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The bad boys of soccer: Sergio Ramos, Luis Suarez, Neymar lead the way as players you love to hate

Soccer's best villains match their dastardly deeds with their all-world talent to produce the ultimate in bad boy brilliance.

Soccer is the beautiful game. When played the "right way," it is a pure experience. Nice passing patterns, soft touches, artistic flourishes. But enough of all that. Remember the time Zlatan Ibrahimovic said that the Barcelona dressing room was like a classroom full of preppy schoolboys? Nobody wants that.

Soccer needs villainy. The game's best side is its dark side. As The Joker said: "I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve."

Football's dark arts: Your guide
- ESPN FC 100: Who...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Karim Benzema leads trio of hat trick heroes in Player Power Rankings

A trio of hat-trick heroes made their way on to our top 10 list, but Karim Benzema's stood out in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend.

Also receiving votes: Ishak Belfodil (TSG Hoffenheim), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal).

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

 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Barcelona, Liverpool remain on top; Ajax climb, Juventus fall

With Champions League and Europa League success, Shaka Hislop's Power Rankings feature quite a few Premier League clubs.
ESPN FC's Sid Lowe makes the case that Liverpool's attacking prowess could have the potential to overwhelm Barcelona in the Champions League semis.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Tottenham and Ajax will be the tie of the round, after both sides reached the semifinals in dramatic fashion.
The ESPN FC panel says Lionel Messi alone makes Barcelona favourites over Liverpool. Are the Reds good enough to stop him?
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Manchester United got a dose of reality following their three-goal defeat in Barcelona.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley credits Ajax for teaching Juventus a footballing lesson over two legs in their Champions League quarterfinal tie.

The Champions League semifinalists occupy the top four spots, while Juve's bad week is reflected by their tumble. Plus, Arsenal and Chelsea are in!

Dropping out: Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica

Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV, which airs daily on ESPN+.

 By Simon Kuper

Virgil van Dijk is the best player in the Premier League: how the Dutch defender became Liverpool's leader

In his teens, Virgil van Dijk worked part time washing dishes in a small-town restaurant. Nobody at Willem II, his mid-table Dutch club, saw much future in him. He was a well-liked but occasionally difficult kid -- "a real little rat," according to his youth coach, Robby Hendriks. Willem II wasn't even planning to offer him a professional contract.

Fast-forward to 2019, and this spring, Van Dijk, 27, is expected to win both of England's Footballer of the Year awards. One is voted for by his...

 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Barcelona No. 1; Liverpool, Juventus climb; Man City drop

Shaka Hislop presents his weekly Power Rankings where Premier League sides have taken control of the top five, but will any claim top spot?
Craig Burley doesn't see a way back for Manchester United, even though they limited Barcelona to just one goal at Old Trafford.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview that he wants Lionel Messi to remain linked to the club forever.

The leaders claim another week on top, but there is movement down below as a pair of Premier League clubs, plus the Italian champions, move up.

Dropping out: Atletico Madrid, Porto, Borussia Dortmund

Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV, which airs daily on ESPN+.

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Gnabry leads Bayern to Bundesliga summit, topping Player Power Rankings

Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno unleash on Borussia Dortmund after a 5-0 loss at Bayern Munich that sent their rivals top in the Bundesliga.

When you're the architect of a thrashing of your biggest title rivals that puts you top of the table, you're going to soar in Player Power Rankings. Our global editors pick their top 10 performers from the weekend.

Also receiving votes: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

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