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Transfer Rater: Icardi to Madrid, Godin to Milan

Football Whispers
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Juventus' twin towers of Ronaldo, Mandzukic to provide a unique test for Atletico's stingy defence

With two aerial specialists in Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus are a bit of a throwback and present a unique challenge to any defence.
With two aerial specialists in Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus are a bit of a throwback and present a unique challenge to any defence.

It might not provide the most enthralling technical football of the Champions League round of 16, but there's something wonderfully intriguing about the tie between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, the first leg of which takes place on Wednesday evening.

These are effectively the two nearly-men of the last half-decade in this competition, both defeated finalists twice: Atletico losing to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, Juventus falling to Barcelona and Real in 2015 and 2017. But that status, and...

Marcelo lurches from one disaster to another while Diego Simeone's renewal doesn't sit well

It's been a week of new beginnings in La Liga or at least, a week of new opportunities. One was merited, one is doubtful and one disastrous.

The three characters on stage are Ernesto Valverde, Diego Simeone and Marcelo, so let's start with the disastrous and build from there.

Even though it's the decision that, in all probability, cut the legs off Madrid's title chase, Santi Solari was well within his rights to think that Sunday's match against Girona was an acceptable opportunity to sharpen...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

ESPN FC writers' Champions League round-of-16 predictions

France legend Frank Leboeuf joins ESPN FC to talk the ramifications for PSG should they fail to progress in the Champions League for yet another season.
Bayern Munich great Bastian Schweinsteiger throws his support behind Niko Kovac and tells ESPN FC they can get back to the Champions League final this season.

Which eight clubs will make it through to the Champions League quarterfinals? Here are our writers' predictions.

UEFA Champions League 2018-19 round of 16 draw
The lineup is set for the Champions League Round of 16.

Gab Marcotti

Man United, Roma, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus, Man City

Mark Ogden

Man United, Roma, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Man City

Graham Hunter

Man United, Porto, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus, Man City

Raphael Honigstein

PSG, Porto, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Barcelona,...

By the numbers: Chelsea suffer biggest defeat since 1991, Sergio Aguero levels with Alan Shearer

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 to climb up to second in La Liga, and are now -- aided by Barcelona's 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao -- just six points off the top. Juventus beat Sassuolo 3-0 -- Cristiano Ronaldo with a goal and an assist -- to go nine points clear of second-placed Napoli. Manchester United continued on their merry way with a 3-0 win at Fulham to climb into the top 4 for the first time since the opening day of the Premier League season, while Liverpool eased the pressure threatening...

Why Atletico, Simeone should be worried by how they lost the Madrid derby

Atletico were out-fought, out-thought and out-played by their Madrid rivals, and it's a defeat that will linger for Simeone & Co.

The biggest conclusion from Saturday's 3-1 win isn't that Madrid are back in the title race, that Diego Godin's final La Liga battle with los Blancos finished in a miserable way for such a titan of Atletico's recent history, or even that Gareth Bale's 100th Real Madrid goal is a brilliant "take that" message to his critics. The inescapable sentiment after Atleti were toyed with, and then torn apart, is that something pretty important is wrong with Diego Simeone's side. Perhaps even his regime.

Atletico...

Why Alvaro Morata is coming back to Spain after years of struggle at Juventus, Chelsea

Alvaro Morata is coming home, back to where it all began: to a place where he can be happy. His place. That's the hope, anyway, and for all the doubts, for all the dark days, the hope is never entirely extinguished. Not so long ago, Morata said it would have been "easy" to have left Chelsea in the summer; now, it appears that he is about to actually do so. He had been offered to a handful of clubs in search of a solution, and there is optimism now that his destination has been confirmed: he's...