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Barca must avoid complacency


Jackson Martinez's short stint at Atletico Madrid a major flop

Diego Simeone has accepted full responsibility for Jackson Martinez's disappointing spell at the Vicente Calderon.

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a lot of success when it comes to replacing departed strikers over recent years. The likes of (a young) Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic have all come, scored goals, and moved on.

Therefore, in the summer, when Colombia international Jackson Martinez arrived from Porto for €35 million, it seemed as if the natural succession would continue. Hardworking, full of pace, power and pressing in addition to...

 By Sid Lowe

Pressure grows for Gary Neville, who knows he must deliver wins soon

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe discusses Gary Neville's managerial future following Valencia's 7-0 loss to Barcelona Wednesday.

Outside Valencia's Paterna training ground on Thursday, a camera filmed a small, angry group of fans chanting "Gary, vete ya" when there was a pause and a voice in the watching crowd asked: "Hey, does anyone know how you say that in English?" No one offered up the answer -- "Gary, go now!" -- but nor did they really need to. Gary Neville may not speak much Spanish yet but will understand what it means.

It was less than a week since a journalist had suggested that the fans were turning against him...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Expect Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to score on Sunday - projection

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo is the modern game's greatest individual rivalry.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 19-12 Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick last weekend saw him increase his league goals lead over Lionel Messi to seven and both men are tipped to continue their good form this weekend, according to ESPN's projection model.

Messi is in action first when Barcelona visit Levante on Sunday. Later the same day, Ronaldo and Real Madrid are at Granada.

(Numbers for each player are based on him starting the game.)

Messi Ronaldo weekend 20160205
Last season, Messi netted once at Levante and Ronaldo did likewise at Granada.

2015-16 total goals projection


Barca must avoid complacency after Valencia win to overcome Levante

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique lauded all facets of his side's 7-0 rout of Valencia in their Copa del Rey first-leg.

Barcelona's overwhelming superiority in the 7-0 win over Valencia during the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals has put a gigantic smile on Cules' faces. While the Catalans are no strangers to winning games by convincing scorelines, the demolition of Gary Neville's side was far more brutal than anybody could have possible anticipated.

After the result, the world's media hailed Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi as Barca's standout performers after they scored a quadruple and a hat trick, respectively.


 By Rob Train

Zidane infusing Real Madrid with competitive streak of his playing days

FC TV debates whether Zidane's qualities as a player will help him succeed as Real Madrid manager.

Zinedine Zidane the player is remembered for his sublime ball control, ferocious shot and his balance, the ability to drop a shoulder and lose three defenders. But what is often overlooked is the France legend's competitive streak. Fans of Serie A in the 1990s may remember more than a YouTube reel can display. Zidane was as happy to get stuck in as the next man -- and at Juventus the next man was often Alessio Tacchinardi or Edgar Davids, no shrinking violets -- at every club he represented. 


Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo: A statistical look at the birthday boys

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 343 goals in less than seven seasons for Real Madrid.

Two of world soccer's most popular stars share birthdays today. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo turns 31 and Barcelona's Neymar turns 24. Ronaldo has cemented his name into many record books while Neymar is well on his way to doing the same.

Here are some notes on the birthday boys:

- Ronaldo surpassed the 500-goal plateau for his career earlier this season. 343 of his 518 goals have come in a Real Madrid jersey as it took Ronaldo less than seven full seasons to become club's all-time top scorer....