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Football Team News

» Darren Fletcher hits out at Man Utd fans and makes transfer declaration
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes for Manchester United's Carabao Cup tie at Championship outfit Luton Town on Tuesday night
» West Ham boss David Moyes plus two players test positive for coronavirus
David Moyes was not on the touchline while Issa Diop and Josh Cullen were pulled out of the line-up for West Ham's Carabao Cup tie against Hull
» Everton fan gets tattoo of James Rodriguez after handing him bottle of wine
The Toffees fanatic went viral across social media after he encountered the Colombian outside of Goodison Park following the resounding win over West Brom
» Mane instructed not to follow Torres and Suarez at Liverpool
The Senegalese forward got his 2020/21 season up and running with both goals in Liverpool's 2-0 win at Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
» Man Utd's stance on Daniel James transfer future amid Leeds links
The winger somewhat surprisingly started the Red Devils' 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend but has been touted for a move this summer
» PSG handed boost in Dele Alli pursuit as Tottenham transfer talks continue
Jose Mourinho left Dele Alli out of his most recent Premier League matchday squad, with his Spurs future now uncertain
» Liverpool vs Arsenal among Premier League games hindered by coronavirus curfew
New coronavirus guidelines from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson have had a serious impact on football and late kick-offs in the Premier League will be directly affected
» Arsenal to be without eight players for Leicester City Carabao Cup tie
Manager Mikel Arteta could be left with something of a selection headache due to a growing number of absentees for Wednesday's game
» Gareth Bale's agent claims Real Madrid should "kiss the floor" Welshman walks on
Jonathan Barnett, who represents Gareth Bale, has come out swinging at Real Madrid after the Welshman completed his loan return to Tottenham
» Frank Lampard outlines plan for Kai Havertz amid tough start to Chelsea career
Chelsea signed Kai Havertz for a club-record fee in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen but the Germany international has not hit the ground running after two appearances
» Solskjaer facing centre-back dilemma as Lindelof reservations grow
Lindelof has come in for heavy criticism following his performance in the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace but it is not clear how Solskjaer will address the problem
» Kevin De Bruyne fires warning to Liverpool in bid to dethrone champions
Manchester City's Premier League campaign got off to the perfect start, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 at Molineux
» Frank Lampard 'changes his mind' on Declan Rice after Chelsea loss to Liverpool
The Blues have been linked with a move for the England midfielder in the past but may now ramp up their attempts to sign the West Ham star
» Newcastle boss Steve Bruce takes the blame for "awful" Brighton result
The Newcastle coach started the season on a positive note - but the tide has turned against him after a terrible 3-0 home loss to Brighton
» Arsenal's Aouar fear realised as doubt cast on Lyon star's transfer
The France under-21 midfielder is one of Mikel Arteta's top targets this summer, but a suggestion that he could have had his head turned by a Champions League club won't be a welcome one
» Luis Suarez 'furious' with Barcelona as Atletico Madrid transfer in doubt
The Uruguayan forward looks set for yet more bad news following allegations of fraud after he reportedly cheated in an Italian test
» Chelsea injury update on Ben Chilwell, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea host Championship side Barnsley on Wednesday, looking to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at home to Liverpool
» Tottenham's clash with Leyton Orient off after positive coronavirus tests
Leyton Orient announced on Monday that a number of their players had tested positive for the coronavirus, and that the stadium and training ground had been locked down
» Leyton Orient vs Tottenham Hotspur kick-off, TV and live stream information
League Two Leyton Orient were due to welcome Tottenham Hotspur to East London on Tuesday. However a number of positive coronavirus tests in the League Two side's squad has led to the match being postponed
» Frank Lampard details Petr Cech role in Edouard Mendy's Chelsea transfer
The Rennes goalkeeper looks set to become the Blues' seventh new face through the door this summer as Lampard's squad rebuild continues
» Where Leroy Sane fits in at Bayern - and what losing Thiago Alcantara will mean
Leroy Sane has already made a mark at Bayern Munich while Thiago Alcantara has already shown the club what they are missing after his transfer to Liverpool – and it will mean a lot of changes for the German side
» Man Utd insiders "excited" by "special young talent" Shola Shoretire
Man Utd are expecting big things from Shola Shoretire and the record-breaking teenager is reportedly exciting coaches at the club as he is tipped for a bright future
» Dire landscape facing EFL clubs after latest fan blow amid calls for PL help
EXCLUSIVE: After the Government's latest blow to fans' hopes of returning to football, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has spoken out and says Premier League clubs must help EFL counterparts - or there will be casualties
» Man United rule out transfer for Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele
Man United, who are looking to bring in an attacker before the window closes, have been linked with a move for £100million-rated Dembele, who can play on either flank

Football resources

» The FA
» BBC Sport
» SportsCoach
» Little Kickers
» Kiddikicks

Other sport news:

» Luton v Manchester United: Carabao Cup third round – live!

36 min: The camera pans to … Luton legend Mick Harford on the sidelines. He has on a black gilet and a fine head of hair.

34 min: Kioso looks a very solid player at right back for Luton. Lingard, who started brightly but has faded somewhat on the left wing, has failed to get the better of the Irishman a couple of times recently.

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» David Moyes and two players leave West Ham game after Covid-19 positive tests
  • Manager, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen return home
  • Carabao Cup tie against Hull goes ahead

David Moyes and two of West Ham’s players, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen, were forced to leave the London Stadium and go home after returning positive tests for Covid-19 shortly before West Ham’s Carabao Cup tie against Hull on Tuesday night.

The West Ham manager did not take his place on the touchline at kick-off and there was confusion before the game when Diop and Cullen were replaced in the starting lineup by Harrison Ashby and Jack Wilshere. News of the change to the team came before West Ham had emerged for their warm-up.

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» UK government ready to rescue up to eight sports facing financial black hole
  • Bailout needed because of delay to return of fans
  • Matchday revenue crucial to survival of clubs

The government is drawing up plans for an urgent rescue package for as many as eight sports – after being warned numerous clubs are facing financial ruin because of its decision to indefinitely “pause” the return of crowds.

With sports organisations fearing spectators may not return until 1 April next year, senior figures in football, rugby union, cricket, horse racing and three other sports met the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, on Tuesday to warn that the situation is increasingly perilous.

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» 'We have got a week to two weeks left': Dover face fan-less threat to future

Without spectators for the new season, which may yet be postponed, the National League club will go out of business

For Dover Athletic, the outlook could not be starker. The National League club are, according to their chairman, Jim Parmenter, as close as a week away from going out of business unless they receive reassurances the fifth-tier season will soon begin with supporters in attendance.

It is a sickening thought for Parmenter, who has invested more than £4m in the club over 15 years, but confirmation the government has shelved the phased reintroduction of fans has left clubs throughout the pyramid fretting over their immediate futures.

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» Joe Montemurro expects Arsenal team to raise their levels against Alex Morgan
  • Morgan may make Tottenham debut in FA Cup quarter-final
  • Montemurro says players want to test themselves against best

Joe Montemurro is confident his Arsenal players are capable of asking Alex Morgan some searching questions in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-final at home against Tottenham on Saturday.

The USA striker, possibly the most high-profile import in the Women’s Super League, is short of match fitness after giving birth to her first child, a daughter, four months ago and may not start but her presence has invested the tie with added gloss.

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» Barcelona and Norwich hold talks over Max Aarons transfer
  • Championship side rejected loan offer from Catalans
  • Norwich could accept loan with obligation to buy

Barcelona are in talks with Norwich over the possible transfer of Max Aarons. The Championship club last weekend rejected an offer from Barcelona to take the England Under-21 full-back on loan and, although it is understood a further bid is yet to be forthcoming, negotiations are ongoing.

Related: Italian police investigate claims Luis Suárez's citizenship exam was rigged

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» All Premier League games in October likely to be shown live on TV
  • Restrictions on fans in grounds leads to change of plan
  • Games in September shared between four broadcasters

Live TV coverage of every Premier League match is expected to continue into October after the government announced the suspension of plans to return fans to stadiums. Since the restart in June, longstanding broadcasting traditions have been turned upside down to allow fans to keep up with top-flight football. The Saturday 3pm blackout has gone, games kick off at tea-time midweek and the BBC has live Premier League football for the first time.

Related: Covid spike leads government to pause return of fans to sports stadiums

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» FA cuts to hit grassroots football and futsal hard, leaked documents show
  • Men’s national futsal teams scrapped and no women’s side
  • Grassroots game facing £22m-a-season funding cut

The Football Association’s Covid-19 cost-cutting strategy dismantles key strands of its celebrated England DNA coach education programme and abandons its commitment to the small-sided format of futsal hailed by Gareth Southgate as a “great game and development tool” to help create the next generation of players, according to leaked documents seen by the Guardian.

Grassroots football, long underfunded and hobbled by an alarming dearth of facilities, also faces a reduction in funding of £22m a season over four years.

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» David Squires on … Gareth Bale's second coming at Spurs

Our cartoonist on what the Welsh forward can expect after returning to a revamped version of the club he left in 2013

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» Golden Goal: Lakhdar Belloumi for Algeria v West Germany (1982) | Simon Burnton

Belloumi, a great denied a move to Europe by age and violence, stunned an overconfident West Germany at the World Cup

This year the Premier League posted a video compilation of the fastest goals from kick-off. They were all scored within seconds of the game starting, ignoring the mid-match instant post-kick-off goal, but they give a taste of the genre as a whole, populated as it almost entirely is by defensive blunders and hopeful hoofs, goals that almost all rely on a convenient ricochet or two at some point in the buildup.

In 1982, against West Germany, Algeria scored a goal similar in its speed following a restart, but here there are no hoofs or ricochets, just 23 seconds of teamwork and precision. They produced this in the most exacting circumstances: immediately after conceding an equaliser against massively favoured European giants, in their country’s first World Cup finals fixture. “We were,” the goalscorer, Lakhdar Belloumi, later said, “the Brazilians of Africa.” And for at least half a minute in Gijón, the world saw it.

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» Men's transfer window summer 2020 – all deals from Europe's top five leagues

All the summer’s Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A deals and club-by-club guides

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» Italian police investigate claims Luis Suárez's citizenship exam was rigged
  • University in Perugia denies fixing Barcelona striker’s test result
  • Suárez wanted EU passport amid reports of move to Juventus

A university in the Italian city of Perugia has said it followed “correct procedures” after authorities announced an investigation into whether it helped the Barcelona striker Luis Suárez cheat in an Italian language exam.

The Uruguayan sat the exam last week at the University for Foreigners. It is a requirement for his Italian citizenship application, which would give him a European passport that could help him to transfer to a new club.

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» Villa's Ezri Konsa grabs win after 10-man Sheffield United pay the penalty

Last time it was a glitch in goalline technology that vexed Sheffield United at Villa Park, this time Chris Wilder’s men were frustrated by an early red card for John Egan and a moment of class from the home team’s new goalkeeper. Emiliano Martínez marked his first appearance for Aston Villa since a £20m move from Arsenal by saving John Lundstram’s first-half penalty. Ezri Konsa crowned an ideal start to the season for the home side by heading the winning goal in the second half.

“It feels great, it was like scoring a hat-trick for me,” said Martínez. “Saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet for me is the best game.”

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» 'Little more than good PR': why QPR have stopped taking a knee
  • ‘It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag,’ says Les Ferdinand
  • Micah Richards: ‘People say I’m only on air because of BLM’

Les Ferdinand has defended Queens Park Rangers’ decision not to take the knee before their Championship fixture against Coventry on Friday, saying the gesture has become “little more than good PR”.

Ferdinand, the only Black director of football in the senior English game, spoke out against a slew of media coverage that had criticised QPR for not taking the knee. He said media organisations should “be looking more inwardly” at the inequalities in their own industries, than criticising the club for an action approved within EFL guidelines.

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» Arsenal sign Iceland goalkeeper Alex Rúnarsson from Dijon
  • Club spends £1.8m on goalkeeper with five Iceland caps
  • Backup for Bernd Leno given four-year contract

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of the Iceland goalkeeper Alex Rúnarsson on a four-year contract from the Ligue 1 club Dijon.

Rúnarsson arrives as Mikel Arteta reshapes his goalkeeping department following the departure of Emiliano Martínez to Aston Villa last week. Arsenal are believed to have paid Dijon around £1.8m and the 25-year-old will, for now at least, be Bernd Leno’s backup. He could make his debut at Leicester in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

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» Majority of Leyton Orient squad test positive for Covid-19 before Spurs tie
  • Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match expected to be cancelled
  • Mansfield, Orient’s opponents last Saturday, plan complaint

The majority of Leyton Orient’s first team squad have tested positive for Covid-19, leading to the expectation that their Carabao Cup game at home to Tottenham on Tuesday will be called off, with a decision set for the morning, and serious questions being asked about the biosecurity of League Two.

The testing of players is not mandatory in the English Football League – as it is in the Premier League – with the authorities content to insist on stringent hygiene measures and work-place social distancing. They say that the evidence shows there is a minimal risk of transition of the virus via training and playing outdoors.

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» Gabriel Jesus ensures Manchester City start with a win despite Wolves rally

On a gripping night at Molineux Manchester City were, by turns, brilliant and brittle. Undercooked and depleted by injury, City were still good enough to come away with a 3-1 win against powerful opponents in their first game of the season, prompted by another masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne.

It might have been different. How Nuno Espírito Santo will wish his Wolves team had started with the level of aggression they showed in the second half. Or indeed that Adama Traoré had been instructed to abandon a diffident turn as a deep defensive wing-back and attack City’s obvious tender spot on the left flank

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» No need to rush, Kepa. The young goldfinches are learning and so can you | Jonathan Liew

It’s hard being a goalkeeper in England and after his latest calamity it looks all over for Arrizabalaga at Chelsea

So there you were, laid out on the grass, a long way from home. And as Liverpool celebrated their second goal, their whoops and cheers burned your ears, and as your teammates solemnly turned their backs, their silence did the same. And the grass felt cold beneath you, but you were grateful for it all the same. Because without it, you felt like you would never stop falling.

And you thought about the hills around Ondarroa, the little Basque fishing village where you grew up, and those hot summer days when you would climb the tall beech trees trying to catch goldfinches. Occasionally you would lose your grip, feel the awful scrape of your foot down the bark and just fall, and as you fell you would remember the words of your father: if the fall doesn’t hurt, then you didn’t climb high enough.

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» Edwin van der Sar: 'I want every fan to have a second love for Ajax'

The Dutch club’s chief understands their place in the football hierarchy but wants to keep their unique place on the global stage

Edwin van der Sar can still picture the bemusement on the faces of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, his Manchester United teammates at the time and resolute one-club men. The Dutch goalkeeper, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2005 via Ajax, Juventus and Fulham, had wanted to know whether either fancied playing abroad. They could learn a new language, Van der Sar suggested, experience different cultures and climates, maybe even earn more money.

The short answer was no. Why would they do that? They were at a big club – their club in their city – with family and friends close by, winning big trophies and being paid big money. They had it all. “OK, the weather in Manchester,” Van der Sar says, with a smile. “But Paul said: ‘I don’t like the sun.’ I think David [Beckham] is one of the few [English players] that left United but he came from London.”

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» Manchester City wow then wobble to give few clues of what lies ahead | Jamie Jackson

Despite some key absences Pep Guardiola’s side made an electric start at Molineux but could not sustain it

First half scintillating; second half a touch concerning. This was Manchester City in a season-opening trip to Wolves that could be cast as the start of what might be the greatest test yet for Pep Guardiola: the uncharted territory of a fifth season in charge of a team who had question marks against them before kick-off wherever you looked.

Sergio Agüero was out for two more months because of a knee injury. Aymeric Laporte was missing owing to recovery from Covid. Ilkay Gündogan had been placed in quarantine after testing positive for the virus. A 35-year-old Fernandinho was selected in defensive midfield, Nathan Aké made his debut alongside the uneven John Stones in central defence and though David Silva ended a glittering decade by departing in the summer, the bench lacked its usual blanket strength in depth.

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» Il Maestro: Andrea Pirlo delivers first lesson of thesis at Juventus | Nicky Bandini

The serial champions’ new manager brought instant improvement in their win over Sampdoria with a flush of youth

It did not take Andrea Pirlo long to get back in character as Il Maestro. On Monday he had been a student, successfully defending his thesis to complete his Uefa Pro Licence course at the Manager’s School in Coverciano. On Sunday, he was a teacher, helping the new kids at Juventus to integrate with their returning classmates whilst ensuring the highest standards were maintained.

Or perhaps that is selling him short. Pirlo did not just keep Juventus ticking along in his first game in charge, but guided them to a commanding victory of the sort that had been rare in recent times.

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» Kepa Arrizabalaga's confidence is shot and the way Chelsea play doesn't help him | Jonathan Wilson

Spaniard’s display against Liverpool sums up his struggles but there is a pattern of keepers saving fewer goals under Lampard

Kepa Arrizabalaga’s time as the Chelsea goalkeeper, you suspect, will be remembered for two incidents. First there’s him on the Wembley turf, defying Maurizio Sarri and refusing to be substituted before the penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup final last year. And then there’s him on Sunday, playing the ball straight to Sadio Mané to concede a second against Liverpool.

Two moments 19 months apart in which the world’s most expensive goalkeeper went from self-belief that only he could get the job done to swigging awkwardly at his water bottle, apparently desperate to be anywhere but in his six-yard box having confirmed Chelsea’s defeat.

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» Bayern Munich blow Schalke away with sensational silent symphony | Andy Brassell

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick and Leroy Sané dazzled on debut in an 8-0 win for the champions on gala night

Friday night. Opening night. Gala night for the champions. Yet if it was so familiar for Bayern Munich, it was alien too. The Rekordmeister has been here so many times that you could forgive it being cruised through on autopilot, as the board did when they and their guests from Gelsenkirchen sat in the directors box without social distancing or masks, earning the club a ticking off from Bavaria’s minister of health, Melanie Huml.

Despite all the regular tells – not least a pair of effervescent wingers wearing the numbers 7 and 10 who tore poor Schalke to bits, more of whom later – there were more unfamiliar, unexpected moments, in line with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge showing contrition to Huml.

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» Footballer substituted after 13 seconds in Estonian Premier League – video

An Estonian Premier League match was halted after 13 seconds while the away side substituted an uninjured player. Lauri Suup, 16, was brought off the field by Nomme Kalju FC shortly after the referee started the match. The rules in Estonia state each side must start with at least two homegrown players, which may explain the early removal of Suup. Many of Kalju's players are currently unavailable because they are self-isolating having tested positive for Covid-19.

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» Parrot lands on head of Brazilian footballer during practice match – video

A Brazilian women's national team practice match was halted after a parrot landed on the head of one of the players. Defender Bruna Benties had a macaw standing on her head before an assistant coach was brought in to try and get the bird off her head with a football

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» 'Do they bite?': alpaca invades pitch at non-league football match – video

An alpaca brought a non-league football match between Carlton Athletic and Ilkley Town to a standstill after it ran across the pitch causing a 20-minute delay

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» 'Clear mistake': Kepa error cost Chelsea says Lampard after defeat to Liverpool – video

Liverpool's 100% start to the Premier League campaign continued with a statement of intent after a 2-0 victory over Chelsea. The Blues found themselves down to 10 men after Andreas Christensen's last-man challenge flattened Sadio Mané. Into the second half Liverpool began to take advantage before a lovely one-touch spell saw the Mané head home. Later in the half, a familiar story for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, after a poor pass out from the back was captialised by Liverpool's Senegalese talisman who tapped home from close range

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» 'Absolute humiliation': Southampton suffer 5-2 defeat to Mourinho's Tottenham – video

What a difference a week makes after José Mourinho blasted his side's poor performance after an opening day defeat to Everton. 

A rampant Tottenham Hotspur put five past Southampton, Heung-Min Son scoring four of the goals. The game ended 5-2 to Spurs who've had a busy week with the new additions of Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilón. 

A superb performance by Harry Kane saw him assist four of the five goals before poking one home just before time

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» Gareth Bale: Spurs re-sign winger on loan from Real Madrid – video report

Seven years after leaving for a world-record fee to Real Madrid, Gareth Bale is back at Tottenham Hotspur in a bid to reignite his career.

Tottenham confirmed the season-long loan signing of Bale on Saturday in one of the most high-profile moves of the transfer window, minutes after announcing left-back Sergio Reguilon is also joining from the Spanish champions.

'It's such a special club to me,' the 31-year-old Bale said of Spurs, 'it's where I made my name.'

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» David Silva leads La Liga's golden oldies as Real Madrid turn to youth | Sid Lowe

After 10 years away, a cameo in a goalless draw with Real Madrid saw one of Spain’s greats return in a Real Sociedad shirt

Dry your eyes, mate. “We cried over his departure,” Miguel-Ángel Moyá said, but the tears didn’t last long. On the final day of last season, Martin Odegaard told his Real Sociedad teammates he was staying for another season, only for Real Madrid to decide differently, changing everything. Twenty days later, recently knocked out of the Champions League, the La Liga winners announced they were bringing him home, four and a half years after he had joined, three since he had set off on loan at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad, and one ahead of schedule.

In San Sebastián, where he had been the country’s outstanding midfielder until lockdown, initially signed for two seasons, it hurt. “When they announced he was leaving, it left us reeling,” admitted the winger Portu.

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» Michel Der Zakarian and Téji Savanier are making Montpellier marvellous

Der Zakarian has always produced solid if unspectacular teams, but he has something special brewing this season

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

After 37 years of marriage, Véronique Der Zakarian and her husband Michel do not always agree. “If you want it to last, concessions must be made on both sides,” said Montpellier coach Michel in a joint interview with his wife in L’Équipe last month. Having followed her husband’s managerial career from Nantes to Clermont, back to Nantes, to Reims and now to Montpellier, Véronique scoffed – much as fans of those clubs might. Der Zakarian’s effective but defensive sides have often made obvious sacrifices in the way they play. Now though, with Montpellier, Der Zakarian is finally following his own advice to glorious effect.

Der Zakarian was born in Armenia but spent his entire playing career in France with Montpellier and Nantes, where he won the league in 1983. After working as an assistant manager at Nantes, he was given the top job in 2007 and guided the club back to Ligue 1. He was soon replaced once the club reached the top flight, however, and had to continue his managerial career at Clermont. When Nantes fell back into Ligue 2, they asked Der Zakarian to take charge again.

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» Roma’s Marash Kumbulla: ‘I liked to watch Smalling. I tried to learn from him’

Albania centre-back earned a move to the capital after a spell at Verona, who Roma face as Serie A resumes this weekend

Many fear defending is a dying art, a vocation few want to accept any more. Even in Italy, the home of catenaccio, only a small number of players have emerged in recent years willing to spend 90 minutes suffocating opposition attacks.

Marash Kumbulla, however, spent his first season in Serie A with Verona showing the art form isn’t dead. The 20-year-old became one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe this summer, with Internazionale, Lazio and Tottenham keen on acquiring him before Roma who won the race to sign a player who could be at the heart of their defence for more than a decade.

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» Barcelona members succeed in setting up vote on president Bartomeu's future
  • More than 20,000 supporters sign a censorship motion
  • No confidence vote will be held by early November

The Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, may be obliged to resign after club members succeeded in a bid to force a referendum. More than 20,000 supporters signed up to support a censorship motion against the beleaguered president who has overseen an ongoing crisis during which the club captain, Lionel Messi, announced he wanted to leave.

A vote on Bartomeu’s future will now be held by the start of November. If he loses, he and his board would be forced to step down with immediate effect and call early elections.

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» German football team socially distance from opponents, lose 37-0
  • Just seven players fielded due to coronavirus concern
  • SG Ripdorf/Molzen II players watch from safe distance

German amateur side SG Ripdorf/Molzen II sacrificed a tight defence for social distancing as they fielded only seven players as a coronavirus precaution in a 37-0 loss to local rivals SV Holdenstedt II.

The preparations for Sunday’s match in Lower Saxony’s 3 Kreisklasse – the 11th tier of German football – were complicated when it emerged that Holdenstedt players had been in contact with an opponent infected with Covid-19 in a previous match.

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» Serie A kicks off with all eyes on Juve's remarkable Andrea Pirlo gamble | Nicky Bandini

Will the rookie manager steer Juventus to a 10th straight title or could Inter, or Lazio or Atalanta, finally topple them?

Millions of Italian children went back to school on Monday. So did the manager of Juventus. Andrea Pirlo was completing the final stage of his Uefa Pro licence course, defending a thesis he had submitted two weeks earlier under the title “My Football”.

His writings will soon be made available, joining those of every other coach who has passed through Italy’s famous Scuola Allenatori (Managers’ School), in the library of the technical centre in Coverciano. Most of us, though, will get our first real insight into Pirlo’s vision for how the game should be played when Juventus host Sampdoria in their Serie A opener on Sunday.

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» Englishmen, crowds and a 'greedy piranha': welcome back Bundesliga | Andy Brassell

Bayern and Dortmund loom large over the rest as Leipzig and Leverkusen adjust after high-profile departures

There are many knock-on effects of such a short pause between seasons and even though the Bundesliga enjoyed a more civilised rest period than many – two-and-a-half months without league action almost seems like a luxury in these frantic times – it hardly feels as if German football has been away. When Bayern Munich raise the curtain, as is tradition for the champions, on 2020-21 on Friday night against Schalke, it will have been 26 days after they celebrated being the champions of Europe for the sixth time late into the Lisbon night.

Bayern’s majesty is fresh in the memory and their shadow looms over the Bundesliga longer and larger than ever before. If the results were dizzying, with the treble secured with 29 wins and a draw in the last 30 matches of the season, then their style was even more so. Hansi Flick’s enormous impact produced Bayern’s best football post-Guardiola with a group of players largely of an age to grow together and create a dynasty.

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» Cádiz are finally back, but not in the way that they dreamed of | Sid Lowe

After 15 years away, ‘the game Michael Robinson dreamed of’ wasn’t. And nor did it turn out the way Cádiz hoped

“To return is to win” runs the slogan on the tape across the top of the stairs at the Ramón de Carranza stadium in Cádiz, another line that can’t be crossed. At the bottom, the gates are locked, but outside a stall still sells scarves and hats in bright yellow, and two Osasuna supporters sit at a table in front of Bar Gol where footballs hang from the ceiling and photos cover the walls – icons of the club they have come to visit. Juan José Jiménez with his beard and magnificent mane, named Sandokan after the pirate. David Vidal, the loveable character they would invent if he didn’t exist. Mágico González, who Vidal proclaimed “technically better than Maradona”: as much myth as man now, the most cult of heroes. And the fans: a riot of colour and noise.

Well, normally. A few metres away, some have gathered on a warm Saturday evening, the beginning of a night they waited so long for, or never saw. A dad and his little boy, a mum and her littler girl, a podgy kid wearing a faded Cádiz T-shirt with Ché Guevara on the front and waving a flag bigger than he is. Teenagers with tops listing fans’ names like tour dates. “Cádiz are a first division team,” they say, which they are now 15 years later. A man holds a cuddly toy in a curly blue wig and a face mask. He is in his promotion T-shirt from the last time Cádiz came back and the flag he unfolds is 40 years old.

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» 'A terrible position': A-League clubs and players reach impasse over pay deal | Simon Hill

After players rejected a new CBA offer talks are in deadlock and the impact on the game in Australia could be severe

To say A-League players did it tough to get the domestic season completed is akin to saying Harry Kewell had the merest hint of talent. The Wellington Phoenix squad have only this week emerged to see if their families still recognise them, after entering a hub in Australia over 80 days ago. The players from the three Victorian clubs meantime, probably still wake up in cold sweats over their abortive attempts to cross the New South Wales border.

The players also took a big hit financially. A short-term collective bargaining agreement was struck, after some intense negotiating, that saw some take salary cuts of up to 80%. Yet just a fortnight after Rhyan Grant thrust his chest out, sprinter-style, to get Sydney FC over the line for a fifth title, the A-League’s 300-odd professionals are again back at the starting blocks.

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» Masterstroke or mistake? Who cares, Bale's return to Spurs is intoxicating | Barney Ronay

The man in the YouTube reels may be seven years older but this is the kind of modern football moment too good not to enjoy

As a long-term observer it is always tempting to look out for moments that capture the essence of modern football, those single images that really get its basic weirdness. A personal favourite is the terrifying cube of death built by Qatar 2022 on the banks of the Moskva river at the last World Cup, a beautiful glass and steel exhibition centre intended to generate a thrill of carefree excitement about the next global festival of football, but one that resembled simultaneously a giant haunted cancerous polyp overseen by alien lizard secret service personnel.

There are plenty more everyday candidates. Gianni Infantino stepping on to a Gazprom private jet. Neymar running away from his teammates celebrating a goal by Neymar in an empty stadium where, just for a moment, the only audible sound is Neymar celebrating a goal by Neymar.

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» Macclesfield Town's demise was signposted but that doesn't make it less painful | John Brewin

After 146 years a winding-up order means oblivion beckons for club that defied odds but was often a misstep from the brink

The announcement was shocking but registered as no surprise. Like the £500,000-plus the club owed its creditors, Macclesfield Town had been on borrowed time. After a long series of court dates and adjournments, Judge Sebastian Prentis, via a virtual hearing, wound up the club on Wednesday in a specialist insolvency and companies court.

It will be the fans who suffer. A Macclesfield Town supporter does not dream of the Champions League or signing Gareth Bale on loan but it is the shared camaraderie of icy afternoons on the Star Lane End or a 500-mile round trip by coach to Torquay that will be lost. And in their own way, Silkmen fans followed a club with much to be proud of, as a powerhouse of the non-league scene in the late-1980s, a Football League club against the odds after that and somewhere that gave three Black managers in Sol Campbell, Paul Ince and Keith Alexander opportunities.

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» Big names are great, but the WSL must not become a holiday league | Eni Aluko

The arrival of a host of stars is great for women’s football but contracts which last only a few months can also be disruptive

Two games into the Women’s Super League season and we’re starting to see some patterns emerging, with high-quality teams across the division but a few that look a cut above. The standard of overseas players coming into the league this summer demonstrates the way it’s seen now around the world, and will increase the quality still further, though I do have reservations about some of the signings.

I know of at least five clubs who have brought in players on short-term deals. For example Alex Morgan, the USA player and World Cup winner who has joined Tottenham, is a fantastic addition to English football but has joined initially for only four months. The season lasts the best part of a year, and includes the FA Cup and Continental Cup, and personally I’m not a big fan of this kind of arrangement.

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» The Fiver | Luis Suárez and what could turn out to be a full circle of failure

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It is just a week since Luis Suárez rocked up in Perugia to take the Italian test that could secure his European passport and, with it, a move to Juventus. Somehow Barcelona’s cunning linguist convinced his examiners that he deserved to pass, but now there are more questions being asked in the picturesque Umbrian hill town after it emerged that in fact the last genuine Italian to come out of Suárez’s mouth was Giorgio Chiellini in 2014.

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» Football transfer rumours: Luis Suárez to join Atlético Madrid?

Today’s fluff has knocked over its bulging in-tray

Lionel Messi may be gritting his teeth having agreed to endure another season of high politics, sound and fury at Barcelona, but his fellow forward Luis Suárez may finally be off to pastures new. At least according to the Spanish outlet RMC, which reports the Uruguayan is off to Atlético Madrid, having agreed to terminate his contract at the Camp Nou. It would be something of a coup for Atlético, with Juventus having widely been seen as the frontrunners for his signature. Suárez had even gone to Perugia last week (hadn’t everyone?) and passed an Italian exam that enabled him to acquire dual citizenship, but delays in getting his passport and Juve’s inability to bring in any more non-EU players appear to have scuppered the deal.

A move for Suárez would enable Atlético to send Álvaro Morata back Juve on loan, and Diego Simeone to pair the former Liverpool striker with Diego Costa up front. On his way out of the Wanda Metropolitano may be the right-back Santiago Arias, who is the subject of serious interest from free-spending, freewheeling Everton. The Liverpool Echo reports the club are in talks to sign the Colombian international, who found himself squeezed out of the first-team reckoning last term and made only 14 appearances.

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» Sports quiz of the week: Gareth Bale, a glut of goals and a globetrotter

Who kept losing? Who keeps winning? Who keeps moving?

Gareth Bale is set to sign for Tottenham at the age of 31. He did not have such a great start to his Spurs career as a 17-year-old. In his first spell at the club, how many games did Bale play for Spurs before he won one?





Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday and is now just one victory shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record in Formula One. How many races did Schumacher win in the sport?





Thiago Alcântara is joining Liverpool from Bayern Munich. He is moving to England from Germany, having been born in Italy and raised in Spain. For which country did his father win the World Cup?





Umut Uysal won a 100m race at the Balkan U20s Championship this week, beating six other sprinters and overcoming which other obstacle?

He had to run in a mask, gloves and a visor as he had a high temperature

He had to run over a stray cat at the finish line

He had to walk 10 miles to the venue as there was no public transport in the area

He is only 13 years old – seven years younger than the other athletes in the race

Bayern Munich begin their defence of the Bundesliga this weekend against Schalke. Who were the last club other than Bayern to win the league?


Bayer Leverkusen

VfL Wolfsburg

Borussia Dortmund

Serie A also returns this weekend, with Andrea Pirlo hoping to lead Juventus to a 10th straight league title. Who were the last club other than Juve to win the league?





The US Open is being played at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York this weekend. The course is seriously tough. When Hale Irwin won the US Open at the course in 1974, what did he shoot?

One over par

Three over par

Seven over par

Eleven over par

The German amateur football team SG Ripdorf were beaten 37-0 by their local rivals Holdenstedt this week. How did they explain the scoreline after the match?

They said they only played the game to bed in their new goalkeeper

They said they were socially distancing on the pitch

They said the defeat was a plea to their owners to spend some money on new players

They said they could not adjust to the tightness and colour of their new kit

Dominic Thiem won the US Open on Sunday. Which of these statements about his victory is true?

It was his first grand slam title

He became the first player to win a US Open title after being two sets down in the final

He became the first man born in the 1990s to win a grand slam singles title

All of the above

Mo Salah hit a hat-trick in Liverpool’s opening game of the season. Who was the last Liverpool player to do that?

Fernando Torres in 2008

Michael Owen in 1998

John Aldridge in 1988

Kenny Dalglish in 1978

1 and above.

Not ideal

2 and above.

Not ideal

3 and above.

Not bad

4 and above.

Not bad

5 and above.

Nice work

6 and above.

Great work

7 and above.


8 and above.


9 and above.


0 and above.

Not ideal

10 and above.


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» Which managers have had the longest breaks between spells at a club? | The Knowledge

Plus: multiple same-name scoring teammates, refs riding roughshod over rules, and an umbrella-holding goalscorer

“Eddie Niedzwiecki took temporary charge of Reading following the departure of Mark Bowen. Eddie was previously Reading’s caretaker manager way back in 1991. This means he went 29 years between matches as our manager. Is this a record?” asks Tom Brailli.

If we bend the rules a bit, it’s not. Here’s Chris Page: “I can beat that … sort of. But we’d have to count a spell as assistant manager. Former manager of Real Madrid and Brazil’s national team, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, has taken charge of just about every major team in Brazil over the last 40 years. One of his earliest roles was assistant manager of Vasco da Gama until he departed in 1982 before returning as full-time manager last year. That’s a whole 37 years between spells.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action | Rachel Brown-Finnis

The WSL is now the strongest league in the world, Chelsea are targeting Champions League and putting scorelines in context

The WSL has welcomed a dizzying array of talent in recent weeks, with Spurs’ addition of Alex Morgan the icing on the cake. I want to emphasise just how much it means to women’s football in England for players like Morgan, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis to have come over from the US. These women are superstars there, inside and outside the sport. That is partly because their brilliant national team gets such huge coverage, but mainly because they are such outstanding talents. The list of names is one I could never have imagined playing here, and when you add Pernille Harder then things look even better. She chose Chelsea when she could have gone anywhere, and it shows how top footballers view the WSL. It is now the best league in the world

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» Buy a classic sport photograph – Cantona bosses Liverpool

The latest in a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images. This week’s picture captures the joy of Leeds United beating Liverpool in a seven-goal Charity Shield thriller, on the eve of the first ever Premier League season

When Leeds United and Liverpool met in the Charity Shield in the curtain raiser for the inaugural Premier League season in 1992, Leeds were the reigning First Division champions and Liverpool, winners two years prior, were the FA Cup holders. Leeds arrived at Wembley boasting a formidable squad including the likes of Gary McAllister, John Lukic, Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed, Lee Chapman and Eric Cantona. The enigmatic Frenchman (pictured here) would guide Leeds to a 4-3 victory with a hat-trick, and weeks later would become the first player to score three in a single Premier League match. However, Leeds would ultimately lose Cantona to Manchester United in November that season – an irreconcilable loss – and limp to a 17th-place finish, only narrowly avoiding the drop; meanwhile, Liverpool would finish sixth and endure a further 27 years of domestic heartbreak before landing the big one last term. Now, these two rejuvenated titans will face one another in the league for the first time in 16 years, as the 2020/21 Premier League season gets underway.

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» Champions League final quiz: who was voted man of the match?

Every year, Uefa ask a group of players and managers to pick a standout performer from the final. Who has won the award?

Who was the man of the match in the 2019 final?

Mo Salah

Jordan Henderson

Virgil van Dijk

Sadio Mané

Who was the man of the match in the 2018 final?

Gareth Bale

Luka Modric


Loris Karius

Who was the man of the match in the 2017 final?


Cristiano Ronaldo

Mario Mandzukic

Karim Benzema

Who was the man of the match in the 2016 final?

Sergio Ramos

Toni Kroos

Antoine Griezmann

Jan Oblak

Who was the man of the match in the 2015 final?

Andrés Iniesta


Javier Mascherano

Luis Suárez

Who was the man of the match in the 2014 final?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ángel Di María

Gareth Bale


Who was the man of the match in the 2013 final?

Thomas Müller

Mario Mandzukic

Arjen Robben

Ilkay Gündogan

Who was the man of the match in the 2012 final?

Didier Drogba

Frank Lampard

John Terry

Thomas Müller

Who was the man of the match in the 2011 final?

Lionel Messi


David Villa


Who was the man of the match in the 2010 final?

Diego Milito

Wesley Sneijder

Javier Zanetti

Samuel Eto’o

Who was the man of the match in the 2009 final?


Thierry Henry

Samuel Eto'o

Sergio Busquets

Who was the man of the match in the 2008 final?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Edwin van der Sar

Didier Drogba

Rio Ferdinand

Who was the man of the match in the 2007 final?

Filippo Inzaghi

Paolo Maldini

Pepe Reina


Who was the man of the match in the 2006 final?

Sol Campbell

Henrik Larsson

Samuel Eto’o


Who was the man of the match in the 2005 final?

Steven Gerrard

Hernán Crespo

Dietmar Hamann

Xabi Alonso

Who was the man of the match in the 2004 final?

Paulo Ferreira


Ricardo Carvalho

Patrice Evra

Who was the man of the match in the 2003 final?

Andriy Shevchenko

Edgar Davids

Paolo Maldini

Alessandro Del Piero

Who was the man of the match in the 2002 final?


Luís Figo

Michael Ballack

Zinédine Zidane

5 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

6 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

7 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

8 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

4 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

3 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

2 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

1 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

9 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

10 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

11 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

12 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

13 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

14 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

15 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

16 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

17 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

0 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

18 and above.

Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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» Golden Goal: Yordan Letchkov for Bulgaria v Germany (1994) | Daniel Harris

Bulgaria exploded in pure identity, while the rest of the world enjoyed a moment of luscious joy in the misfortune of another

Not much makes the world simultaneously bigger and smaller, but the World Cup boasts that precise, precious capacity. While celebrating our differences – all those songs, all those chyrons, all those haircuts – it also highlights our similarities – all those souls, all those feelings, all that love – which together compel our species into a single endeavour of collective bliss.

But rarely has rapture been as rampant as when Yordan Letchkov’s header gave Bulgaria victory over Germany at USA 94. His team weren’t even meant to be there; needing to beat France in their final qualifier, the score was 1-1 with 90 minutes played. But then out of nowhere a fantastic pass from Lyuboslav Penev found Emil Kostadinov racing towards the box … and he absolutely mulleted a sensational finish in off the bar. “God is Bulgarian!” hollered Nikolay Kolev in commentary. “God is Bulgarian!”

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» Why I can't wait to see Gareth Bale in a Tottenham shirt again | Max Rushden

Spurs fans need the homecoming nostalgia of someone they saw turn from a boy into a joy of a footballer

Gareth Bale’s final – well hopefully not final – goal for Tottenham was in the last minute of the last game of the season. Sunderland at White Hart Lane, 19 May 2013. He picked the ball up on the right, cut inside like Arjen Robben and bent the ball into the top left corner from 25 yards past Simon Mignolet. It feels like Bale scored that goal a hundred times that season.

As soon as the ball hit the net, Emmanuel Adebayor ran to ask the crowd whether it was enough to get Spurs into the Champions League. It wasn’t. Beaten into fifth place by virtue of Arsenal’s win at Newcastle. André Villas-Boas insisted he could keep Bale at the club. He couldn’t.

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» Intensity, pace and a sweet left foot: Arsenal's Gabriel has the full package | Nick Ames

The Brazilian has made rapid strides in recent seasons and should add a presence his new club’s backline has sorely missed

Shortly after Gabriel Magalhães played his first and, as it turned out, only game for Dinamo Zagreb’s senior team he was called into the manager’s office. Nikola Jurcevic had seen enough during a Croatian top-flight game against Rijeka in April 2018 to know that, perhaps ambitiously given the club’s managerial churn, he needed to nail down a long-term plan for the centre-back.

Related: Emiliano Martínez joins Aston Villa from Arsenal in £20m deal

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» Gareth Bale's Madrid exit is marked by bitterness, resentment and relief | Sid Lowe

The Welshman is set to join Tottenham on loan after seven years at Real Madrid, but instead of sadness there is only relief

The saddest thing about Gareth Bale’s departure from Real Madrid is that no one is really sad at all. Instead, there is anger and disappointment but mostly a kind of weary relief, a release. He’s gone? Good, we can all get on with our lives. And no one more so than him: maybe the Welshman can play a bit of football again, and maybe he’ll be brilliant too, just not at the Bernabéu where it has been effectively over for some time. Now at least, now at last, it is actually over – four European Cups, two league titles and more than a hundred goals later.

Which, when you put it like that ...

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» Neville Southall: 'You don’t expect loose cannons to take over your own country'

Former Everton keeper takes aim at Boris Johnson and JK Rowling and reveals how helping marginalised groups leaves little time to himself

“I want Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Donald Trump and the geezer from North Korea to be put on a boat that gets sent around the world for the next 25 years,” Neville Southall says as he sinks back into his chair. “That would do me,” he adds, with an endearingly sombre gaze after I’ve asked him how he would like to change the world for the better after a terrible year. It’s dark outside and Southall, the former Everton and Wales goalkeeper who is now one of the most outspoken supporters of people marginalised by mainstream society, briefly looks weary.

Southall has not stopped talking passionately for 70 minutes but he has had a long day. He left home at 5.45am so he could get to work early and, after a taxing day at his special‑needs school in Swansea, he still has to join an online LGBQT+ panel once we complete our interview. But Southall soon rolls on.

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» Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002. Check the progress of our 2018 picks | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by DZfoot, BackpagePix, Club Atlético Belgrano, EFE, EPA, Getty Images, Uwe Gruen/Hoffenheim, AMA/Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Zuma Press/PA, FIFA, Tigres, Damir Krajac/CROPIX, Alamy, Daniel Reyes/Ecuafutbol, Reuters, Atromitos, Imago/PA, fotoBERNAMA, New Straits Times, José Alonso Paredes Sánchez, Agencja Gazeta, David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty, AP, Asian Football Confederation, Danubio FC and Championat Asia

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» Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

The Guardian selects the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by David Price/Arsenal/Getty Images, Neville Williams/Aston Villa/Getty Images, AFC Bournemouth, Paul Hazlewood/BHAFC, Paul Dennis/TGS/Shutterstock, Clive Howes/Chelsea/Getty Images, Danny Loo/PPAUK, Emma Simpson/Everton/Getty Images, Nick Taylor/Liverpool/Getty Images, Manchester City/Getty Images, Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images, Jason Dawson/Jasonpix, James Wilson/Sportimage, Simon Bellis/Sportimage, Robin Jones/Digital South/Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur/Getty Images, Alan Cozzi/Watford, Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United and Sam Bagnall/AMA

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» Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

From Rashford to Tielemans, we check in on how our initial Next Generation players have got on before the 2019 ones are announced this week

In 2014 we decided that it would be interesting to pick the best young players from each Premier League club – as well as 40 from around the world – and follow them for five years to see how they progressed.

The idea was to try to get a sense of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer despite being one of the best in that country at the age of 16 or 17.

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