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16 minutes ago

Diego Simeone has a headache looming as doubts over Gabi grow

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi's role at the champions has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.

It has been a good couple of weeks for Atletico Madrid. Since returning from the international break, they have had a list of winnable fixtures but saying and doing are two different things.

Three games, three wins, eight goals scored and none conceded makes for impressive reading for the La Liga champions, though. The way they have bounced back from their 3-1 defeat to Valencia just before the international break has seen them force their way into the title reckoning.

They now sit just two points...

 By Rob Train
13 hours ago

Start Isco or Gareth Bale? A tough choice awaits Carlo Ancelotti

The FC team debate whether or not Isco will remain in the starting XI once Gareth Bale returns from injury.

Carlo Ancelotti faces something of a dilemma in the coming weeks thanks to Isco's recent performances. The Real Madrid manager has stated that Gareth Bale will start when fit, but both the system and the former Málaga midfielder have provided the Italian with food for thought as his side enters a busy period of the season. And surely it is hardly a motivating measure to assure one player of his place in the side at the expense of another who has struck such a rich vein of form?

After Real's 4-1...

13 hours ago

All eyes on Luis Suarez with Barcelona now at full strength

Despite Barcelona's 4-2 triumph over Espanyol on penalties in the Catalan Super Cup, the ESPN FC crew question the Blaugrana's results against top teams this season.

Still smarting from defeat in the Santiago Bernabeu at the weekend, Barcelona were at least able to focus on a new competition on Wednesday night when they won the inaugural Catalonian Super Cup on penalties after a 1-1 draw with city rivals Espanyol over 90 minutes.

While it will not count at the end of the season as an important title, the game at least allowed several players to get Saturday's loss out of their system and got the club to refocus after the Clasico setback.

Up next is the...

2 days ago

Awards snub of Atletico Madrid reflects power, not performance

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised his team for beating Getafe amid a flurry of league and Champions League fixtures.

The Spanish football league (LFP) held their premier event, the annual awards gala Monday evening in Madrid. Think The Oscars but far more drawn out and with infinitely more drama queens.

The ceremony is essentially designed to reward the top performers from the previous season's domestic league campaigns in the top two divisions in Spain. Quite why it is held five months after the season has ended is anybody's guess. It is a nice idea, though, and good that those who performed well can be recognised.


2 days ago

Troubled Luis Suarez can hardly bemoan his Ballon d'Or snub

ESPN FC's Craig Burley explains why he believes Luis Suarez should be on the Ballon d'Or shortlist, but thinks his World Cup biting incident against Giorgio Chiellini may have been a contributing factor for his snub.

Is it a surprise the 23-man short list for the Ballon d'Or ignored Barcelona's Luis Suarez as one of the best players in the world?  On one hand, he is a one-in-a-million player who scored 33 goals in 39 matches in all competitions last season. On the other, he has a problem controlling himself on a football pitch.

Specifically, he bites people. He has done so three times and has only just returned from a third ban for such an offence.

The initial reaction was one of shock when Suarez's name...

2 days ago

More fodder for Diego Simeone and his 'circle the wagons' style at Atletico

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised his team for beating Getafe amid a flurry of league and Champions League fixtures.

If you were in the Spanish capital Monday night, you were right: That was the sound of packhorses whinnying in effort and of wooden spoked wheels grinding and trundling.

The sound of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone circling wagons.

It's an ancient trick, one perfected in football by Sir Alex Ferguson -- sham psychology but, boy, can it work. The concept is that regardless of whether the world is or is not against you and your team, you inculcate a feeling among your players that where...