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Barcelona

Winners and losers at Barcelona under Enrique's leadership

See who Stevie put on his World XI team of 2014.

Luis Enrique was given the incredibly difficult task of ensuring Barcelona returned to the very top of European football after a couple of disappointing years due to ineffective management, a lack of hunger and the inevitable passing of time.

Since his arrival at the Camp Nou during the summer, the Asturian coach has managed to make several changes that have improved the overall quality of the squad. While it is obvious that the team is not performing at the level Cules have come to expect in...

 By Chris Wright

Brazil star Neymar stars in strange Japanese TV advertisement

Neymar is a valuable asset around the world, including his appearance in a new Japanese TV ad.

Slightly less unfathomable than Cristiano Ronaldo's bizarre "facial fitness" commercial, which aired on Japanese television last year, Neymar has followed suit by starring in a weird and wonderful advertisement for an "oily skin shampoo" brand.

The advertisement features Neymar, scalp suitably oiled, preening and pouting at the camera while two Gerard Pique look-alikes in suspenders prance and writhe behind him in a fairly unsettling manner.

Indeed, Neymar isn't the only Barcelona star to have...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Manchester City maneuvering for magical Messi move

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe examines the political intricacies surrounding Lionel Messi's future in Barcelona.

As the final days of 2014 come to a close, Transfer Talk count the hours until the clock strikes midnight, bringing the dawn of 2015 and the January transfer window.

Man City maneuvering for Messi

Back in November, rumours began to swirl that Lionel Messi was considering his future at Barcelona. This stemmed from his remarks, saying, "It is true that I said I would like to stay [at Barcelona] forever, but sometimes not everything turns out the way you want." Ever since he's been linked with...

 By Lee Roden

Local pride at stake as Catalonia take on the Basque Country in friendly

Catalan Basque
The national flags of Catalonia and the Basque Country will be on display.

Organising the Catalan national team's annual New Year friendly is no simple task. La Liga's winter break provides a brief window for Spain-based players to work within, but other leagues have a less forgiving schedule. Those time constraints, combined with the delicate nature of playing against a national team FIFA does not recognise, means that Catalonia's big ambitions for the fixture are rarely met.

- Mitten: If Catalonia were independent

While the original idea this year was for the Catalans...

 By Sid Lowe

Are Barcelona suffering from an identity crisis under Luis Enrique?

ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Sid Lowe discuss the Champions League draw, where Barcelona drew a tough Manchester City side in the round of 16.

The moment Barcelona's players left the Camp Nou last Saturday, they were on holiday. Some of them departed the stadium after the 5-0 win against Córdoba and headed straight for El Prat airport. Their 4 p.m. kickoff, the earliest of the weekend's games, suited them; the previous weekend's result, a 0-0 draw at Getafe, did not.

Barcelona's Europe-based players will return on Dec. 30, the Latin Americans on Dec. 31, and Leo Messi and Neymar on Jan. 2, just two days before facing Real Sociedad --...

 By Alex Shaw

European Report Cards: How has your team fared so far this season?

The ESPN FC crew discuss Borussia Dortmund's domestic struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, finishing 2014 joint-bottom with Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

With football across Europe winding down for the winter break, it's time to have a look back at the campaign so far. We asked our ESPN FC bloggers to tackle seven questions on their side. Who's your side's unlikely hero, and who has work to do?

Each team's grade for the season so far is below -- and click on the team name for a comprehensive summary.

Click here for the verdict on all 20 Premier League teams.

LA LIGA:

Atletico Madrid: A-

Barcelona: C+

Real Madrid: A

BUNDESLIGA:

Bayern Munich: A