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Neymar: Olympic pen most nervy moment

Brazil
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Neymar most expensive player in Europe, not Lionel Messi - study

The FC guys debate whether or not Real Madrid dropping points at the weekend has opened the door for Sevilla and Barcelona.

Barcelona star Neymar is the most expensive player in Europe's top five leagues ahead of his teammate Lionel Messi, according to a CIES Football Observatory study.

Neymar, 24, has had a difficult time in front of goal since October, recently ending an 11-game goal drought in last week's Copa del Rey win against Athletic Club, but the report still attributes him a potential value of €246.8 million.

That's substantially more than the €170.5m second-placed Messi is valued at, with Barcelona...

 By Tim Vickery

Maracana fate in limbo as post-World Cup politics threaten iconic venue

The FC panel weigh the pros and cons of an expanded World Cup as FIFA prepares to finalise a 48-team format for 2026.
Maracana wide view Rio
One of world football's most famous venues, the Maracana, is being left for dead in Rio.

It is one of the greatest sights on the planet for football fans -- emerging from the underground station and gazing across the ramp at the Maracana stadium, it looks as if some giant UFO has come to land to the north of Rio de Janeiro's city centre.

But if it really is a flying saucer, then the aliens would appear to have given up and gone away, leaving the stadium to the roaming cats. This great icon of the global game, built for the 1950 World Cup and rebuilt expensively for the 2014 edition,...

Police called in as looting puts Brazil's Maracana stadium future under threat

The legendary Maracana in Rio de Janeiro is one of the most famous football grounds in world football.

Football officials in Rio de Janeiro have called on police to take urgent action to prevent "the destruction of the Maracana," with valuables being looted from the famous old stadium.

Fire extinguishers, hoses, televisions and even a bronze bust of Mario Filho, the journalist after whom the stadium was named, were among the items stolen, the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The worries over the present and the future of the stadium are only increasing," the Federation...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar will overtake Messi and Ronaldo - Cafu

Zico's annual exhibition match at the Maracana featured a tribute to victims of the Chapecoense plane crash.

Former Brazil captain Cafu has backed Neymar to exceed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and become the world's top player.

Ronaldo was named FIFA's Men's Player of the Year over Messi and Antoine Griezmann on Monday, just weeks after taking home the Ballon d'Or award for the fourth time in his career.

At 24, Neymar is seven years younger than Ronaldo and five years Messi's junior, and Cafu reckons it's inevitable the former Santos man will surpass them as he reaches his prime.

"Neymar is not far...