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Numbers: Ronaldo makes history as Juventus win 8th straight Serie A title

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 09:07:00 GMT

Juventus created history with an eighth successive Serie A title, clinched by a 2-1 win against Fiorentina. Along the way, Cristiano Ronaldo carved himself a little slice of history. In France, a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick helped PSG seal their eighth Ligue 1 title with a 3-1 stroll against Monaco. In Spain, Barcelona continued their relentless march to a 26th La Liga title with a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad, maintaining their nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid. Below those two, Zinedine Zidane's...

Power Rankings: Barcelona, Liverpool remain on top; Ajax climb, Juventus fall

Fri, 19 Apr 2019 08:05:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe makes the case that Liverpool's attacking prowess could have the potential to overwhelm Barcelona in the Champions League semis. ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Tottenham and Ajax will be the tie of the round, after both sides reached the semifinals in dramatic fashion. The ESPN FC panel says Lionel Messi alone makes Barcelona favourites over Liverpool. Are the Reds good enough to stop him? ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Manchester United got a dose of reality following their three-goal defeat in Barcelona. ESPN FC's Craig Burley credits Ajax for teaching Juventus a footballing lesson over two legs in their Champions League quarterfinal tie. The Champions League semifinalists occupy the top four spots, while Juve's bad week is reflected by their tumble. Plus, Arsenal and Chelsea are in! (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, Benfica Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV, which airs daily on ESPN+.

Juventus have been in danger of collapse all season long. Against Ajax, it happened

Wed, 17 Apr 2019 10:19:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Craig Burley credits Ajax for teaching Juventus a footballing lesson over two legs in their Champions League quarterfinal tie. Imagine a warning light flashing on your dashboard as you speed down the highway. You know it's there. You know it's potentially important but no matter what you do, no matter what tweaks you make, it won't go away. Welcome to Max Allegri's view while driving Juve's team bus. All season long he beat the same drum, even as the side were sailing through their Champions League group and establishing a record-setting pace in Serie A that could see them win the title for the eighth straight year...

Ajax's ideals triumph over riches of Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo

Tue, 16 Apr 2019 03:55:00 GMT

Gab Marcotti examines where things went wrong for Juventus and where the blame lies following their second-leg defeat against Ajax. ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Tottenham and Ajax will be the tie of the round, after both sides reached the semifinals in dramatic fashion. ESPN FC's Craig Burley credits Ajax for teaching Juventus a footballing lesson over two legs in their Champions League quarterfinal tie. TURIN, Italy -- It turns out Cristiano Ronaldo is not enough. The Portuguese scored in both legs of Juventus' Champions League quarterfinal against Ajax. He put the Bianconeri in front at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday. They wouldn't even be here without his face-saving hat trick against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. The 34-year-old kept up his side of the bargain. Ultimately, though, Juventus came up short. What Ajax have achieved is stunning. As Erik ten Hag noted on the eve of the game,...

Champions League quarterfinal second legs: Predictions and key battles

Mon, 15 Apr 2019 02:30:00 GMT

Last week's first legs in the four Champions League quarterfinals offered up a contrast of games that all entertained in their own way and, crucially, kept the ties alive into their respective second legs. Can Liverpool hang on at Porto? Will Manchester City thrash Tottenham? We get you ready for the second legs. Jump to: Man City vs. Tottenham Porto vs. Liverpool Van Dijk, left, and Liverpool seem destined for the semifinals. Can Porto stop them? AGGREGATE SCORE: Liverpool lead 2-0 WHEN: Wednesday 4/17, 3 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. BST WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST LEG: Porto never...

Weekend numbers: Paul Pogba's best-ever season, Raheem Sterling's magic touch

Sun, 14 Apr 2019 10:30:00 GMT

The race for the 2018-19 Premier League crown promises to go down to the proverbial wire. A Raheem Sterling brace set up Manchester City's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, Liverpool responded with a thrilling 2-0 defeat of Chelsea at Anfield. Brilliant stuff. Lower down in the table, Manchester United eked out a 2-1 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford to stay in contention for a top four spot.  Meanwhile, across continental Europe, two giants of the game squandered chances to seal their respective...

Power Rankings: Barcelona No. 1; Liverpool, Juventus climb; Man City drop

Thu, 11 Apr 2019 01:53:00 GMT

Shaka Hislop presents his weekly Power Rankings where Premier League sides have taken control of the top five, but will any claim top spot? Craig Burley doesn't see a way back for Manchester United, even though they limited Barcelona to just one goal at Old Trafford. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview that he wants Lionel Messi to remain linked to the club forever. The leaders claim another week on top, but there is movement down below as a pair of Premier League clubs, plus the Italian champions, move up. (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: Atletico Madrid, Porto, Borussia Dortmund Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV, which airs daily on ESPN+.

Solskjaer formation fail, Guardiola's strange changes among UCL first-leg talking points

Thu, 11 Apr 2019 05:00:00 GMT

Barcelona will take a one-goal advantage back to the Camp Nou, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his return in a 1-1 draw with Ajax. Craig Burley doesn't see a way back for Manchester United, even though they limited Barcelona to just one goal at Old Trafford. Our ESPN FC crew discuss whether Ajax can knock off another European giant away from home following their 1-1 draw with Juventus at home. Steve Nicol believes Jurgen Klopp has no choice but to start Mohamed Salah despite his continued struggles in Liverpool's win over Porto. While Harry Kane's injury is a major concern for Tottenham, Craig Burley says it could also be a curveball for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. The Champions League quarterfinals produced four patient but entertaining first legs that ended with four different scorelines: 1-0, 2-0, 1-1, 0-1. Here are four talking points from the four contests played this week... Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City: Guardiola's UCL approach prompts more questions We're no longer surprised when Pep Guardiola names a starting XI that doesn't quite make sense on paper -- but too often in Champions League away legs, it doesn't make sense on the pitch either. On Tuesday,...

Ajax add substance to style vs. Juventus to raise hopes of UCL upset

Wed, 10 Apr 2019 04:48:00 GMT

Johan Cruyff famously once remarked: "Italians can't beat us, but we can certainly lose against them." It summed up the clash of footballing cultures at the time. His Ajax and Barcelona teams could outplay their Serie A counterparts but give up one chance, allow one counter, make one mistake and expect to be punished. Cruyff's words rang as true Wednesday night as they did back then. Ajax dominated the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Juventus. They deserved to win but...

Weekend numbers: Lionel Messi 335, Mo Salah 50, Lewandowski 200

Mon, 8 Apr 2019 06:28:00 GMT

Manchester City's pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple is entering its final leg -- they strolled to a 1-0 win over Brighton to book a place in the FA Cup final. Joining them there are Watford, who staged a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to win their semifinal against Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 in extra time. In the Premier League, Liverpool fought back from a goal down to beat Southampton away, and moved two points clear at the top. Meanwhile, Arsenal's quest for a top four spot...

Weekend numbers: Jadon Sancho overtakes Lionel Messi; Christian Eriksen equals David Beckham

Mon, 1 Apr 2019 02:21:00 GMT

The return of club football coincided with the real Lionel Messi standing up, inspiring Barcelona to a 2-0 win over Espanyol with a brace, maintaining a 10-point gap at the top of the table. Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid were almost embarrassed by bottom-placed Huesca, Karim Benzema's 89th-minute goal saw them pinch it 3-2. Liverpool opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester City, though, do have a game in hand...

LIVE Transfer Talk: Manchester clubs, PSG in for Juventus' Douglas Costa

Fri, 29 Mar 2019 04:59:00 GMT

ESPN FC's Ale Moreno breaks down the latest transfer rumblings, including: Antoine Griezmann, Hirving Lozano and many more. The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world's media and set correspondents loose to see what's on the agenda for the summer. United and City to fight PSG for Costa Paris Saint-Germain have joined the two sides of Manchester in the battle for the signature of Juventus winger Douglas Costa, CalcioMercato reports.  Costa has managed just one goal in 17 appearances since signing permanently for Juventus,...

Moise Kean is learning from Ronaldo and biding his time at Juventus, but he's ready to star for Italy

Thu, 28 Mar 2019 12:39:00 GMT

Moise Kean has yet to fully blossom at Juventus, but the 19-year-old could well be the answer to Italy's woes up front. Nicolo Zaniolo spread the play out to Leonardo Spinazzola. The Italy left-back shaped to go right, then drove to the byline before cutting back inside to send a cross to the far post. It was too high for Serie A's top scorer, Fabio Quagliarella, to direct on target; instead, he headed it back across goal and set it, volleyball style, for Moise Kean to glance in from inside the six-yard box. The aesthetic was tarnished a little by the Liechtenstein goalkeeper managing to get something on it, but...

Transfer Talk: Paul Pogba set to leave Man United for Real Madrid, Juventus?

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 04:59:00 GMT

The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world's media and set correspondents loose to see what's on the agenda for the summer. TOP STORY: Pogba set to leave Man United? TRANSFERS ESPN's step-by-step guide to a transfer Why were Chelsea given a transfer ban? FC Exclusives - Solskjaer eyes five United signings - Barcelona set to sign De Ligt - Herrera to join PSG - Chelsea track Paranaense's Guimaraes - Real's Varane considering future Just when you thought you were out of rumours about Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United, they drag you back in.  One might have thought that an upturn in form, coupled with Jose Mourinho's departure and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's arrival,...

Way-too-early look at next season: Real Madrid land Mbappe, Sancho to Man United?

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 01:35:00 GMT

The 2018-19 season isn't over yet, but with the international break upon us, we thought it would be a good time to look ahead to next season. Here, our writers and correspondents give their predictions for what will happen over the summer and how Europe's biggest teams will line up for their first game. Premier League MAN CITY -- Jonathan Smith Who will be signed? The spectre of a potential transfer ban is hanging over Manchester City. It's possible that they may be busy in this summer's...

By the numbers: Messi's 51st hat-trick, Salah's long scoreless streak

Sun, 17 Mar 2019 10:32:00 GMT

Lionel Messi scored his 33rd La Liga hat-trick in the course of Barcelona's 4-1 win away to Real Betis. There's Lionel Messi, and then there's the rest. The weekend's football in Europe seemed to suggest so, although one must put this helpful caveat: Juventus gave Cristiano Ronaldo the weekend off. Here are the best numbers from the weekend: 33 Lionel Messi scored his 33rd La Liga hat-trick in the course of Barcelona's 4-1 win away to Real Betis, also his 45th hat-trick for Barcelona across all competitions. He also has six hat-tricks for the Argentina national team, taking his overall tally in competitive...

Power Rankings: Barcelona stay top, Juventus climb, Liverpool return

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 08:00:00 GMT

Shaka Hislop presents his weekly Power Rankings, where quite a few Premier League clubs find their way into the top 10. Craig Burley refuses to name Barcelona Champions League favourites after their big win over Lyon, due to their defensive inconsistency. Barcelona went behind early to Rayo Vallecano, but responded with three, including Lionel Messi's goal in his 800th career game. Lionel Messi made sure that Barcelona's No. 1 spot was not in danger, while Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Juventus' upward movement. (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: Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich. Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV.

Champions League belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo as Juventus come back to beat Atletico

Tue, 12 Mar 2019 04:40:00 GMT

TURIN, Italy -- Last month in Madrid, Atletico Madrid were entirely dominant against a Juventus side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 2-0. On Wednesday in Turin, Juventus were entirely dominant against an Atletico side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 3-0 to advance, seemingly against the odds. This was the archetypal two-legged European tie, a contest that outlines the difficulty of playing away from home in a hostile atmosphere. It was essentially won by the...

Six months after Ronaldo was accused of rape, why is the case in legal limbo?

Tue, 12 Mar 2019 05:00:00 GMT

Ronaldo was accused in September of raping an American woman in Las Vegas back in 2009. Police have since reopened the investigation. ON A WARM October day in Las Vegas, we slip our car into a parking lot wedged between two buildings, then push open the door to the lawyer's office. My colleague, Nicole Noren, and I figure this will be simple. We are in Nevada reporting on the rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo, and we want to meet Ronaldo's attorneys, as well as the lawyers representing Kathryn Mayorga, the woman accusing him. Normally, this sort of meeting is pretty straightforward for journalists. Lawyers, particularly...

Numbers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tastes first league defeat, Lionel Messi scores in 800th game

Mon, 11 Mar 2019 05:21:00 GMT

Luuk De Jong scored his 21st league goal of the season as PSV Eindhoven remain in control of top spot in the Dutch Eredivisie. While Liverpool kept pace with Manchester City, Arsenal beat Manchester United to keep the top four race alive. In La Liga, Barcelona continued their dominance, while Kareem Benzema helped Real Madrid get back to winning ways after their humiliating Champions League defeat. Elsewhere, Juventus remained unbeaten in the league, while Bayern Munich scored six against Wolfsburg to leapfrog Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga. Here are the best numbers from the weekend's action. 0 Juventus are still...

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