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Marcotti: Germany's striking conundrum


Real Madrid, Barcelona start well; Chelsea grab another win; Brazil's gold

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses James Rodriguez's role with Real Madrid and the possibility of him being moved.

Ahead of Real Madrid's game at Real Sociedad, there were plenty of reasons to imagine that Zinedine Zidane might have been grumpy by Sunday night. His side were making the tricky trip to Anoeta without five projected starters: Keylor Navas, Pepe, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and some guy named Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona had dazzled the night before in beating Real Betis 6-2 and Zidane, who delivered the club's 11th European Cup, was going into a new season with, basically, no new faces from the...

What the UEFA Champions League changes mean and how they happened

The ESPN FC crew discuss the implications of the changes coming to the UEFA Champions League upon UEFA's approval.
Steaua Bucuresti boss Laurentiu Reghecampf says he's confident his side will be able to qualify for the UCL group stage.

UEFA is set to approve some major structural changes to the Champions League, the highlight being automatic group stage qualification for the top four teams from the top four leagues. Gab Marcotti reviews what this might mean and how this happened.

Q: So, from 2018-19, the Champions' League will have 16 of 32 clubs coming from the top four leagues? When did that happen?

A: It hasn't -- yet. It needs to be approved by UEFA's executive committee later this month, but that's part of the compromise...

Arsenal nearly got away with it vs. Liverpool, Pep Guardiola rings changes

ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down the positives and negatives from both sides in Liverpool and Arsenal's seven-goal thriller.

We're getting that usual sense of deja vu at the Emirates. Arsenal lose their home opener, as they've done in three of the past four seasons, and Arsene Wenger is back under the spotlight. It's the usual story: Arsenal are flush with cash, he chooses not to spend it and the team as a result aren't as good as they could (should) be.

But there's probably more to it than that after the Gunners' 4-3 home defeat against Liverpool.

For a start, the Arsenal side that went out there may not look much...

The Premier League has never seen managerial talent like this before

The ESPN FC panel break down Manchester City's embarrassment of riches in their player pool in the upcoming season.

Is it talent or is it scheme? Is winning simply a function of having better players than your opponent, or does a great coach genuinely add value? It's the perpetual debate in any team sport, and odds are, you stake a position somewhere on the continuum of talent vs. coaching.

The 2016-17 Premier League season may be remembered as the one where the biggest clubs decisively decided to throw their resources at the coaching end of the spectrum. In fact, the men managing England's six biggest clubs...

Paul Pogba's record transfer to Man United has risk but is smart business

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti, Steve Nicol and Craig Burley talk what's next for Manchester United now that Paul Pogba is in the fold.

Twenty years after Newcastle United paid £15 million ($23.4m at the time) to acquire Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers, an English club has again broken the world record transfer fee.

Paul Pogba's move from Juventus to Manchester United will cost at least six times that, which is quite an increase over two decades. Because there's very little transparency in football, it's tough to put an exact number on what United paid for his services once you factor in agent commissions, which often get...

Community Shield is no predictor of league success, Pogba's cost, more

The ESPN FC crew make their predictions on where Manchester United will finish in the table for the 2016-17 season.
The ESPN FC crew discuss how bright Paul Pogba's star could shine at Manchester United.
The ESPN FC panel discuss if Man United deserve to be called EPL favourites, or if they're still too weak defensively.

The Community Shield occupies a strange berth in English football. When it's convenient, we pretend it's a trophy and a competitive match. When it's not, we call it a glorified friendly.

I lean towards the latter. Competitive games don't feature 12 substitutions (six per team). Nor do they involve one manager -- Claudio Ranieri, in this case -- leaving out all his summer signings because he wanted to reward the guys who won him the title last season.

All of this led to a pretty disjointed...