latest countdown has a new leader. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Dropping out: Napoli, Ajax. Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV.

What's it like to face Luka Modric, No. 1 central midfielder in FC 100?

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:35:00 GMT

It has been an unforgettable 2018 for Luka Modric. Champions League winner, World Cup finalist and the man who finally ended the decadelong stranglehold of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the Ballon d'Or. It could have been better, of course. With every individual award -- Modric also won the Golden Ball as the best player at the World Cup, and was voted as the No. 1 central midfielder in the ESPN FC 100 -- the 33-year-old has insisted that he would swap them all for a World Cup winners'...

Copa Libertadores hero Juan Quintero tops Player Power Rankings ahead of Salah

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:06:00 GMT

Check out all the action from around Europe this weekend, from Lucas Torreira's overhead kick for Arsenal to Lionel Messi's heroics for Barcelona. If you score the winner in the biggest rivalry in world football to lift a continental trophy, you're likely to finish top of Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Also receiving votes: Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach). Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Harry Kane's rise to No. 1 in FC 100 a testament to his peerless versatility

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 12:00:00 GMT

It started with a twist. Harry Kane, who last week was voted the world's best striker in the 2018 FC 100, drifted away from Nemanja Matic on the edge of the penalty area and rolled the ball beyond the reach of Thibaut Courtois. In one seamless sequence, he eluded both an elite defensive midfielder and the man who was then arguably the world's leading goalkeeper, scoring Tottenham's fourth goal in an eventual 5-3 victory over Chelsea. But Kane had done much more than that. On that evening, New...

Power Rankings: Juventus, Man City, Barcelona 1-2-3; Liverpool, Arsenal in

Thu, 6 Dec 2018 02:26:00 GMT

Giorgio Chiellini talked up the rivalry between Juventus and Inter Milan, insisting there's more than just three points at stake. Sebastian Salazar and Alejandro Moreno debate whether or not Juventus has assembled enough talent to live up to lofty expectations this season. The top three stay the same this week, but there's movement down below. Liverpool make their return to the top 10, as do Arsenal. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Dropping out: Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham, Sevilla. Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV.

Neymar, Mohamed Salah lead football's new power position: the wide forward

Tue, 4 Dec 2018 01:30:00 GMT

Steve Nicol raises concerns about Liverpool's star-powered front three after substitute Divock Origi came on to score the winner against Everton. There was a time when the most glamourous positions in world football were the central ones, both in defence and attack. If you were a defender growing up in the early 1990s, you were likeliest to admire Franco Baresi; if you were a young forward late in the same decade, the chances are that you idolised the original Ronaldo. Yet those times have changed. The central players, more often than not, are reliable and steady figures; there, the attackers are hardworking, chasing down opponents whenever...

Inside the Ballon d'Or: No Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, tears for Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric's 'stage fright'

Mon, 3 Dec 2018 04:00:00 GMT

From the "Most Time Spent Horizontal" to "Nutritionist of the Year," the Exploding Heads present their quirky alternative Ballon d'Or awards. PARIS -- You almost felt sorry for Luka Modric, receiving the Ballon d'Or ("Golden Ball") for player of the year on stage in Paris' Grand Palais. It looked as if the French were punishing him Monday for depriving one of their world champions of the prize. There, on a table beside the stage, taunting him, stood the World Cup trophy itself, the one that his Croatia team lost in the final in Moscow this past July. On stage, David Ginola, the former France winger turned moderator, was throwing fatuous...

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's derby day heroics leads Power Rankings ahead of Timo Werner

Mon, 3 Dec 2018 10:11:00 GMT

Check out all the action from around Europe this weekend, from Arsenal's dramatic win over Tottenham to Liverpool's last-gasp triumph against Everton. When you jump-start an Arsenal North London derby win with a pair of goals vs. Spurs, you can count on topping the week's Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Also receiving votes: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Jimmy Briand (Bordeaux), Jordan Torunarigha (Hertha Berlin), Rade Krunic (Empoli). Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Power Rankings: Juventus overtake Manchester City at the top as Dutch duo fall

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 04:21:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop reveals his latest power rankings, which see Juventus ascend the top 10 summit. Juventus have won three straight matches, and as a result have climbed into the top spot in this week's edition of Shaka Hislop's Power Rankings. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Dropping out: PSV Eindhoven, Ajax. Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV!

From Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani to Messi, Coutinho and Suarez: the best attacking trios in football

Tue, 27 Nov 2018 05:00:00 GMT

"Two's company, three's a crowd" is the cliché, but when it comes to football, three might be the magic number. We look at the game's most potent trios and what makes each of them so brilliant. Liverpool: The kings of open space This terrific threesome thrives on open space and they are at their peak when afforded room to run and attack in behind a hastily retreating defence. They fit the high-press ideals of their boss, Jurgen Klopp, and are equipped to exploit even the most innocuous...

Hat-trick hero Lukebakio tops Player Power Rankings ahead of Thauvin, Sane

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 09:29:00 GMT

Perhaps the unlikeliest No. 1 we have ever had, but that's what happens when you score a hat trick away to Bayern Munich! Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Also receiving votes: Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen) Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

If the 2022 World Cup started today: Looking at the major nations

Wed, 21 Nov 2018 07:59:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson shares his thoughts on the team most likely to win the World Cup if it were to take place tomorrow. Gianni Infantino believes Russia 2018 is the benchmark for Qatar to live up to at the 2022 World Cup. Watch E:60's eye-opening segment on the migrant worker issues in Qatar. The next World Cup is four years away, but if the tournament began today, how would the biggest countries line up? Further, what do they need to do between now and kickoff on Nov. 21, 2022? We asked our writers to look into the future. Click on the flags below to see that nation. ARGENTINA Starting XI if the World Cup began today Sergio Romero; Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios; Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala,...

In football-mad Manchester, a popular indoor venue faces closure

Tue, 20 Nov 2018 07:33:00 GMT

The Powerleague Trafford Sportsdome is six miles from Old Trafford and 10 from the Etihad Stadium. One of the best vantage points for Manchester's booming skyline is the top of Barton Bridge, where the city's orbital motorway crosses the Manchester Ship Canal. The imposing bulk of Old Trafford, for example, stands two miles away, to the right of which are the new towers of Media City at Salford Quays. Closer still is the giant Trafford Centre shopping mall but before them all is a large, warehouse-type structure. Its exterior features four five a-side pitches and inside are a further 18. Known...

Believe the hype: Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong are next big stars on radar of Barca, Man City

Mon, 19 Nov 2018 05:00:00 GMT

Gab Marcotti and the FC crew break down Dutch duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, a pair of Ajax stars catching the eyes of Europe's elite. You wait years for any sort of talent, then two great ones come along at once. That's the feeling among Dutch fans now, and among the scouts of clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City who have become regulars in Ajax's Johan Cruijff Arena. Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax's central defender, looked a man among boys even when facing Manchester United in the 2017 Europa League final aged 17. Now, at 19, he's Ajax's captain and an automatic choice for Netherlands. His teammate Frenkie de Jong, 21, recently...

How jaded fans can still appreciate Lionel Messi on the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut

Fri, 16 Nov 2018 05:00:00 GMT

The fact that Lionel Messi makes the extraordinary look ordinary at times shouldn't diminish just how brilliant he is. Sporting greatness is a form of anesthetic -- it has a numbing effect. The first time you watch Simone Biles skip across the floor, Roger Federer execute a perfect drop shot or Lewis Hamilton take a corner in the driving rain, you're utterly enchanted. By the hundredth time you see them do it, there's a danger that you will become immune to the sheer wonder, the same way you might if you'd grown up with your bedroom looking out toward the Northern Lights. For that reason, there's a risk that...

Power Rankings: Manchester City stay top but beaten Barcelona fall

Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:06:00 GMT

Shaka Hislop reveals his latest power rankings which see Manchester City on top while Barcelona take a tumble following their loss to Betis. Sergio Aguero shrugs off talk of an unbeaten Premier League season after Manchester City's victory over rivals Manchester United. Derby day victory kept the English champions atop Shaka Hislop's Top 10, while Porto and Juventus are on the up. Barcelona, though, pay for their defeat. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Dropping out: Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal. Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV!

Germany face relegation, plus Rooney's England return vs. U.S. the highlights of international break

Tue, 13 Nov 2018 12:43:00 GMT

Things are all smiles in the Germany camp, but for the first time in a generation, they find themselves in a difficult situation. The club football season is in full swing, but first we have the final international break of 2018, and despite there being several friendlies, there's a lot to play for in Europe and Africa in particular. Nick Ames rounds up the things to watch over the next 10 days. Germany could get relegated? No, seriously! If anyone doubted the UEFA Nations League's capacity to throw up a big story line, what about this: Germany are on the verge of taking a seat away from Europe's top table. Their meeting...

Edinson Cavani's hat trick beats Memphis Depay to top of Player Power Rankings

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 09:53:00 GMT

Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick, while Neymar converted a penalty to help Paris Saint-Germain come away victorious against a hapless Monaco. A pair of hat-trick heroes finish in podium places in our Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Also receiving votes: Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis), Salomon Rondon (Newcastle). Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.


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