• Real Madrid Remain Strangely Protected From The Overheated Market

    It seems slightly curious to think that it took Real Madrid the better part of a century to break the world transfer record. They had always spent money, lots of it too, but it wasn't until the arrival of Florentino Perez and his plan to spirit Luis Figo away from Barcelona, that Real became synonymous with huge transfer fees and status symbol purchases. ...

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  • What Happens When Lionel Messi Is Gone?

    One of the conveniences of a non-uniform European football calendar is that league cup indifference can sometimes be interrupted by a bigger fixture from abroad. And so it was on Tuesday night, as Barcelona's game with Eibar appeared shortly after Leicester's reserves had finished beating Liverpool at the King Power Stadium.To Camp Nou we went, then, and within forty-five minutes we'd seen Lionel Messi score another hat-trick and then, because he could, knife through the visiting defence once more to add a fourth.  ...

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  • Real Sociedad Are La Liga’s Surprise Package

    Despite everyone's insistence on doing it with the Kardashians, keeping up with Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga is never an easy task. They are blessed with financial riches and a selection of world class talent within their rosters, and every year, usually with a stubborn Atleti nearby, those two are the sides battling for the title. But after just three games this season only two teams have managed to earn maximum points: Barcelona and Real. Surprisingly, it’s not the Real who play in white under the guidance of Zinedine Zidane, but Sociedad, who play in royal blue managed by Eusebio Sacristan. ...

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  • Marco Asensio And That Left Foot

    This article was meant to be about Dennis Bergkamp, and to be honest that might have been a more timely piece -- it would have come after a particularly difficult defeat for Arsenal fans, a 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, and might thus have provided some comfort at the start of a hard week of introspection. That was the plan, but it has been usurped by the left foot of Marco Asensio. Like any of the goalkeepers whom he has recently traumatised from twenty-five yards or more, it took me completely by surprise. I normally write about a player’s overall greatness, but here I must praise only the greatness of Asensio’s long-range shooting. I have never seen anything like it. I am not saying that he is the first footballer to be truly dangerous from distance - of course not. It is just that the way that the ball moves from his foot is wholly unfamiliar. ...

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  • Paulinho Is A Partial Victim Of Football’s Narrow Perspective

    You will no doubt have already seen Paulinho's 'presentation' at Barcelona. Those curious occasions when people show up to a football stadium to watch a new signing wave, bellow platitudes into a microphone and do keepy-uppies. Paulinho's didn't go brilliantly, the Brazilian showing some decidedly un-Brazilian control while trying said keepy-uppies, as he let the ball bounce away from him like a cat who's suddenly lost interest in the game. ...

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  • Barcelona Face Uncertainty In A Post-Neymar Age

    And so the improbable looks a reality. Normally when one of Barcelona or Real Madrid’s superstars get linked with a move away, it acts as a smokescreen in order for the player in question to haggle for an improved contract. We’ve seen it so often before. Sources close to Lionel Messi murmur that he loathes Barca’s board and would consider a new challenge in the Premier League - he nets a lucrative extension and gushing words from the club president; Cristiano Ronaldo longingly reminisces about his time at Manchester United and flirts with a return - Madrid increase his earnings and shell out another few million to his agent Jorge Mendes. ...

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  • Paulinho To Barcelona: Football Careers Adjust And Develop

    When Paulinho left Tottenham in the summer of 2015, few Spurs fans were particularly bothered. The club made a loss, recouping just £9.9 million of the £17 million paid for him, but, with Mauricio Pochettino revamping the squad and Paulinho’s spell yielding little success, his departure was not greeted with much regret. Instead of losing a cherished player to Real Madrid, as with Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, Paulinho’s move attracted attention as one of the first Premier League squad players to head to China, with Guangzhou Evergrande. ...

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  • Ronaldo’s Real Madrid Power Move Feels Like A Cry For Help

    Childhood nicknames are not always as pleasant or confidence building as we may like, and for Cristiano Ronaldo this was no different. “Cry-baby, yes, because Ronaldo already loved to win like he loves today,” Ricardo Santos, a former teammate at amateur team CF Andorinha, told Reuters last year. “And when he lost and when other kids didn't pass the ball to him he used to cry.” ...

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  • Sean Dyche Is The Premier League’s Diego Simeone

    Promotion to the Premier League may be an achievement but survival is real success. After finally making their third attempt at staying up stick, Burnley can now look forward to trying to consolidate their position among the elite. ...

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  • Why Didn’t Europe’s Top Goalscorers Win Their Respective Leagues

    Lionel Messi. Harry Kane. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Edin Džeko. Edinson Cavani. Bas Dost. They all have two things in common. First, they were the top scorers in their respective leagues in 2016/17. Second, none of them won their league title. ...

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