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Next

Marcotti: A tournament to remember

World Cup Jul 14, 2014
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 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
19 hours ago

Francesco Totti, Roma's talisman, defies age and time to keep inspiring

Francesco Totti starred as Roma held Manchester City in the Champions League.

"But at my back I always hear / Time's winged chariot drawing near / And yonder all before us lie / deserts of vast eternity."

I don't like quoting from 17th-century poems I learned in school any more than the next guy. And I promise I won't do it again for a long while. But the above lines, by one Andrew Marvell, stuck in my head last night at the Etihad Stadium as I watched a 38-year-old Francesco Totti weave strands of wizardry against Manchester City.

The highlights? A delicious assist for...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
2 days ago

Rooney red is more pain for Van Gaal; Hummels needs help; brilliant Bielsa

The ESPN FC crew question Wayne Rooney's captaincy following his rash tackle and subsequent red card against West Ham on Saturday.

All right, so last week I wrote about how dropping Wayne Rooney was neither desirable nor viable. And then he goes out and gets himself sent off at home with a needless whack on West Ham's Stewart Downing, leaving his side with 10 men for the final 31 minutes.

Man United won, 2-1 -- though there was a late scare with Kevin Nolan's disallowed goal -- and Rooney will now miss the away trip to face West Brom, as well as home ties against Everton and Chelsea. Still, I feel like there is more than...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 22, 2014

Pellegrini, Mourinho 'spar' after draw; Real's misleading win; Milan's spirit

ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Sid Lowe give their take on Manuel Pellegrini's comments about Chelsea and Jose Mourinho after their 1-1 draw.

We knew that Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini didn't like each other very much, so it's not a surprise that they wouldn't waste the opportunity to needle each other after Sunday's 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Manchester City.

That's what happens when you share the spoils. You can't gloat too much, so you turn the outcome to your advantage, whether in the eyes of the media, the fans or your own players.

Pellegrini said that his City side played against "a small team trying to defend, trying...

 Posted by Gabriele Marcotti
Sep 17, 2014

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
Sep 15, 2014

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...