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This is a free service to help you find a football team in your local area. We cover football for toddlers, junior football, youth football, kids football, football for children, football for teenagers, boys football, girls football, disability, adult and veteran football teams.

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You can find a football team here for U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U18, U19, U21, Adult and Veterans.

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Football News

» Chelsea 'among FIVE Premier League clubs facing transfer ban'
The Blues are reportedly one of five clubs under investigation by FIFA over signing young foreign players
» Marko Arnautovic on Chelsea's radar according to West Ham striker's agent
The Austrian international is arguably the most important player at the London Stadium, but has claimed he wants to test himself in the Champions League
» Luther Blissett reflects with 'overwhelming' pride on becoming England's first black goal scorer
The Watford legend scored a hat-trick against Luxembourg at Wembley in December 1982 to make history
» Arsene Wenger rejected Fulham before Claudio Ranieri appointment
The Frenchman decided to turn down the Premier League strugglers as they looked to replace Slavisa Jokanovic
» Wayne Rooney WILL wear No10 in England farewell game — thanks to player power
England boss Gareth Southgate reveals skipper Harry Kane told him the squad wanted predecessor to have his old number
» "Sky's the limit" for Jadon Sancho says Dortmund pal before their England-US duel
England starlet Sancho and USA poster-boy Christian Pulisic could go from club team-mates to Wembley rivals on Thursday
» Gareth Southgate spells out why Wayne Rooney DOES deserve England farewell game
Boss Southgate ranks record-scorer Rooney in a class of just three for greatest England team-mates of his own career
» England rookie Callum Wilson reveals amazing vow that kept him from Wembley
Bournemouth striker Wilson insisted first visit would be for his England debut but cracked last year feeling the chance had gone
» England trio to make debuts against USA as big guns are rested for Croatia tie
Thursday's starting XI will see two England debuts with another coming when Gareth Southgate shakes side up at half-time
» Chelsea star given green light to leave club with Man Utd ready to pounce
Jose Mourinho has worked with the 32-year-old in the past and won the 2014/15 Premier League title with the defender
» Benjamin Mendy facing spell on sidelines after undergoing knee surgery
The Manchester City defender has withdrawn from the France squad and went under the knife on Wednesday evening
» James Lawrence set for Wales debut despite NEVER having been there before
English-born Anderlecht defender Lawrence has lived abroad for 10 years but qualifies for Wales through his grandma
» Wayne Rooney opens up on Man Utd exit ahead of England return
The Red Devils' all-time top goal scorer left Old Trafford in 2017 to return to boyhood club Everton
» Arsene Wenger puts PSG chiefs under pressure with 'January 1' declaration and final demand
The former Gunners boss has insisted that he will be back in football in the New Year - either in Paris or elsewhere
» Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang blasts Gabon FA over his international absence
The Arsenal striker will not feature in his country's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mali on Saturday
» New England captain Fabian Delph is dreading passing the armband to Wayne Rooney
Manchester City midfielder Delph being rewarded for his leadership role within Gareth Southgate's squad
» N'Golo Kante emerges from Football Leaks scandal with improved reputation after tax loophole snub
The French midfielder reportedly refused to have part of his Chelsea salary paid into an offshore Jersey account
» Phil Foden set for bumper new six-year Manchester City contract
The 18-year-old has featured in 10 games so far this season in all competitions including the Manchester derby
» Ousmane Dembele transfer: Liverpool's stance on potential £85million January move
The French winger's future at Barcelona is in question and he has been linked with a move to Anfield
» Fulham sacked Slavisa Jokanovic around 36 hours after telling fans he was safe
Monday night: Fulham's chief executive backs Jokanovic to supporters. Wednesday morning: Manager is fired
» Virgil van Dijk teases Liverpool transfer for Holland teammate Matthijs de Ligt
Anfield's defensive rock says he'll be more than happy to pass on to club scouts his thoughts on the Ajax starlet
» Miracle worker Claudio Ranieri has his hands full keeping chaotic Fulham up
Ranieri is taking on a challenge as big as winning the title with 5,000-1 shots Leicester at struggling Fulham
» England should be 'applauded' for Wayne Rooney tribute, says USA boss David Sarachan
The FA have come in for criticism from some quarters for allowing Rooney to be given a farewell cap at Wembley
» Fabian Delph to captain England in Three Lions' friendly against USA
Gareth Southgate has also confirmed Wayne Rooney will wear the No.10 shirt on his 100th and final appearance
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Other sport news:

» Fifa investigating five Premier League clubs over youth transfers
• Chelsea confirm they are one of the teams under scrutiny
• The quintet risk transfer bans if found guilty

Fifa is investigating five Premier League clubs over possible violations of rules on the signing of foreign players under the age of 18 with the quintet risking transfer bans if found guilty by the governing body’s disciplinary committee.

Chelsea are one of those clubs, as reported by the Guardian in January, and the French investigative website Mediapart reported on Wednesday that Fifa’s Integrity and Compliance unit would seek to impose a two-year transfer ban to stretch across four windows, and a fine of 500,000 Swiss francs. Mediapart is one of the outlets publishing documents obtained by Football Leaks.

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» Callum Wilson ready to fulfil ‘cage’ dreams of playing for England

The Bournemouth striker missed his daughter’s birth to regain his fitness and make a childhood fantasy a reality

Callum Wilson was initially insistent. A senior international debut awaits against the United States, with the striker suggesting he would fulfil the pledge made in his youth that he would “never go to Wembley until I played for England”. But that actually needed qualifying. He had been present as a fan, cheering from the sidelines as Coventry won the Checkatrade Trophy last season. And then, of course, there were all those goals he had scored and celebrated with gusto in the national arena as a kid. Not that those feats are recorded.

To clarify, the young Wilson and his friends, some future teammates at Coventry’s academy, had named the local cages or the patch of tarmac around the garages on the estate as their ‘Wembley’. It was there he visualised what may now come to pass against the USA on Thursday night. “As a youngster, playing around with your friends, you’d always re-enact playing at Wembley, things like that,” he said. “It’d be one versus one, where you’d try and score to get through to the next round. Yeah, it was competitive, but even then I was hoping that, one day, it would happen for real.

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» Christian Pulisic open to Premier League move with Chelsea leading chase
• Borussia Dortmund forward out of contract in 2020
• ‘There is no reason why maybe one day I won’t play here’

Christian Pulisic has said he is open to moving to the Premier League, with Chelsea understood to be leading the race to sign the forward from Borussia Dortmund next summer.

The USA international is expected to face his clubmate Jadon Sancho at Wembley on Thursday having been left out of the Dortmund side that beat Bayern Munich on Saturday in favour of the 18-year-old Englishman.

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» Claudio Ranieri fastens in for Premier League homecoming at Fulham | Amy Lawrence
The new manager cannot expect to repeat the success of his Leicester days but will hope his experience helps elicit a quick reaction from the struggling west London side

Hi Claudio. Welcome back to a place you loved, and where you were loved. The Ranieri of the Premier League, regarded in different moments as a gentleman, a tinkerman, a caricature joker, a miracle worker, an expert at somehow maintaining composure when form has faltered and the axe has lurked, returns with the words “risk free” ringing around him. Ranieri has seen enough in 32 years of management across five countries to smile wryly at such notions before he gets to work.

Preconceptions have followed Ranieri around for long enough – way longer than the infamous reaction to his supposedly left-field appointment at Leicester City (and we all know how that turned out). A certain amount of optimism from the Fulham hierarchy, who chose Ranieri to follow Slavisa Jokanovic, is understandable. But there is no sense jumping to the question of whether Ranieri can recreate something resembling the phenomenon he oversaw at Leicester in his new role at Craven Cottage.

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» Furore over £5m Scudamore gift overshadows Premier League meeting
• All 20 Premier League clubs to meet in London on Thursday
• Supporters’ groups express dismay over proposed payment

Public furore over a prospective £5m golden handshake payment to Richard Scudamore has cast a shadow over his last meeting as the Premier League’s executive chairman, despite continuing uncertainty over whether the payment will be made at all.

Scudamore is set to chair his final gathering of the Premier League’s 20 clubs in London on Thursday. On the agenda are issues such as a potential cap on foreign players in the English top-flight after Brexit. Not on the agenda however is Scudamore’s parting gift, nor are there any plans to vote on it.

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» Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy has operation on injured knee

• No timescale has been given for defender’s recovery
• Mendy was sidelined for the majority of last season

Benjamin Mendy will be sidelined again for Manchester City after undergoing a knee operation on Wednesday.

The defender had surgery on his left knee in Barcelona after pulling out of the France squad, City confirmed.

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» Chelsea to let Gary Cahill leave on loan in January as a reward for his service
•Defender has hardly featured this season under Maurizio Sarri
•Cahill helped Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012

Chelsea are to reward their captain, Gary Cahill, for six years of fine service with a loan in January to secure more regular first-team football in a move which will effectively bring the curtain down on his career at Stamford Bridge.

The former England centre-half is out of contract next summer and will depart on a free, with Chelsea, who normally insist their players sign new deals before sanctioning a loan in order to protect their value, making an exception for the 32-year-old. That is a reflection of his achievements since joining from Bolton for £7m in January 2012. Cahill, capped 61 times, has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, a Champions League and a Europa League over a glittering career at the club.

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» La Liga could teach the Premier League about being competitive

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are disproving the theory that ‘anyone can beat anyone’ in the Premier League

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

There are many factors to consider when assessing what makes one league better than another, but over the years the Premier League has been held up as a competition where anyone can beat anyone. That is, of course, true of any league, but it is an increasingly ill-informed assumption when applied to England’s top flight. The notion that the Premier League is more competitive than its competitors is being put to bed this season.

There are currently six unbeaten teams in Europe’s big leagues and half of them are from England, with Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and PSG all matching the unbeaten records of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. This is the first time in the history of English football that three top-flight sides have made it through their first 12 matches of the campaign without losing. To have three unbeaten teams is unprecedented but even having two is highly unusual. This is the 27th season of the Premier League and only once before have two clubs reached this stage of the season without losing – back in 2007-08, when Arsenal and Liverpool still hadn’t lost after 12 games.

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» Football quiz: Wayne Rooney (on and off the field)

Today’s questions are back for one night only

• Sports quiz of the week: Rooney, City v United and F1

Against which team did Wayne Rooney make his Premier League debut for Everton on 17 August 2002?

Liverpool

Tottenham

Arsenal

Norwich

In which part of Liverpool did Rooney grow up?

Huyton

Toxteth

Dingle

Croxteth

Rooney scored his first England goal in a Euro 2004 qualifier against which team?

Denmark

Macedonia

Liechtenstein

Croatia

Rooney has tattoo of which Stereophonics album title?

Performance and Cocktails

Word Gets Around

You Gotta Go There to Come Back

Just Enough Education to Perform

Rooney scored a hat-trick against which team on his Manchester United debut?

Galatasaray

Besiktas

Fenerbahce

Olympiakos

What did Rooney "love writing" when he first met his future wife, Coleen?

Songs

Poems

Stories

Letters

How many Premier League titles has Rooney won?

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Rooney once said he does what the night before a game …

"I listen to an audiobook the night before a game to relax"

"I lie in bed the night before a game and visualise myself scoring goals"

"I build lego models the night before a game to switch off"

"I listen to jazz"

Which sitcom has Rooney said is his favourite TV show?

Father Ted

Only Fools and Horses

Friends

Bread

Which striker was Rooney talking about when he said: "He was the best. I was actually watching a documentary on him yesterday. It was in the massage room on the TV and it was great to see how he played. Sometimes you forget how good he was as a finisher, quick, strong, different type of goals. As an out-and-out forward he was probably the best."

Cristiano Ronaldo

Romario

Ronaldo

Alan Shearer

0 and above.

Go home, son. You're useless ...

1 and above.

You're not fit to wear the shirt ...

2 and above.

You're not even good enough to play for Accrington Stanley ...

3 and above.

You're not fit to polish Danny Cadamarteri's boots ...

4 and above.

You're the Paul Telfer of Football Quiz land ...

5 and above.

Stay off the shandy and you might one day play professionally ...

6 and above.

You're a reasonable winger but you need to work on your crossing ...

7 and above.

You could get an international call-up if you maintain this kind of form ...

8 and above.

You're so good you've got a wag and a mock Tudor house in the suburbs ...

9 and above.

You've won the league, you could star in Dallas, you've got more silver than Buckingham Palace ...

10 and above.

Maradona, Pele, Zidane. They've got nothing on you ...

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» Which football teams have worn most kit combinations in a season? | The Knowledge

Plus: huge gaps between victories in the same competition, winning the same title with multiple teams, and loose dentures. Mail knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“It appears that Fulham’s kit designer is having as bad a season as their defensive coach,” muses Richard Hilton. “Fulham have worn five different kit combinations in their first five away matches of the season (red/red; black/black; blue/blue; white/black; white/white). Is this a record?”

It turns out Fulham’s kit designer still has a little more meddling to do, Richard. Here’s Chris Oakley. “I can confirm that they have some way to go yet! I’ve been creating some illustrations for Rochdale AFC’s official matchday programme, The Voice of Spotland, which show they had seven kits during the 1997-98 season. Two of them used elements of a kit worn two seasons before.”

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» Eberechi Eze: the young playmaker with the X factor at QPR

The No 10 has captivated the crowds at Loftus Road and helped Steve McClaren’s side turn their Championship season around

At Loftus Road, there is a new No 10 in town. Eberechi Eze has a long way to go until he is mentioned in the same breath as Rodney Marsh or Stan Bowles, but there is no doubting the Queens Park Rangers playmaker’s ability to astound. A buccaneering performer, there are shades of the audacity of Adel Taarabt and the brain of Akos Buzsaky, but Eze is carving out a reputation in his own right as one of the most exciting young talents in the country.

But Eze has not had it easy. Released by Millwall in 2016 the 20-year-old struggled as a youngster, deemed too small by Arsenal before unsuccessful spells with Fulham and Reading. After convincing Chris Ramsey, the QPR technical director, Eze has not looked back since arriving at the club two years ago. He has started all 17 league games under Steve McClaren this season and has been instrumental in their recent turnaround, with QPR now two points off the play-off pack having only picked up one win from their first six Championship matches. The trio of loan signings, Tomer Hemed, Nahki Wells and Geoff Cameron have been equally influential.

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» Referee suspended over using rock, paper, scissors instead of coin toss in WSL game

• David McNamara suspended for three weeks
• Incident happened before Man City v Reading game

Referee David McNamara has been suspended for three weeks after accepting a charge of “not acting in the best interests of the game” before a Women’s Super League match in which he used a game of rock, paper, scissors instead of the traditional coin toss to decide who should kick off.

A Football Association spokesperson confirmed that McNamara will return to duty from 17 December.

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» Leicester City helicopter crash investigators focus on tail rotor

Aircraft failed to respond to pedal commands before crash, according to black box data

The helicopter that crashed outside Leicester City’s stadium, killing five people including the football club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, failed to respond to the pilot’s pedal commands in the moments before it started spinning downwards, investigators have found.

A special bulletin released by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) said the immediate focus would be on the helicopter’s tail rotor control system, which safety agencies have ordered to be checked in all similar models. Black box data showed the aircraft “yawed to the right” when the pedal should have sent it left.

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» Marko Arnautovic may leave West Ham to pursue Champions League dream

• Austrian forward wants to compete with the best players
• ‘I’m 29, so that’s the best age,’ he tells Austrian newspaper

Marko Arnautovic has admitted he is ready to leave West Ham to play in the Champions League, with the Austria forward determined to compete at the highest level possible before his career is over.

Arnautovic, who moved to east London in the summer of 2017 from Stoke for a then club record fee worth up to £25m, has been in outstanding form since being handed a more central role by former manager David Moyes last season, and scored 11 Premier League goals last term. He has continued to impress this season having already found the net five times in 10 matches despite West Ham’s early struggles under Manuel Pellegrini.

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» Football transfer rumours: Liverpool to bid £85m for Ousmane Dembélé?

Today’s fluff starts and finishes in the dark

Between injuries and alleged “issues” with his diet and time-keeping, Ousmane Dembélé has not had a particularly happy time of it at Barcelona since his £105m move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. A member of France’s World Cup-winning squad last summer, the 21-year-old winger made front page news in Spain last weekend after being benched by Ernesto Valverde for missing two training sessions without permission. Asked if the player was in danger of jeopardising his future at the club, Valverde was non-committal. “I have nothing to say,” he said. “Internal matters are internal. We want to help the players to be better.” While reports in Spain suggest Barcelona have no immediate plans to offload the winger, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp is a known admirer of his work and the Sun suggests he could test the La Liga club’s mettle with an £85m bid in January.

Related: Marko Arnautovic may leave West Ham to pursue Champions League dream

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» Dinnage will be one of most powerful women in sport as Premier League chief
• Susanna Dinnage to replace Richard Scudamore in January
• Head of Discovery’s Animal Planet will be new chief executive

The television executive Susanna Dinnage is to become one of the most powerful women in professional sport after being named Richard Scudamore’s successor at the Premier League.

Dinnage will take up her role as chief executive at the beginning of next year. She is currently the global president of Animal Planet, part of the Discovery group of TV channels. She replaces Scudamore, who will step down from his position as executive chairman after nearly 20 years in charge.

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» Wayne Rooney finally feels free to enjoy pulling on an England shirt

• Returning forward sometimes tried ‘too hard’ for England
• ‘There were times when I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should’

Wayne Rooney, almost for old time’s sake, ended up addressing pressure. This is a player who had grown used to lugging the weight of expectation during an England career that will extend to a 120th cap on Thursday night. Yet the late cameo the DC United striker enjoys against the United States on his first appearance for the national team in 734 days will be different.

For Rooney, this may be a throwback. A chance for the world to recall the tearaway who ripped into Turkey at the Stadium of Light on a first competitive start, or rampaged through all-comers so startlingly en route to the quarter-finals at Euro 2004 in Portugal. At 33, the body will inevitably lack the energy of youth. Time may have dulled some of the zest but the mind will be free. Liberated.

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» From Craig Cathcart to André Gomes: 10 underrated Premier League players

Underrated they may be but from the Premier League’s unsung heroes are quietly going about their business

Nomination for the October player of the month award (well, one of them – he made the PFA’s shortlist, but not the official Premier League-endorsed version) showed that Duffy’s sterling performances are being noticed. Since being named man of the match in the 3-2 win over Manchester United in August, the 6ft 3in centre-back has been vital to Brighton’s good form, scoring vital goals against United and Southampton and being responsible for more clearances (96) and more clearances off the line (two) than any other top-flight player. The five-year contract he signed last month was reward for his efforts.

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» David Squires on … Mourinho, Ederson and all the Manchester derby fallout

Our resident cartoonist picks over the bones of Manchester City’s 3-1 victory over their city rivals

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» Timothy Weah: can a familiar name solve USA's familiar problems?

The US are still recovering from their World Cup qualifying failure. The son of a football legend is one part of a turn towards youth from the USMNT

For years America has rolled out a production line of seemingly identical players: white kids from the suburbs, hard-working but unspectacular and destined – if they get lucky – to play for a mid-ranking Premier League club.

Timothy Weah, though, is a little different. He’s black, the son of an all-time great, has the uncynical charisma of YouTube star, is friends with Neymar, and plays for one of the best teams on the planet.

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» Premier League’s new chief right at home doing multibillion TV deals | Mark Sweney
Fulham fan Susanna Dinnage is no stranger to high-powered negotiations and will know how to package the Premier League for the digital age

Susanna Dinnage is one of the most senior female executives in British television with more than two decades’ experience. For the last 10 years she has worked at the US pay-TV giant Discovery, which owns the Eurosport brand, where she has spent the last year in the role of global president of its Animal Planet brand.

Based in the UK, Dinnage, a Fulham fan, was responsible for running Discovery UK and Ireland’s operation. The 51-year-old will not be daunted by the triennial, £5bn auction for Premier League TV rights having had experience, albeit not directly, in negotiations for crown jewel sports assets.

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» The next goal for women’s football is to help clubs balance the books | Suzanne Wrack

A first professional league has changed the women’s game but how stable are the foundations of the pyramid?

The first fully professional women’s league in the world, with a semi-professional second tier, is a huge step forward. For the first time, girls playing in playgrounds and schools, no matter the obstacles they may face, can see a pathway to a career in the game. The quality of the product is getting better and better. With Women’s Super League players not needing a job to make ends meet, technical and fitness levels are only going to continue to improve.

But how stable are the foundations of this restructured pyramid which marks a new era for the domestic game? What are the commercial prospects? And what is needed to steady the ship?

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» Wayne Rooney's record-breaking England career in numbers – video

Former England captain Wayne Rooney will bring down the curtain on his record-breaking international career with an honorary appearance against the USA on Thursday.

The 33-year-old has been invited back into the national team squad to mark his achievements as the country’s all-time leading goalscorer and as the outfield player with the most caps

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» Claudio Ranieri's journey to Fulham and back to the Premier League – video profile

Fulham have appointed Claudio Ranieri as manager in a bid to end an alarming run of form that has seen the club take five points from 12 matches this season.

Best known for leading Leicester City to their first ever Premier League title, Ranieri has been appointed as manager of 17 teams over a career spanning more than three decades. 

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» 'I'm not making any demands': Wayne Rooney on his England farewell – video

Wayne Rooney has said he hopes his England farewell could be repeated in the future for the likes of current captain Harry Kane as he shrugged off criticism about his last international appearance. 

Rooney will win his 120th and final cap on Thursday in a friendly against the United States at Wembley, a move that has sparked widespread debate since it was announced. 

England's record goalscorer said: 'I think as a country obviously we haven't done anything like this before. This is the first time and I hope that in 10 or 15 years time we're sat here for someone, say Harry Kane, who could possibly go on and get the goalscoring record and it'll be something which will happen again.'

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» José Mourinho: People who don't understand football analyse with statistics – video

Manchester United manager José Mourinho has blamed exertions for his side's 3-1 derby defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

United fought back for a 2-1 victory against the Italian champions Juventus in Turin on Wednesday while City cruised through a home game against Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0.

'Everybody has to agree - it is one thing to go to Juventus and play against one of the best teams in the world for 90 minutes and another thing to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home 6-0 and be very relaxed. We arrived in different circumstances,' said the Portuguese coach. 

But in contrast with some defeats this season, Mourinho was unwilling to criticise his team's attitude and effort, saying 'for me zero words against my players, everything is positive. I am with them and they are with me.'

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» Boca Juniors v River Plate: the fiercest rivalry in football – video

For the first time ever city rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate will meet in the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America's most prestigious club trophy. The derby, referred to as the Superclásico, is renowned for its drama, bitterness and the sheer hatred between the two Argentinian sides. The first leg ended in a 2-2 draw at La Bombonera, the home of Boca. The second leg takes place at River's home stadium El Monumental on 24 November

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» Leicester City hold tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in first home match – video

Leicester City players and fans paid an emotional tribute to the club's late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, prior to their match against Burnley. Vichai''s sons Aiyawatt and Apichet were in attendance. It was Leicester's first home game since their owner's death in a helicopter crash at the stadium

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» The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year.

Messi edges Ronaldo to No1 | The data behind our 100 | Watch: our top 10
Meet our panel of judges for 2017 | 2016 edition | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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» Gonzalo Higuaín suffers Milan meltdown as Juve push him over the edge | Paolo Bandini

Gattuso warned the striker to stay calm but a missed penalty sent the former Juve talisman spiralling towards a red card

Had Gennaro Gattuso noticed something in training, the first tremors that foretell the eruption of an emotional volcano? Milan’s match against Juventus was always going to bear extra significance for Gonzalo Higuaín, cast aside by the Bianconeri following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo this summer. Still, the words spoken by the manager at his pre-game press conference sound prescient with hindsight.

“The way he experiences matches, and the way that his character is, he needs to try to stay calm,” said Gattuso. “Lucidity is required.”

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» Real Betis's Barcelona tribute act is even better than the real thing | Sid Lowe

Before the match, Real Betis’s manager had to apologise for his admiration for Barça. After beating them, Barcelona’s players spoke of their admiration for him

In the final moments before the first half began on Sunday afternoon, Real Betis’s manager, Quique Setién, approached Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets and asked him for his shirt. He wanted to frame it, he said. Busquets nodded and smiled, so Setién thanked him and headed out towards the bench at the Camp Nou. As he went, he also had a word with Lionel Messi, whose shirt already hangs on his wall, alongside that of Luka Modric. Messi was returning to action after three weeks out with a broken arm, today of all days, and Setién sidled up to him, greeting him fondly.

“I’d have waited a bit longer, not taken any risks,” he grinned. “I couldn’t,” Messi replied; sitting out was driving him up the wall and he was desperate to play.

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» Sublime Klassiker suggests there's finally life in the Bundesliga again | Andy Brassell

Borussia Dortmund’s victory despite an impressive Bayern Munich performance shows how far they have come and how competitive the German league is this season

The 95 minutes-plus of Der Klassiker – and every extra second of the 47 over the 95, which was felt keenly by Borussia Dortmund’s coach Lucien Favre, pushed up tensely on to the edge of his technical area, waving his arms maniacally – were part of such a dizzying swirl of fluctuating momentums and emotions that it’s hard to pick a moment to distil it.

If we were going to try, though, how about 13 seconds before Paco Alcácer’s winner hit the net as Dortmund, typically for a Favre side, tore Bayern apart at the seams on the counterattack? This was the moment when Jadon Sancho – whose second-half display of incandescent talent and industry eclipsed a flat first period and fully justified his hype – dispossessed Franck Ribéry, so often the focal point of bustling energy in this fixture and rolling back the years to his irrepressible best in Bayern’s lusty first-half display.

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» Mathew Leckie: 'Anything can happen at the Asian Cup' | Robert Kidd

The Socceroo talks football philosophy, returning from injury and Asian Cup hopes

Mathew Leckie’s eyebrows rise in surprise. “Am I?” he asks. The Socceroo had not realised his eight international goals make him the joint-highest scorer, along with Tomi Juric and Tom Rogic, in the Australian squad to face South Korea this weekend. But on a bright Autumn day in Berlin, the Hertha forward tells Guardian Australia he is ready to fire – however he fits into the new-look national team.

Related: Daniel Arzani loss opens door to A-League contenders for Asian Cup

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» Caitlin Foord sparks goal rush as Matildas crush Chile
  • Australia win 5-0 in Newcastle
  • Foord hits hat-trick; Sam Kerr also on scoresheet

The Matildas are back. After falling to a shock defeat in Penrith on Saturday, a degree of order was restored on a wild night in Newcastle where four goals in 17 breathless minutes accounted for Chile at the second time of asking and ensured Alen Stajcic’s side will end the year on a winning note.

A goalless, if entertaining, first half at McDonald Jones Stadium gave way to a brief but game-defining period of carnage, sparked by Caitlin Foord in the 53rd minute, as the Matildas wreaked havoc in the Chilean defence to gain some revenge for the weekend’s 3-2 reverse in western Sydney.

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» Memphis Depay is a big club player with a small time attitude

Depay has been more effective in Ligue 1 this year than Neymar or Kylian Mbappé but his mentality is holding him back

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Memphis Depay is not often associated with the words “effective” or “consistent” but he is on a remarkable run. He scored two goals and set up two more as Lyon beat Guingamp 4-2 on Saturday, continuing his brilliant form this year. Depay has either scored or set up 29 of his club’s goals in 2018. That’s more than Kylian Mbappé and Neymar – and every other player in Ligue 1 for that matter. In fact, only Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and Luis Suárez have been more effective so far this calendar year. However, despite Depay’s newfound end product and a mooted return to Manchester United, his attitude continues to hold him back.

Depay was dropped for Lyon’s 2-1 win at Angers last month but, after coming off the bench to score the winning goal, he berated Lyon coach Bruno Génésio. “I do not always feel like I am a player who is respected,” said the Dutchman. “I do the job each time. I have to accept the decisions of the coach but I deserve more than this and I should be playing every match.”

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» USA call up Jürgen Klinsmann's son for squad to play England and Italy
  • Jonathan Klinsmann is a goalkeeper for Hertha Berlin
  • Twenty-one year-old was raised in California

Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of German World Cup winner Jürgen Klinsmann, has been added to the USA squad for their upcoming friendlies against England and Italy.

Klinsmann was born in Germany but moved with his parents to California while still an infant. His mother, Debbie, is American and his father coached the US national team between 2011 and 2016.

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» FFA chair election offers hope of imperfect compromise | Richard Parkin

AAFC’s forum laid bare an uncomfortable fact for all to see: there is no perfect candidate in this election

“This is not a game, it’s a mission.” Like a heat-seeking missile, Craig Foster’s entrance into Monday night’s community forum was as direct, as fervent and as unapologetic as the man himself. Cutting through the usual waffle of words about “consultative leadership” and the “headwinds” that were buffeting the game, the outspoken former Socceroo didn’t mince words – “it’s time to stop outsourcing our governance”, and it’s time to “build business around football, not the other way round”.

On a night in which seven of the 11 would-be directors of the first post-Lowy Football Federation Australia board outlined their credentials (with statements from a further two unable to attend in person) it’s hard not to conclude that Foster, a man who almost radiates with his fervour for football, was the headline success.

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» MLS playoffs: Atlanta United set up Conference final with New York Red Bulls
  • More than 70,000 fans see United beat New York City FC
  • Sporting KC will play Portland in Western Conference final

The fans showed their love for the coach before the game. Then Atlanta United’s players made sure Tata Martino has to stick around for at least a few more weeks.

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» Despite the superlatives, hype and awards, Lionel Messi is underrated | Sean Ingle

He may have won five Ballons d’Or since he made his debut 15 years ago this week but the Argentinian is underappreciated

In his new book, Nothing is Real, a collection of essays that stretch and soar across a career spanning five decades, the acclaimed music journalist David Hepworth starts with an essay that tickles and provokes. The Beatles, he suggests, were underrated. Yes, you read that right. Underrated.

You may have raised an eyebrow, given that barely a month goes by without the Fab Four topping some poll or other. But Hepworth maintains that “the richness of their golden period has never been equalled”, with “listeners ricocheting from one hook to another like a metal ball in one of Bally’s machines”. And he insists that for all the “garlands that posterity has placed upon their brow” their genius is underappreciated.

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» What Manchester United must do to end stagnation under José Mourinho

The latest Manchester derby provided more evidence of a gulf in class but United can bridge the divide with a squad overhaul

Manchester United face a crisis: are they prepared to accept mediocrity or will Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, allow José Mourinho a serious squad overhaul? When wages are factored in the bill for this will run to close to half a billion – as much as United are in debt via their owners, the Glazers. Here is what is required to end United’s stagnation as the one-step forward, one-step back proposition they have become.

Related: José Mourinho’s midfield dogs of war yap harmlessly at City ankles | Jonathan Wilson

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» José Mourinho’s midfield dogs of war yap harmlessly at City ankles | Jonathan Wilson

Coach deployed Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini as defensive block – but City simply skirted round it

Two contrasting philosophies, a clash of styles, possession against directness, attack against defence – all that discussion and, in the end, very little of it meant anything. Manchester City fundamentally are just better than United.

Much of the pre-match talk had surrounded whether José Mourinho would send his side out to attack, given how his own side look better chasing games and the lingering suspicion that City, impressive as their defensive record appears, can be got at if teams could get through their press. Which is fine but, as Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

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» The Fiver | A cuddly Italian dilly-dinging and dilly-donging outside Craven Cottage

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You have to admire the chutzpah of Shahid Khan. Lest we forget, it is less than a month since Fulham’s owner responded to reports that Slavisa Jokanovic was about to be led towards the door marked Do One by using the club’s programme to criticise “sensational and fictional headlines”, telling supporters not to “believe everything you read” and declaring that he was “equal parts amused, astonished and disappointed”. The biased MSM, it seemed, had been put in its place. Hooray! You tell ‘em, Shahid! There was no way that Fulham were going to sack the man who had led them back into the Premier League! Who was going to believe that rubbish? Eh? Eh? Anyone? Well? Oh. Oh, Shahid! How could you?

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» Football transfer rumours: Wigan Athletic's Nick Powell to Leipzig?

Today’s fluff has freedom of movement

Today’s Mill is jam-packed with players poised to swap the continent for Britain, and vice versa. That could all change after Brexit – with some reports suggesting Premier League sides would be restricted to just 12 (twelve!) overseas players. If it comes to pass, we can surely expect plenty of last-ditch passport applications and searches for British grandparents.

One man who could be boarding the last plane out of Luton is Aaron Ramsey. Milan have been linked with everyone from Arsène Wenger to Gunnersaurus since boardroom big cheese Ivan Gazidis rocked up at the San Siro, but with the Welsh midfielder out of contract in the summer, this could be a goer. Milan also like the look of Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini while Arsenal, who haven’t read the Brexit memo, want Lille’s Nicolas Pépé to cover for the crocked Danny Welbeck.

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

Your weekend round-up of the best photography from England’s top flight

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» David Squires on … a European Super League and other life-affirming stories

Our cartoonist on the possibility of impoverished big clubs finally stumbling upon a way to make some money

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» Which match has featured the most Ballon d'Or winners on one pitch? | The Knowledge

Plus: Glenn Murray’s ridiculous record, a straight flush of goalscorers and Freddy Eastwood, Southend legend

Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“I have a memory from an old childhood annual that Manchester United are the only team to have fielded three Ballon d’Or winners on the same pitch, back when Charlton, Law and Best were playing,” notes Dan Wardle. “Is this right? And which match featured the most winners at the same time?”

Dara O’Reilly kicks off with an excellent answer. “While Dan Wardle’s annual was probably correct at the time of going to press, I’m sure I won’t be the only person to point out that, when Michael Owen joined Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Original Ronaldo at Real Madrid in 2004, that meant the club were able to, on numerous occasions over that season, field four players who had won football’s most prestigious individual prize.

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» All square at the Emirates, young debutants and bollards – Football Weekly

Max is joined by Barry Glendenning, Gregg Bakowski and Mark Langdon to discuss Arsenal v Liverpool sharing points, James McClean, Juan Foyth and outfield players in goal

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Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Gregg Bakowski and Mark Langdon to look back at another packed weekend of football, starting with the standout fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool, which finished as square as James Milner’s jaw.

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» Golden Goal: Ronaldo for Barcelona v Compostela (1996)

Il Fenomeno’s one season at the Camp Nou brought 47 goals – one against Compostela will live long in the memory

Sometimes, you’re remembered for being close to history, rather than making it. Take SD Compostela: for most of their existence they’ve played in the Spanish regional leagues, but their four seasons in the top flight in the mid-1990s just happened to coincide with one of the greatest individual campaigns football has ever seen. Pretty much everyone outside of Spain remembers them for one moment, in a game they lost 5-1.

Ronaldo scored 47 goals in 1996-97, his only season at Barcelona, but it isn’t the numbers that make nostalgics go moist at the eye. At the most basic level, what thrilled in that season was his combination of speed and delicacy, impossible control at implausible pace, one of those rare players who appealed both viscerally and cerebrally. “I’m just a regular player – he’s on another planet,” said Juan Antonio Pizzi, the poor sod who occasionally had to deputise for him.

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» Football quiz: who are the Premier League top goalscorers by country?

Mesut Özil became the top-scoring German in Premier League history on Monday. Who else leads the way for their country?

Which Spaniard has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Cesc Fàbregas

Diego Costa

Fernando Torres

David Silva

Which Brazilian has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Roberto Firmino

Juninho

Philippe Coutinho

Willian

Which Australian has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Mark Viduka

Harry Kewell

Tim Cahill

Mile Jedinak

Which Italian has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Mario Balotelli

Fabrizio Ravanelli

Paolo Di Canio

Gianfranco Zola

Which Scot has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Charlie Adam

Duncan Ferguson

Gary McAllister

Kevin Gallacher

Which Irishman has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Niall Quinn

Roy Keane

Shane Long

Robbie Keane

Which Frenchman has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Nicolas Anelka

Eric Cantona

Olivier Giroud

Thierry Henry

Which Colombian has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Juan Pablo Ángel

Faustino Asprilla

Hugo Rodallega

Radamel Falcao

Which Swede has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sebastian Larsson

Tomas Brolin

Freddie Ljungberg

Which Ghanaian has scored most goals in the Premier League?

Michael Essien

Tony Yeboah

André Ayew

Asamoah Gyan

8 and above.

Superb

1 and above.

Oh dear.

2 and above.

Oh dear

3 and above.

Oh dear

4 and above.

Decent

5 and above.

Decent

6 and above.

A fine score

7 and above.

A fine score

9 and above.

Superb

0 and above.

Oh dear.

10 and above.

You are the Alan Shearer of football goalscoring quizzes

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» Next Generation 2018: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From Lilian Thuram’s son to Real Madrid-bound Rodrygo and the ‘Croatian Neymar’, the Guardian picks 60 of the most talented players born in 2001. Check out the progress of our 2017 class | 2016 | 2015 | 2014


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» Rock-solid John Stones shows quiet magnificence for Manchester City | Barney Ronay

The England defender, who has regularly been picked out for his mistakes in the past, often goes unnoticed when at his best

John Stones didn’t make much of an impression in the Manchester derby: didn’t register on the headline stats, wasn’t singled out in the post-match montage, didn’t come steaming across to launch a heroic goal-bound siege-tackle, or head the ball away with a conical white bandage twined around his bloodstained brow.

This is usually a good sign when it comes to Stones, a player who only ever seems to get picked out when he makes a mistake, and whose recent run of form in a reconfigured defence provides another convincing argument City may just be ready to reach down and hit a deeper gear this season.

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» A perfect cup tie: when school kids taught the league champions a lesson

Not even the FA Cup first round produces underdogs as big as the Japanese high school team who played the J League champions in the Emperor’s Cup – and took them all the way

By Will Sharp for These Football Times

Japan’s main cup competition is similar to the FA Cup, the Coppa Italia and the Copa del Rey in many ways. But one key difference is that the Emperor’s Cup encourages universities, colleges and even high school teams to compete, which is precisely how, in 2003, a team of teenage students came within inches of beating the champions of Japan.

Every club in Japan’s professional league system, the J League, is automatically granted entry to the Emperor’s Cup, where they are joined by teams that have won their regional cups. Each of these 47 regional competitions – one for every prefecture in Japan – is open to local clubs, universities and even schools. It is not uncommon for university teams to beat local semi-professional sides, but only on near-mythical occasions do high school sides vanquish all before them, win the trophy and qualify for the Emperor’s Cup. But that is how Funabashi Municipal High School began their remarkable journey in 2003.

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» FA’s novelty player clanger insults US and threatens special relationship | Marina Hyde
Expect economic sanctions and expelled diplomats once the American public wise up to what Wayne Rooney’s one-night-only appearance against USA really means

What a fascinating entry to international politics for the Football Association, who clearly anticipated the failure of a “red wave” to materialise in the US midterms and had their condemnatory response already prepared. In a move widely seen as the first salvo in a transatlantic cold war that will destroy the imaginary “special relationship”, Wayne Rooney (retired) has been called up for England’s friendly against the USA.

The decision to play Rooney can only – only! – be read as a fantastically pointed insult to the Americans, who may not have qualified for the last World Cup but against whom we are openly fielding a novelty player. You could not send a clearer message to the US, even if you made sure pitchside advertising hoardings throughout the match read ELECT SHIT GET BANGED. And in a very smart two-for-the-price-of-one, the FA also contrived to insult the Nations League, given England’s match with Croatia is the competitive fixture for which the England-USA friendly is notionally the warm-up.

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» Players called for Rooney to captain England and wear No 10 against USA
• Rooney will be given armband when he comes on as substitute
• Gareth Southgate says players called for a fitting tribute

Wayne Rooney will end his glittering England career wearing the No 10 shirt and the captain’s armband against the United States after the squad’s senior players determined that would be the most appropriate way for the side’s record goalscorer to bow out.

Gareth Southgate will hand Rooney a second-half cameo in Thursday’s friendly fixture at Wembley, 734 days after he earned his 119th and most recent cap, having described the 33-year-old as the best striker he ever played alongside. The current captain, Harry Kane, who will not start against the US, had led the player delegation championing the returning forward to reclaim the No 10 shirt he wore over much of the second half of his England career.

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» Plan for £5m Scudamore gift shows football no longer the people’s game | Paul Wilson
Giving Richard Scudamore, the outgoing Premier League executive chairman, £5m sends out a terrible message to supporters struggling to meet the cost of their season tickets

Here is a handy memo to future historians of the national sport in this country. Note the date of 13 November 2018, because with the announcement of plans for Richard Scudamore’s parting gift of £5m – £250,000 to be volunteered by each Premier League club – it marks the formal end of football’s 140-year life as the people’s game.

Not that anyone will necessarily notice the difference. The whole point about modern football, a case in point being Manchester City’s alleged infractions of the Financial Fair Play rules, is that so much money is now involved, with its provenance repeatedly proving difficult if not impossible to track down, that there is little the ordinary guy in a striped scarf or replica shirt can do except shrug and hope the global concern he happens to support buys a better centre-forward than the opposition.

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