Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's decade-long duopoly over FIFA's player of the year award, and rightfully so, but the vague 'Best' awards leave plenty to be desired as a general exercise.
Chelsea was supposed to struggle this season as it transitioned to life under Maurizio Sarri and pulled back a bit on transfers, yet the Blues have won their first five matches of the season and look primed to defy expectations.
While Real Madrid and Man United delivered, Pep Guardiola's Man City slipped to a shock defeat and Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off on his European debut with Juventus on a dramatic night in the Champions League.
A pair of unenviable themes continued for PSG and Tottenham, while Liverpool and Inter Milan enjoyed late wins, Lionel Messi's hat trick sparked Barcelona and a pair of young Americans factored into results on the opening day of the Champions League.
The Champions League group stage has become somewhat of a formality for the powers across Europe, but this season's draw yielded some intriguing matchups and a treacherous path for some of the favorites.
When France won the World Cup 20 years ago, it followed it up with a dynamic run to the Euro 2000 title. Can history repeat itself again for Les Bleus and their endless cast of stars, beginning in the new UEFA Nations League?
Last season did offer up a few surprises along the way to Real Madrid's third straight Champions League title, but the clear and growing divide among the 32 teams often devalues the group stage–though intrigue follows the chief contenders.
Son Heung-min has played in the World Cup and Champions League and is a star for Tottenham. Yet the fate of his career–and his South Korea military requirement–could be determined by a regional youth tournament.