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 By Ed Alvarez

Alvaro Arbeloa set to end Real Madrid career in negative circumstances

Arbeloa's been a trusty member of various Real squads but that might not last.

"[Alvaro] Arbeloa completely stopped [Lionel] Messi, denying him the space he usually thrives on." Nowadays that sentence may sound like a footballing impossibility but eight years ago, it figured in bold print in a match summary by Spanish newspaper El País.

At that point, back in February 2007, Rafael Benitez was coaching Liverpool. In the first leg of a Champions League round of 16 round against reigning champions Barcelona, he decided that he had to pull something out of the hat to prevent...

 By Rob Train

Real Madrid suffering from FIFA virus gives Benitez chance to experiment

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe responds to reports suggesting tension between Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez and defender Sergio Ramos.

Spain's match against Luxembourg on Friday was more or less a foregone conclusion: Vicente del Bosque's side ran out 4-0 winners in Logrono to secure their place at next summer's European Championship in France with little fuss. The Spanish media did pick up on a curious statistic, though.

Del Bosque's starting XI was the first in 22 years of Euro and World Cup qualifying not to feature a Real Madrid player. Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal were absent through injury, while Isco and Nacho were on...

 By Ed Alvarez

Benitez's man management skills at Real Madrid under fire after Atleti draw

ESPNFC's Alejandro Moreno says Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez's tactics may not be suited to the Bernabeu.

By their own nature and the passions they exacerbate, derbies are high-risk, high-reward matters, with huge potential consequences for clubs, players and especially coaches who depend on their outcome.

A resounding victory can buy a decent amount of time for most under-fire managers, while an ignominious defeat can cast a shadow of concern over well-performing ones. For instance, many sources at Real Madrid state that former coach Carlo Ancelotti started to lose his job after the 4-0 thrashing of...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo cannot increase goal advantage over Lionel Messi

With Lionel Messi still out with an injury and La Liga points up for grabs, Cristiano Ronaldo still hasn't been able to help Real Madrid fully take advantage of a floundering Barcelona.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno shares his insight on Real Madrid's performance against Atletico Madrid.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains where Barcelona's vulnerabilities lie following their 2-1 loss at Sevilla.

Each week, ESPN FC projects and reviews the scoring battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. We'll keep tabs on their game-by-game battle for La Liga supremacy.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 5-3 Messi

With Lionel Messi sidelined by injury, Barcelona struggled and lose 2-1 at Sevilla. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo had an opportunity to pull away from his great rival in the goalscoring stakes. However, he was unable to cash in.

Ronaldo managed six shots in Real...

 By Rob Train

Benzema, Navas shine for Real Madrid in draw at Atletico

ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down all the key moments of the Madrid derby as Atletico Madrid notched a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.

Real Madrid earned a 1-1 draw vs. Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon but defensive errors towards the end of the match almost cost Rafa Benitez's side their unbeaten record in La Liga. Real edged the possession stakes in a fiercely contested match that reaped 10 yellow cards, and until a calamitous defensive error by Alvaro Arbeloa in the final 10 minutes appeared to heading for a first league victory against Atletico in two-and-a-half years.

After conceding, Real's back line fell to pieces...

Atletico substitutes make Real Madrid rue lack of initiative in derby

ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down all the key moments of the Madrid derby as Atletico Madrid notched a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.

Three things as it finishes 1-1 at the Estadio Vicente Calderon between city rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

1. Atletico subs work out in the end

For a long time it seemed like Karim Benzema's early goal was going to give Real Madrid the three points and send Rafa Benitez's side top of the La Liga table.

But Atletico Madrid substitute Luciano Vietto scored an unlikely equaliser with just seven minutes left, as tactical changes from Colchoneros coach Diego Simeone, which had seemed...