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Wild Champions League Wednesday: VAR effect, vintage Atletico, fortunate Man City

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe credits Atletico Madrid for showing their mental strength by overcoming the reversed decisions made by VAR.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Manchester City showed another facet of their game by coming from behind in a gritty contest against Schalke.
Following Atletico Madrid's opener, ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno saw a Juventus side that appeared 'flustered and rattled.'

As European nights go, this one was not bad for the neutral. It served up a cauldron of grit, intensity and Diego Simeone magic as Atletico beat Juventus in Madrid, and in Gelsenkirchen, Manchester City narrowly avoided a seismic shock vs. Schalke, thanks in no small part to a local lad, Leroy Sane. Oh, and VAR had a prominent role to play in both games.

Here are eight takeaways from a wild Wednesday:

1. VAR was introduced into the Champions League for only this season's knockout rounds and, one...

Jurgen Klopp needs to rule with his head and focus on the Premier League, not Bayern

The trick is getting head and heart to coexist in the right proportion, at the right time, and a great manager knows when to turn the dial toward the "heart" end.

It's how Liverpool came back from 3-0 down in a Champions League final, remember? You loosen the reins, go for it and believe in the improbable. To paraphrase "Risky Business," it gives you freedom, freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future...

But there are times when you need it turned back toward the "head" end....

Beyond Mbappe, Rashford and Icardi, are we heading for a generation without elite center-forwards?

Where is the next generation of center-forwards going to come from?

You may notice it in the Champions League knockout rounds. Of the 16 teams left, how many have a proper, first-choice central striker under the age of 25?

I know definitions may vary, but bear with me. If you want to include Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappe, who are 21 and 20, respectively, and both played center-forward for their respective teams on Tuesday night, go ahead. But bear in mind that Mbappe is a freak of nature...

Why Ramsey's a big risk -- or even reckless -- for Juventus at £250,000 or £400,000 a week

On Monday, Juventus officially confirmed the signing of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey as a free agent from July 1, 2019. Ramsey issued his own, understandably emotional, statement via Twitter. (Arsenal were somewhat less effusive.)

Everybody knew it was coming, but what most did not expect was the number reported by the BBC on Monday evening. They put out that Ramsey would be making £400,000 a week in basic wages, which is roughly £20.8 million a season, or $26.8m. If that number was accurate,...

Has Neymar fulfilled his potential as heir apparent to Ronaldo and Messi?

If one human year is worth seven in dog years, what is the equation comparing a civilian career to that of a professional footballer? Neymar turned 27 on Tuesday, and next month it will be 10 years since he made his professional debut. If he were a working stiff like the rest of us, he'd be well past the halfway point, maybe somewhere in his late 40s. Nowhere near the end, but at the stage when the time you have left is less than the time you had.

Neymar was the next big thing in Brazilian football,...

Chelsea should give Sarri time despite Man City thrashing. PLUS: Real's best game of the year

Less than a year ago, Antonio Conte famously said "I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and lose 3-0 or 4-0." After the 6-0 beatdown that Pep Guardiola's crew inflicted on Chelsea Sunday, you wonder if it makes Maurizio Sarri "stupid" -- at least on the Conte-meter. And because too many people like simple, ready-made storylines, they jumped on that, as well as the always reliable tropes about N'Golo Kante not playing defensive midfield and Sarri's like-for-like substitutions.

Indeed,...