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Lionel Messi to win Ballon d'Or, but does Ronaldo deserve his place?

FIFA officially release the three footballers in the running for the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2015.

The three-man shortlist for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or has been announced with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo alongside Neymar.

While Messi is likely to walk away with the prize, Ronaldo's place in the final three is more on reputation that anything he's achieved and he may even lose out to Neymar in the final vote. In truth, Luis Suarez probably deserves a place on the podium more.

Here ESPN FC looks at the three players in with a chance of being named "best in the world," as well as three of...

Alan Pardew's day of joy, and what if Diego Costa's bib hit Jose Mourinho?

Diego Costa appeared frustrated in remaining an unused substitute as Chelsea played Tottenham, and threw his warm-up bib.
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes their victory against Newcastle United have put them back on track.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce notes the impact substitute Duncan Watmore made in his side's 2-0 win over Stoke City.
Jurgen Klopp says he's unconcerned with the narrow margin Liverpool's win over Swansea, and believes his side is improving.
Eddie Howe reacts to the dramatic scenes in their 3-3 draw with Everton.

With another round of the 2015-16 Premier League season done and dusted, Iain Macintosh runs the rule over the Heroes and Villains of the weekend.


Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew just about managed to keep a straight face in public. Imagine what his face would have looked like in private. Imagine the celebrations after his side's 5-1 destruction of Newcastle United on Saturday. After the manner of his exit from St James' Park at the end of last year, following months of abuse from the stands,...

 By Chris Murphy

Leicester record breaker Jamie Vardy spearheads Team of the Weekend

Leicester's Jamie Vardy wrote his name into the record books at the weekend.

After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully selects 11 star performers, along with a manager.

Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's ESPN FC show (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.

ESPN FC's Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: Our choice is all about a moment. Gab Marcotti goes for Arsenal's...

Explaining Borussia Monchengladbach's wild season so far

Gladbach have rebounded nicely from their poor start to the season but the upswing might also be unsustainable.

This season has been a long strange trip for Borussia Mönchengladbach and it's not even December. Despite a comfortable 4-2 win against Sevilla this week, Gladbach's Champions League run is over for this year but it looks increasingly likely that they may be back for another run in 2016-17. That's something that seemed colossally unlikely just two months ago.

Right now Gladbach sit fifth in the Bundesliga, just one point out of the Champions League spots and two points out of third place. That...

 By Nick Miller

Will Chelsea's mini-revival continue against Spurs?

The ESPN FC panel discuss Diego Costa's poor goal-scoring form this season.

Tottenham and Chelsea could not have started their 2015-16 Premier League campaigns any differently. ESPN FC takes a look at the five biggest questions ahead of Saturday's crunch match.

1. Will Chelsea's mini-revival continue?

It has been a calamitous season for Chelsea, but the last couple of games have offered a hint of hope. Their performances in the past two games, wins against Norwich and Maccabi Tel Aviv, while still not exactly being entirely convincing, suggest Jose Mourinho might be able...

 By Tim Vickery

Luis Suarez and Barcelona a test for River Plate at Club World Cup

River Plate will now focus on the Club World Cup and a potential showdown with Barcelona folllowing their Copa Sudamericana campaign.

The South American club season has ended for continental champions River Plate. The Argentine giants were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana at the semifinal stage, beaten 3-2 by Buenos Aires rivals Huracan on Thursday.

River will not be in the final against Santa Fe of Colombia, meaning they can concentrate all their thoughts on the trip to Japan for next month's Club World Cup. In truth, they have been licking their lips for months, contemplating a dream final against Barcelona.

This, of course,...