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Persecuted Barca ready for response


Real Madrid's Marcos Llorente upset at missing chance to face parent club

Stewart Robson explains why he relates to Cristiano Ronaldo calling himself the biggest influence on his own career.
The key stats ahead of the weekend's La Liga action, including an impressive unbeaten run for Zidane's Real Madrid.
Thomas Tuchel feels it is 'dangerous' to focus on rumours linking him to a job with Real Madrid.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno assesses how Cristiano Ronaldo can turn around his slowest ever La Liga start.

Alaves midfielder Marcos Llorente has admitted it is "annoying" not to be able to face parent club Real Madrid this Saturday due to a clause in his loan deal.

Llorente, 21, came through Madrid's Castilla youth team, and made his first team debut for Los Blancos under then coach Rafa Benitez last season.

Current boss Zinedine Zidane decided to send the Spain under-21 international on loan for the 2016-17 campaign, and he is currently impressing for a newly promoted Alaves side that won 2-1 at Barcelona...

Barcelona perform best under persecution so prepare for a deluge

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe explains why the bottle-toss fiasco during Barcelona's match at Valencia has caused a rift in Spain.

Just like when they celebrated Lionel Messi's injury time winning penalty at Valencia's Mestalla, Barcelona have been attacked from all sides this week. Yet if history is anything to go by, the Blaugrana will come out even stronger, ever more determined to silence their critics, and they will succeed.

The criticism aimed at Luis Enrique's side for having the gall to celebrate their last-minute winner last Saturday has been predictable from some quarters, such as the remarks from Valencia-based media...

Ronaldo wishes 1996 solo strike had been for Real Madrid, not Barcelona

Ronaldo in action for Barcelona in 1996, the year of his famous solo goal.

Former Brazil star Ronaldo has told Movistar + he regrets he was playing for Barcelona rather than Real Madrid when he scored a famous solo goal against SD Compostela in 1996.

Ronaldo, then 20, picked up possession in his own half and dribbled past almost the entire Compostela team before scoring.

"It was a lovely goal, but the truth is I would have preferred to score it with Real Madrid," he told Movistar +.

"The only pity is that I was not at Madrid when I scored it."

 By Chris Wright

Top 10 football Vines: Van Gaal, Henry, Hodgson, Ronaldo, Messi and more

It's been a wild ride but just three years after its launch, Twitter have confirmed that they are shutting down their Vine app.

We thought we'd take a timely look at some of the best Vines we've enjoyed over the past few years, starting with one of our very favourites, courtesy of the grand maestro of the six-second football loop, Vonstrenginho.

Here's Roy Hodgson and the England boys warming down after a hard-fought win.

And of course, it'd be remiss of us not to mention Vonstrenginho's magnum...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Neymar happy to be playing alongside 'idol' Messi at Barcelona - father

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the details of Neymar's lucrative new five-year contract with Barcelona.
Brazil head coach Ttie rates Ronaldo and Neymar very highly, but says they still don't compare to Messi's quality.
Alejandro Moreno and Mark Donaldson wonder if Neymar is better off at Barcelona or leaving the shadow of Lionel Messi.

Neymar's father says Lionel Messi is the reason his son is at Barcelona, and confirmed the Argentine superstar as "the idol" to his Brazilian teammate.

Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in the summer of 2013, and almost immediately formed a lethal partnership with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, helping the Catalan to two La Liga titles, a Champions League and Club World Cup crown thus far.

The Brazil No. 10 last week signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Camp Nou into 2021....