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Ronaldo crying wolf again

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Barcelona lose unbeaten run but no obituaries as Valverde plots return to winning ways

The FC crew rate the latest rumours as the transfer window hots up.

A lot can change in 153 days. In fact, a lot can change in three days, as Ernesto Valverde regularly points out when encouraged to get carried away by Barcelona's brilliant season so far. But despite being nine points clear at the top of the league, 19 ahead of Real Madrid (who are fourth) and safely through to the Champions League knockout stages, Valverde refuses to get giddy. Instead, he prefers to centre in on football's more capricious qualities.

And there's nowhere where those qualities can...

Real Madrid fans vote for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave in online poll

They say there is not much gratitude in football -- but even still it is startling that two thirds of Real Madrid fans want rid of the club's all-time leading goal scorer, according to an online poll conducted by Spanish paper AS.

Since moving to Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo has scored 422 goals in 418 games, helped the team to 15 major trophies including three of the last four Champions Leagues, and brought glamour to the Bernabeu with a host of individual prizes including four of the five Ballon d'Or...

 By Matt McGinn

Real Madrid could rue not beating Man City in building a global club network

Zinedine Zidane says he is trying to identify the problems Real Madrid are facing, but admits some mistakes are hard to comprehend.
After Real Madrid's draw at Celta Vigo, the FC crew identify the issues that have seen the reigning La Liga winners fall 16 points off the top.
Zinedine Zidane says he's happy with his Real Madrid squad and isn't looking to bring in any players in January.

"If I had pitched the idea to Real Madrid, the answer would have been: 'you're crazy'," said Ferran Soriano, the Chief Executive Officer of Manchester City.

In July 2017 City Football Group (CFG) -- Manchester City's parent company -- bought a 44.3 percent stake in Spanish club Girona. An agency owned by Pere Guardiola -- brother of Pep -- bought the same amount of a club that, a few months earlier, had been promoted to La Liga for the first time in its history. Girona became the sixth club in...

Why don't Real Madrid buy the world's best players anymore?

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether time is running out for Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.

As clubs around Europe look to strengthen in the January transfer window, it has been strange to see Real Madrid happy to sit this one out, especially given the team's clear need of a shake-up.

For many years, Madrid president Florentino Perez dominated the transfer market with a determined policy to spend huge sums to ensure the world's best and most marketable players were at the Bernabeu.

However, something has changed. Even as Barcelona have added the €160 million Philippe Coutinho to...

Real Madrid to swap Ronaldo's 'BBC' for 'NHL' of Neymar, Hazard, Lewandowski?

The FC crew discuss Cristiano Ronaldo's situation at Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo's uncertain future remains the major talking point in Spain, and Wednesday morning's sports papers continued the theme of the week with speculation that Real Madrid will overhaul their entire front line in the summer.

Marca predicts a big shake-up at the Bernabeu in the summer, with the club's feted "BBC" strike force of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano making way for an "NHL" trio of Neymar, Eden Hazard and Robert Lewandowski. It's a story high on speculation but...

 By Rob Train

As Real's slide continues, Perez should be wary of drastic changes

The FC crew break down Real Madrid's latest setback, a home loss to Villarreal, and examine the persisting struggles of Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I believe we need a change of direction," said Florentino Perez in February 2006 when announcing his resignation as president of Real Madrid.

At that stage of the 2005-06 season, Madrid were lagging behind Barcelona in La Liga after being beaten by Mallorca -- a more considerable force in Spain then than now -- and had just been knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the semifinal stage despite rallying to win 4-0 at home after a 6-1 first-leg thrashing at the hands of Zaragoza in La Romareda.

"Something...