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Transfer window: Man United, Arsenal, Real Madrid need defenders; Man City, PSG to wait?

Tue, 18 Dec 2018 12:01:00 GMT

The transfer window is nearly upon us, but clubs across Europe are already planning for their January business. Who will come in? Who will depart? ESPN FC's club correspondents delve into the deals which may be on the cards. Premier League MAN CITY: In need of a holding midfielder Transfers How a transfer works With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer. What's a medical like? Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton. Watch live games, ESPN FC TV and MLS Rewind on ESPN+ in the U.S. FC Exclusives - Arsenal want Bailly, Cahill - Pogba not for sale; Juve keen - Steffen on brink of Man City transfer - Under eyed by City, Arsenal, Chelsea - Real Madrid interested in Diaz What does the team need in January? Manchester City have two quality players for every position, with the exception of defensive midfield and left-back. The holding role in the centre of midfield is a crucial...

LIVE Transfer Talk: Manchester City eye move for Real Madrid's unhappy Isco

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 05:27:00 GMT

Amid fierce questioning about Isco's future at Real Madrid, Santiago Solari had stern words as to players not being untouchable at the club. The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs might be closed, but they are still working tirelessly behind the scenes to line up the arrival of their next star. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media to see who could be heading to your club when Jan. 1 arrives. TOP STORY: Guardiola eyes ostracised Isco Transfers How a transfer works With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer. What's a medical like? Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton. Watch live games, ESPN FC TV and MLS Rewind on ESPN+ in the U.S. FC Exclusives - Arsenal want Bailly, Cahill - Pogba not for sale; Juve keen - Steffen on brink of Man City transfer - Under eyed by City, Arsenal, Chelsea - Real Madrid interested in Diaz Manchester City are ready to test Real Madrid's resolve with a lucrative offer for Isco, according to AS. The Malaga-born midfielder has been out-of-favour since Santiago Solari took...

Weekend numbers: Messi's 43rd hat trick for Barcelona; Ronaldo gets Juve's 5000th

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 04:08:00 GMT

The FC crew answer your tweets on Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League, Jose Mourinho's ability to manage a top side again and more. Are too many Liverpool stars excluded from Gab Marcotti's Premier League team of the weekend after their win over Manchester United? Gab Marcotti believes the personality issue between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho is merely the Man United manager's attempt to create a scapegoat. Manchester United's Jose Mourinho believes he can still reach the top four in the second half of the season despite trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by 11 points. Following Manchester United's resounding defeat at Liverpool, Craig Burley slams the club's lack of leadership, from the boardroom to the pitch. Jose Mourinho was happy with his team selection and has no regrets about not playing Paul Pogba Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp rated the 3-1 win over Manchester United as one of the best performances he has seen since he has been at the club as he reflected on what he called a perfect night. Jose Mourinho did not appreciate getting asked if he has the backing of the dressing room following Manchester United's loss to Liverpool. Chelsea's Mauricio Sarri admitted that Eden Hazard's injury is not a serious one and that he was substituted as a precaution during their win over Brighton. With Liverpool getting their first league win over Manchester United since 2014, FC's Shaka Hislop examines the gulf in class between the two sides. Alexis Nunes and Shaka Hislop break down Arsenal's surprising loss to Southampton, and determine if more defensive struggles are on the horizon for the Gunners. Liverpool went back to the top of the Premier League table with an emphatic 3-1 win over Manchester United, while Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus to yet another milestone with a goal in their 1-0 derby win against Torino. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi did Lionel Messi things (scored three, assisted two) as Barcelona thrashed Levante 5-0. Here are the best numbers from the weekend's action: 1 Lionel Messi is the first player to reach double figures for both goals (14) and assists (10) in the top...

Modric shows off Ballon d'Or in 8/10 showing as Madrid hold on vs. Rayo

Sat, 15 Dec 2018 12:11:00 GMT

Alejandro Moreno and Dan Thomas reflect on Real Madrid's nervy 1-0 over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. After a super-dramatic 2018, Real Madrid end the calendar year with a 1-0 home win against a poor Rayo Vallecano side on Saturday in one of the least entertaining Bernabeu occasions in many a year. Positives This was at least a victory to end the year with three points. The early goal was cleverly constructed and nicely taken. Marcos Llorente again showed his worth in holding midfield, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos either side playing well too. A third consecutive La Liga clean sheet was...

Marcelo a meagre 4/10 as Real Madrid outclassed in CSKA's upset win

Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:21:00 GMT

Steve McManaman says that Real Madrid topping their Champions League group has been marred by their two losses to CSKA Moscow. Real Madrid seemed set for a straightforward victory as they dominated the opening stages, but CSKA Moscow were 2-0 up by half-time thanks to well-taken goals by Fedor Chalov and Georgi Schennikov. The expected fightback never really materialised, with young Icelander Arnor Sigurdsson netting a third for a victory for the Russian side as surprising as it was well deserved. Positives The only positive from the night for Madrid was that they had already secured top spot in the group before kickoff,...

Transfer Talk: Manchester United's Marcus Rashford an AC Milan target

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 03:59:00 GMT

Stevie Nicol weighs in on the latest transfer rumours including Marcus Rashford or Alvaro Morata to Milan, Miguel Almiron to Newcastle and more. Alejandro Moreno examines the latest transfer rumours involving Chris Smalling, Edinson Cavani and more. Jose Mourinho feels Man United fans cannot point the finger at any of his players following their 4-1 win over Fulham. The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs might be closed, but they are still working tirelessly behind the scenes to line up the arrival of their next star. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media to see who could be heading to your club when Jan. 1 arrives. TOP STORY: Milan could move for United's Rashford After ruling out a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan could turn their attention to Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Milan technical...

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'...

Don't laugh, but Real Madrid could still win La Liga, Champions League this season

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:29:00 GMT

Real Madrid's Santiago Solari directed the words 'humbleness is the virtue' at Cristiano Ronaldo and that no matter what he says about the club he will be embedded in their history. Gareth Bale's exceptionally elegant and three-point-winning goal for Real Madrid on Sunday was notable for a number of reasons. You knew that it left him just five more strikes short of a century of goals for Los Blancos... right? No,  probably not. Unless you're president of the Gareth Bale appreciation society or his occasionally interventionist agent, then you're probably of the opinion that he never contributes, he's permanently in a scoring drought, he's "no Cristiano, mate!" and that...

Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos 8/10 as Real Madrid sneak a win at Huesca

Sun, 9 Dec 2018 09:43:00 GMT

Bale, left, scored his first goal in over 100 days and lifted Real to a big win at Huesca. Real Madrid's first-ever La Liga visit to Huesca's El Alcoraz stadium brought a workmanlike 1-0 win. Gareth Bale volleyed Madrid ahead after just nine minutes and Santi Solari's side thereafter did just enough to gain the three points, which lifted them to fourth in the Primera Division table. Positives Bale's first La Liga goal in over 100 days -- and 40 shots -- will quiet some of his local critics. A second away La Liga clean sheet of the calendar year should help with confidence at the...

Real Madrid's Isco, Marco Asensio make Copa del Rey cases for regular first-team inclusion

Thu, 6 Dec 2018 10:01:00 GMT

Real Madrid strolled into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, with a mostly second-string side winning 6-1 on the day for a 10-1 aggregate victory to progress against third-tier Melilla. Positives Madrid had not won a Copa del Rey game at the Bernabeu for two seasons, so the victory was welcome. Marco Asensio stood out clearly during his time on the pitch, Isco showed he still has great quality with two fine strikes, while youngsters Javi Sanchez, Fede Valverde and Vinicius Junior all showed welcome...

Real Madrid opponents Melilla face epic 11-hour overnight trip by sea, land and air

Tue, 4 Dec 2018 04:00:00 GMT

Melilla have to use three different modes of transport just to complete a cup tie they are already losing 4-0. "A super extraordinary thing" is was how UD Melilla president Juan Jose Imbroda described the chance to play Real Madrid when the teams were drawn to face each other in the Copa del Rey round of 32. The opportunity to face the European champions in Madrid does come at a cost, however, for the Spanish third division team. After losing the first leg 4-0 at home, Melilla must now embark on an 11-hour journey on Tuesday night ahead of Thursday's return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. The team from...

Real Madrid find rich vein of young talent as Barcelona's conveyor belt all but stops

Tue, 4 Dec 2018 12:30:00 GMT

Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari is upbeat after his youthful team beat Valencia. ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains why Gareth Bale has not been the player that Real Madrid needs him to be this season. Xavi Hernandez would have appreciated the irony at the Camp Nou on Sunday very much indeed. Barcelona were about to bring on a talented, highly exciting kid from their academy to replace a battle-scarred, high-profile midfield general: Carles Alena ordered to take over from Arturo Vidal. Boos and whistles rang out around the Camp Nou. A brutal reminder, if your memory is long enough, that the more things change, the more things stay the same. The reference to Xavi is that, when he was Alena's age,...

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...

Isco asks his Instagram followers 'Am I Fat?' after being dropped by Real Madrid

Mon, 3 Dec 2018 03:00:00 GMT

Isco asked his followers for their verdict amid accusations that he has been dropped by Real Madrid for being out of shape. Tired of criticism that his lack of playing time at Real Madrid is down to poor fitness, Isco has conducted his own poll on Instagram asking followers to decide whether he is fat or not. The Spain international has seen his minutes reduced drastically since Santiago Solari took over at the Bernabeu on Oct. 29, following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui. Isco hasn't started in any of Solari's seven games in charge and the midfielder, a key player under Lopetegui at Madrid and in his national team,...

Lucas Vazquez 8/10, Luka Modric 8/10 as Real Madrid beat Valencia

Sat, 1 Dec 2018 02:58:00 GMT

Dani Carvajal forced an own goal and was instrumental in the second to help Real Madrid see through a 2-0 win over Valencia. ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains why Gareth Bale has not been the player that Real Madrid needs him to be this season. Real Madrid are up to fifth in the La Liga table after a 2-0 win at home to Valencia, which seemed likely to be straightforward when they went ahead early through visiting defender Daniel Wass' own goal, but was only sealed late on when Lucas Vazquez found the net on the break. Positives The first half was the best 45 minutes of Santi Solari's time in charge, with lots of energy and ambition in Madrid's play. The second half was not nearly as impressive, but the Argentine continues to benefit...

Man United's leopard print leads FIFA 19 shirts that will never be worn by players

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 08:02:00 GMT

Manchester United fans now have the opportunity to part with real money in exchange for a new kit that doesn't technically exist. To clarify, Adidas have released a range of limited edition "digital fourth kits" for United -- as well Juventus, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid -- that will only be worn by the teams in FIFA 19. From <® to =U.Introducing the all new limited-edition @FCBayern, @juventusfc, @ManUtd and @realmadrid @EA SPORTS Jerseys, available in game and in store now: https://t.co/4HAIVfvhBY. pic.twitter.com/WblmNWLpsL&mdash; adidas Football (@adidasfootball) November 29, 2018 Created in collaboration with EA Sports, the exclusive shirts are rendered in various lurid designs, with United's a neon yellow leopard print effort -- supposedly a tribute to...

Vicente del Bosque shaves moustache: how would Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and others look with it?

Wed, 28 Nov 2018 05:30:00 GMT

Vicente del Bosque losing his iconic moustache got us wondering: which Premier League boss would look best with his famous facial hair? We have reached a most significant point in the annals of football history. After over four decades spent in each other's company, Vicente del Bosque has parted company with his wonderful moustache. The 67-year-old shocked everybody by arriving at the 2018 Men's Health Gala in Madrid on Tuesday with a freshly deforested upper lip -- a sight unseen in more than 40 years. By his own volition, Del Bosque has been paired with "El Bigoton" ("The Big Moustache") since around 1975, first growing it during...

Gareth Bale 8/10, Karim Benzema 7/10 as Real Madrid bounce back at Roma

Tue, 27 Nov 2018 03:35:00 GMT

Gareth Bale got back on the scoresheet which Santi Solari will hope is a good omen for Madrid. Real Madrid rode their luck in the first half but came on strong in the second as goals from Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez gave the Champions League holders a 2-0 victory in Tuesday's Group G game at Roma. Positives Viktoria Plzen's 2-1 comeback win at CSKA Moscow earlier in the evening had already guaranteed Madrid passage to the last 16, and this victory means Santi Solari's side have won the group and will be seeded in the draw. Confidence seemed to return throughout the team once they went...

La Liga is the most exciting league in the world right now -- and not because of Barca and Real Madrid

Tue, 27 Nov 2018 03:10:00 GMT

After headlining the papers all week, Ousmane Dembele delivered for Barcelona. Stewart Robson examines how he influenced their draw at Atletico. Stewart Robson breaks down how Eibar were able to take care of Real Madrid, handing Santiago Solari his first loss as Real manager. Real Madrid's Daniel Carvajal insists the side need to keep a cool head against AS Roma so that they can take control of Group G. Koke explains the many reasons behind Antoine Griezmann's decision to stay with Atletico Madrid. On Friday night, the club that languished at the bottom of La Liga with a miserable six points just a year ago should have reached the top of Spain's Primera Division. That they fluffed their lines is just an anecdotal detail. By Saturday lunchtime, a club that should only really dream of being in la Liga, with the same dose of reality as a 5-foot-5 guy might dream of starring in the NBA, utterly thrashed the reigning European champions. Destroyed them, 3-0. It could have been double that. Then,...

Copa Libertadores blame game; Spurs surge past Chelsea; Man Utd, Madrid, Bayern woe

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 08:10:00 GMT

When CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez compared the Copa Libertadores final to its UEFA Champions League equivalent, referring to the former as "real football" and the latter as "Playstation" football, part of me wanted him to be correct. Don't get me wrong, I love the Champions League. But football needs an alternative to the sanitized, corporate, often rootless feel of the high-end European game, where outcomes are often decided by whose suits are best at chasing global revenue. Moreover,...

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