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Breaking down the Ballon d’Or shortlist: Messi, Ronaldo and Neuer

ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes weigh in on the Ballon d’Or and FIFPro Top Forwards shortlists.

The three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or were announced on Monday: Lionel Messi, Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s a look at the stats that made them great in 2014 and the possible accomplishments that lie before them…

* After one goal in eight previous World Cup games, Lionel Messi scored four times at the 2014 World Cup and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. He’s had 52 goals in 62 games for club and country this year, also adding the La Liga and Champions League… Read more ›

Big Spanish clubs almost certain of CL last 16

The Champions League kicks off this week and the big three Spanish clubs in Euro Club Index terms are all but certain of making the second round of the competition. The fourth Spanish team, Athletic Bilbao, have profited more than … Continue reading Read more ›

CL draw system increases Group of Death chance

The Champions League draw pots for this evening are based on the UEFA coefficients for clubs at the end of last season. Those coefficients are based on a five year performance in European competition. In general, this system works reasonably … Continue reading Read more ›

Schrödinger’s Shot: On theoretical goal rates

Sometimes it’s the simplest seeming sentences that hide the most complicated ideas. Players have roughly equivalent shooting skills. It seems like such a basic concept. A challenge. If it’s true there’s no point in talking about shooting. If it’s false, then it should be easy to prove. But, when you really break that claim down […]
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A match of two legs?

It feels like it’s been a long two months without European football. With the Spanish, English and German title competitions looking pretty much wrapped up at the moment and a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations, it’s exciting to welcome back … Continue reading Read more ›

Messi and Ronaldo – Clasico Special

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably the two best players of this generation. They go head-to-head for the 6th time this season. The intent of this post is to celebrate these two players on the eve of a Clasico. While both Messi and Ronaldo have scored 41 goals a piece so far, they following [...] Read more ›

What if the Champions League Really Was a League?

With the second week of fixtures in the Group Stages of the Champions League about to begin, we thought it would be interesting to look at how the structure of the competition affects the percentage chance each team has of … Continue reading Read more ›