UEFA Champions League

Isco has Real Madrid fans dancing to his tune ahead of UCL final

May 26, 2017 05:07 PM PDT

Sid Lowe explains why it would not be worth the risk for Zinedine Zidane to start Gareth Bale over Isco in Cardiff. Real Madrid fans were asked this week to select their player of the season and the result was further confirmation of one of the greatest personal success stories at the Bernabeu in 2016-17 as Isco garnered the most votes. It was a richly deserved accolade. In an era when every aspect of the game is scrutinised, recorded, analysed and then turned into statistical evidence that one player is more effective or more efficient than another there is little room for pure entertainment, but Isco, he of...

Gareth Bale returns to Real Madrid training as Isco wins fans' award

May 26, 2017 01:42 AM PDT

Sid Lowe explains why it would not be worth the risk for Zinedine Zidane to start Gareth Bale over Isco in Cardiff. The FC crew assess whether Isco or a healthy Gareth Bale should start for Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Sid Lowe explains how Real's signing of Vinicius Junior demonstrates their strategy of signing star prospects early on. Real Madrid's newly signed 16-year-old Vinicius Junior hopes to mature over the next couple years before joining Los Blancos. Real Madrid have reached a deal to sign Brazilian teenage footballer Vinicius Junior for a reported fee of 45 million euros. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is facing a Champions League final selection dilemma with Gareth Bale set to be fit, while Isco has been named the fans' player of the 2016-17 season. Bale has generally been first choice when fit throughout his four seasons at the club, but recent calf muscle trouble has seen Isco come into Zinedine Zidane's preferred starting XI and impress as the team beat Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and won a first La Liga title in five seasons. Juventus Real Madrid 6:45 PM UTC Game Details Home: 19/10  Draw: 11/5  Away: 6/4  Odds from bet365 bet365 PickCenter GameCast Lineups and Stats Bale...

Juve, Madrid on top before Champions League final; Man United a new entry

May 25, 2017 06:58 AM PDT

Watch some of the best moments from Juve's raising of their 33rd Serie A trophy, as well as some locker room celebrations. Real Madrid celebrated winning their first La Liga title since 2012 with fans on an open top bus parade in the Spanish capital. The conversation gets heated between the FC guys when talking about whether or not this season can be considered a success by Man United standards. The top two each wrapped a league title last weekend, Next stop Cardiff, via Shaka Hislop's latest Power Rankings! 1. Juventus (no change) A 3-0 win against Crotone confirmed what, in truth, most of us have expected all season: Juventus are champions of Italy for the sixth straight game. With two parts of a treble complete, only Real Madrid stand between Max Allegri's men and footballing immortality. 2. Real Madrid (no change) With Barcelona poised to take advantage of any slip, Madrid...

Who had the better season: Liverpool or Man City? Spurs or Man United?

May 25, 2017 06:55 AM PDT

The FC crew rate the success of Manchester United's season and debate which Prem team will have the most UCL success next season. Janusz Michallik and Alexis Nunes take a long look at how the Premier League top 6 shaped out this season. Steve Nicol breaks down the latest rumours, including Man City's links with Kyle Walker and Alexis Sanchez. They've all qualified for the Champions League but in contrasting ways. Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United: Who had the better season? Each side's fans will have a case for why their team enjoyed the best 2016-17 behind Chelsea. Tottenham finished second, while Manchester United finished sixth and won two trophies. Elsewhere, Liverpool and Manchester City finished in the top four.  We have pitted Tottenham and Manchester United together to settle the age old debate about...

Flashback to Liverpool's first European Cup triumph in 1977

May 25, 2017 06:00 AM PDT

On this day in 2005, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time against AC Milan to win the UEFA Champions League. Liverpool's (l-r) Phil Neal, Emlyn Hughes and Jimmy Case share Liverpool's first European Cup triumph with the travelling fans. May 25 is a significant date in Liverpool's history -- it is a date synonymous with the club lifting the European Cup on two separate occasions. In 2005, Liverpool produced one of football's most famous comebacks to win the Champions League, but it is also four decades on since they won the European Cup for the very first time. On the 40th anniversary of Liverpool's win over Borussia Monchengladbach at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, ESPN FC looks at the importance of the victory and just how it laid the...

Liverpool's miracle in Istanbul

May 25, 2017 12:40 AM PDT

On this day in 2005, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time against AC Milan to win the UEFA Champions League.

Man United in Champions League group draw Pot 2 after Europa win

May 24, 2017 01:38 PM PDT

Wayne Rooney and Manchester United raise the Europa League trophy following their 2-0 victory over Ajax. Paul Pogba had a message for all those saying Manchester United had a bad season. Jose Mourinho and Manchester United proved all doubters wrong by winning the Europa League and ensuring a spot in next season's Champions League. Manchester United will be in Pot 2 for August's Champions League group stage draw after they confirmed their place in the competition with a 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday. Goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan won the trophy for Jose Mourinho's men. United would have been in Pot 3, ranked below Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur and FC Basel, had they qualified by finishing in the top four and not competed in Europe this season. But their Europa League success, and the...

Revisiting Real Madrid's La Decima victory over Atletico three years later

May 24, 2017 09:24 AM PDT

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid celebrate their long-awaited Decima with fans at home in the Bernabeu. Wednesday, May 24 marks the third anniversary of Real Madrid's La Decima -- a 10th European Cup victory -- in Lisbon, when they beat neighbors Atletico Madrid 4-1 in extra-time in one of the competition's most memorable finals ever. Here's a look back at the events that led to Madrid finally ending their 12-year wait for the trophy, and Atletico coming so close to winning their first ever Champions League, in the words of those who were there at the time. May 17: Diego Godin's equalising header...

Should Zinedine Zidane start Gareth Bale against Juventus if he is fit?

May 23, 2017 05:06 PM PDT

The FC crew assess whether Isco or a healthy Gareth Bale should start for Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Full of joy after their 33rd La Liga title, the Real Madrid squad must now focus on the last challenge of their season: the Champions League final in Cardiff. A victory over Serie A winners Juventus in Wales would take what already is a fantastic year to phenomenal heights. The club have not won the Liga-European Cup double since 1958, and a 12th title in the latter competition would open a huge gap between Real Madrid and their followers, AC Milan, who own seven trophies. Most supporters understandably...

Black Eyed Peas to perform at Champions League final

May 22, 2017 03:55 AM PDT

Sid Lowe offers his insight for what the most probable level of involvement will be for Gareth Bale when Real face Juventus. The Black Eyed Peas will take to the stage as part of the opening ceremony for the Champions League final on June 3.  A performance by Alicia Keys last year meant the Real Madrid-Atletico Madrid final started four minutes late at the San Siro in Milan. The Black Eyed Peas will become the second act to appear at a final, before Juventus meet Real Madrid at the National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff. The Black Eyed Peas have promised "an unforgettable show" when they perform at #UCLfinal...

Arsenal's Petr Cech: Failing to qualify for Champions League 'not a problem'

May 22, 2017 03:45 AM PDT

Janusz Michallik looks at Arsenal's forgettable season, and their need for determined players to aim higher next season. Gab Marcotti and Steve Nicol disagree on how Arsenal players would react if Stan Kroenke sells the club. Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech says that missing out on the Champions League is "not a problem" and that the club can bounce back the way Chelsea have done this season. Arsenal failed to finish in the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years despite beating Everton 3-1 on Sunday, meaning they will play in the Europa League next season after 19 straight years in the Champions League. Cech, who has won both European competitions with Chelsea, said it was "disappointing" to miss...

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