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Transfer Rater: Monreal to Barcelona

Football Whispers
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 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Barcelona claim No. 1, Liverpool climb as Real Madrid slide

The ESPN FC panel struggle to find a flaw in Shaka's Rankings which see Barcelona top the list.
ESPN FC's Paul Mariner gives his plaudits to PSV for their efforts, but says Lionel Messi's class shone through once again in Barcelona's UCL opener.
Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde insists they are focused on winning the Champions League whilst Philippe Coutinho admits he is anxious to play against PSV.
Alexis Nunes and Shaka Hislop weigh Real Madrid's chances of catching Barcelona in the La Liga title-race, after Los Blancos' 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

It's all change as Barcelona rise to the top, while their great rivals Real Madrid pay the price for dropped points in La Liga.

Dropping out: Watford, PSV Eindhoven, Hertha Berlin.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV!

Champions League: Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale in team of the week

The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets on the best and worst performers from UCL matchday one, if Arsenal were wise to pass on Mikel Arteta and more.
Cristiano Ronaldo is sent off in controversial circumstances while Lyon take advantage of a sloppy Manchester City performance.
Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui prefers to talk about his whole team after their win over Roma.
Manchester United's Jose Mourinho insists his side have played phenomenally in their last three matches and is hoping they can take it into their match against Wolves at Old Trafford.
With a goal for Real Madrid in every competitive game, the FC crew examine what's led to Gareth Bale's sublime start to the season.

The Champions League is back with a bang, but who were the stars? Here's the best XI from Matchday 1.

GK - Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus)

Juve performed heroically for an hour with 10 men to win 2-0 at Valencia after Cristiano Ronaldo's red card. They may have had to suffer a few flutters near the end had Szczesny, who is making their No. 1 spot his own after Gianluigi Buffon's departure, not saved Daniel Parejo's late penalty -- ensuring a continuation of their superb away form was guaranteed.

RB...

Lionel Messi's eight Champions League hat tricks ranked: Which is the best?

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner gives his plaudits to PSV for their efforts, but says Lionel Messi's class shone through once again in Barcelona's UCL opener.

After netting three against PSV on Tuesday, Lionel Messi has now scored eight hat tricks in the Champions League -- more than any other player. But which has been the best so far?

8) APOEL 0-4 Barcelona -- Nov. 25, 2014

If you look back over Messi's European trebles, the thing that stands out is the sheer quality of the goals. However, his hat trick against APOEL is the exception. After sticking out a leg to deflect Rafinha Alcantara's shot past Urko Pardo to double Barca's lead on the night, he...

Lionel Messi 9/10, Ousmane Dembele 8/10 as Barcelona turn on the style vs. PSV

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner gives his plaudits to PSV for their efforts, but says Lionel Messi's class shone through once again in Barcelona's UCL opener.
Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde insists they are focused on winning the Champions League whilst Philippe Coutinho admits he is anxious to play against PSV.

Lionel Messi hit a superb hat trick as Barcelona thumped PSV Eindhoven 4-0 to get their Champions League campaign underway with a bang at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The Argentine's free kick opened the scoring and, after Ousmane Dembele's excellent individual strike, Messi added two more as Barcelona ran amok, despite Samuel Umtiti's dismissal.

Positives

After an anemic performance against Real Sociedad, Barcelona improved here. Messi was back to his usual unstoppable best, adding another hat trick,...

Lionel Messi helps Barcelona get UCL campaign off to flying start vs. PSV

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner gives his plaudits to PSV for their efforts, but says Lionel Messi's class shone through once again in Barcelona's UCL opener.

BARCELONA -- Three quick thoughts from Barcelona's 4-0 Champions League group-stage win over PSV Eindhoven at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

1. Barcelona kick off Champions League campaign in fine form

A brilliant hat trick from Lionel Messi and a wonderful solo effort from Ousmane Dembele helped Barcelona's Champions League campaign get off to a winning start as individual quality helped them hammer PSV.

Messi opened the scoring with a devilishly good free kick before a fine individual effort...

Barcelona desperate to make up for recent missteps and taste Champions League glory again

Barcelona are the clear favourites in Group B of the Champions League, but the FC crew think Tottenham could struggle to finish ahead of Inter Milan.

Barcelona's obsession with winning the Champions League is approaching the level of Real Madrid's when their quest for La Decima, their 10th European Cup, dragged on for 12 years earlier in the millennium.

It's only been three-and-a-bit-years since Barca last lifted the trophy in Berlin in 2015, their fourth since 2006 and the fifth in their history -- their relationship with this cup is a relatively new one. Madrid are the only club that have won it since the Blaugrana. But that's kind of the...