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Transfer ban for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could shake up Europe

The need to reinforce before not being able to recruit players for a full year could send Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid into transfer overdrive, sending shockwaves throughout Europe.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Thursday's news that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid had been slapped with transfer bans by FIFA rocked the football world, even after months of rumors about the possibility. Found to have violated the same rules regarding signing under-18 players that cost Barcelona a similar ban, both teams will not be allowed to register new players for the next two transfer windows -- but they still have the next two weeks to reinforce their teams.

While both Madrid clubs have said that they're concentrating on their appeals, the rest of Europe is bracing for what feels like an almost-inevitable scramble from both teams to reinforce their sides for the rest of this season and for next year as well. Barcelona lost their own appeal, but before their window of opportunity closed they signed a raft of new players, bringing in seven first-team players including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, and Claudio Bravo.

If Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid go on a similar buying spree to make sure their squads are fully prepared for a year without further reinforcements, we could see a huge ripple effect throughout Europe over the next two weeks. As the Madrid teams buy up big players, the teams they buy from will need to sign replacements, and the teams they buy from will need replacements, and those teams -- well, you get the picture. We could be looking at the start of one of the most chaotic two weeks of transfer activity we've ever seen.

In the news

The first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft were chaotic thanks to a ton of trades, some of which took a long time to sort out.

All 41 picks that were made, from Jack Harrison to Marshall Hollingsworth, are listed in our DraftTracker, along with stories on each pick from our team sites.

MLS commissioner Don Garber says that the United States men's national team isn't "pushing" high-profile prospect Jordan Morris to move to Germany instead of staying in the US. (ESPN FC)

Aston Villa's new chairman isn't afraid of his team getting relegated. (BBC)

However, interim Chelsea manager Guss Hiddink is worried about his team dropping deeper into the relegation battle. (Guardian)

Bolton Wanderers are hoping for more time to raise funds to stave off administration. (BBC)

Maurizio Sarri says his Serie A leading Napoli squad still has "a long way to go" before they can be called title favorites. (La Gazzetta dello Sport)

You should be reading

Jon Prada looks at the rules loopholes that allow English teams to avoid FIFA sanctions over acquiring young talent. (Marca)

Tony Evans shares why the Liverpool-Manchester United "grudge match" is one of the best rivalries in football. (ESPN FC)

Neil Stacey discusses the importance of Athletic Bilbao's "Basque Identity" and loyalty to local stars as part of the fabric of the club. (Guardian)

Fun with transfer rumors

The section in which nothing should be taken seriously. It's rumor season, so this section will be expanded, and as the weeks roll on, it will probably be bigger than the actual news section.

Torino have finalized their loan acquisition of Ciro Immobile and have already named him to a matchday squad. (Football Italia)

Atletico Madrid's transfer ban means they must decide now if they want to keep AC Milan loanee Fernando Torres past this season. (Marca)

The Colorado Rapids are working on signing USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. (ESPN FC)

Chinese teams are on a big-money raid of Europe, and Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote looks to be the latest man to agree to a move. (Guardian)

What to watch on Friday (click for listings, all times ET)

Ligue 1: Nice vs. Angers (2:30 p.m.): The two surprising members of Ligue 1's top four battle for position, with Nice hoping to use home field advantage to catch up to third-place Monaco in the standings.

Priemeira Liga: Sporting Club de Portugal vs. Tondela (3:30 p.m.): Sporting are hoping to extend their four-point lead in Portugal's top division, and a visit from the last-place team in the league could be just what they need to get the job done.

Liga MX: 2 matches (8:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.) The second round of action in the Clausura gets underway, with three of the top eight teams from the Apertura season in action.