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 By Sid Lowe

Spanish teams dominate in Europe again this season, but what's behind it?

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop unveils his latest power rankings, featuring a new side at No. 1.

The half-time scores are in and Spain's in the lead again. Two home wins, two away draws, no defeats. Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Sevilla, Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid, Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool, Atlético Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich: Spain 4, everybody else 0?

Two years ago there was an all-Spanish Champions League final; two years before that, there was an all-Spanish Europa League final. This year, there could be both; Milan might be full of Spaniards and so too might Basel. Not as full as they should...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Can Lionel Messi take advantage of Cristiano Ronaldo's ongoing absence?

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

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 31-25 Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo's muscle injury will keep him out of Real Madrid's visit to Real Sociedad, meaning Lionel Messi has another chance to close the goals gap between the two.

With three games remaining in the Spanish league season, Ronaldo leads by six, but ESPN's projection model predicts that Messi, who has scored in each of his past three matches, has a great chance to find the net again when Barcelona visit Real Betis.


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

What's trending: Pochettino agrees new contract, Wenger slams pundits

It's all about Leicester as they are on the verge of history, if they can defeat Man United at Old Trafford.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there is a 'personal agenda' to manipulate the club's fans.
Arsene Wenger says his team do not deserve to have their character and attitude questioned.

Here are the latest stories from Friday.

TOTTENHAM: Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino has verbally agreed a new contract until 2021. He said: "It was an easy decision when you feel the love of the people and the potential of the club is massive, so why change?"

- Dele Alli has been suspended for three games after accepting a charge of violent conduct, for punching WBA's Claudio Yacob, and will miss Tottenham Hotspur's remaining three games of the season.

 By Colin Udoh

La Liga partnership a boost to Nigerian Premier League's growth prospects

La Liga, won by Barcelona last season, has signed a partnership agreement with the Nigerian Premier League.

This week, Nigeria's league organising body signed a landmark partnership agreement with their La Liga counterparts from Spain.

Beyond the optics, this is a hugely significant step by the League Management Company and underlines the strategic thinking behind their decisions and actions since starting five years ago.

Up until then, the Nigerian league had been a complete mess. Violence, manipulated results, horrible pitches and poor games, among other things, had seen fans desert stadia across the...

 By Lee Roden

Barcelona and Luis Enrique must beware of Real Betis in La Liga title race

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno says Barcelona remain in control of La Liga's title race.

There's no denying it, Barcelona are in an attractive position. All they have to do is manage three wins against three teams in the bottom half of the league table and they will be La Liga champions.

While Real and Atletico Madrid require other teams' results to go in their favour, the Catalans remain the only title challenger that depends solely on its own results. Combine that fact with the extra rest they got thanks to a lack of European football, and Luis Enrique's side must be considered favourites...

 By Rob Train

Can Real Madrid keep pace in title race without Ronaldo and Benzema?

FC's Gab Marcotti shares the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo's thigh injury and how the scoreless draw was received in England.

To borrow half a line from the Bard, when sorrows come they come not as single spies but in threes of hamstring twangs and a knock to the hip. At precisely the wrong moment for Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Jese are all in the treatment room with various niggles and all three forwards are unlikely to feature in the La Liga match on Saturday against Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

Compounding Zinedine Zidane's woes, there are serious question marks over Ronaldo and Benzema's chances...