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Real Madrid tension eased by Bale, James; Vermaelen big for Barcelona

Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez says that his side's performance spoke for itself in their 5-0 rout of Real Betis.

Five things from week two of La Liga action as Real and Barcelona hold serve at home, while Atletico send a message in Sevilla.

1. Bale and James ease tension at Bernabeu

Real Madrid's 5-0 hammering of Real Betis on Saturday evening, which was even easier than the scoreline suggests, has eased the pressure considerably on under-pressure new coach Rafael Benitez and under-fire galactico Gareth Bale.

The two-ex Premier League figures had been targeted by local pundits and fans following the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FC Talking Points: UCL chances, league favorites, transfer best, Jozy Altidore

The ESPN FC team debate which of the major european clubs are most in danger of missing out on the knockout round. A certain UCL finalist is leading the conversation.

Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions on the ESPN FC radar.

Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints.

Manchester United qualified for the Champions League group stage on Wednesday beating Club Brugge 4-0 in the second leg, and the groups were drawn on Thursday with four Premier League clubs making the final 32.

Which Premier League club has the best chance to advance?

With just hours to go in the summer transfer window, here's a look at how Premier League...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Man United may offer £65m plus David De Gea for Real Madrid's Gareth Bale

The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets on Jose Mourinho's future with Chelsea, Arsenal being reluctant on spending money and whether or not Gareth Bale needs a haircut.

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: De Gea plus cash for Bale?

It's down to desperate last days in the summer transfer window and there's one irresistible deal out there that The Daily Star says could still happen. The outlet says Manchester United are willing to give Real Madrid David De Gea and £65 million to bring Gareth Bale to Old Trafford.

Real president Florentino Perez...

 By Ed Alvarez

James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale top Real Madrid ratings in Real Betis demolition

ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik breaks down Gareth Bale's importance to Real Madrid in attack citing the teamwork betweek James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale to be the key contributing factor in their 5-0 win.

On Saturday, the Santiago Bernabeu witnessed Real Madrid earning its first win of the season against a subdued, timid Real Betis squad unable to stop a host hungry for goals.

The Madridistas desperately needed all three points to avoid potential claims of an early crisis after their 0-0 draw last weekend in Gijon and Barcelona's two wins in its first two matches. Madrid also wanted an emphatic win to stop a growing tide of critics who believed the side should perform at a higher level.

Rafael Benitez's...

Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez lead Real Madrid's rout of Real Betis

ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik breaks down Gareth Bale's importance to Real Madrid in attack citing the teamwork betweek James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale to be the key contributing factor in their 5-0 win.

MADRID -- Three things from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid's even easier than it sounds 5-0 thumping of Real Betis in Saturday evening's La Liga clash.

1. Bale's timing spot on

Gareth Bale came into this match with a point to prove. The world's most expensive player had been singled out as the main issue with the team's attack after last weekend's disappointing 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijon. His positioning as a No. 10 became a matter of much debate among Bernabeu fans and pundits over...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to score this weekend -- projection

Messi or Ronaldo? The ESPN FC TV panel predict who will score more goals in La Liga this season.

After both were shut out on the season's opening weekend, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are tipped to find the net in their next games by ESPN's projection model, which predicts how the two scoring rivals will fare each week and over the whole season in La Liga.

On Saturday, Messi and Barcelona host Malaga at Camp Nou, while Ronaldo and Real Madrid welcome Real Betis to the Bernabeu.

Messi Ronaldo weekend 20150828
Last season, Messi did not score at home to Malaga while Ronaldo did not play against Real Betis.

2015-16 total goals projection

Ronaldo was the preseason tip to score more goals, but the latest projection...