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3:30 AM GMT Jan 31, 2015
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Blog - Marcotti's Musings

Sepp Blatter faces Figo, five others in FIFA election: What you need to know

Luis Figo opens up about his interest in running for the FIFA presidency.

Q: Plenty of FIFA talk out there. Let me guess, election time again?

A: Yep. May 29, to be exact, at the FIFA Congress. And yes, Sepp Blatter will be running for president again. For a fifth term. At 78 years of age.

Q: And I guess he's going to win again?

A: Well, there's a lot that can happen between now and May 29, but history suggests so. When FIFA last had their congress, before the 2014 World Cup, Blatter's opponents tried to introduce both term limits AND age limits and were resoundingly...

Real Madrid 'crisis' talk is overblown,
plus: Mourinho stung by his own words

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the latest action throughout La Liga, where Real Madrid remain atop the league but may be without Cristiano Ronaldo in the Madrid derby following his red card against Cordoba.

According to Spanish daily newspaper Marca, Real Madrid are at DEFCON 2.

On the surface, it might seem a bit excessive given that they are still top of La Liga with a game in hand. But there are a number of fires to put out, despite the 2-1 away win to Cordoba, which was arguably as bad a performance as Madrid have displayed this season.

Cordoba, two points above the drop zone, are (on paper) one of those designated punching bags La Liga's critics like to highlight. Their team is stuffed with...

FIFA's Transfer Matching System a good step toward accountability

ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley sounds off on David Ginola's run for FIFA presidency, pleading for a credible candidate to emerge.

It's one of those ideas that, once implemented, leaves you wondering why it took so long.

Before FIFA's Transfer Matching System (TMS) went live in October 2010, moving players across national borders was a laborious, and sometimes haphazard, task. Two clubs would agree a deal, the player would sign a contract and then you would wait for something called the "International Transfer Certificate" (ITC).

To get it, you would send the relevant documentation to FIFA, who would check it and then send...

An un-Arsenal-like win, Chelsea's inspiration, Spain's big two on track

A big weekend in the Premier League featured Louis van Gaal's younger look-alike, Alan Pardew's continued honeymoon with Crystal Palace and Arsenal's revenge at the Etihad.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno had nothing but praise for Lionel Messi who notched his 22nd hat trick in La Liga, now one off leader Cristiano Ronaldo.
The ESPN FC crew debate whether Real Madrid's lack of squad rotation will cost them as the season progresses. Alejandro Moreno believes there is plenty of depth at Madrid.

Somewhere out there a lot of folks are directing a bunch of "I-told-you-sos" at Arsene Wenger. They are the same people who told him to employ a specialist defensive midfielder, the ones who told him not to push both full-backs up the pitch at the same time, the guys who said his Arsenal team was soft and should play with an edge.

Now, no doubt, they feel vindicated. Arsenal won 2-0 at Manchester City, doing Chelsea a huge favor as Wenger's plan worked to perfection. By sitting back, conceding sterile...

Barcelona impress, Man Utd's Falcao puzzle, Serie A excitement, more

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses Lionel Messi's comments that he has no intention of leaving Barcelona and instead, calls for Barcelona to unite.
A big weekend in the Premier League featured relegation battles, a battle for Champions League position, and a manager returning to a familiar place.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol breaks down Manchester United's 1-0 loss to Southampton at Old Trafford where he seems just as confused as the players as to where their positions are.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti is at a loss for words when discussing Francesco Totti's form for AS Roma and Juventus' important win over Napoli.

If you're an optimist, Barcelona's 3-1 win Sunday over Atletico Madrid was the watershed moment when it all came together. It was the point where Lionel Messi set the record straight on his relationship with manager Luis Enrique and, more importantly, when the team finally came together and produced a "statement win" against the Liga champions, an opponent they had not defeated in six attempts.

If you're of a more cynical, negative persuasion, this was a classic example of papering over the...

Different landscape means Rooney Rule alone won't be enough

There are 92 league clubs in the top four divisions of the English pyramid. Three are managed by English-formed managers who are what is known in British academia as "BME": black and minority ethnic. Two others -- Fabio Liverani at Leyton Orient and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Burton Albion -- are foreign and made their coaching debuts abroad.

Chris Hughton was recently appointed at Brighton and Hove Albion, while Chris Powell is manager at Huddersfield Town and Keith Curle is in charge at Carlisle...