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Beating Aleti can end crisis talk


Montes return sure to help Leon

Liga MX
ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Real Madrid, Manchester United battle for Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains the reported move of Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal, where the 24-year-old defender would prove to be a valuable additional to the Gunners' defence.

The winter window is now open, and that means the LIVE transfer blog swings back into action. Find out the latest news, gossip and deals here.

- Transfer Window chat with ESPN FC insider Tor-Kristian Karlsen

TOP STORY: Real, United to battle for Bilbao's Laporte

Manchester United have been linked with young Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane due to his struggles for first-team football at the Bernabeu. Even though Real Madrid have one defender struggling to find time, the Daily Mail reported...

 By Michael Cox

Swansea and Southampton: Model clubs of the Premier League

The ESPN FC crew debate who they believe is the best defender in the English Premier League, and settle on Chelsea as the best defensive unit in the league with John Terry at the helm.

This weekend, the Premier League is preparing for a showdown between the division's best two clubs, as Manchester City travel to Chelsea for Saturday's late kick-off. It's a meeting between the top two, and while not realistically a true title decider, it's probably the biggest game of the season.

It's difficult, however, for the majority of other clubs to learn lessons from the Premier League's two title contenders. While Chelsea and Manchester City have performed well over the past half-decade...

Luis Enrique can end crisis talk at Barcelona by securing win vs. Atletico

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop discusses Barcelona's improving form since the new year, but in particular Lionel Messi's seven goals in five matches in all competitions.

Barcelona take a 1-0 win to Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Spanish Cup quarterfinal this week and if Luis Enrique can plot a way past La Liga's champions, talk of a crisis at the Camp Nou may finally cease.

The Barcelona coach has won six in a row following the shock 1-0 defeat to David Moyes' Real Sociedad -- a match where he started Lionel Messi and Neymar on the bench -- and a place in the semifinals of the Spanish Cup will rubber-stamp Barca's revival.

With just one defeat in 18 matches,...

Without Lacazette, Lyon face tests of their Ligue 1 title credentials

Lyon head coach Hubert Fournier was pleased with his side for a job well done after their 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Metz on Sunday.
Lyon forward and Ligue 1 top scorer Alexandre Lacazette has played down suggestions from club president Jean-Michel Aulas that he is worth more than Gareth Bale.

Go on, admit it. You have been seduced by this Lyon team. I have and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

You have fallen in love with the elegant Alexandre Lacazette and his 21 goals in 22 league games. The manager Hubert Fournier reminds you of your school teacher but in a good way. You have been bowled over by the revelation that is Nabil Fekir, with his left foot and silky skills. Corentin Tolisso has a cool goal celebration and, at only 20, is also a very promising, versatile player.

And we can't forget...

Riquelme the last great leader of Argentine football

Juan Roman Riquelme announced his retirement after an illustrious career with Barcelona, Villarreal and Boca Juniors.

BUENOS AIRES -- Juan Roman Riquelme was mulling over the idea for years. Everyone remembers when, in 2012, with the strange backdrop of a Copa Libertadores final against Corinthians, he announced he was leaving Boca Juniors, that he was empty, that soccer had nothing left to offer him.

Then, faced with a concerted outcry, Riquelme returned to the fold. Full of sentimental phrases, he recovered from his fleeting apathy to renew his vows to his beloved team.

Now, it seems, he is leaving for good....

Luis Montes' return can spark Leon to playoff run

The return of creative playmaker Luis Montes will be a welcomed sight at Leon.
The return of creative playmaker Luis Montes will be a welcomed sight at Leon.

Leon is struggling this season.

Despite the 2015 Clausura being just three weeks in, the Guanajuato club is in last place and has scored only twice. It's a disappointing start for a team that won a second straight Liga MX title less than a year ago.

There are a few reasons why this might be happening to the club. For one, Leon is still adapting to the tactics of Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Argentine manager who was hired last month to replace Gustavo Matosas. Also, it was quiet winter at the club,...