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 By Nick Ames
5 hours ago

Partizan Belgrade illustrates how much Serbia has given football

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains what's next for Serbia and Albania after Tuesday's pitch altercation.

It feels like the worst day for a chat with Momcilo Vukotic, but perhaps it is actually the best. The time is just before 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, just 12 hours since Serbia's match with Albania, a few miles down the road at Partizan Belgrade's own stadium, was abandoned amid barely fathomable scenes of provocation and violence. Nobody has slept much, if at all. But into this smartly appointed room in the fashionable Belgrade suburb of Zemun walks Vukotic, 64 years old now and still Partizan's...

17 hours ago

Xabi Alonso provides the tempo that makes Bayern's jazz flow

The ESPN FC team look at the Group E standings after matchday three and take their picks on who will advance to the knockout rounds.
Xabi Alonso was brought in as a stopgap in August but he has quickly become one of Bayern Munich's key players.

Like all the best ideas, this one, too, looks incredibly obvious in hindsight.

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer said they needed someone "to help immediately" when Bastian Schweinsteiger was ruled out for an indefinite period of time at the end of August, a few days after Javier Martinez had ruptured his cruciate ligament. Who were they going to call? The answer, as we know now, was Xabi Alonso.

But first, they called his Real Madrid teammate Sami Khedira. The board did, to be precise....

1 day ago

Three points: Man City drop two vital Champs League points in Moscow

City give up a late penalty as 2 second-half goals from Moscow see them earn a point in front of an empty stadium.

Three observations from Manchester City's 2-2  draw at CSKA Moscow.

1. City have no margin for error

The bare facts are that Manchester City have played three games in this season's Champions League. They have won none. They have three more to go, and if they don't win all three, the probability is that they will exit the competition rather ignominiously. It all threatens to be a repeat of their 2012-13 European campaign when they were English champions, aiming for an improvement on the continent,...

1 day ago

Who deserves the blame for Manchester United's struggles?

ESPN FC's Craig Burley does not believe Alex Ferguson when he says David Moyes' failures were not his fault.

Manchester United are in decline, and Sir Alex Ferguson has used the publication of his new, updated autobiography to deny that he is to blame. David Moyes told the BBC last week that he thought the club were at fault because they failed to support him last season. You sense that Louis van Gaal couldn't care less who's to blame or what you think, but he definitely won't be accepting responsibility anytime soon either.

Never has it been more true that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan.

But...

1 day ago

Julen Lopetegui's Porto underline doubts over tiki-taka's future

Sporting's victory over Porto in the cup has raised concerns over the team's approach.

A first defeat of the season in October can hardly be described as a disaster, but it has hit home -- and hit home hard. Porto's elimination from the Taca de Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao to rivals Sporting on Saturday meant more than being put in their place by a fellow member of os tres grandes (the nation's perpetual big three). For some, it increased the doubts over Spanish boss Julen Lopetegui that have been gradually germinating in recent weeks.

Even victory over the coach's countrymen,...

2 days ago

Health is the only factor keeping Sergio Aguero away from greatness

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol recaps Manchester City's comprehensive 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad.

Two years ago, in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC, Sergio Aguero was asked what was going through his mind in the most important moment of his career so far: those crucial two touches against QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 Premier League season.

His response revealed as much about the general mindset that makes him as it did that title-winning strike.

"You're not really thinking of [what it means]," Aguero said. "In that moment, you're only thinking of scoring. You do it with intensity,...