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Marco Asensio's road to Real wasn't easy but he's now poised for greatness

Relive Asensio's wonder goal during the Super Cup, and delve into the FC crew's thoughts about his future at Real Madrid.
The FC crew evaluate Real Madrid's win over Sociedad, including Gareth Bale's goal and the emergence of Borja Mayoral.
Zinedine Zidane believes Gareth Bale can use jeers from fans to improve his game, just as Zidane did during his playing days.
Zinedine Zidane admits he is not surprised by the comparisons made between Marco Asensio and Lionel Messi.

Watch him play and there's an unadulterated freshness to him, a nothing-is-impossible vibe that gets crowds -- even those used to watching Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric on a weekly basis -- on their feet.

It's fun. It's innocent. It's a kid playing unbridled football and doing it with joy. Sometimes it feels as if Marco Asensio popped out fully formed, perhaps straight from a Japanese cartoon, as if he'd been playing alongside Captain Tsubasa until last year. But that's not who...

Arsenal make progress vs. Chelsea, Barca win again, Neymar vs. Cavani

Steve Nicol says Arsenal would be opting for mediocrity if Arsene Wenger considers dropping Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal went to Stamford Bridge in a fairly binary situation. A poor performance would simply ratchet up the pressure ahead of the club's annual general meeting (with Stan Kroenke on his way across the pond) and cancel the baby steps that were made against Bournemouth. (Given Bournemouth's performance, they really were teeny, tiny baby steps). A result, especially if accompanied by a decent performance, would buy Arsene Wenger time, rekindle a bit of faith in a clearly dejected group and maybe...

If you were Lionel Messi, what would you do next after rescuing Barcelona?

Craig Burley explains how Lionel Messi turned the tables on Juventus after the Serie A champions had him pinned down for most of the first half.
The ESPN FC panel credit Ernesto Valverde for getting Barcelona back to their best following Luis Enrique's exit.
Lionel Messi scored two goals and set up another as Barcelona defeated last season's UCL finalists Juventus.

Imagine you are Lionel Messi. What's in your head?

(You're not really, of course, but this is a journey into imagination and speculation, with a bit of wonder and puzzlement thrown in, an experiment in seeing the world through his eyes. And it will inevitably be based on flawed inputs because there are only two groups of people who can really hope to have any sort of insight and to even have a clue, you really need to be a member of both. One is those close to him: friends, family, teammates....

Liverpool capitulate at Man City after Mane red; Real might rue dropped points

Stewart Robson dissects Liverpool's 5-0 loss to Manchester City, and discusses why the match was so one-sided.

Sometimes a single incident overshadows a game. I'm not sure that it should: when Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, you'd imagine there would be enough other stuff to talk about. But Sadio Mane's red card seemingly took on a life of its own and became the story.

Opinions seem to be viscerally divided on this one. Personally, I feel sorry for Mane but equally, he had to go. I feel sorry for Mane because anybody who has played the game at any level knows that there...

How Spain thrashed Italy, Isco's future, placing blame for Barca's bad summer

The FC crew hail Isco as one of the leaders of a Spanish revival that could make them a 2018 World Cup favourite.

Spain defeating Italy 3-0 at the Bernabeu on Saturday was not the surprise. It was the extent of the demolition.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that the old Catenaccio, defend-and-counter stereotype hasn't really applied to the Azzurri for a long time. Still, conceding three goals like that (and it could have been more) while being methodically wiped off the pitch is still jarring. It does not -- and should not -- happen to big teams.

Blame it on the coming together of...

For PSG, Mbappe's move leads to questions about FFP, squad strength

Gab Marcotti clarifies the intricacies of UEFA's investigation of PSG for for potential financial fair play violations.
With Kylian Mbappe now in the fold, are Paris Saint-Germain now the favourites to win this year's Champions League?
The ESPN FC team discuss the impact that Kylian Mbappe will have at Paris Saint-Germain.
FC's Craig Burley gushes over PSG's front three of Cavani, Neymar, and Mbappe should the youngster join on loan from Monaco.
Kylian Mbappe expresses his excitement about joining PSG and admits he has a lot to learn at the club.
Sid Lowe explains why Kylian Mbappe is on his way to PSG rather than joining up with Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

Kylian Mbappe was 18 years, eight months and 11 days old when Paris Saint-Germain did a deal to make him the second-most expensive player of all time. He had scored 27 goals in 59 senior club appearances. And he had starred in the Champions League, under the global spotlight.

Benchmark that against the two greatest players of our time -- Lionel Messi had eight goals in 29 games and Cristiano Ronaldo eight in 34 at the same age -- and it's pretty obvious we're talking about something special.