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Keep or dump: How will Real Madrid look next year?

Real Madrid
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Germany's bold moves pay off vs. the Dutch, Spain still a work in progress

Fifteen years at the highest level gives a national team coach plenty of sporting capital. Enough, for example, to survive both a humiliating first-round exit at a World Cup and relegation from the inaugural Nations League. It also gave Joachim Low licence to make bold moves, and he certainly did that when Germany traveled to take on the Dutch in the pick of the weekend's Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Having already dropped Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, Low drew up a 3-4-1-2 system...

Ronaldo and Messi at the 2022 World Cup? Don't bet against them

Ronaldo and Messi return to international duty, and it's not unthinkable that their eternal rivalry will stretch to the 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are back on Friday. It's been two-hundred and sixty-five days since we last saw them, each bowing out on the same day, at the same stage of the World Cup, likely with the same heartache.

Lionel Messi was in Kazan, where his Argentina side had let a 2-1 second-half lead slip in a wild, drunken shootout of a knockout game that saw France advance 4-3. Cristiano Ronaldo was in Sochi, a thousand miles away on the banks of the Black Sea, yet shoulder-to-shoulder with...

Serie A's biggest derby, Milan vs. Inter, delivers a classic. PLUS: Messi's latest magic trick for Barcelona

The Milan derby and Lionel Messi's performance at Betis raised overall what was a relatively humdrum weekend. It may be just an impression, but derbies tend to either be defined by fear and tension, or they break out into end-to-end brawls.

The 223rd Derby Della Madonnina was the latter, and if you missed it, you missed a classic.

Ahead of the game, it looked as if Sunday's meeting would mark the start of Inter's implosion: from the Mauro Icardi affair -- he was watching at home, a five minute...

What to expect from Friday's FIFA Council: 48-team 2022 World Cup, Global Nations League and more

FIFA president Gianni Infantino will be pushing for an expanded 2022 World Cup, among other things, when the council convenes on Friday.

The FIFA Council is the 37-member assembly that replaced the Executive Committee following the election of Gianni Infantino as the president of the game's governing body back in 2016. It includes representatives from each of the six confederations and is generally charged with making administrative and organizational decisions, some of which then need to be ratified by the FIFA Congress, meaning all 211 member nations.

They meet on Friday in Miami and have plenty on their plate. Three of the biggest...

Real Madrid keep or dump: What will Zidane do about Bale, Isco, Marcelo, Ramos & Co. this summer?

Everybody is expecting a summer of change at Real Madrid following last week's elimination from the Champions League and the prospect of a season without a trophy. Club president Florentino Perez and chief executive Jose Angel Sanchez have some huge calls to make, and if history is anything to go by, they'll be making most of them on their own, albeit with input from Zinedine Zidane, who returned to the club on Monday.

With that in mind, here's some unsolicited advice from me and Graham Hunter:...

Man United's defeat at Arsenal exposes (a little) the size of Solskjaer's challenge

Winning has two ancillary effects. On the one hand, it gives you sporting capital. Folks point to your record and are more likely to overlook a stumble or a bad decision. That, in turn, means you can be that little bit more daring and experimental, which is a good thing.

On the other hand it raises expectations, sometimes unrealistically so, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer experienced the former on Sunday in Manchester United's 2-0 loss away to Arsenal.

- Ogden: Emery gamble pays off

Deploying Paul...