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European Club Rankings: Real Madrid Pass the Test; Roma Crack Serie A Open


    Did Real Madrid just finish off La Liga's title race? Their tussle with Sevilla on Sunday seemed the most likely chance of them dropping points, but they emerged with a 4-1 win that all but killed Barcelona's slim hopes of a third straight championship.
    Things panned out slightly differently in Italy, where AS Roma's win over Juventus clouded things at the top; there are still three teams that can win Serie A. England's top-four race continues to fascinate, while last week saw the participants of the Europa League and Champions League finals confirmed.
    That's a lot to sink your teeth into.
    The rankings are season-long in their measurement of clubs. Previous editions only took recent form into account (spanning four to six weeks), but this version tracks teams throughout 2016-17.
    Teams that have lost the fewest games in all competitions naturally rank higher, and Champions League form and presence is used as a tiebreaker for those with similar records.

    25-21

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      James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images
      25. Atalanta (Stay)
      Atalanta have drawn five of their past six games, finishing the season a little slowly. Fortunately for them, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Inter Milan have been even more slack, meaning Europa League football is a near certainty for the Bergamo-based side.
         
      24. OGC Nice (-2)
      OGC Nice's home loss to Angers on Sunday was one of the most surprising results of the weekend. Like Atalanta, they are ending the campaign with a bit of a whimper, winning just one of their past four games.
        
      23. Hoffenheim (+1)
      Hoffenheim are good value for the occasional cracker, and on Saturday, they ended up on the right end of a 5-3 scoreline with Werder Bremen.
         
      22. FC Porto (+1)
      Too little, too late. FC Porto won convincingly on Sunday but had to watch Benfica celebrate another title victory after their won on Saturday.
          
      21. Arsenal (Stay)
      Arsenal love a late-season run. Consecutive victories over Manchester United, Southampton and Stoke City have them gunning for a spot in the top four, but it's still out of their hands.

      20-16

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        Jan Kruger/Getty Images
        20. Ajax (Stay)
        Ajax won in vain on Sunday, as Feyenoord's victory made it impossible to overhaul them and steal the Eredivisie title. They lost to Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday but did enough on aggregate to secure passage to the Europa League final.
           
        19. Liverpool (Stay)
        A thumping win over West Ham United kept the race for a place in the Premier League's top four in Liverpool's hands. It's nice to see Daniel Sturridge fit and firing. What a difference he can make.
           
        18. Manchester United (-1)
        Manchester United's loss to Tottenham Hotspur made it mathematically impossible for the club to make the top four. All their Champions League eggs are firmly in a Europa League trophy-shaped basket.
           
        17. Sevilla (-1)
        Sevilla certainly played their part against Real Madrid on Sunday. The first half saw them exert serious pressure on Keylor Navas and hit the bar; had the margins been a little different, we might have had a different outlook on the title race in Spain.
            
        16. Manchester City (+2)
        Manchester City's win over Leicester City was chaos epitomised, with profligacy haunting both teams. Pep Guardiola's men did enough to edge it, though, and sit in a great spot to secure a top-four finish.

        15-11

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          Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images
          15. Lazio (Stay)
          Lazio lost to Fiorentina on Saturday and look like a team that has accepted a middling fate. Europa League football for next season is all but certain, but Champions League is mathematically out of reach.
              
          14. RB Leipzig (-1)
          After weeks at No. 13, RB Leipzig drop one spot after allowing Bayern Munich to stage the ultimate comeback on Saturday.
            
          13. Roma (+1)
          Beating Juventus, no matter the occasion or situation, is quite the feat, and Roma impressed the whole of Europe on Sunday evening by doing so.
             
          12. Tottenham (Stay)
          Tottenham Hotspur gave White Hart Lane one hell of a send-off on Sunday. Beating Manchester United 2-1 to confirm an unbeaten season at home in 2016-17 was just the beginning of the festivities.
             
          11. Benfica (Stay)
          Congratulations to Benfica, who secured yet another Liga NOS title on Saturday. They finished the job by battering Vitoria de Guimaraes 5-0. 

          10. Borussia Dortmund

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            CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images
            Last Week: 8th
            Movement: -2
            Borussia Dortmund are embroiled in a fascinating duel with Hoffenheim for automatic Champions League qualification. With one game to go, they're level on points, with BVB edging it because of their superior goal difference.
            A win on the final day against Werder Bremen will secure third place, but the fact it will come down to this is a result of their disappointing draw with relegation-threatened Augsburg on Saturday.
            It must be said Thomas Tuchel's men are limping to the end of this campaign; they may have a cup final to look forward to, but tensions between manager and the board have cast a shadow over this final act.

            9. Napoli

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              MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images
              Last Week: 10th
              Movement: +1
              As has often been the case this season, Napoli turned on the style and buried their opponents in an avalanche of goals.
              Torino represented the lambs to this proverbial slaughter on Sunday, with Joe Hart conceding five times on another tough afternoon. Jose Callejon netted twice and Dries Mertens once, boosting their already impressive tallies for the season.
              It's a measure of just how well manager Maurizio Sarri has done that the Partenopei are on the verge of bettering last season's points tally (82) despite being robbed of Gonzalo Higuain in the summer.

              8. Paris Saint-Germain

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                PHILIPPE DESMAZES/Getty Images
                Last Week: 9th
                Movement: +1
                Paris Saint-Germain have won three of their past four games by a scoreline of 5-0. That's ridiculously impressive.
                The latest victory came away to Saint-Etienne, where Edinson Cavani reached 35 league goals for the season with a brace. The 21-year-old Giovani Lo Celso took the lid off the hosts' defence with this outrageous pass. He's played 21 minutes of Ligue 1 football this season but has two assists—the same number as Adrien Rabiot, who's played 26 times in the league in 2016/17.

                7. Atletico Madrid

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                  Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
                  Last Week: 7th
                  Movement: None
                  Fears that Atletico Madrid had simply left themselves too much to do in their Champions League tie with Real Madrid were confirmed on Wednesday. Perhaps a 2-0 loss from the first leg was recoverable, but 3-0 was just too high a mountain to scale.
                  They raced into a two-goal lead, but Isco's critical strike before half-time killed the contest. Credit to Los Colchoneros for the fightback (and the win on the night), but it ended in familiar heartbreak; Atleti were knocked out of the Champions League for the fourth successive season by their city rivals.
                  On the domestic front, Sunday's draw with Real Betis secured third spot in La Liga, and manager Diego Simeone recently told reporters he'll be in charge of the club for 2017/18. As tonics go, that's not bad.

                  6. Bayern Munich

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                    JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty Images
                    Last Week: 6th
                    Movement: None
                    Bayern Munich produced one of the finest comebacks this season on Saturday, when they beat RB Leipzig 5-4 at the Red Bull Arena.
                    When Timo Werner struck in the 65th minute to give the hosts a 4-2 lead, many thought the game done and dusted. But Robert Lewandowski's 84th-minute goal sparked a fire in Bayern's bellies, and both David Alaba and Arjen Robben netted in stoppage time to turn the result on its head.
                    "It's not over until we say it's over," midfielder Thiago Alcantara tweeted afterward.

                    5. Chelsea

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                      ANTHONY DEVLIN/Getty Images
                      Last Week: 5th
                      Movement: None
                      Chelsea secured the Premier League title on Friday with a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
                      Of all the people to score the goal that confirmed matters, it was Michy Batshuayia man who has yet to start a league game for a club that has relied on an incredibly tight squad to get to this point. There's a certain irony in that.
                      The Blues take on Watford in what will essentially serve as a title procession on Monday.

        4. Monaco

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          YANN COATSALIOU/Getty Images
          Last Week: 4th
          Movement: None
          AS Monaco bowed out from this season's Champions League on Tuesday with a valiant effort. A 4-1 aggregate loss to Juventus is not a terrible score, and the 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe did what Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez could not: score against this vaunted Bianconeri defence.
          Sunday saw them slay another Ligue 1 side by a formidable margin. Lille were the victims, as their doors were the latest to be blown off by the Radamel Falcao-Mbappe combination.
          The Colombian's two strikes took him past the 20-goal mark for the domestic seasonthe first time he's managed that since 2012-13 with Atletico Madrid.

          3. Barcelona

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            Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
            Last Week: 3rd
            Movement: None
            Barcelona are doing their bit; they're applying the pressure to Real Madrid and refusing to give up this Liga title without a fight.
            The Blaugrana beat Las Palmas by the same score as their rivals beat Sevilla (4-1) in an act of neat symmetry. There's little between the two sides, and Sunday's results reaffirmed that.
            Sadly for Luis Enrique's side., it seems unlikely Real Madrid will slip, so try as they might, they seem destined to finish second. 

            2. Juventus

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              Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
              Last Week: 2nd
              Movement: None
              Juventus finished Monaco off Tuesday in a thoroughly professional fashion. They may have conceded their first goal of the knockout stages, but they netted two to secure a comfortable aggregate victory.
              But then minor disaster struck on Sunday. Trips to the capital to take on Roma are never easy, but few would have predicted the Bianconeri to lose in the fashion they did. The 3-1 scoreline flattered the visitors.
              It was a night on which The Old Lady could have secured the Serie A title, but the door has been opened—just a smidgen—for Roma or perhaps Napoli to steal in if it all goes terribly wrong. With Juventus juggling Coppa Italia and Champions League finals in addition to the final two league games, it's unlikely but not out of the realms of possibility.

              1. Real Madrid

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                fotopress/Getty Images
                Last Week: 1st
                Movement: None
                Real Madrid are on the brink. Their 4-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday evening took one big step closer to a first Liga title since 2012. 
                The three-point haul did not come without controversy. Nacho Fernandez's opener may not have been illegal, but it was in thoroughly poor taste nonetheless, and that turned the tide of a game that looked like it might go against Los Blancos at certain moments.
                They lost to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday but did enough on aggregate to book a place in the Champions League final. They rode an early storm, nicked a goal before half-time and are many people's favourites to secure a double.

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