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Here's how to end the international break and keep clubs, countries happy

Could 2017 summer transfer window be the 'summer of strikers', with several high-profile names potentially moving clubs?
Max Bretos chats with the man behind the ICC tournament, while the FC crew preview the best match-ups to expect this summer.
As Lionel Messi and Argentina embark on another international break, it's high time to end the current setup.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a conversation I had with Carlo Ancelotti during which (unsurprisingly, given he's a football manager) he complained about the time coaches actually get with players and, specifically, the scheduling of international breaks.

Indeed, having the squad go off for 10 days in September, October and November, just as the season is getting underway, is both a buzzkill and a hurdle. It's a perpetual club vs. country tug-of-war, and FIFA inevitably gets caught in the middle.


Why was Pep Guardiola so happy with Man City's draw? Plus: Real win ugly

The FC crew reflect on Man City's frantic 1-1 draw with Liverpool and analyse Pep Guardiola's post-match comments.

Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Liverpool was hailed as a great advertisement for the Premier League. It was breathless; it was end-to-end and it featured tons of chances and incidents. It also saw a horrific number of individual errors -- referee Michael Oliver, regarding James Milner on Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure on Emre Can, wasn't immune either -- and two badly exposed back fours.

To some, it was a very "English" game in the sense that it conformed to a certain set of stereotypes: high...

Leicester's elimination of Sevilla can be read through many different lenses

Leicester City got their goals and snuffed out Sevilla's attack in dramatic fashion as the England champions move on to the quarterfinals.
BT Sport highlight: Leicester City managed to secure a place into the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno discuss Jamie Vardy against Sevilla and the changing narrative to Leicester City.
The FC panel celebrate Leicester City's improbable win but can't shake the bitter taste left by Claudio Ranieri's sacking.
Leicester's players have praised the impact of Craig Shakespeare after reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Leicester City celebrates on the pitch after beating Sevilla as former teammate N'Golo Kante looks on!

Another Champions League night, another comeback.

Except Leicester's elimination of Sevilla stands apart because it can be read through so many lenses. Shall we start with the Scrooge-like "bah, humbug!" interpretation?

In that view, this isn't a surprise. After all, Leicester have a higher wage bill, and their net spending in the past four transfer windows is around $70.2 million. Sevilla, on the other hand, had a net transfer savings of $42.7m. That's a swing of more than $100 million.


Barcelona back to earth, Sanchez saga, Ramos rescues again, Dortmund slump

Alejandro Moreno cites an emotional letdown from Barcelona against Deportivo coming off their stunning win over PSG.

And, just like that, Barcelona crash back to earth, talk of another Treble seems ludicrous and Luis Enrique goes back to being a dolt. At least in the eyes of the overreaction professionals.

Barcelona's 2-1 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna, who went into the match one place above the relegation zone in La Liga, can be attributed to many factors, some of which are more credible than others.

You need to start by giving credit to Pepe Mel, who in eight previous meetings with Barcelona, had collected a...

Barcelona's improbable comeback was a reminder of sport's ability to enthrall

Sid Lowe breaks down what fueled Barcelona's shocking second leg victory over PSG.
Relive the top moments from Wednesday's UCL matches, including Barcelona's improbable comeback against PSG.
The ESPN FC crew put the Champions League round of 16 result in perspective for Barcelona and PSG.
Barcelona pulled off the greatest comeback in Champions League history, scoring at the death to secure a 6-5 aggregate win over PSG.
A look at the topsy turvy journey that was Barcelona's Champions League last-16 tie with PSG.
Gerard Pique has expressed that Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is the man to thank for their stunning comback against PSG.

Yes, it happened. And they'll be talking about it for years to come.

No team in the history of European competition -- from the time that Sporting Lisbon and Partizan Belgrade drew 3-3 in the first ever European Cup game back on Sep. 4, 1955, to this past Tuesday night -- had ever overturned a 4-0 first leg deficit.

Not in the European Cup, not in the Champions League. Not in the Cup Winners' Cup. Not in the Inter-City Fairs Cup, UEFA Cup or Europa League. Not even in the InterToto Cup.

Not on the...

Arsenal have two choices: double down on Wenger or make big-time changes

After a day to digest what happened to Arsenal, Craig Burley and the FC panel's view on Arsene Wenger isn't any prettier.

You can make your jokes about Groundhog Day, Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain or simply Waiting for Godot. Like many, I've probably used all of them when talking about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Everything is so familiar and so repetitive. From the guys on Arsenal Fan TV to the calls for "change."

First, a word on the game and the outcome.

It would have taken something improbably Herculean to overturn the 5-1 first leg deficit at the Allianz Arena and that wasn't going to happen....