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Forget Messi and Ronaldo: Piatek leads top leagues in goals

FC United
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 By Simon Kuper

Believe the hype: Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong are next big stars on radar of Barca, Man City

Gab Marcotti and the FC crew break down Dutch duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, a pair of Ajax stars catching the eyes of Europe's elite.

You wait years for any sort of talent, then two great ones come along at once.

That's the feeling among Dutch fans now, and among the scouts of clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City who have become regulars in Ajax's Johan Cruijff Arena. Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax's central defender, looked a man among boys even when facing Manchester United in the 2017 Europa League final aged 17. Now, at 19, he's Ajax's captain and an automatic choice for Netherlands. His teammate Frenkie de Jong, 21, recently...

How jaded fans can still appreciate Lionel Messi on the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut

The fact that Lionel Messi makes the extraordinary look ordinary at times shouldn't diminish just how brilliant he is.
The fact that Lionel Messi makes the extraordinary look ordinary at times shouldn't diminish just how brilliant he is.

Sporting greatness is a form of anesthetic -- it has a numbing effect. The first time you watch Simone Biles skip across the floor, Roger Federer execute a perfect drop shot or Lewis Hamilton take a corner in the driving rain, you're utterly enchanted. By the hundredth time you see them do it, there's a danger that you will become immune to the sheer wonder, the same way you might if you'd grown up with your bedroom looking out toward the Northern Lights.

For that reason, there's a risk that...

 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Manchester City stay top but beaten Barcelona fall

Shaka Hislop reveals his latest power rankings which see Manchester City on top while Barcelona take a tumble following their loss to Betis.
Craig Burley breaks down Manchester City's 3-1 win over Manchester United, which he says demonstrates the gap in quality between the two rivals.
Sergio Aguero shrugs off talk of an unbeaten Premier League season after Manchester City's victory over rivals Manchester United.

Derby day victory kept the English champions atop Shaka Hislop's Top 10, while Porto and Juventus are on the up. Barcelona, though, pay for their defeat.

Dropping out: Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV!

Germany face relegation, plus Rooney's England return vs. U.S. the highlights of international break

Things are all smiles in the Germany camp but for the first time in generation, they find themselves in a difficult situation.
Things are all smiles in the Germany camp, but for the first time in a generation, they find themselves in a difficult situation.

The club football season is in full swing, but first we have the final international break of 2018, and despite there being several friendlies, there's a lot to play for in Europe and Africa in particular. Nick Ames rounds up the things to watch over the next 10 days.

Germany could get relegated? No, seriously!

If anyone doubted the UEFA Nations League's capacity to throw up a big story line, what about this: Germany are on the verge of taking a seat away from Europe's top table. Their meeting...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Edinson Cavani's hat trick beats Memphis Depay to top of Player Power Rankings

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Ross Dyer share their thoughts on the top player performances across the footballing world at the weekend.
Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick, while Neymar converted a penalty to help Paris Saint-Germain come away victorious against a hapless Monaco.

A pair of hat-trick heroes finish in podium places in our Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend.

Also receiving votes: Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis), Salomon Rondon (Newcastle).

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

Boca Juniors vs. River Plate confirms why it's one of the greatest rivalries

Boca Juniors vs. River Plate never disappoints. A January 2016 friendly even saw five players sent off.

Editor's Note: this piece originally ran in April, 2016, and has been republished ahead of the two-legged Copa Libertadores final, which sees Boca Juniors and River Plate competing for a trophy for the first time in the rivalry's history.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- They gather twice a year, sometimes more often, for the most important civic event in the port city of Buenos Aires: Boca Juniors vs. River Plate. The last time I was in this beautiful, weird city was last September, as the South American...