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Football News

» Tottenham threaten to BAN fans as new stadium opener tickets are advertised for £1200
Tottenham’s first match in their new 62,000-seater stadium will be against Crystal Palace on April 3
» Stan Collymore names his pick to win this year's Champions League
Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham are representing the Premier League in the last eight
» Fans fume as Jurgen Klopp named above Arsene Wenger in top 50 managers list
The current Liverpool boss came in at No.27 in the list, ahead of the Gunners legend at No.32
» Antoine Griezmann puts Man Utd on red alert 'after making decision about future'
He only signed a mega-bucks deal at Atletico Madrid last summer but he reportedly already wants out
» Alexis Sanchez steps up recovery as he eyes Man Utd comeback
The Chilean forward looks to be back in good shape for United's end of season run-in
» Chelsea takeover latest: British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe 'preparing bid'
Roman Abramovich could be set for a jaw-dropping profit on the club he bought for £140 in 2003
» Xavi calls for FIFA to scrap controversial plans for 2022 World Cup
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said last week increasing the number of teams for the 2022 tournament was “feasible”
» Man Utd fans react to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's outspoken criticism of Class of '92
The Swedish star took aim at criticism from the likes of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes in an exclusive interview with Mirror Sport
» Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp dealt new injury blow during international break
The Swiss Football Association confirmed that tests on Monday have revealed that Shaqiri has an inflammation injury in his groin
» Arsenal 'decide to show star the door' ahead of summer transfer window
Unai Emery will look to improve his squad during the summer as he aims to make his mark at the Emirates
» Zinedine Zidane 'relaunches Real Madrid transfer bid for Sadio Mane'
Mane was top of Real's shortlist last summer and reportedly agreed personal terms with the club before the move fell through
» David Ospina shares adorable family photo and thanks fans for well wishes
The Arsenal goalkeeper - who is on loan at Napoli - sustained a blow to the head in Sunday's game against Udinese
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives clearest indication yet he will be permanent Man Utd manager
The Norwegian remains in caretaker charge at Old Trafford, having replaced Jose Mourinho in December
» Zlatan Ibrahimovic reveals team talk Fabio Capello gave him that he absolutely loved
The Los Angeles Galaxy striker discusses the advice the former England manager gave him when he played for Juventus
» Long-time Man Utd and Arsenal transfer target 'available for £31m this summer'
Kostas Manolas has been linked with both Premier League clubs on a number of occasions
» Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Manchester City transfer was a risk - that's why I rejected it
He starred at Manchester United but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted he could have ended up playing for their arch-rivals
» Marc Overmars gives reason why he snubbed Arsenal interest to sign new Ajax deal
The Dutchman won't be the Gunners' new technical director after penning a new five-year deal with the Amsterdam club
» Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Premier League is over-rated - but I regret not joining sooner
Former Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke exclusively to Mirror Football in Los Angeles
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's "massive risk" against Wolves that backfired on Man Utd
The Red Devils were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by their hosts at Molineux on Saturday night
» Jose Mourinho makes huge declaration about 'incredible' Kylian Mbappe
The former Manchester United boss has hailed the brilliance of the Paris Saint-Germain phenom
» Monchi blasted by Roma president after snubbing Arsenal for Sevilla return
The Spanish sporting director has returned to his former club after leaving the Italian side by mutual consent
» Arsenal chief Per Mertesacker gives thoughts on Reiss Nelson's Hoffenheim loan
The England Under-21 international initially impressed in Germany but has suffered difficulties in 2019
» What Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accused Man Utd players of in dressing room after Wolves loss
The Red Devils were knocked out of the FA Cup after a limp display against Nuno's hungry side at Molineux
» Liverpool suffer fresh injury blow as star withdraws from international duty
Reds forward will return to Melwood after a medical exam revealed an inflammation on his groin
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Other sport news:

» Wanda Metropolitano’s record crowd shows English football the way | Suzanne Wrack

The 60,739 gate for Atlético Madrid’s match with Barcelona showed that, if you build it, fans of women’s football will come

When 60,739 fans filed into the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday to watch Atlético Madrid take on their title rivals Barcelona, a 99-year record was broken. On 26 December 1920, and just under a year before the Football Association banned women’s football – a ban that lasted 50 years – 53,000 people filled Goodison Park, with a further 14,000 reportedly turned away, to watch the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies beat St Helens 4-0.

Related: Ji So-yun breaks Durham hearts and fires Chelsea into FA Cup last four

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» Premier League fight for top four is on – just don’t mention the b-word

Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea can all still win a European trophy but, if they don’t, have just eight games each to try to secure a Champions League place

It is hard to place the exact moment when “bottle” became such an overused part of football’s lingua franca but nowadays it is hard to get through a weekend without several cases. You do not have to delve deep to find someone suggesting Chelsea bottled it at Goodison Park or Liverpool had the bottle to push themselves to a handy three points at Fulham.

Related: As Solskjær soars, how many extra points does a manager really add? | Sean Ingle

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» Oh. My. God. Messi, a hat-trick and a stadium left in suspended animation

The Barça forward was applauded by both sets of fans at Betis – not for scoring three times, but because of how he scored

“Truth is, I don’t remember anything like this,” Lionel Messi said but nor do they and their reaction said more than words, long abandoned as inadequate. There were five minutes left of a perfect performance when he took the shot that transfixed them and then turned them. Not so much hit first time as coaxed, the ball rose softly and curved gently, granting them time to take it in, inviting them to halt everything and watch it orbiting alone, so they did. Only Betis goalkeeper Pau López moved, seeing it float by, just there but just out of reach, everything unfolding like a slow-motion replay from an arty TV director. Only this was live. The ball caressed the bar, landed in the net, and there was a collective intake of breath. And then, instead of a roar, an “oh”.

Oh. My. God.

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» Callum Hudson-Odoi called into England squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers

• Chelsea winger makes step up to senior level
• 18-year-old has yet to start in the Premier League

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been promoted to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro despite the Chelsea winger having yet to start a Premier League game.

The 18-year-old, who has played only 119 minutes of top-flight football, becomes the second member of England’s successful Under-17 World Cup side to make the step up to senior level. He had been due to make his debut for Aidy Boothroyd’s under-21s in the games against Poland and Germany. Instead, shortly after arriving at the juniors’ camp in Bristol, he was drafted into a senior set-up denied a quartet of players through injury and duly travelled to St George’s Park afternoon.

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» David Ospina discharged from hospital after collapsing during Napoli match

• Arsenal loanee given all clear after sustaining a head injury
• Keeper will not be joining Colombia in international break

The Arsenal loanee David Ospina has been discharged from hospital and given the all clear after collapsing midway through Napoli’s Serie A match against Udinese on Sunday.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper, on loan at the Italian club from Arsenal, fell to the turf two minutes before half-time, having suffered an earlier head injury in a clash with Udinese’s Ignacio Pussetto.

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» Football transfer rumours: Mané out, Varane in at Liverpool?

Today’s rumours spent way too long there

In a development in no way intended to cram as many big names as possible into a headline, news outlets are reporting that David Beckham would quite like to sign Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for his new MLS franchise.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid are also plotting a revamp that will tick all search engine optimisation boxes. Zinedine Zidane has decided to eschew Neymar and go for at least one of Eden Hazard, Christian Eriksen and Sadio Mané. With Chelsea facing a transfer ban and therefore reluctant to sell even if that means losing Hazard for nothing next year, and Madrid not keen on facing Daniel Levy, the Spanish club reckon Mané is the most gettable of the trio.

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» City's Cup comeback, Liverpool on top and Zidane's return – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Barney Ronay discuss Swansea’s brave defeat, convenient paths for Manchester City, Liverpool going top, Chelsea slipping up, Zidane back with a bang and more

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We look back at the weekend of football just gone, starting with the FA Cup and Manchester City’s 3-2 comeback win at Swansea.

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» Germany’s learning visits offer measure of Dan Ashworth’s England legacy

• Former FA technical director proud of St George’s Park success
• Dual-nationality players must feel welcome, Ashworth says

Dan Ashworth has pointed to the establishment of St George’s Park as an elite hub for English football as his greatest legacy from his time as the Football Association’s technical director, with representatives of the German national setup having visited to learn from its success.

St George’s Park opened in 2012 and the £105m facility is home to England’s 28 national teams, who train on the 13 outdoor pitches or indoor 3G surface. Ashworth joined the following year and played a significant role in establishing the site outside Burton-on-Trent as the home of the FA’s national coach education programme, as well as a Fifa-recognised centre of medical excellence.

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» Chattanooga FC: the US club with 2,000 owners around the world

The Tennessee club sold more than $500,000 in shares in a month. They believe they have tapped into a market for fans who want a stake in their team

Stefan Szymanski is a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, the author of the much-lauded Soccernomics, and a supporter of Detroit City FC of the semi-pro National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). So why has Szymanski, who moved to the United States from Britain eight years ago, invested in an NPSL rival, Chattanooga FC?

The answer lies in shares. Szymanski bought two in the club, at $125 each, so he will be far from a majority owner; in fact, he already has has more than 2,000 partners from 44 US states and 10 countries around the world. Chattanooga FC said they sold more than $500,000 in shares in a month, after they became the first American sports team to sell limited public stock since securities reform laws were passed in 2016.

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» FA Cup and Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend

Ross Barkley’s difficult return, VAR inconsistency in the FA Cup, Nuno Espírito Santo impresses and James Maddison’s class

Ross Barkley would have known what kind of reception awaited him at Goodison Park: the type rained down on previous Everton escapees such as Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott. Goodison might not be much longer for this world, with the latest suggestion being a new stadium for 2023, but for now it retains old‑fashioned menace to those who have transgressed the Evertonian code. Barkley’s crime among the faithful is to have left Goodison on a cut-price transfer to Chelsea in the January transfer window of last year after running down his contract. As he left the field after being substituted in the 65th minute, he responded to the hail of jeers by applauding all sides of the stadium. To Barkley’s credit, he has made himself a regular under Maurizio Sarri but like so many other Chelsea players at Goodison – and this season – he is wasted by the Neapolitan’s rigid thinking. John Brewin

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» Football’s name-changing fetish shows the game’s infected with greed | Anthony Clavane

Renaming White Hart Lane station as Tottenham Hotspur is a blow to loyal fans and the neighbourhood’s history

What’s in a name? Everything, if you’re a football fan. The sport has always been driven by finance, but the post-1992 fetish for name-changing has taken commercialisation to a whole new level. And it’s spilling into our public spaces.

History, tradition and community are all high on the list of the reasons why long-suffering supporters stay loyal to their teams. It is fashionable to caricature those who campaign against the corporate rebranding of their clubs as traditionalist dinosaurs. But in an era when local neighbourhoods have become fractured, clinging to the original name of your team, stadium and even local railway station has become one of the few remaining signifiers of community spirit.

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» Cristiano Ronaldo charged with improper conduct for Atlético celebration
  • Juventus player made similar gesture to Diego Simeone
  • Atlético coach was fined for incident but escaped a ban

The Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is facing disciplinary action for his celebration after one of the three goals he scored in last week’s 3-0 win over Atlético Madrid in the Champions League.

Uefa said the Portuguese would face a hearing on Thursday for “improper conduct” during the last-16 second leg match, where Juventus completed a 3-2 aggregate win.

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» Ji So-yun breaks Durham hearts and fires Chelsea into FA Cup last four

• Durham 0-1 Chelsea
• South Korean’s first-half strike sends champions through

Lee Sanders said his Durham side are “ready for that next step” up into the Women’s Super League, after a battling 1-0 defeat against last season’s double winners Chelsea in their FA Cup quarter-final.

“We keep on putting in these performances against big teams and I think that’s where we deserve to be,” Sanders said. “We’ve been in this league [the Championship] long enough. You look at the team that Chelsea turned out, they didn’t take us lightly and that was the biggest mark of respect for the club and the players. The players want to be playing against, and testing themselves against, the best.”

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» Chelsea complain to Uefa over racist abuse of Hudson-Odoi in Kyiv
• Winger alleges monkey chants during Europa League game
• Uefa expected to open formal investigation of abuse report

Chelsea have lodged a complaint with Uefa after Callum Hudson-Odoi was allegedly subjected to racist abuse late on in their Europa League victory at Dynamo Kyiv last week.

The 18-year-old winger, who started at the Olympic Stadium and scored the visitors’ fifth goal, was apparently on the receiving end of monkey chants close to the final whistle. The incident is understood to have taken place at the end of the ground Chelsea were attacking in the second half, with Hudson-Odoi having made his captain, the substitute César Azpilicueta, aware of what he had heard.

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» Panathinaikos v Olympiakos abandoned amid violence and tear gas
  • Home fans clash with Athens police, attack rivals’ bench
  • Referee stops plays then calls off game half an hour later

The derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos was abandoned on Sunday after Panathinaikos fans clashed with police in Athens outside their Olympic Stadium and attempted to attack the Olympiakos bench.

With teargas heavily used as police tried to get back control, the referee Marco Fritz of Germany stopped play after 70 minutes. He called off the game for good half an hour later with Olympiakos leading 1-0, saying the stadium had not been made sufficiently safe with lingering teargas forcing Panathinaikos fans close to the field.

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» Jürgen Klopp praises Liverpool for ‘sensational result’ against Fulham
• Manager says: ‘We had a very intense week’
• After Fulham equaliser, ‘I didn’t see us panic’

Jürgen Klopp praised his players’ reaction to shipping an unlikely equaliser at Fulham and welcomed a “sensational result” as Liverpool rallied late to move two points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Related: Liverpool go back to the top with Milner’s late penalty at Fulham

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» London railway station to be renamed Tottenham Hotspur

Mayor says change must be subject to public consultation but club appears to be telling partners decision is made

The railway station near Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is to be renamed after the club lobbied the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and his transport office, who had insisted that the club should pay more than £14.7m for the privilege.

The north London Premier League club first approached Transport for London (TfL) more than two years ago wanting to change the name of White Hart Lane station to Tottenham Hotspur.

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» As Solskjær soars, how many extra points does a manager really add? | Sean Ingle

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United return has prompted debate about the qualities of former players as managers – and German academics may have an answer

Just how exceptional a manager is Ole Gunnar Solskjær? For all the praise lavished on the likeable Norwegian, I remain glued to the fence. Don’t get me wrong. He’s clearly doing well. It’s just that it is fiendishly tricky to separate the upturn in Manchester United’s mood and form since he took over – as reflected by that spectacular feat of alchemy in Paris – with the obvious fact that any club with that much money and world-class players should be winning most of their matches.

Related: Nurture and nature the keynotes as Solskjær displays complete knowhow | Barney Ronay

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» Inter take the Milan derby spoils and leap over rivals in Serie A standings | Paolo Bandini

Defeat was hardly catastrophic for Milan, but they have failed to beat Inter now in any of their last six Serie A meetings

The choreography produced by Milan’s Ultras for Sunday’s derby had been months in the making. As kick-off approached, a colossal depiction of Hellboy was unveiled: stretching from the top of the second tier in San Siro’s Curva Sud all the way down to ground level. The demon crashed his fist on to a pile of skulls, interwoven with an Inter scarf. “Send them to Hell,” read the accompanying slogan.

The banner left on display in the same section at full-time cannot have taken quite so long to prepare: a single word spelled out in letters as tall as your average fan. All it said was: “Shits.”

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» FIFA Foundation Community Programme – in pictures

Star striker Samuel Eto’o represented the UNHCR Sport and Cooperation Network in Cameroon to coach child refugees from neighbouring Central African Republic, part-funded by the Fifa Foundation

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» Ligue 1 blows chance to rid itself of 'farmers league' jibe

For the first time since 2011, not a single French club will appear in either the Europa League or Champions League last eight

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It was not supposed to happen like this for Ligue 1, not with the way things looked a fortnight ago. PSG’s Champions League exit was perhaps down more to controversial circumstances and individual errors than the eliminations of Lyon and Rennes. However, despite the latter two sides having been given little chance in their ties against Barcelona and Arsenal, both entered the return legs in enviable positions, especially given the gulf in resources and reputation between them and their opponents. What followed for the two sides, however, was a pair of abject displays that will do little to dispel the “farmers’ league” trope that has been a millstone around the neck of Ligue 1 in the recent past.

Lyon, after all, had been arguably the surprise package of the Champions League group stage, being one of only two sides to finish unbeaten, and recording two near-unbelievable results against Manchester City. In the first leg, they had ridden their luck (and a poor outing from Luis Suárez) but had their chances in a goalless draw, not only keeping themselves in the tie but also denying the La Liga leaders an away goal.

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» A patch of blue emerges through the grey skies over Goodison Park | Jonathan Wilson

Marco Silva talked up victory over Chelsea but it will take more than that to suggest Everton are improving

Above the Bullens Road Stand a tear appeared in the clouds and behind there shone, well, not a sun-kissed future exactly but at least a bluer shade of grey. Everton had a second goal and, with it, a first win in 26 months against a top-six side. And that, at least, is something.

Related: Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson strike as Everton overcome Chelsea

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» Violence and teargas forces Panathinaikos v Olympiakos derby to be abandoned – video

Panathinaikos' match at home to Olympiakos was abandoned on Sunday after fans were seen attacking players on the visiting team's bench and clashing with police outside their Olympic Stadium.

The violence began four minutes after the Athens derby kicked off and the match was stopped for about eight minutes. The unrest erupted again after Olympiakos scored the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute.

Teargas was seen wafting onto the pitch - affecting players and fans. 

The referee abandoned the match in the 70th minute and Olympiakos were awarded the victory. Panathinaikos face a possible points deduction and a fine.

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» 'Nothing is decided': Jürgen Klopp praises Liverpool's nervy win at Fulham – video

Jûrgen Klopp has said Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Fulham was ‘an average game, sensational result.’ The Reds needed a James Milner penalty to beat the London club, who remain in 19th place in the table.

Klopp’s side lead the Premier League table heading into the international break after moving two points clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

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» Maurizio Sarri accuses his Chelsea players of 'mental block' at Everton – video

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has blamed 'a mental block' for his side's 2-0 loss at Everton following a fine first-half display. 

The defeat has dented the Blues hopes of finishing in the top four, but Sarri has insisted that 'it is not impossible' to achieve the feat in their remaining eight matches

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» 'I feel at home here': Zidane on first match back as Real Madrid coach – video

Gareth Bale and Isco both scored against Celta Vigo to give Zinedine Zidane a 2-0 victory  on his return to Real Madrid. Following the match, an overall 'happy' Zidane said 'It’s an important result, even if the first part of the match we didn’t do well'

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» The Adidas Predator at 25: the football boot that changed all boots

It’s been 25 years since the creation of one of the most iconic boots in football. The Adidas Predator became instantly recognisable due to its unique design and fearless advertising. A design made by former Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston, who decided to stick the outside of a table tennis bat to the top of the shoe. After countless rejections Adidas took a chance on the shoe. Since then, with many new designs and improvements along the way, it has become a figurehead in football boot design.

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» Maradona's boyhood club reveal giant inflatable tunnel tribute at 'El Diego Stadium' – video

Argentinos Juniors have paid homage to their most famous son with an eye-catching tribute – an enormous inflatable tunnel in Diego Maradona's image. Players entered the field through it at El Diego Stadium in their league match against Vélez Sarsfield on Monday, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Maradona scored 116 goals in 167 appearances for the club from 1976-1981.

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» Daring to try – and daring to fail – gives Werder Bremen cause for optimism | Andy Brassell

A stylish victory over Bayer Leverkusen has confirmed that Florian Kohfeldt has given Werder’s fans reason to dream

It was the sort of result that, when it happened, appeared to be a curio but as time has gone past, it looks more and more like a season turning point. When Bayer Leverkusen visited Werder Bremen in late October they were on little more than a hiding-to-nothing. Mired in lower-mid-table and led by an unpopular coach, they were facing a side on the crest of a wave – and one who could, with a victory, have finished the weekend in second place in the Bundesliga.

It didn’t turn out like that. In a rarity amid an uninspired first half of the season under Heiko Herrlich, Leverkusen fired and then some. The 6-2 victory didn’t turn out to be the launchpad for Herrlich to draw the best from his talented team on a regular basis, as a quick glance at Peter Bosz on the Leverkusen bench now will tell you. It was the moment, however, where the air was let out of Werder’s tyres. They won just one more game – against then-struggling Fortuna Düsseldorf – before mid-January.

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» No expense spared with Matildas to replicate Socceroos' pre-World Cup camp
  • Australia to gear up for France at plush resort
  • Ten-day training camp in Turkey scheduled for May

The Matildas have been afforded the same level of investment as their male counterparts in preparation for this year’s Women’s World Cup with confirmation the squad will travel to Football Federation Australia’s preferred training base in Turkey ahead of their campaign in France.

The tried-and-tested Gloria Serenity Resort in Belek, just east of Antalya, was used by Bert van Marwijk’s Socceroos before last year’s men’s World Cup in Russia, and during Graham Arnold’s time in charge before that.

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» Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona: La Liga - as it happened

Four awesome goals - three from Lionel Messi and one from Luis Suarez - gave Barcelona an easy victory despite being outpassed by Betis

Messi’s hat-trick, Inter’s win in the Milan derby and Juventus’ first league loss of the season is all covered in our European round-up

Related: European roundup: Genoa condemn Juventus to first Serie A defeat of season

We’ll have a match report to follow, but that’s it for tonight’s blog. By hook or by crook, by fair means or foul, make sure you find a way to watch the goals from this game. All of them were utterly barbaric. Thanks for your company, goodnight.

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» Behind the football: the uncertain role and influence of agents in the A-League | Richard Parkin

It is an under-scrutinised aspect of the Australian game, especially in the salary-capped A-League where almost two-thirds of players every season jostle for new deals. Richard Parkin delves into the world of agents, brokers and intermediaries

Less than two months before the A-League regular season concludes, it’s a time of great anxiety for many within Australian football. Fans check their phones nervously to see results elsewhere as clubs compete for a finals berth, to host a home final, or to win the premiership itself. Players – as many as two-thirds of whom according to the PFA’s most recent annual report could be off-contract come 1 June – fight to be re-signed by their clubs or to put themselves in the shop window with a run of solid late-season performances.

Clubs, especially those out of finals reckoning, urgently look to refresh playing rosters for next season, competing among themselves from the limited pool of established Australian professional players. And liaising furiously between both players and clubs are the agents, or intermediaries, who know that this is the time of year when anxiety provides opportunities and good money is there to be made.

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» Frank de Boer struggles early in MLS as Pity and Atlanta United fail to fire

The Five Stripes won the title in just their second season. But after the departure of two key figures they have struggled to find a new identity

Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez was welcomed to the US with a song. As he stepped off the team bus, Atlanta United supporters chanted: “Él Pity Martínez, que loco que esta,echoing fans in Madrid months earlier where Pity sealed the Copa Libertadores for River Plate.

It was a fitting welcome for the Argentinian who, until then, shared only a single quality with the club he signed for: a brief but bright history. The chants showed fans’ expectations were high. But at the start of this season, neither Atlanta nor their new star have lived up to expectations. Reality is setting in.

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» Landon Donovan's eccentric career: 'I try not to just accept everything society says'

As he stages another comeback from retirement, one of US soccer’s finest ever players reflects on money, fame and why he chose America over Europe

As the lights swirled in the darkness of an aging San Diego arena three weekend ago, a figure stepped through the “O” of a giant inflatable “Sockers” sign. On the other side of the fog machines, the spotlight found him: it was Landon Donovan, now 37 years of age, and still American men soccer’s only true household name.

Even before he stepped out of retirement here for the third time (following a brief reunion in 2016 with the LA Galaxy and a half-season at Mexico’s Club Leon in 2018), the fact that Donovan would join the Sockers – for a reported $250,000 for the remaining half of the Major Arena Soccer League season – seemed odd. The San Diego Sockers? The indoor soccer team? For a player with 157 international caps, this quirky subgenre of the sport, with its $2 Bud Light nights, its frenetic play and its games in places like Turlock, California and Hidalgo, Texas, seems like unfamiliar territory. But in the context of Donovan’s eclectic career it is of a piece with all his other moves that American soccer fans have debated for the past 20 years.

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» Angry Bayern let it all out and nudge Dortmund off their throne | Andy Brassell

Stung by Joachim Löw’s retiring of three of their Germany players, Bayern responded with a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg

“Anger is an energy,” John Lydon famously sang on Public Image Limited’s ‘Rise’. The line has had a fair airing in the past week, used in attempts to sum up the on-stage essence of Keith Flint after The Prodigy frontman’s untimely passing. Flint himself frequently laughed off the perception that he was an angry man but this weekend, Bayern Munich took the phrase and showed themselves to be more than happy to embody it.

By the time the clock ticked 17.21 in the Allianz Arena on Saturday afternoon, as an overwhelmed Wolfsburg team stood dazed on the turf having taken a thrashing that could easily have been worse, it was tricky to work out which scenario should have been the most obvious to us two hours beforehand. That Wolfsburg, who had never won in 21 previous visits to Bayern, were never going to change that? That Bayern’s relentless pace of late, seemingly reaching a familiar crescendo as they entered this match with 11 wins from their last 12 in the Bundesliga, showed no sign of faltering? Or that having been piqued by the treatment of Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller from Germany national team coach Joachim Löw during the week, that Bayern would react with extreme prejudice.

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» It is Max Gradel’s world and Toulouse are living in it … dangerously

The Ivorian has been sensational since returning to Ligue 1 from the Premier League and losing him would be disastrous

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

With modern football characterised by intensity and collective ideals, for a team to be completely dominated by one player is rare. But few clubs across European football are as dependent on one man as Toulouse are on Max Gradel. After years of scrapping a Ligue 1 existence via miraculous escapes and relegation play-offs, the potential loss of the Ivorian this summer could signal disaster at the Stade Municipal.

Talismanic status is not new for Gradel. Before a misadventure with Bournemouth, his time at Saint-Étienne under Christophe Galtier, now coaching Lille, focused on one thing: qualifying for the Champions League. Ligue 1’s most successful ever club, Saint-Étienne are a proud and historic outfit with a raucous fan base, but forays into Europe’s premier club competition have been rare of late. With Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and others gone, Gradel became the epicentre of Les Verts’ hopes.

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» Real Madrid’s reign is over: now is the time to salute, not mock them | Barney Ronay

The humiliation by Ajax led to much mirth at Madrid’s expense but four Champions League crowns in five years is a period of dominance that history will look upon kindly

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. I’ve been around for … well, quite a long time as it happens, most notably as champions of Europe for the last thousand days, an era of oddly room-temperature dominance that has now come to an end.

The period of public mourning has been notably brief. Instead Real Madrid’s ejection from the Champions League on Tuesday night was greeted not by tributes and tears, but with a chorus of crowing delight. Sympathy for the devil’s Meringues? There’s not much of it around right now.

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» David Squires on … Zidane's Real return and football's tidal wave of opinions

Our cartoonist on the Bernabéu’s dark puppetmaster, David de Gea’s inner monologue and fans acting up everywhere

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» Vivianne Miedema: ‘There’s a big difference playing with boys and with girls’

Arsenal’s striker on a sporting childhood, Netherlands’ World Cup hopes and why her club deserve to win the WSL

Arsenal, decimated by injuries that have left a stellar seven-a-side team in the stands lately, are struggling to maintain their early-season swagger. League wins have become less convincing and defeats by Chelsea and Manchester City in the FA Cup and Continental Cup respectively have seen their momentum stalled.

With the side now two points behind the leaders, Manchester City, though with a crucial two games in hand, the pressure is on the league’s top scorer, Vivianne Miedema, to shoulder the burden and help force her team over the finish line.

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» PSG demise a lesson in the corrupting effect of money and arrogance | Jonathan Wilson

It was a great week for the puckish charms of football and its ability to confound hubris

Football still, it turns out, has the power to fight back. Money is a lot of things but it isn’t quite everything, not yet.

Although before we get carried away, it should be acknowledged that it really is a lot of things, most things even, almost everything. The leagues of Italy and France are a walkover yet again. Spain and Germany will probably have very familiar champions. So distorted has the modern view become that not only are Ajax, grandees of the Dutch game, transformed into plucky giant-killers, but somehow Manchester United can be cast as improbable outsiders. It was a great week for the puckish charms of football and its ability to confound hubris but nobody should kid themselves: it’s losing the war against greed.

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» The Fiver | No end of romance and magic despite the best attempts of its organisers

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And then there were four. Since it kicked off last August, 732 teams have been knocked out of the FA Cup. Fakenham Town and Camberley Town were the first to exit, going out to Thetford Town and Ascot United, respectively, on the first night of extra preliminary round action. Most recently, Millwall went out in a manner that was so unbelievably gutting it achieved what many thought unthinkable by making them feel something approaching sympathy for Millwall. The lowliest team left in this year’s competition going into the quarter-finals, the Championship strugglers contrived to blow an apparently unblowable two-goal lead against Brighton with just two minutes of added time remaining before eventually going out on penalties.

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» Football transfer rumours: Everton's Richarlison heading for Milan?

Today’s tell-all is full of vim and vigour

Still buzzing after his goal against Chelsea on Sunday, Everton winger Richarlison will wake up to talk linking him with a summer move to Milan. When he left Watford last summer, the Brazilian’s transfer fee of £40m prompted no end of raised eyebrows and the suggestion that Everton will only listen to offers in the region of £60m for a player who hasn’t pulled up too many trees since his arrival is likely to be the source of similar surprise.

Related: FA Cup and Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend

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» The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League and FA Cup photos

Your weekend roundup of the best photography from the FA Cup and Premier League

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» Six Nations deciders, the Rocket's 1,000 centuries and penalty woe | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also includes a cheeky Carlisle goal, horses racing all over the place and some heavily accented lip-reading

1) Will Warren Gatland end his Six Nations sojourn with Wales as he began it, with a grand slam? Ireland stand in their way on Saturday, as they did when they visited Cardiff in 2005, when Wales memorably clinched a first title for 12 years. The whole game is here, if you’ve got the time. Wales beat Ireland at the 2011 World Cup too, but Ireland came out on top in 2018, en route to their own slam – and what a classic it was. Should Ireland prevail again this year it would pave the way for England to take the title by beating Scotland, something they achieved when they won the concluding matches in 1980 and at Twickenham in 1995.

2) Best you go your way and I’ll go mine: racing goes seriously freeform with horses peeling off in all directions at this race in France.

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» Which football players have also turned their hands to art? | The Knowledge

Plus: people changing their name for football; real-life football on the big screen (2); and did they ever use a real hat for the FA Cup draw? Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida played in goal for Real Sociedad, and former Chelsea keeper Petar Barota was an abstract artist. Have any other players had artistic tendencies?” tweets UrbanGriller.

“Surely one of the most unusually named players in Port Vale’s long history is ceramic designer Lucien Boullemier,” writes Rob Fielding. “The son of French ceramic artist Antonin Boullemir, he originally moved to the Potteries to, well, work in the Potteries! He was signed by Stoke City before joining Port Vale in 1897, but retired in 1903 to move to the US. He resumed playing in the States, turning out for Philadelphia Hibernian. He returned to the UK in 1905 and had spells with Northampton Town and a return to Port Vale. Back in the Potteries he produced a range called Boumier Ware, which is highly sought after.”

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» Football League: Blackpool fans return to celebrate dramatic equaliser
  • Sheffield United keep pace as West Brom, Middlesbrough falter
  • Sunderland snatch late leveller during chaos at Wycombe

The race for automatic promotion thinned out after both Middlesbrough and West Brom dropped points on the top three.

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» Sports quiz of the week: laughter, LeBron, L'Equipe and F1 fastest laps

Who ‘felt flat’ after a big win? Who prepared in style? Who had a dig at Watford?

'I looked over at him a few times and that made me laugh a little' – who said this during the week, and who were they talking about?

Mike Phelan about Neymar

Hatem Ben Arfa about Unai Emery

Kepa Arrizabalaga about Maurizio Sarri

Daniele de Rossi about Eusebio di Francesco

Nick Kyrgios won his first ATP Tour trophy for over a year in Acapulco on Sunday, but how did he prepare for the final?

Getting advice from his friend Andy Murray over the phone

Sitting in a sauna to prepare for extreme heat on court

Spending the afternoon on a jetski

Watching opponent Alexander Zverev's train from under a sombrero

Who was accused of exaggerating the toughness of his upbringing this week?

Anthony Joshua

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Owen Farrell

Dan Evans

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann built up a big lead in a race on Sunday, but finished 74th. What went wrong?

She suffered multiple punctures and had to jog the last half-mile

She caught up the men's race ahead of her and was held up by officials

She had been going the wrong way and had to turn around

She had to stop for an extended comfort break

LeBron James overtook his idol, Michael Jordan, to become the NBA's fourth-highest points scorer of all time. Who is top of the list?

Kobe Bryant

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Shaquille O'Neal

Karl Malone

Who joined an exclusive club by earning 10/10 from L'Equipe in midweek?

Romelu Lukaku

Hakim Ziyech

Dusan Tadic

Iker Casillas

France head to Dublin in the Six Nations on Sunday, and have a poor recent away record in the competition. Where did they last win a game in Britain or Ireland?

Murrayfield

Croke Park

Etihad Stadium

Stadium:mk

'I feel a bit flat to be honest with you' – who said this after a landmark win this week?

Harry Kane

Virat Kohli

Phil Neville

Nick Kyrgios

Harry Kane will face Southampton on Saturday having scored seven goals in eight Premier League games against them. Who was Kane playing for when he first faced the Saints?

Norwich

Spurs

Millwall

Leyton Orient

Formula One returns next weekend, with the organisers set to introduce what prize for the fastest lap in each race?

A two-place boost up the grid in the next race

A gold helmet to wear in the next race

A bonus point that counts towards the overall standings

£250,000 in cash

8 and above.

Outstanding. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

0 and above.

Unlucky. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

3 and above.

A fair effort. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

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» Golden Goal: Steve McManaman for Liverpool v Celtic (1997)

The midfielder was the Merseyside club’s most consistent attacking threat for a decade and dazzled in Glasgow

If there is a phrase that sums up Steve McManaman’s time at Real Madrid, a four-year spell in which the Spanish club won La Liga and the Champions League twice apiece, it was perhaps the one delivered by an unlikely source. “El socio del todos” – “a partner to everyone on the pitch”– is how Johan Cruyff described the Merseyside-born Madridista, and he meant it neither sarcastically nor begrudgingly.

Cruyff’s assessment was instead genuine and warm-hearted, underlining the understated yet important role the midfielder played in Madrid’s success at the start of the millennium, linking defence to Galácticos attack. This was the era of Raúl, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and the original Ronaldo, and McManaman’s role was to give them the ball as often as possible.

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» Champions League quarter-finals: tie-by-tie analysis and verdict
We run the rule over the matches, including Manchester United’s duel with Barcelona, and predict who will triumph

A great opportunity for Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo to take a step closer to the only title that really matters to the club now that they have won seven straight scudetti and are on their way to an eighth.

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» Son Heung-min: ‘My father says I shouldn’t marry until I retire and I agree’
The Spurs forward describes four-hour keepy-uppy sessions as a child and reveals why the desire to repay his family is so strong

The way Son Heung-min tells it, he was 10 years old and squabbling with his older brother, Heung-yun. Then something happened that has stayed with him.

The Tottenham forward’s father, Son Woong-jung, was a former professional footballer who made it to a good level in South Korea, and he had begun to coach his boys, making it his mission to guide them to the top, avoiding the pitfalls he encountered. On this occasion, he saw red and, to borrow the word Son uses, decided to impose a forfeit.

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» Toni Duggan: ‘England are good enough to win the World Cup’

In an exclusive interview, the Barcelona forward talks about the tournament and her responsibility for the next generation

‘When I look back to being a 10-year-old girl I never could have dreamt of having this pathway. I feel very fortunate and proud, but I know I have to be part of creating new opportunities for the youth coming through.”

Toni Duggan is not alone in feeling the need to not only ensure there is a ladder behind her but also to give younger players a leg-up on to it. It is a common theme when you talk to female footballers – an instinctive solidarity alongside respect and admiration for those who paved the way for them.

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» Fernando Ricksen: ‘I like living too much, I’m not ready to go’
The former Rangers and Netherlands player has motor neurone disease. We spend time with him and his wife and find anger, sadness and humour

At St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie, about eight miles outside Glasgow, Fernando Ricksen is beginning to show the first signs of tiredness after answering questions with his eyes for more than an hour. As an emotional and deeply moving interview draws to a close, Ricksen is asked whether there is anything else he would like to mention in this article. After a short pause while his eyes scroll across the screen to select the words that his voice-computer reads aloud once the sentence is complete, Ricksen adds: “My wife, so that I get some points!”

There is the hint of a smile on Ricksen’s face and a sparkle in his eyes as the room is filled with laughter. The 42-year-old has clearly not lost his sense of humour, which seems remarkable in the circumstances, bearing in mind that he is in the final stages of a cruel, degenerative and terminal illness.

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» Tottenham Hotspur station is a bad idea | Brief letters
White Hart Lane | A hug that said it all | Car-free rambles | Solar power | Breakup songs | Brexit Brel

I’m a long-term Tottenham resident and lifelong Spurs fan living just a few minutes’ walk from the stadium. There is no need to waste public money on renaming White Hart Lane rail station as Tottenham Hotspur (Report, 18 March). Spurs are known for playing at “The Lane”. The effort by the current owners of Spurs to get the name changed is another attempt by corporate interests to makeover and rebrand Tottenham. It is a vibrant multicultural working-class area with a strong sense of community. Neoliberalism can’t stand that.
Keith Flett
Tottenham, London

• The heart-warming photograph (Front page, 18 March) of Jacinda Ardern hugging a worshipper at a Wellington mosque made me wonder how our own prime minister, Theresa May, would have responded to such a tragic event as the Christchurch killings. Then I remembered the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, and I got my answer.
John R Gill
Heswall, Wirral

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