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Football Leaks is blowing the lid on the game's secrets ... but at what cost?

Gab Marcotti delves into ESPN FC's top 50 most influential people in football, pinpointing No. 16's "John" from Football Leaks.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the ever-changing top 50 most influential people in football.

We don't know his real name and word is he lives in hiding in Budapest. Yet in a world where information is power, the man who calls himself "John" seemingly has unfettered access to things that are supposed to be private and confidential.

And he's not afraid to use that information.

It began nearly two years ago, when "John's" Football Leaks website began uploading original player contracts, transfer agreements and assorted other football-related documents. A host of big names would eventually...

The 50 most influential in football: Who made our list this time around?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the ever-changing top 50 most influential people in football.
Gab Marcotti delves into ESPN FC's top 50 most influential people in football, pinpointing No. 16's "John" from Football Leaks.

One thing is quite obvious when it comes to assessing influence in football: Once you have it, it's hard to lose -- particularly when you are close to the top.

Fifteen of our 2015 Top 20 are back in the second installment of ESPN FC's Top 50 Most Influential in football. Perhaps more tellingly, seven members of 2015's Top 10 find themselves in the Top 10 yet again. Two of the figures no longer among the Top 10 -- former UEFA president Michel Platini, who topped the list, and former FIFA boss Sepp...

Can Gianni Infantino stop FIFA being the wrong kind of four-letter word?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the ever-changing top 50 most influential people in football.
Gab Marcotti delves into ESPN FC's top 50 most influential people in football, pinpointing No. 16's "John" from Football Leaks.

He's the man charged with restoring faith and credibility in FIFA, which is about as straightforward as getting an aircraft carrier to perform a U-turn in a bath tub.

What's more, until less than two years ago, if Gianni Infantino nurtured ambitions over the world's game, it was a faraway prospect. At the time, he was general secretary of UEFA, the governing body of European football, and his boss, Michel Platini, was gearing up to run for the FIFA presidency.

At best -- most thought -- Infantino...

Germany, Chile promises to be superb finale to 2017 Confederations Cup

Gab Marcotti examines the strengths and weaknesses of Germany and Chile ahead of the Confederations Cup final.

On Sunday night, we may be crowning the last-ever Confederations Cup champion. Asked directly about it amid rumors that the competition might be replaced by some kind of global Champions League-lite extravaganza reserved for clubs, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was distinctly noncommittal.

"Right now, the future of the Confederations Cup is the final," he said. "What happens after that is something we will analyze like we do with all our competitions. At this stage, there isn't much to say."

On...

How many of Germany's stars this summer will feature at the World Cup?

Gab Marcotti examines the strengths and weaknesses of Germany and Chile ahead of the Confederations Cup final.
Watch as Germany are crowned U21 champions of Europe for the first time since 2009.

When Joachim Low pores over his Mariana Trench of talent, you wonder if perhaps, sometimes, he'd prefer to have a little less choice. Depth is great and depth matters a lot for a club side over the course of a season. But when you're talking a short tournament -- seven games, if you get to the semis, over a month -- can it sometimes be a hindrance? Does having too many choices increase your likelihood of making the wrong choice?

This is the footballing equivalent of what you might think is not...

Claudio Bravo rises to the occasion in Chile's heroic semifinal win vs Portugal

Paul Mariner questions whether or not Claudio Bravo can carry over his fine form for Chile to Man City.
The FC panel gets heated when another instance of potential VAR usage goes unused for Chile against Portugal.
With Portugal falling in PK's against Chile, the FC crew wonder if it was smart to keep Ronaldo as their final PK taker.

KAZAN, Russia -- Claudio Bravo stood under the Kazan lights and gazed at Ricardo Quaresma, taking the longest walk you can possibly take on a football pitch: from the halfway line, enveloped in the embrace of your teammates, to the solitude of the penalty spot, with only a ball and your thoughts for company.

Moments earlier, Arturo Vidal had slammed the ball past Rui Patricio to give Chile the lead, celebrating with a fist pump and a glance at his yellow-clad teammate who stood off to the...