Barcelona

  1. Atletico Madrid Back in Front as La Liga Heads into 2016

    What a difference half a year makes. Last May, as the sun set on the 2014/15 La Liga season, Atletico Madrid weren't even particularly close to defending the title they had won a year before. The Mattress Makers finished the 2014/15 campaign in a respectable third place. However, their point tally of 78 was so far from Real Madrid (92) and Barcelona (94), that Atletico was hardly even in the same league, quality-wise.

    Fast-forward to the first week of the New Year, though, and Atletico Madrid are back in the driver's seat, their consistency putting them above the flashier soccer squads of both Barca and Real Madrid. The Mattress Makers did lose one of their festive period fixtures, falling 0-1 to Malaga just five days before Christmas. However, Atletico followed that match up with two consecutive shutout victories, beating Rayo Vallecano 2-0 on December 30th and topping Levante 1-0 on the second day of the New Year.

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  2. Barcelona Win 2015 FIFA Club World Cup Beating River Plate to the Title

    FC Barcelona capped off a nearly perfect 2015 run on Sunday, beating Argentina's River Plate 3-0 meaning Barcelona win 2015 FIFA Club World Cup. The victory marked the eighth time since the Club World Cup was founded in 2000 that a UEFA football club has walked away with the final trophy. Just as notably, the trophy is Barcelona's third in the FIFA Club World Cup-elevating the Spanish soccer squad past Brazil's Sport Club Corinthians as the most decorated team in the tournament's history.

    An Easy Win

    Barca, who earned their spot in the Club World Cup this year thanks to their victory in the UEFA Champions League in the spring, hardly had to strain themselves at all to add another title to their 2015 trophy case. After receiving a bye into the semifinals, FC Barcelona topped China's Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 to earn

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  3. FC Barcelona Will Return to the Transfer Market in January

    After a two-window transfer ban that precluded FC Barcelona from signing and using new players throughout the entirety of 2015, the Catalan football club is expected to return to take an active role when the transfer market opens up again in January. Barca were issued the FIFA transfer ban for breaking the rules for the "international transfer of minors."

    Barcelona did pick up a few new players over the summer transfer window, but with the caveat that none of those players could actually take the pitch for competitive matches until January. So, in addition to whatever new talent Barca pick up in the winter transfer market, January will also see the club debuts of summer transfers like Aleix Vidal (a winger from Sevilla) and Arda Turan (an attacking midfielder from Atletico Madrid).

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  4. Luis Enrique's Barcelona could dominate world football for longer than Pep Guardiola's did

    By Karl Matchett.

     

    No Neymar, no Lionel Messi, no problem. Barcelona swatted aside Chinese Super League opponents Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals thanks to a Luis Suarez hat-trick and they'll face River Plate in the final, Spain vs. Argentina again, and in all probability the European side will once again emerge successful.

     

    Should they pick up the title, officially proclaiming them the best team in the world, it will be the third time in seven years that Barcelona have gone the distance, with those first two victories coming under the guidance of Pep Guardiola and his fantastic side of ball retention-based monsters. In both 2009 and 2011, Barcelona won both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League before also going on to win the Club World Cup-an achievement which will be matched by Luis Enrique's team if they beat River.

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  5. Draw Announced for Champions League 2016 Round of 16

    Competitive play won't resume in the 2015 2016 UEFA Champions League until well into the New Year, but already, fans are getting excited for the next stage of Europe's most prestigious club football tournament. On Monday, December 14th, the UEFA announced the draw for the Champions League 2016 round of 16, with the first leg matches to take place on February 16th, 17th, 23rd or 24th and second leg matches scheduled for early to mid-March. Let's take a look at the match-ups!

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    The Games to Watch

    Probably the highest profile draw for the round of 16 is the match-up between Bayern Munich and Juventus. Bayern won five of their six group stage fixtures, only dropping one game (against Arsenal). Juventus, meanwhile, have struggled

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  6. The La Liga 2015 Festive Fixtures: What Spain's Top Teams Are Looking for This Holiday Season

    After this coming weekend, the German Bundesliga will take more than a month off before resuming regular-season play. Luckily for fans of the Spanish La Liga, though, there will be plenty of action going on in the Primera Division throughout the holiday season. Consider this post your guide to the La Liga 2015 festive fixtures, from the games you should watch to what Spain's top teams will be hoping to accomplish with the holiday spirit (hopefully) on their side.

    Week 16

    Though far from the month-long break provided by the Bundesliga, the La Liga does take the better part of two weeks off for Christmas. As a result, you'll want to tune in this weekend to get your fill of Spanish league football action before you head off to spend time with family and friends for the holiday season.

    There aren't any huge fixtures on the schedule for the first week of the festive period. Barcelona, who are still leading the

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  7. La Liga Teams Sail through First Leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 32

    When Barcelona played their first-leg match of the Copa del Rey round of 32, all the way back at the end of October, something odd happened: they settled for a dull, scoreless draw against third-tier football club, CF Villanovense. Rather than risk the injury of top talent like Luis Suarez and Neymar-particularly important given the then-ongoing absence of Lionel Messi-manager Luis Enrique chose to field a soccer squad of players who normally don't start. The result was a surprisingly poor showing for the reigning Copa del Rey champions and the recent treble victors.

    Last week, when Barca returned to the pitch for their second leg against Villanovense-and when the rest of the round of 32 finally got underway-things looked quite a bit different for the soccer club. Enrique still left Neymar and Suarez on the bench (and Messi wasn't even on hand as a substitute), but it didn't matter. Playing at home on December 2nd, Barcelona demolished their third-tier challengers, winning

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  8. Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar Shortlisted as Ballon d'Or Finalists 2015

    One of these years, FIFA's final shortlist of the last three Ballon d'Or contenders will not include both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. That year isn't this year, though, as both players land among the trio of Ballon d'Or finalists 2015, for the fifth year in a row and the eighth year in total. (Ronaldo was not shortlisted in 2010, but Messi was.) Also named among the top three was Messi's teammate Neymar, his first time as a finalist for the prestigious soccer award. FIFA will announce the winner of the prize on January 11th.

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    From 23 to Three 

    The three-man list of finalists was culled from a 23-man shortlist that FIFA released to the public back in October. FC Barcelona was the most represented football club on the 23-man list,

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  9. The Round of 16 Takes Form with Week Five of the UEFA Champions League

    Week five of the UEFA Champions League 2015/16 began to bring the next phase of the competition into clear focus, as 10 of the round of 16 slots are now confirmed. Week six of the group stage, which the UEFA has scheduled for December 8th and 9th, will see several on-the-fringe clubs battling for last-minute advancement. For the most part, though, the big title contenders have already secured their round of 16 spots.

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    The First Qualifiers

    When we last checked in with the Champions League, following week four of competition in early November, three teams-Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Zenit St. Petersburg-had already guaranteed themselves advancement into the next round. Zenit St. Petersburg continues to carry the

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  10. Imagining a La Liga without Messi or Ronaldo: Could it be the Future?

    Here we are; another season, another bevy of rumors about the potential departures of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from their respective football clubs. Every year seems to bring chatter that Spain's biggest soccer stars are about to hit the road and head elsewhere for the soccer seasons that remain in their careers. Amid the mounting speculation this season we imagine the future of La Liga without Messi or Ronaldo.

    Up in the Air

    Last season, the rumors were loudest about Cristiano Ronaldo, who was supposedly upset about Real Madrid's decision to sack Carlo Ancelotti and hire Rafael Benitez instead. Ronaldo ultimately signed a new contract, though, potentially tying himself to the Vikings until 2018. However, sources are currently saying that Real Madrid are likely to sell either Ronaldo

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