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Real Madrid's players must get club back on track. PLUS: Man United's midfield woe

Just about everybody who sticks around long enough at some point gets booed at the Bernabeu. Well, maybe Alfredo Di Stefano never got booed by his home support, but then, he's Di Stefano. So the fact that the likes of Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos got a barracking from their own fans during the 2-0 win over Valladolid isn't surprising, particularly when you consider that until seven minutes from time, it was scoreless, and the visitors had hit the woodwork twice.

It's not a function of Real Madrid...

No smoking gun in latest Football Leaks controversy

As plans for a European super league start to emerge, the FC crew discuss how it would work and how it would impact European and global football.
ESPN FC's Julien Laurens talks Financial Fair Play and the reported negotiations to keep PSG and Man City in the UEFA Champions League.
Gab Marcotti delves into ESPN FC's top 50 most influential people in football, pinpointing No. 16's "John" from Football Leaks.

On Friday, a consortium of media organisations led by the German magazine Der Spiegel released a number of stories based on another installment of the so-called Football Leaks data set.

This batch includes details of a plan by seven of Europe's biggest clubs -- Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Milan -- to break away from UEFA and FIFA and set up an independent super league.

It also details the role of Gianni Infantino (then UEFA secretary general, now...

Santiago Solari has about 3 weeks to fix Real Madrid, or it's goodbye Solari and hello ... Conte or Wenger?

It's time to look forward. A whole two weeks forward, in fact, because that is how long Santiago Solari, who was appointed interim coach of Real Madrid on Tuesday, can hold the title of interim boss according to Spanish Football Association rules.

Let's be more precise. It's actually three-and-a-half weeks since there's an international break coming and Real Madrid's next game won't be until Nov. 24, away to Eibar. That's 25 days to either appoint Solari on a permanent basis or find someone else.


Lopetegui's fate at Real Madrid was likely sealed before heavy Clasico defeat

By the time you read this, Julen Lopetegui has been fired as manager of Real Madrid, and the joke will be that he and Florentino Perez managed to screw up both Spain's World Cup and the first half of Real Madrid's campaign, all in less than five months. It's cruel, sure. But also in some ways, it's apt given the clunky way in which his appointment was announced and the way the past few months have unfolded.

There's a basic axiom that every club ought to follow but often doesn't, because clubs...

No Messi, no Ronaldo: No problem, as the Clasico is ready for a new hero

The last time we witnessed a Clasico without both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the world was a different place. Donald Trump was about to host the first season of "Celebrity Apprentice," which featured Nadia Comaneci, Lennox Lewis and Gene Simmons, Tesla had yet to sell a single car, and Netflix was primarily a business that posted something called DVDs via something called "snail mail."

When it comes to world football, Barcelona and Real Madrid have defined the last decade on and off...

Football at war with itself: Why the upcoming FIFA council could change the game forever

Infantino and Ceferin are seemingly at loggerheads regarding their relationship and the fall-out in Friday's meeting could change soccer forever.
Infantino and Ceferin are seemingly at loggerheads regarding their relationship and the fall-out in Friday's meeting could change soccer forever.

The FIFA Council, the 37-member board at the head of football's governing body, meets Friday in Kigali, Rwanda. Among the items on the agenda are a revamped Club World Cup and turning the Nations League into a global, FIFA-led event.

But relationships between some of the game's stakeholders are close to a breaking point, with a number of members ready to walk out, potentially threatening the world order of football. We could even end up with annual rival summer tournaments for the world's biggest...