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Next

Marcotti: A tournament to remember

World Cup Jul 14, 2014
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 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
5 days ago

What does it mean to play the perfect match? Dortmund showed us a way

A goal in each half for Borussia Dortmund sealed a 2-0 win over Arsenal in their first game of the group stage.

Many cite Arrigo Sacchi's 1988-89 Milan team as one of the greatest ever. And you can see why. They won the European Cup and absolutely dominated sides on the pitch. Not so much in terms of scorelines (though there were some, like the 5-0 against Real Madrid in the semifinal or the 4-0 against Steaua Bucharest in the final) but rather in terms of what you actually saw unfold before your eyes. Opponents were stifled, suffocated by an aggressive up-tempo game and a team moving in perfect synchronicity.

It...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
7 days ago

Real Madrid's self-inflicted issues, Man Utd's evolution, Barca's bright start

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno gives his take on which Madrid team is the best, Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid.

Saturday night at the Bernabeu was a study in contrast. Atletico manager Diego Simeone -- who was banned from the sideline -- paced around a skybox like some kind of caged, yet ecstatic, wild animal.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti stood on the sideline with his usual hangdog expression and looked like those cartoon characters with a cloud above their head, following him around everywhere, liberally dispensing lightning and rain.

Atletico's 2-1 win marked the first time ever that they had...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 10, 2014

Stakes raised even higher in winter vs. summer 2022 World Cup debate

ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti discusses Sepp Blatter's decision to have the 2022 World Cup in winter.

Umberto Gandini is the vice-chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), the umbrella organization that represents the interests of European clubs. He wears other hats, too -- he's an executive at Milan -- and is a member of the FIFA task force charged with deciding whether Qatar 2022 will be a summer or winter World Cup.

On Monday, the task force met and agreed that there were three realistic options for when to hold the tournament: November-December 2021, January-February 2022 or June-July...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 8, 2014

Ribery mess speaks to lack of common sense, plus: Mendes vs. Perez at Real?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced that he intends to stand for re-election and has explained why he was not surprised that Michel Platini would not be in the running.

Nothing like a bit of common sense, eh?

On the face of it, the current diatribe over Franck Ribery is simple to the point of absurdity. The Bayern winger announces his retirement from international football and the France boss, Didier Deschamps, says "it's not up to him." This sentiment is echoed by Deschamps' boss, Noel Le Graet, the head of the French FA, who echoes Deschamps in saying players who have been called to represent their country must answer the call.

And then on Sunday in an interview...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 3, 2014

Despite big-money transfer window, teams actually showing more restraint

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Craig Burley discuss Manchester City's transfers despite their FFP limitations.

Like clockwork as soon as the transfer window closes, folks start drawing broad conclusions based on the volume and nature of spending around Europe. You can read the numbers in different ways to support different arguments, but there are some very obvious trends out there.

First and foremost, spending is going down, not up. Or rather, meaningful spending.

You may have seen the headline figure about how Premier League clubs pulverized previous records in terms of summer spending by shelling...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 1, 2014

Real Madrid crisis? Plus: Breaking down Falcao deal, credit to Mario Balotelli, Barcelona's new star, more

The ESPN FC panel discusses Real Madrid's latest defensive issues following their loss to Real Sociedad.

It's not the worst meltdown he has ever seen -- Istanbul, alas, will live with him forever -- but it's not far off. And in some ways for Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, it's a fitting allegory for Real Madrid's summer. It too began with immense promise, only to careen out of control.

On Sunday, Madrid traveled to take on Real Sociedad, a club with an embattled manager, Jagoba Arrasate, and an unhappy fan base. Half an hour in, it looked as if we were heading toward a tennis score. The visitors...