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 By Rob Train
20 hours ago

Karim Benzema overcomes doubters to prove his Real Madrid worth

The ESPN FC crew discuss what could prevent Real Madrid from winning the Champions League.

"Raining cats and dogs" is an apt expression for the recent weather in Madrid and also brings to mind a key moment in the Real Madrid career of Karim Benzema.

It was the middle of the 2010-11 season and Jose Mourinho's preferred striker, Gonzalo Higuain, had been ruled out for months with a back problem. Mourinho, in his inimitable style, had been removing toys from his managerial pram for the previous six months over the club's reluctance to sign his main squad priority: another striker.

Among a...

 By Tony Mabert
43 minutes ago

Jack Wilshere's 'brittle' ankles, Lionel Messi's record, Cristiano Ronaldo row

The ESPN FC crew discuss Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi competing for the Champions League goal scoring record.

This week's round-up of the biggest and more unusual news stories features more Arsenal woe, more Messi record-breaking and Liverpool's goalkeeper being the butt of a very old joke.

TOP 5 STORIES

1. Wenger fends of more barbs (Monday Nov. 24)

While Arsenal's Premier League clash with Manchester United lacked the wider significance of recent years, last Saturday's home defeat still sparked much consternation among Gunners fans. Alisher Usmanov, the club's second-biggest shareholder, seized his...

51 minutes ago

Platini comments only add more fuel to Ronaldo's fire

The ESPN FC crew discuss what could prevent Real Madrid from winning the Champions League.

If he's not in the hairdressers, he's failing miserably in his attempts to win a World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo may be one of the best footballers to have graced the planet, but he doesn't seem to have won too many friends in the upper echelons of football's governing bodies with his sensational skills.

The top three players in the running for the Ballon d'Or are announced on Monday and a year on from Sepp Blatter's derogatory remarks about the Real Madrid star, UEFA president Michel Platini has...

1 day ago

Real Madrid remain first as Chelsea close and Atletico lead new entries

Matchday 5 saw the Champions League's biggest stars, including Messi, Ronaldo, Aguero and Ibrahmovic, inspire their clubs.

The European champions stay at the top but the side led by their former coach are closing in on them in the latest edition of Shaka Hislop's Power Rankings.

1. Real Madrid (no change)

After a routine win at Eibar, in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to take his league tally to a staggering 20 goals in 11 games, Madrid were indebted to the Portuguese for yet another goal -- his 72nd in the Champions League -- to beat Basel as they made it five group wins out of five.

2. Chelsea (+1)

Invincible?...

 By Chris Wright
1 day ago

World's most oblivious pitch invaders disrupt Ronaldo and company

Plucky fans coming on to the pitch in a desperate bid to snag a selfie with their footballing idols is swiftly becoming a commonplace phenomenon, especially when star-studded teams like Real Madrid are concerned.

However, this pair of pitch-invading fans who disrupted Real's 1-0 victory over Basel on Wednesday evening were hardly what you'd call stereotypical, with the dynamic duo slowly sauntering into the middle of the game like they'd inadvertently rambled off a public footpath and on to a farmer's...

1 day ago

Toni Kroos and Isco drive Real Madrid past Basel

Cristiano Ronaldo scores his 71st career Champions League goal as Real Madrid continue march to back-to-back European titles.

It wasn't vintage Real Madrid, but the European champions did enough to make it five wins from five in the group stages, secure top spot and equal a club record 15 straight victories in all competitions as they came through a tricky test in Switzerland.

Cristiano Ronaldo netted the winner in the first half, his 26th of the season, to see off a well-organised Basel side at St Jakob Park and keep Carlo Ancelotti's winning machine in motion. Their current record-equalling run started against the Swiss...