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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

» Marcus Rashford identifies how Man Utd can continue to improve after Wolves draw
The Manchester United striker believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are "a million miles" better than last term
» Supercomputer determines who is better between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Scientists from a Belgian university came up with a formula to analyse the two great rivals, and came up with a clear winner
» Chris Wilder reveals the depth of the problems at Sheffield United when he took over
Wilder succeeded Nigel Adkins in May 2016 with the club marooned in League One
» Premier League team of the week as Arsenal star joins Manchester City's main man
The big boys are all represented, with new boys Norwich having two men take their place in our XI following this week's fixtures
» Worst penalty takers in Premier League history after Paul Pogba's latest miss
Man Utd star Paul Pogba is climbing up the list of the Premier League's worst ever penalty takers after another miss
» Ousmane Dembele leaves Barcelona furious after 'hiding injury to visit Senegal'
Dembele will be sidelined for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury but Barcelona are furious with the way the player has handled the situation
» Gary Neville makes bold Paul Pogba prediction despite Man Utd star's penalty miss
Paul Pogba saw his 68th-minute spot-kick saved by Wolves stopper Rui Patricio as United dropped points in the Premier League
» Why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn't make Man Utd substitution until 82nd minute at Wolves
The Man Utd boss came under fire after failing to turn to his bench sooner at Molineux
» Racist slurs aimed at Paul Pogba prove online abuse is "out of control" say Kick It Out
The abuse of Manchester United midfielder Pogba is the third high-profile incident in English football in the space of five days
» Andrea Radrizzani reveals his plans for Leeds after receiving offers to sell
Leeds owner and chairman says he has received various offers to buy him out at Elland Road
» Jurgen Klopp explains 'weird' reason Liverpool did not sign Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool were linked with a move to bring back Philippe Coutinho but he has now completed a Bayern Munich move
» Man Utd stars condemn racist abuse aimed at Paul Pogba and call for social media change
Harry Maguire has demanded that social media websites make an immediate change after Pogba was targeted by "pathetic trolls"
» Arsenal chief Josh Kroenke makes transfer vow ahead of January window
The Gunners, despite public protests at the Kroenkes' ownership, spent north of £100million during the summer transfer window
» Manchester United "disgusted" by racist abuse aimed at Paul Pogba after Wolves draw
Manchester United say they are "disgusted" by the abuse aimed at Pogba following the 1-1 draw at Wolves
» Tottenham star sends Liverpool title warning after 'exploiting' Man City
Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks believes Liverpool and Man City "should worry" about his side this Premier League season
» Jadon Sancho handed new contract as Borussia Dortmund bid to fight off transfer interest
England winger Sancho has enjoyed a spectacular rise to prominence since leaving Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017
» Arsenal chief Josh Kroenke warns Gunners fans over owners' future plans
The Gunners' director says the club's ownership are "just getting started" at the Emirates Stadium
» Who is your penalty taker? Every Premier League club's go-to player
Premier League penalty takers are a hot topic after Paul Pogba missed a spot-kick for Manchester United at Wolves
» Ashley Cole identifies the Chelsea player Frank Lampard needs back to fitness
Chelsea have experienced a tough start under Frank Lampard but Ashley Cole believes one player can make a difference
» Alexis Sanchez transfer details as Man Utd set to pay to secure Inter Milan loan
Sanchez has endured a horrible spell at Manchester United, and now looks likely to return to Italy - but Inter can't pay his full salary
» Why Liverpool decided against re-signing Philippe Coutinho this summer
Former Reds playmaker Philippe Coutinho has joined Bayern Munich on a season-long loan from Barcelona
» Fantasy Football Premier League scout: Trends to follow after Gameweek 2 and injury update
After an eventful Gameweek 2, Mirror Sport picks out some trends to follow going forward in Fantasy Football
» Jamie Carragher urges Liverpool to make transfer move for Premier League star
The former Reds defender says the move would help Liverpool make "that next step up"
» Roma turn to Arsenal defender after failing in bid for Liverpool's Dejan Lovren
The Italians are looking at alternatives after failing to agree a deal for Liverpool's out-of-favour defender Dejan Lovren

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Other sport news:

» Phil Neville calls for social media boycott to combat racist abuse
• England women’s coach responds to Pogba abuse on Twitter
• ‘Let’s come off social media. Let’s see the effect that it has’

Phil Neville has called for the football community to “send a powerful message” and boycott social media for six months in response to the rise in racist abuse of players after Paul Pogba was targeted online having missed a penalty for Manchester United against Wolves.

“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, is: come off social media,” said the England women’s head coach. “Six months – let’s come off social media. Let’s see the effect that it has on these social media companies, whether they’re really going to do something about it.”

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» David Squires on … handball and the Premier League

Our cartoonist looks back at the latest action in the English top flight as handball and VAR again took centre stage

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» Phil Neville gives four players first England Women’s squad call-ups
• England, Mannion, MacIver and Patten included for friendlies
• Scott rested and White and Bardsley miss out with injuries

Phil Neville has given four players their first call-up to the England Women’s senior squad for the friendlies against Belgium and Norway.

Chelsea’s forward Beth England and Manchester City’s defender Aoife Mannion have been selected along with two graduates from the Under-20 squad that finished third in the World Cup last year.

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» The Dutch model of developing young footballers: let them sink or swim

The best teenagers at Ajax, PSV, AZ and Utrecht do not play in a youth league. They face men in the country’s second division

By Gavin Willacy for Playing in the Shadows

Despite Ajax going desperately close to reaching the Champions League final, the Eredivisie seems to be out of fashion with Premier League recruiters. Only two players moved from the Dutch league to the Premier League this summer. Coincidentally, they went to last season’s top two, with Manchester City paying PSV £5.3m for Angeliño and Liverpool signing 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from Zwolle for £4.4m. In contrast, six players arrived from Belgium at a cost of £98m.

Below the top six clubs in the Eredivisie, budgets are small, ranging from €7m to €17m, similar to clubs towards the top of League 1 and bottom of the Championship. The Eredivisie has been a source of talent in the past. Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Luis Suárez were all top scorers in the league before lighting up the Premier League. And both Romário and Ronaldo won the golden boot in the Netherlands as they made the move to European football.

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» Manchester United’s penalty fiasco puts Solskjær’s leadership in spotlight | Paul Wilson
Disagreements in heat of the moment look bad and buck stops with the manager after making excuses for Paul Pogba

The handy thing from Sky’s point of view about having Gary Neville as a match summariser is that when there is a Manchester United controversy, as with the penalty fiasco at Wolves on Monday night, he is not only the voice of reason but the authentic echo of Sir Alex Ferguson’s thoughts on the matter as well.

“They should decide in the dressing room who is the penalty taker – it’s embarrassing,” was Neville’s immediate reaction. “This is a Manchester United penalty, it’s not a tombola or a game for under-fives on the school field.”

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» Chelsea's Davide Zappacosta to join Roma on season’s loan
  • Defender’s move subject to a medical this week
  • Zappacosta has not played under Frank Lampard

Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta is to join Roma on a season’s loan, subject to a medical this week. The defender has not played since Frank Lampard took over as manager and made only four Premier League appearances last season.

Related: Transfer window 2019 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

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» Bolton postpone League One game with Doncaster owing to ‘welfare’ concerns
• Bolton’s administrators not prepared to overwork young players
• Club unable to sign players and risk Football League sanctions

Bolton have postponed Tuesday’s home game with Doncaster owing to concern over the “welfare” of their young players.

The League One club have been in administration since May and Phil Parkinson has been forced to play teenagers in their opening games, including Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Tranmere for which the manager had only three fit senior players.

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» Football transfer rumours: Eriksen to La Liga? Vorm to Liverpool?

Today’s fluff is admiring the view

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain could be picking up the phone to one another a fair bit across the next fortnight, with the Catalan club’s desire for a rendezvous with Neymar the worst kept secret on the planet. If Barça get things their own way, they could end up with a plum deal. They are set to make an offer to re-sign the 27-year-old on loan this week, and are keen to insert a clause whereby they can land the Brazilian on a permanent deal next summer. Neymar has itchy feet and is keen to depart France, while Italy is another plausible destination, with Juventus sniffing around.

Then there is Real Madrid, who are willing to throw in any number of bells and whistles to gain the upper hand over their La Liga rivals in pursuit of Neymar. Real are happy to throw in Raphaël Varane and even the 19-year-old Vinícius Júnior to get a deal over the line for the forward, who joined PSG for a world-record fee of £200m two years ago.

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» Transfer window 2019 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A

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» Traoré justifies Nuno’s faith but more hurdles await Wolves marathon men | Stuart James
Nuno Espírito Santo, will be happy with a point at home to Manchester United at the start of a run of five games in 14 days, with a trip to Torino next in the Europa League

This was the first of five fixtures in 14 days for Wolves, taking them up to double figures for the season by the start of September, into Northern Ireland, Armenia and Italy in the process, and leading some to wonder whether the toll of playing in the Europa League on a Thursday night – Torino are up next – could derail any hopes of their breaking into the top six this season.

Their record against those elite clubs last season was nothing short of astonishing; Wolves collected 16 points, including beating Manchester United here four months ago, en route to a seventh-placed finish in their first campaign back in the top flight. United, who also lost at Molineux in an FA Cup quarter-final last season, finished one rung higher on the league ladder, albeit nine points ahead. Could Wolves possibly reel them in?

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» Moreno brings Mallorca back from ‘the well’ to ecstasy against Eibar | Sid Lowe
Vicente Moreno was instantly rewarded for keeping faith with those who helped the club rise from Segunda B back to La Liga

Dani Rodríguez had been a first division footballer for three minutes and 19 seconds when the ball dropped at his feet by the centre spot and the pitch and a whole new world opened up, inviting him in. High in the stand at Son Moix, a Mallorca director edged forward and, he later admitted, thought: “Run, Forrest, run!” All around, 15,127 fans had pretty much the same idea. Down below, Dani did too. So he ran: fast and straight. “I set off like mad; it felt like a whole herd chasing me,” he said with a grin – and he got away, reaching the edge of the area before anyone from Eibar could catch him: 40 metres, four seconds, four touches. A fifth and the ball was in the net.

Rodríguez carried on running but this time the herd heading after him were his own players: primera. Fists were in the air, supporters leaping into each others’ arms, released at last, footballers tumbling and shouting. Mallorca were 1-0 up on the opening night. Only, the referee had his finger in his ear. Guadalupe Porras, his female assistant, the first in La Liga history, stopped and then they all did, as if someone had pressed pause. “You must have thought: ‘Hostia, bloody hell, don’t take this off me’,” Rodríguez was asked afterwards. “Yeah, and in those words,” he replied, “I didn’t even know what they were looking at: there was nothing wrong with it.”

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» Manchester United ‘disgusted’ with racial abuse of Paul Pogba
• Pogba targeted on Twitter after penalty miss at Wolves
• United’s Maguire and Rashford call for abuse to be stopped

Manchester United have expressed “disgust” at the racial abuse suffered by Paul Pogba following the 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.

The midfielder saw a second-half penalty saved, having won it with a run into the area. This was his fourth miss in 11 spot-kicks but Ole Gunnar Solskjær backed Pogba, with Marcus Rashford being United’s other taker.

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» Manchester United held to draw at Wolves after Paul Pogba fails from spot

For a while it looked like Manchester United would enjoy the rare feeling of leaving Molineux with a victory and renewed optimism. In the end they departed with a solitary point, some encouragement and some regrets, most obviously a missed penalty by Paul Pogba after Rúben Neves had cancelled out Anthony Martial’s fine first-half goal.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjær most of the positives came in that first half. His team were dynamic and enterprising and they deserved the lead when Martial gave it to them by applying an emphatic finish to a sharp move. But Wolves’ equaliser was equally merited, Neves plundering a spectacular reward for a thrilling second-half turnaround by Nuno Espírito Santo’s team, who were given new thrust by a half-time substitute, Adama Traoré.

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» Kurt Zouma happy to have completed ‘very, very long journey’ at Chelsea
• Defender back at club after serious injury and two loan spells
• ‘I was in the shadow, working hard to get back,’ says Zouma

Kurt Zouma is happy to be getting his chance to prove himself at Chelsea having overcome serious injury and spending the past two seasons on loan, describing his route into the first team as a “very, very long journey”.

The France defender has started each of Chelsea’s three games this season. They have yet to win under Frank Lampard and Zouma played poorly in the opening-day defeat by Manchester United but there have been encouraging signs. For Zouma, in particular, there are reasons to feel upbeat.

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» Bayern sign Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona for £7.8m

• ‘Like Bayern, I have big ambitions,’ says Coutinho
• Bayern would have to pay £109.8m to make deal permanent

Barcelona have loaned Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich for the season. The deal will cost Bayern £7.8m plus wages and the agreement also includes an option to buy fixed at £109.8m.

Related: Bayern stumble into Coutinho quandary but Dortmund set stall early | Andy Brassell

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» Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino wants transfer window to stay open longer

• Spurs manager fears club could lose Christian Eriksen
• Pochettino wants longer window like other nations

Mauricio Pochettino has described the decision to close the domestic summer transfer window in early August as a “massive mistake” and claims he has even persuaded Tottenham’s hard-nosed chairman, Daniel Levy, of the same thing.

Pochettino could still lose Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid as the Spanish transfer window does not shut until 2 September. Were that to happen Pochettino would be unable to replace one of Tottenham’s key players until January at the earliest. Italy, France and Germany have the same deadline as Spain.

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» European roundup: Rennes shock PSG, Trippier impresses for Atlético
  • Niang and Del Castillo score in Rennes comeback win
  • Trippier sets up winner in opening day victory

Paris Saint-Germain suffered an early first defeat of the new Ligue 1 campaign after Rennes came from behind to win 2-1 at Roazhon Park.

Edinson Cavani had given the visitors the lead in the 36th minute when he capitalised on a stray pass in the penalty area from Rennes captain Damien Da Silva. However, the hosts were level just before half-time through a fine shot on the turn by M’Baye Niang. Romain Del Castillo headed the home side in front soon after the restart and they could have added another when Jeremy Morel’s volley came back off the post.

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» Bayern stumble into Coutinho quandary but Dortmund set stall early | Andy Brassell

Hertha Berlin held the champions on the Bundesliga’s opening night but Borussia Dortmund crushed Augsburg

It is hard to think of a more definitive response to an opening weekend setback. Minutes after Bayern Munich dropped their first points of the season against Hertha Berlin in Friday night’s now-traditional home opener, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic was confirming to ZDF that Philippe Coutinho was on his way from Barcelona to Bavaria.

Related: Bayern loan Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona for £7.8m with option to buy

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» Nicholas Ioannou: ‘I’d love to play in front of a full house at Old Trafford’

The Apoel Nicosia defender, whose side face Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday, dreams of returning to Manchester United, where he was reserve-team captain

Nicholas Ioannou’s name gives away his nationality but the moment he opens his mouth, allowing his natural Manchester twang to escape, a whole new identity is created.

Born to a Cypriot father and English mother in Limassol, the 23-year-old defender’s journey to the verge of the Champions League has been an unusual one.

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» Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Ljungberg and Trossard make instant impact, Wilson has Liverpool quality and Rodgers leaves ‘young Frank’ on back foot

The inclusion of Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson against Burnley a week after they became the first pair of teenagers to start a Premier League game for Arsenal since Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson in 1998, was more evidence of Unai Emery beginning to trust his young players. That may have something to do with the promotion of the former under-23s coach Freddie Ljungberg to become the Spaniard’s assistant, with Willock particularly impressive alongside Matteo Guendouzi in midfield. The 19-year-old played in a more advanced role in the opening day win over Newcastle and shows how Emery is tapping into the former Sweden midfielder’s knowledge bank since he stepped up in the summer. “[Ljungberg] worked last year with the under-23s and we were very close, speaking about the young players,” he said. “It’s perfect and he helps me a lot. He has an advantage with the young players because he knows them very well.” Ed Aarons

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» Sylvinho has revived Lyon so will Ligue 1 have a title race after all?

Lyon have won both of their games so far this season and look like a team reborn under their young Brazilian manager

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

“I didn’t think he would be a coach,” explained Gilles Grimandi. “I thought he would be disappointed – that he wouldn’t understand why some people don’t have the same spirit as him, invest as much or work as hard. He has such a passion for football that it takes precedence over everything else.” Despite the concerns of his former Arsenal teammate, his minimal experience, little understanding of French, the sales of key players and a volatile fanbase, Sylvinho looks better suited to coaching than Grimandi expected.

Lyon are only two games into the season and Sylvinho is rightly cautious about heightened expectation, but the manager has a pair of meaningful victories to his name. Previous incumbent Bruno Génésio suffered through a toxic atmosphere at Parc OL, incessant pressure from fans and media alike, and widespread criticism of his tactical nous. Under Génésio, Lyon repeatedly struggled for inspiration against the more conservative tactics of weaker Ligue 1 sides, while Europa League collapses horribly punctuated his tenure. Lyon often lacked ideas and cohesion, but that has already started to change under Sylvinho.

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» ‘Equality has to be more than words’: London City Lionesses go it alone

The newly formed club decided to split away from Millwall at the end of last season in a bid to stand on their own feet

“We want to show people that the time is now right that a women’s football club can be a women’s football club and it doesn’t have to be – and I use this term whether it’s politically correct or not – the annoying sister of a men’s club. If you speak to about 80% of clubs out there, they’re not happy with the relationship with the men’s team.”

Related: FA to launch streaming platform dedicated to women’s football

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» Solskjær to keep faith in Paul Pogba despite penalty miss – video

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has no desire to stop Paul Pogba from being his designated penalty taker despite the midfielder missing from the spot in the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanders. The Frenchman won a penalty in the 67th minute after being tripped by Conor Coady; Pogba insisted on taking it himself despite Marcus Rashford volunteering. Rashford scored from the spot in the previous match against Chelsea. Gary Neville, commentating for Sky Sports, suggested that the incident showed there was a lack of leadership in the United team

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» Philippe Coutinho wants to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich – video

Philippe Coutinho has joined the Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on loan for one year, with the German club having an option to buy … for £109.8m. The 27-year-old moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 but he has struggled to cement himself in the starting lineup in Spain

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» Frank Lampard admits he was happier after 4-0 United defeat than Leicester draw – video

Frank Lampard's wait for his first victory as Chelsea manager continues as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester. After a promising start Chelsea took the lead with a strike from Mason Mount, who spent last season on loan with Lampard at Derby County. Brendan Rodgers side came back into the match, with a towering header from Wilfred Ndidi levelling the scores halfway through the second half securing a point.

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» 'The mentality giants are in town': Klopp reflects on beating Southampton – video

Liverpool beat Southampton 2-1 and secured an 11th successive top-flight victory to equal their best-ever Premier League winning run on Saturday. 

Jürgen Klopp hailed his team as 'mentality giants' after his team won the game on the back of their Super Cup win against Chelsea on Wednesday. 

But it was a nervy finish at the St Mary's stadium - the European champions were leading 2-0 until goalkeeper Adrían cleared the ball against Danny Ings to gift Southampton a late goal

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» Unai Emery sings praises of man-of-the-match Dani Ceballos – video

Arsenal manager Unai Emery spoke about  the impact of new signing Dani Ceballos, who put in a fine performance as his side beat Burnley 2-1. 

Ceballos put in a commanding display in the centre of the park and set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's winner.

Emery was pleased with the versatility of his new midfielder: 'He started at number 10 and finishes at number 8,' the Arsenal manager said 

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» 'The game's in a really poor state': Burnley boss Sean Dyche rails against diving – video

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was critical of simulation in football after his side's 2-1 loss to Arsenal on Saturday. 

Dyche added that he was concerned that the worst punishment a player could suffer was a yellow card. 

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» Toni Kroos scores stunning goal as Real Madrid get off to a flyer at Celta Vigo

Real Madrid got off to a flying start in La Liga with a comfortable win away from home on Saturday with the help of a magnificent long-range strike from Toni Kroos, although they had Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric sent off for a straight red card offence.

Karim Benzema put Madrid ahead in the 12th minute after a superb piece of wing play from Gareth Bale, who had earned a surprise starting berth because of an injury to Eden Hazard after a close season period of uncertainty over his future.

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» Aritz Aduriz’s late acrobatics for Athletic Bilbao stun Barcelona

Aritz Aduriz is 38 and a half. He has already announced that this will be the final season of a career that stretches back to last century, aware that his time is up. It was the opening day. He was given two minutes, sent on in the 88th minute. And he was up against FC Barcelona, the defending league champions.

And? The Athletic Club striker had been on the pitch 65 seconds when he leapt into the area, turned his body sideways and, with his first touch, smashed an absurd acrobatic volley into the net to defeat Barcelona. Bilbao was barely able to believe what it had just seen.

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» Alex Morgan says pay-to-play is hurting soccer in the US. Is she right?

The USA striker thinks the model for young players in America is broken. But figures such as MLS commissioner Don Garber disagree

Don Garber was utterly convinced Alex Morgan was wrong. While basking in the glory of another World Cup triumph, the US striker went on the offensive. She suggested the American soccer production line was in need of major repair, accusing US Soccer’s heavily criticized pay-to-play youth model of being “detrimental” to the future of the game.

Garber wasn’t impressed. “I don’t agree with that,” the MLS commissioner told the Guardian earlier this month. “Maybe that’s the case in the women’s game but not with the men. We are investing over $100m a year outside of our senior rosters and that’s not even including what we have invested in facilities. That is exponentially more than what it was three or four years ago.”

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» Bayern Munich and the problem of letting Hoeness and Rummenigge go

The Bundesliga starts on Friday and Bayern are favourites again but are also at the crossroads with a need to renew at the top

It was so fiery, so wild, so pugnacious that it felt like a last stand. As Bayern Munich’s president, Uli Hoeness, and chief executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, faced down the media at their Säbener Strasse base in October last year, the floor was genuinely taken aback. The champions’ big two tag-teamed in a broadside against their stunned audience, with Rummenigge threatening journalists with “mail from our media lawyer” in future before Hoeness took up the baton to lay into what he described as “disrespectful reporting”.

It may indeed prove to have been a last stand, or close to it. Bild’s Christian Falk – one of those taken aim at in that extraordinary press conference last autumn – reported last month that Hoeness will not stand for re-election in November and will retire, something that Bayern have not denied, with Rummenigge telling Bild Am Sonntag a few days later that Hoeness’s wish to discuss his future internally before explaining himself in public “should be respected”. Rummenigge plans to step down from his own role when his current contract expires in 2021.

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» Athletic Bilbao’s Gaizka Garitano: ‘When I got married I bought a flat next to the training ground’ | Will Unwin

The head coach is proud of Athletic Bilbao’s Basque-only policy and the club’s English links dating back 121 years

Gaizka Garitano passionately explains why Athletic Bilbao is the antidote to modern football: “It is different when you play not just for money, not just to win titles but we play for our jersey, for our values, for our families, friends, it is something special in the world.”

Athletic use only players from the Basque country, covering north-east Spain and south-west France, a policy they have stuck to since its conception in 1912. Garitano is the head coach and epitomises everything Athletic stand for; born and raised 10 minutes from the club’s training ground, he came through the academy to represent the first team just once.

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» 'Every player deserves some respect': Bayern's Kovac defends Perisic signing
  • Bayern criticised for not landing first-choice targets
  • Kovac: ‘It is too easy to always criticise someone’

Bayern Munich have completed the loan signing of Internazionale’s Ivan Perisic with an option to buy the Croatian winger at the end of the season for £20m.

The Bundesliga champions, who kick off their campaign against Hertha Berlin on Friday, have been frustrated in their attempts to sign attacking players this summer with Leroy Sané and Callum Hudson-Odoi staying at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

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» How El Paso's soccer community is turning loss into action

El Paso’s soccer community has come together, led by El Paso Locomotive FC, in the week since last Saturday’s incomprehensible tragedy

Had his career gone to plan, Sebastián Velasquez would probably not have been in El Paso last Saturday.

Velasquez showed promise in his first three seasons playing in MLS but alcoholism drove him to leave for rehab in 2015. Sober for four years, he signed for El Paso Locomotive FC of the USL Championship in June after a brief stint in South Korea. He was in the gym preparing for a game that evening when a teammate texted him about a shooting at the Walmart near the Ciela Vista Mall. He made it home to his girlfriend and two children where he learned of the mass shooting. His coach told him the game was postponed.

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» Wayne Rooney revived DC United but Europe still clearly trumps MLS

The former England captain has been brilliant during his brief career in the States. But MLS is still a temporary home for the best players in the league

Wayne Rooney was always pretty clear about what he wanted to achieve in Major League Soccer. From the moment England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer signed with DC United last summer he spoke about winning. About leaving his mark on a club lacking direction at the time of his arrival. He didn’t waste much time in making good on his word.

DC United were revolutionised by Rooney. Maybe only David Beckham and Sebastian Giovinco can claim to have made as profound an impact on an MLS franchise, but what was most remarkable about Rooney’s arrival was how quickly he changed the entire culture around Audi Field. They went from rock bottom of the Eastern Conference to playoff contenders in the space of just a few weeks.

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» Alejandro Bedoya on US gun violence: 'People get stuck in their American ways of thinking'

The Philadelphia Union captain and USA international went viral on Sunday when he grabbed a field microphone after scoring and urged Congress to act to prevent further gun violence

Alejandro Bedoya was at home in the French city of Nantes in the fall of 2015, tuned to Germany’s friendly at the Stade de France against Les Bleus. Like much of the viewing public, he knew something was amiss in the first half, when the broadcast picked up loud noises emanating from outside the stadium. They would later be revealed as suicide bomb explosions, one by a terrorist who had tried to infiltrate the stadium itself.

For an athlete long engaged in off-field matters, the targeting of a sporting event for terror in the 13 November attacks marked a bitter awakening. Bedoya had rarely heeded the call to “stick to sports,” and when life-or-death issues encroached, the notion that he should limit himself to the game alone was fully bunk.

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» I'm Nicky Bandini – and I'm still a sports writer

For 13 years I have written under a different name. Today I am coming out as transgender, but my love of storytelling remains

I have always loved to write. When I was little, I remember thinking that English exams were a treat: an opportunity to sit down and play with words, to tip my imagination on to paper.

As an adult, I have had the privilege to write for some of the biggest media outlets in the world, starting with this one. I was 23 years old and fresh from a 20-week journalism course when the Guardian’s online sports desk took a chance on me in 2006. I like to tell myself they never regretted it.

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» Russell Crowe, Kalvin Phillips’ gran and hope – Leeds documentary has it all (apart from Bielsa)
The first two episodes of Take Us Home are slightly sanitised but they show why the club’s fans are believing again

The Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips is leaning against a table with his family. His gran pipes up. “Bielsa,” she says with a beaming smile. “Oooooh, I think he’s lovely … He walks around Wetherby sometimes. I heard he goes into Costa. I’d love to bump into him and say I’m Kalvin’s gran.”

After watching the first two episodes of Amazon Prime’s Leeds documentary, Take Us Home, you get the sense you would also get more time with Marcelo Bielsa if you wandered around the cafes of Wetherby – Phillips’s gran is in it more than the Argentinian and nice as she is, At Home with Kalvin Phillips’s Gran is a different show.

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» Frank Lampard’s youth policy at Chelsea should be tempered with realism | Eni Aluko

There were promising signs in the Super Cup defeat by Liverpool but the new man at Stamford Bridge has to start winning soon

After losing badly to Manchester United on the opening day, Chelsea’s performance against Liverpool in the Super Cup, even if they did not quite manage to win, was very impressive.

It is hard to say at this moment what a good season would look like for Chelsea, with a transfer ban and a young, inexperienced manager who promises to field young, inexperienced players. The fact Frank Lampard is in charge, a man with so much goodwill from his time at Chelsea as a player, will buy the team a little time but what are the minimum expectations? I feel winning the Super Cup against such established, strong opponents would have made this season an overnight success. A good season for Lampard was only just out of reach – like a couple of the penalties Kepa Arrizabalaga got a hand to but couldn’t quite keep out.

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» Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

Keep up with the top scorers in European football’s leading five leagues, updated throughout the season

4 Teemu Pukki (Norwich)
4 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

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

Faceplants, lookalikes and handbags in this week’s roundup of the best top-flight pictures

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» The Fiver | Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah! Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah!

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Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah! Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah! That’s the sound of the Fiver banging its head off the desk and saying “Gah!” repeatedly, as it struggles to think of anything interesting to say about tonight’s Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolves. At Molineux, where hopes are high that Wolves can build on the strong foundations of last season by finishing just above the relegation zone due to the distraction and exertions that come with playing in Euro Vase, it will provide a stern test of United’s mettle as they take on a side who recorded a league and cup double over them last season.

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» The Joy of Six: football and the outside of the boot | Rob Smyth

From Brazilian screamers to an extravagant shank via Peruvian insouciance, we celebrate one of football’s most difficult skills

NB: The point of the Joy of Six is not to rank things, only to enjoy them

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» David Squires on … the Premier League's return, Friends and the Eye of Saurinho

Our cartoonist casts his eye over the opening round of games, including Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat and VAR Wars at the London Stadium

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» Could an English club really play 94 competitive games in a single season? | The Knowledge

Plus: mixed-gender top-tier football, scoring in the same minute as your shirt number and hypnotism

“What’s the maximum number of games that an English league club could theoretically play in one season,” asks @jamesv_t.

Adam W starts us off with some linear, perfectly sensible thinking. “By my calculations, assuming they reach the finals of all three cup competitions they are in and need replays where possible in the FA Cup, Wolves could play 74 games this season (38 PL, eight FA Cup, six League Cup, 22 Europa League).”

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» The forgotten story of ... Ray Freeman, the ‘madman’ manager and trailblazer

The British coach enjoyed such success in Norway with Brann in the 1970s that he was awarded honorary citizen status

SK Brann’s Europa League campaign ended on Thursday with a 2-1 defeat by Shamrock Rovers in Dublin, just down the road from where their very first continental adventure foundered 46 years ago at the hands of the Belfast side Glentoran. Decades of competition in Europe for the Norwegian club began under the guidance of an intrepid Englishman, Ray Freeman, who died this year and is remembered with great fondness.

Brann fans used to call him the Madman of Bergen because of his touchline gesticulations and hollering. But his method and personality won such admiration that within two years of his arrival he became the first person to be awarded honorary citizen status in Norway’s second-biggest city. He inspired Brann to their first Norwegian Cup triumph for 47 years. Which was some going for a man who took the job when he was only 27 and just after Brann’s star player, Roald Jensen, had been banned for kicking a referee up the backside.

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» Carles Puyol: ‘La Masia was like the Scouts, 40 boys sharing four rooms’

The Spanish defender talks about Barcelona, how football became his cure and clears up rumours of liking Napalm Death

Hi Carles. Hi Small Talk.

We’re talking to you because of yoghurt, why don’t you tell us a bit about that? I am very proud to be an ambassador for the Danone Nations Cup, one of the best tournaments out there for U12s to play football. It takes place at a local level in 27 countries and the final will be played in Barcelona in October.

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» Megan Rapinoe: 'We're everything Trump loves – except that we're powerful women'

Fresh from World Cup victory, the US football star on politics, pay and the power of calling out injustice

It is two weeks since the US women’s football team shut down midtown Manhattan on their World Cup victory parade and Megan Rapinoe, the team’s co-captain and most visible member, is still trying to come down from the high. We are in Los Angeles, where the US national team is due to play a friendly against Ireland. Rapinoe – slight, sharp-eyed, perennially amused – is considering the past fortnight. “How long can we be drunk for?” she says, laughing. “To go through such a high – there is obviously a comedown and nobody really has the time to decompress. I think everyone feels in this state of ‘Yes, this is awesome.’ But I’m also struggling to get back to normal.”

The sense of unreality is particularly acute for Rapinoe, whose profile over the course of the tournament shot from mid-level sporting celebrity to something much bigger, thanks to, as she puts it with some understatement, “one of those general cultural events that happen”. This is a reference not only to her public spat with Donald Trump – in a video recorded before the World Cup that went viral during the tournament, she said: “I’m not going to the fucking White House,” when asked whether she was looking forward to a victorious visit – but to her demeanour in general.

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» How Hungary’s stars left their football mark with Olympic success | Jonathan Wilson
In an extract from a new book Jonathan Wilson recalls the journey of Hungary’s Golden Squad, inspired by Ferenc Puskás, to glory in 1952

It would be wrong to assume that Ferenc Puskás, just because he was cheery and relaxed, did not think about the game or was merely a turner of tricks blessed with an extraordinary left foot.

He was exceptionally technically gifted, of course, but what made him quite so important to the Aranycsapat [Hungary’s Golden Squad] was his tactical brain. “If a good player has the ball, he should have the vision to spot three options,” the right-back Jenő Buzánszky said. “Puskás always saw at least five.”

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» Xabi Alonso: 'When I finished playing, I could not leave football behind'

As he prepares for his managerial debut, Alonso looks back on special times at Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Real Madrid

By The Coaches’ Voice for the Guardian Sport Network

I knew about Liverpool, but I didn’t know that much. I didn’t know about the magic of Anfield. The energy and the passion of the Kop. The beauty of a night where the whole stadium is rocking. All of that, and so much more, was going to be new for me. It was a big step to take at the age of 22. But I was ready for the challenge – I was ready to absorb and to learn as quickly as possible.

Learning fast was something I was used to. At my first professional club, Real Sociedad, I never played in the cadets, or even the youth team – instead, I went straight into the reserve team.

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