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 By Rory Smith

Real Madrid are more soap opera than legitimate title contender these days

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Alexis Nunes weigh in on whether the politics surrounding Real Madrid are damaging the team.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti believes that the odds are stacked against Benitez to succeed as coach at Real Madrid.
The ESPN FC crew discuss who should shoulder the blame for their poor performance, and eventual loss, against Barcelona.

In hindsight, there may have been no more telling quote in world football this year. Only a few hours before, Real Madrid had sacked Carlo Ancelotti, their well-liked, warmly regarded manager. The Italian, popular with his players and respected by his fans, did not even last a year after delivering the club the tenth European Cup in its history.

Even by football's standards -- even by Real's warped standards, in fact -- it was a baffling decision. The world looked to Florentino Perez, the club's...

 By Uli Hesse

Lewandowski, Aubameyang and the race to reach 30 Bundesliga goals

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Dan Thomas discuss Robert Lewandowski's agent's comments on Premier League interest.

On Friday, Borussia Dortmund put in their worst league performance since April and suffered a deserved 3-1 defeat at Hamburg, their new bogey team. Dortmund were erratic at the back, gifting the opposition all three goals, and uninspired in attack, not least because striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a nondescript game.

Yet even on this dismal night, the Gabon international underlined why he might be the biggest marvel of the season so far. In fact, maybe on this night more than ever.


 By Kevin Palmer

Arsenal's Champions League hopes in balance while Man United not clear yet

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Champions League group stage returns this week with plenty to play for in the penultimate round of matches.

Arsenal hopes hang by a thread

Arsenal face more injury woe following news that Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for a minimum of two months. He joins Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere on the treatment table, with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all suffering problems this season as well.

"I am concerned about the injuries, of course," said Wenger,...

 By Tim Vickery

Corinthians are Brazil's best chance of reclaiming Copa Libertadores glory

Corinthians are on an amazing run of trophy-winning form, something Tite can keep going in the Copa Lib.

Last Thursday, Corinthians wrapped up the Brazilian title with four rounds to spare. Then on Sunday they celebrated in style by thrashing local rivals Sao Paulo 6-1.

For their opponents, this was very much a live game. Sao Paulo sat fourth in the league table and are fighting to qualify for next year's Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League. But Corinthians tore them apart and did so with a team largely made up of reserves, indicating that they have a deep squad...

Jordi Cruyff driving Maccabi Tel-Aviv evolution as sporting director

Jordi Cruyff
Jordi Cruyff has a project in Israel which is bearing fruit.

Ahead of his club's Champions League game with Chelsea on Tuesday, Maccabi Tel-Aviv sporting director Jordi Cruyff revealed how the first time he took on an English champion changed the way he thinks about the game.

It was October 1994 and the 20-year-old La Masia graduate had just been given his debut at Barcelona by his father Johan. The Catalans were one of the best sides in the world, with Romario and Hristo Stoichkov leading a luscious forward line, but faced Sir Alex Ferguson's first great...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Andres Iniesta tops Barcelona-dominated Player Power Rankings

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno review the latest ESPN FC Player Power Rankings.

Each week, ESPN FC's worldwide editorial desks nominate their top 10 performers from the weekend action and the results are collated into a final Player Power Rankings countdown.

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

1. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

"I've never seen him give a more complete performance than he did on Saturday." Praise indeed from ESPN FC's Graham Hunter who, in writing about Barcelona's total destruction of Real Madrid,...