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Football Team News

» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allays Mason Greenwood fears amid stunning Man Utd form
The Red Devils boss does not believe his breakout midfielder will have any trouble carrying his success through to next season
» Mikel Arteta opens up on being coached by Spurs rival Jose Mourinho at Barcelona
The Arsenal boss will take charge of his first north London derby on Sunday and goes up against a manager who he knows well
» Sir Alex Ferguson 'told Geoff Shreeves to 'f*** off' over Cristiano Ronaldo
The Sky Sports pitch-side personality has spoken about how one of his many emotional post-match encounters turned physical after he angered Sir Alex Ferguson
» Jack Charlton: The England and Leeds legend known to most as "Big Jack"
Charlton's family announced he had passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday morning and tributes have been pouring in for the World Cup winner
» England's 1966 World Cup heroes then and now as Jack Charlton sadly passes away
The World Cup winning defender was part of Sir Alf Ramsey's history-making England side that became world champions at Wembley
» Aurier says Tottenham must win north London derby against Arsenal at all costs
Just a point separates the fierce rivals in the table ahead of the crunch clash between them on Sunday, and Tottenham's full-back feels losing is simply not an option
» Jack Charlton's heartbreaking feud with Bobby and tragedy that reunited them
England World Cup 1966 hero Jack Charlton has died aged 85 following a battle with lymphoma and dementia
» Lineker pays tribute to "wonderfully infectious" Charlton after icon's death
Charlton's family announced he had passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday morning and tributes are flooding in from the footballing world
» Tributes pour in for Jack Charlton after England and Leeds legend passes away
Charlton's family announced his death at the age of 85 on Saturday morning and the world of football has been paying its respects
» Jack Charlton dead: England World Cup winner passes away aged 85
Charlton's family released a statement on Saturday morning confirming that the former Leeds player had died after a battle against dementia
» Liverpool's 10 worst transfers of last decade including Adam and Carroll
Despite their recent success, you don’t have to go too far back to find colossal fees Liverpool spent on players who didn’t justify the hype
» Read gay Premier League star's brave coming out letter in full
The letter has been released by the Justin Fashanu Foundation - who are supporting the player and have agreed for Mirror Football to publish the letter in full
» What happened to the six Man Utd academy graduates given debuts by Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho gave six Man Utd academy players their debuts at Old Trafford but they have had varying degrees of success since making their first outings
» Liverpool vs Burnley kick off time, TV and live stream information
Liverpool take on Burnley on Saturday afternoon, as they chase a record Premier League points tally. Jurgen Klopp's side need nine more points to beat the current record
» Brighton vs Man City kick-off time, TV and live stream information
Manchester City travel to Brighton for Saturday's last Premier League match. Pep Guardiola's side will almost certainly finish second in the league
» Sheffield United vs Chelsea kick-off time, TV and live stream information
Frank Lampard's Chelsea go to Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon, knowing a win will give them breathing space over top four rivals Leicester City and Manchester United who don't play until Sunday and Monday respectively
» Ex-Chelsea defender Glen Johnson makes Premier League top four prediction
Johnson also gave his view on Chelsea's prospects next season as his former team battle Leicester and Manchester United in a nailbiting race for the final Champions League positions
» Arsenal 'lined up for Community Shield' - regardless of whether they win FA Cup
The traditional Wembley showpiece will feature Premier League champions Liverpool - but eventual FA Cup winners could be involved in European action until late next month
» Man Utd transfer news - Sancho update, United told price for alternative Dembele
The latest Manchester United transfer news as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to turn the Red Devils into a Premier League force again
» Chelsea transfer news - Pellistri race, Blues eye 'next Mbappe', Havertz latest
The latest Chelsea transfer news as Frank Lampard looks to close the gap to the Premier League's top two
» Arsenal transfer news - Gunners target Spanish midfielder as rivals eye Ceballos
The latest Arsenal transfer news as Mikel Arteta scours Europe for the best bargains to boost his Premier League side
» Liverpool transfer news - Thiago alternative is scouted, secret Koulibaly plan
The latest Liverpool transfer news as Jurgen Klopp looks ahead to his side's Premier League title defence
» Man Utd offered Jadon Sancho transfer hope despite Borussia Dortmund price tag
The Bundesliga side want at least £100m for Sancho while reports emerged that Manchester United were not prepared to pay more than £50m
» Shkodran Mustafi in line for new deal as Arteta urges Arsenal to offer contract
Centre-back Mustafi has enjoyed a turnaround in fortunes since Arteta took charge but has entered the final year of his contract, and the head coach wants Arsenal to tie him down
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Other sport news:

» Jack Charlton, England World Cup winner, dies aged 85
  • Centre-half was part of 1966 World Cup-winning team
  • Charlton also a successful Republic of Ireland manager

Jack Charlton, a World Cup winner with England and a former Republic of Ireland manager, has died aged 85. Charlton, the elder brother of Bobby, played 35 times for England as a central defender, including all six matches at the 1966 World Cup.

Related: 'He was larger than life': football world pays tribute to Jack Charlton

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» Jack Charlton: an exceptional leader who had Ireland dancing in the streets | Paul Doyle

The celebrations were more memorable than the matches but Jack Charlton leaves an indelible mark on Irish football

Jack Charlton was to the Republic of Ireland what Pelé was to Brazil. He defined the national team to the world, establishing a style against which all of the country’s sides since have been measured for better or worse. Charlton, Ireland’s first foreign manager, even helped to alter society.

The beauty of a game depends on the beholder. For nearly 10 years Charlton’s Ireland were hard to watch and harrowing to play against, yet they gave unprecedented joy to millions. He was fortunate that during his reign Ireland had some of the greatest players in their history but it took an exceptional leader to rally them. The manager, a surprising appointment following a farcical selection process, brought a charisma and a clarity of vision that had been missing.

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» Norwich City v West Ham United: Premier League – live!

Norwich name an unchanged side from the XI named for the 2-1 loss at Watford. West Ham make one change, captain Mark Noble replacing Chelsea match-winner Andriy Yarmolenko, who drops to the bench. Normally this sort of as-you-were news would be filed under our If It Ain’t Broke banner, but, well, y’know.

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis, Vrancic, Tettey, Buendia, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki.
Subs: Rupp, Cantwell, Trybull, Drmic, McLean, Duda, McGovern, Idah, Martin.

West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Noble, Fornals, Antonio.
Subs: Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Wilshere, Haller, Masuaku, Ajeti, Randolph, Johnson.

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» Watford v Newcastle United: Premier League – live!

Some really sad news from earlier Jack Charlton, who managed Newcastle in the 1984-85 season, has died at the age of 85. This is a brilliantly written tribute from Paul Doyle, focussing on Charlton’s extraordinary success with Ireland.

Related: Jack Charlton: an exceptional leader who had Ireland dancing in the streets | Paul Doyle

Watford (4-2-3-1) Foster; Kiko Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina; Capoue, Hughes; Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck; Deeney.
Substitutes: Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra.

Newcastle (4-2-3-1) Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Schar, Shelvey; Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Ritchie; Gayle.
Substitutes: Joelinton, Muro, Krafth, Yedlin, Lazaro, Darlow, Atsu, Bentaleb, M Longstaff.

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» Transfers provide a silver lining for WSL and may soon have a Bronze hue

Top clubs have been the most active in the market and Manchester City could land two England full-backs

In a seven-month stretch without domestic women’s football, interest in the comings and goings at clubs is reaching a new peak. The unpredictability of the effects of Covid-19 has added spice to the transfer window.

The window opened on 19 June but until this past week the announcements had come in no more than a steady trickle as the pandemic curtailed the ability of clubs to do business. Medicals, photographs and even the signing of a contract have had to be done remotely, externally or delayed.

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» Roberto Martínez: 'I did not expect to be in the international game this long'

Belgium’s manager on feeling ready to go all the way at Euro 2020, moving on from the golden generation and why he loves English football

Until he took the Belgium job, Roberto Martínez felt much the same as any club manager: that there was rarely a timely international break. “But then, when you experience that side of football, you realise it takes the game into a different level,” he says. “Having a whole nation kicking a ball and celebrating a goal, or going through the misery of not being able to win a major tournament. Nothing unifies, or takes celebration to a global scale, like international football.”

Put like that, perhaps Euro 2020 will provide a salve for troubled times when it belatedly begins next June. Had Covid-19 not intervened so tragically, it is perfectly conceivable that Martínez would have been leading Belgium out at Wembley in the final on Sunday and their “golden generation”, a decade in the making, would have achieved its crowning moment.

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» José Mourinho accepts Tottenham fans' dissent but promises better next term
  • Manager and players share supporters’ discontent
  • ‘Next season is going to be different,’ says Mourinho

José Mourinho is aware of Tottenham fans’ discontent, which makes him and the players unhappy, but has promised to provide them with a better season next time out.

Spurs have gone from beaten Champions League finalists last June to ninth in the Premier League and with a return to Europe’s elite competition next season looking all but impossible.

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» Mikel Arteta has Arsenal players on right wavelength in time for Spurs | Nick Ames

Spaniard inherited something of a mess but recent evidence suggests he is on the path to restoring Arsenal’s credibility

You could make your own jokes on Thursday when Mikel Arteta was forced to postpone his pre-match press conference for Sunday’s north London derby. The Arsenal manager’s wifi had apparently been playing up all day and it seemed some kind of local power outage was more of an issue, at that moment, than well-worn questions about the local balance of power. “Technical issues” was the reason given.

Arteta knows all about those, in a different sense. When he took over before Christmas it was hard to know where he should start: technically, tactically and temperamentally, Arsenal were a mess and Arteta was keenly aware. Their mentality was wrong and the biggest job, he felt, was to engage the players’ brains in a way that swept them along with him. “I want to do things my way,” he said at his unveiling. “But by convincing them it’s the right way for everybody to live better.”

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» Jack Charlton: his life and times – in pictures

World Cup winner Jack Charlton, who forged a successful career in management after hanging up his boots, has died aged 85. Charlton was an Elland Road legend, spending his whole playing career at Leeds United. As Republic of Ireland manager he took the team to their first major finals at Euro 1988 followed that by guiding them to the 1990 and 1994 World Cups

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» 'He was larger than life': tributes pour in for football legend Jack Charlton
  • World Cup winner and former Ireland manager dies aged 85
  • ‘He changed everything about Irish football’

Tributes have poured in for Jack Charlton from across the world of football after the World Cup winner and former Republic of Ireland manager died, aged 85 on Friday.

During his time in charge of Ireland, Charlton led the team to two World Cups and a European Championships, earning him legendary status in the country. The former defender was already a hero in England, having won the 1966 World Cup.

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» Well Offside: buy a classic European football photo from yesteryear

On the eve of what should have been the Euro 2020 final, here’s your chance to own a print featuring tournament legends such as Paul Gascoigne, Ruud Gullit and Peter Schmeichel

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» Guardiola convinced Manchester City will escape Champions League ban
  • Manager fully expects club’s appeal to be successful
  • ‘I’m so confident. Next season we will be there’

Pep Guardiola is confident Manchester City will have their two-year ban from Uefa competition quashed when the court of arbitration for sport delivers its verdict on the club’s appeal on Monday.

City were given the suspension in February after being found to have seriously misled Uefa and broken financial fair play rules. Yet their manager expects the club to be in the Champions League next season.

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» Real Madrid maintain winning run against Alavés and close in on title

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to four points with a home win against Alavés. Karim Benzema converted an early penalty and later provided the assist for Marco Asensio’s second-half tap-in as Zinedine Zidane’s side edged closer to clinching the title.

Real, who registered their eighth straight league victory, need two more wins from their remaining three games to secure their first La Liga crown in three years.

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» Mitrovic penalty helps sink Cardiff and secure Fulham play-off spot
  • Mitrovic and Onomah strike to give Fulham 2-0 win
  • Luton boost survival hopes with win at Huddersfield

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty cemented Fulham’s Championship play-off place in a 2-0 win over their promotion rivals Cardiff. The Serbia striker marked his return from a three-match ban with a spot-kick at Craven Cottage as Fulham recorded a fourth straight league win.

Josh Onomah later fired his third goal of the season to seal victory for Scott Parker’s side, who leapfrogged Brentford into third place, temporarily at least, with the Bees travelling to Derby on Saturday.

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» Taking Everton to Champions League would be huge success, says Ancelotti
  • ‘It is an exciting challenge and I am involved 100%’
  • Manager defends Alex Iwobi after two substitutions

Carlo Ancelotti has said transforming Everton into a Champions League contender would rank as another “fantastic success” in his illustrious managerial career.

The three-times Champions League-winning coach received another reminder of the size of the task he has inherited on Thursday when Everton were outplayed by Southampton. A fortunate draw effectively ended Ancelotti’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League but competing for Champions League qualification remains the long-term target.

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» Jordan Henderson avoids surgery and will lift Premier League trophy
  • Klopp hopeful Liverpool captain will start next season
  • ‘The best possible of all bad news,’ manager says

Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Jordan Henderson will miss the rest of the season through injury but will lift the Premier League trophy at Liverpool’s final home game against Chelsea.

Henderson injured his left knee during Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Brighton on Wednesday to leave Klopp fearing a lengthy absence that could impact on the 2020-21 campaign. The Liverpool manager admits it came as a “big relief” when scans revealed surgery would not be required and he expects the influential captain to be available for the start of the title defence.

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» Steve Bruce hits back at claims Newcastle are 'stagnating and stale'
  • Manager says it is a ‘myth’ that club is standing still
  • Bruce calls for Newcastle fans to ‘judge me fairly’

Steve Bruce polarises opinion on Tyneside to such an extent some Newcastle fans believe he should win the Premier League’s manager of the year award while others are convinced the team have stagnated under his charge.

Although Bruce feels he is behind Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp, Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder and Burnley’s Sean Dyche when it comes to manager of the year, he evidently feels irked about claims of standing still.

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» Word is spreading about Aston Villa Women and what we are trying to achieve | Eni Aluko

Pre-season training starts next week, the WSL season in early September, and our promoted side are focusing on becoming the top team in the Midlands

As the Premier League season draws to a close, a new Women’s Super League campaign is rapidly approaching, and Aston Villa Women start pre-season training next week for our first year in the top flight. We have announced two signings with more to come, and the first games are scheduled for the first weekend of September, which will be our chance to establish ourselves at a higher level and set new benchmarks and targets.

It was really important that we kept the core group that got us promoted and before we brought anyone in we made sure that 13 of those players were retained. A number of them are from Birmingham and I think it was really important to maintain that DNA within the team, to have a squad that shows young girls that it is possible to reach the first team one day.

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» Espanyol slip away to Barcelona's tune but the silence will sting too | Sid Lowe

Barcelona’s other team were relegated at an empty Camp Nou, a cold and cruel final blow to a season that crumbled painfully

Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol left the first division to the opening bars of “Cant del Barça”, the anthem of the club that has cast a shadow over them for so long. It was, their director general said, “a dark night”, although it could have been even darker. Relegated after 26 years and at the Camp Nou of all places, symbolism in them taking their first steps into segunda at their rivals’ home, this hurt. But at least there was virtually no one there to see it, no salt for their wounds, players slipping off silently when the end came.

As the final minutes ticked away, Ví­ctor Sánchez sank his head into the seat, wanting it to be over. Sitting nearby, Raúl Tamudo swore into his mask. Below them, self-appointed emergency coach Francisco Rufete stood powerless, cap pulled down tight. Twelve years ago, Rufete’s pass released Tamudo to score a late equaliser here, denying Barcelona a title that turned on 18 ludicrous seconds. “The shag of the century,” AS called it. Some Espanyol fans consider that to be their best moment, certainly the most ecstatic. This was perhaps the most empty.

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» Musa Juwara: from a refugees' dinghy to San Siro supersub with Bologna

The Gambian, who arrived in Italy as an unaccompanied young teenager, underlined his talent with a ‘dream’ goal at Internazionale

Sinisa Mihajlovic says it was destiny. With his Bologna side a man down after Roberto Soriano’s red card and trailing 1-0 at Internazionale on Sunday, the coach surveyed his bench and weighed up his options.

“The first idea was to put [Mattias] Svanberg on the right, then watching the game I said to myself: ‘Let’s put Musa on. He always causes a mess when he plays and they won’t understand anything,’” Mihajlovic recalled.

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» Morricone's music, Ivanisevic's Wimbledon win and dancing robots | Classic YouTube

Also featuring Gazza being great at Lazio, Nicklaus v Watson at Turnberry and football’s Saturday Fever from 1961

1) The legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone died this week. His towering influence on popular culture extended to writing the official theme tune for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. The hosts’ 3-1 victory against The Netherlands in the final is well worth your time. Just for good measure, here’s a written interview with the late Morricone celebrating his country’s semi-final win against Germany in 2006. “They fought like lions!”

Related: Sir Everton Weekes, spectacular Steffi Graf and Lothar Matthäus loses it

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» David Squires on ... the Melbourne A-League teams' not-that-great escape

Our cartoonist looks at a noble attempt to keep the nation’s spirits up through the pandemic by not flying to Canberra

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» Wigan debacle exposes need for reset of English football's finances

Whatever the ins and outs of its dramatic collapse, the club’s fate is symptomatic of EFL’s ongoing financial plight

In the week since Wigan Athletic were dumped into administration like litter thrown from a speeding car, the tale of some underlying betting scandal became a compelling distraction from football’s real, pressing issues glinting in the wreckage. The EFL identified the cause – the ruinous structure of the game itself – in an unusually robust statement following the belated first public comments of Hong Kong-based Au Yeung, who took over the club then collapsed it in a week.

Rejecting his effort to cite the coronavirus crisis as an explanation, the EFL set out its case for wholesale reform, including a call for the Premier League to share money more fairly: “This set of circumstances,” the league said, “is more illustrative of the wider financial challenges facing EFL clubs, who, without a full and comprehensive reset of football’s finances, including how monies are distributed throughout the game, will continue to struggle to meet the demands of an outdated and unsustainable model.”

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» José Mourinho 'very happy' with clash between Son and Lloris – video

José Mourinho has said he was 'very happy' after the half-time confrontation between the Tottenhgam captain, Hugo Lloris, and Son-Heung min during the 1-0 win over Everton. The pair were seen pushing one another as they left the field. The Spurs manager added that he does not want to manage a team capable of winning nothing more than the Fair Play Cup

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» Jürgen Klopp says Manchester City loss nothing to do with sealing title – video

The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, says being crowned Premier League champions last week had no impact on his team's 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City. Klopp said the defeat hurt, and that says City had a point to prove while Liverpool failed to capitalise on their chances. The result is the Reds' second league loss of the season, but still leaves them 20 points clear of Pep Guardiola's side

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» Saudi takeover of Newcastle would be 'humiliating', says MP – video

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, has hinted that the Newcastle takeover saga could be concluded shortly, but he was warned by MPs that it would be 'humiliating' to allow a Saudi Arabian consortium to take over a club given the country’s record on piracy and human rights. The SNP’s John Nicolson also pointed out that the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test would be considered bizarre if it gave approval to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, given that it failed to allow One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson to take over Doncaster Rovers

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» Disorder in Liverpool as fan celebrations continue in the city – video

Liverpool Football Club has condemned the behaviour of crowds of fans who gathered in the city to celebrate the club winning their first ever Premier League title. On Saturday the club, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police issued a joint statement saying: 'Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.' Footage published on social media showed fireworks aimed at the Liver Building and thousands of people packing the streets.

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» Aston Villa manager Dean Smith laments fixture congestion after Wolves defeat – video

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith blamed fatigue for his team's 1-0 loss to Wolves at Villa Park. 

'I think the biggest winner today was fatigue,' he said. 'It is not a spectacle at the moment anyway without supporters there and even less so when you are asked to play the amount of games we are playing in so many days.'

Villa are yet to win since the Premier League restarted and currently sit 19th in the league. 

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» Premier League managers on Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool's title win – video

Premier League managers congratulated Liverpool and their manager Jürgen Klopp after they sealed a first league title in 30 years. Pep Guardiola, manager of previous champions Manchester City, said: 'Congratulations for Liverpool – the fans, manager, the players. Well deserved.'

Frank Lampard, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Brendan Rodgers, who came so close to the title with Liverpool in 2014, also praised Klopp's success. 'It's an absolutely brilliant achievement' said Rodgers, who is now Leicester manager. 'They've been consistently the best team'. 

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» Milan's thrilling win over Juve shows Pioli will be a hard act to follow | Nicky Bandini

Ralf Rangnick will replace him next season but Stefano Pioli has been so effective fans feel he is deserving of a longer run

Stefano Pioli woke up on Tuesday morning to another round of headlines about the man who is being hired to replace him. After months of courtship, Ralf Rangnick is understood to have agreed a deal to become Milan’s manager next season. The story was front-page news for Italy’s best-read newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, with a picture of the German underneath the words “It’s Done”.

There remains some ambiguity about what that means for Pioli. Gazzetta speculated he could be given a temporary role alongside Rangnick, who has worked more as a director than a manager over the past eight years – first at RB Leipzig and, more recently, in an overarching role across Red Bull’s football empire. Yet while Rangnick is expected to shape Milan’s transfer policy, all indications are he intends to coach the first team too.

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» European roundup: Barcelona find top gear against Villarreal to stay in title race
  • Barcelona win 4-1 at El Madrigal to keep Real Madrid in sight
  • Inter beaten by Bologna, Napoli strike late to defeat Roma

Barcelona put their recent struggles aside in an impressive display at Villarreal, winning 4-1 to move back to within four points of the La Liga leaders, Real Madrid, with four games apiece remaining.

Recent draws with Atlético and at Celta Vigo, coupled with Madrid’s earlier 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao, meant the defending champions kicked off at El Madrigal seven points behind their arch-rivals, but there was no sign of the pressure telling in a breathtaking first-half display.

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» Zidane demands 'respect' after VAR helps Real Madrid edge closer to title

Sergio Ramos was the hero from the penalty spot again as Real Madrid won 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, a seventh consecutive victory that tightened their grip on the La Liga title.

Zinedine Zidane’s side temporarily moved seven points clear of second-placed Barcelona, who cut the gap back to four by winning 4-1 at Villarreal later on Sunday. After the game, Zidane hit back at suggestions his team have benefited from refereeing decision in recent games, saying his team “deserve more respect”.

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» The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup is a rare chance for sport to shape a better world | Craig Foster

The tournament in 2023 presents a unique opportunity to address equality, racism and Indigenous culture, and climate change

The announcement of hosting rights for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup is serendipitous not just for Australian football or the country, but perhaps sport itself.

July 2023 could create a new paradigm in global sport following the social awakening of Covid-19, a more meaningful role for sport in society by following the lead of athletes worldwide and making public, advocatory contributions to important issues.

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» Bayern Munich win German Cup as Buffon sets Serie A appearance record
  • Robert Lewandowski reaches 50 goals for the season
  • Buffon passes Paolo Maldini’s record with 648 appearances

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich kept their hopes of a treble alive after beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday to win the German Cup for the 20th time.

David Alaba gave Bayern the lead with a free-kick in the 16th minute after Robert Lewandowski was fouled at the edge of the box.

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» Atalanta's fairytale overwritten by tragedy but momentum continues | Nicky Bandini

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side continue to win relentlessly amid the shared trauma of a city that was hit hardest by Covid-19

Not even Gian Piero Gasperini knew if Bergamo was ready to start watching football again this June. Before the coronavirus outbreak, his Atalanta team had been enjoying the finest season in their 113-year history. A club representing a city of 120,000 people sat fourth in Serie A, outscoring the giants from Milan, Rome and Turin. Competing in the Champions League for the first time ever, Atalanta reached the quarter-finals by smashing Valencia 8-4 over two legs.

Theirs was the latest great footballing fairytale. And then it was overwritten by tragedy. Bergamo became the one of the cities worst hit by the pandemic, with an estimated 6,000 deaths across the wider province. It is feared that their first leg against Valencia – played in neighbouring Milan, as all of Atalanta’s European home games have been this season, to allow for bigger crowds – contributed to the virus’s rapid spread.

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» European roundup: Eriksen, Sánchez and Young score as Inter win 6-0
  • Victory over Brescia moves Inter closer to Champions League
  • Valencia beaten 2-0 by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga

Alexis Sánchez produced an imposing performance to inspire Internazionale to a 6-0 win over Serie A strugglers Brescia at San Siro. Sánchez scored for Inter for only the second time but helped set up other goals as they consolidated third place and moved closer to a berth in next season’s Champions League.

“Sánchez is starting to do well,” said Inter manager Antonio Conte. “He’s still not the Sánchez I liked in England, but he’s on the right track. He did well against Parma, coming in with the right attitude. Today there was great commitment on his part, he played an excellent game.”

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» Boardroom turmoil, troubling finances and Messi's influence: why Barcelona are a mess

Missing out on the Spanish title is perhaps Barça’s smallest problem – decline is setting in and most key players are above 30. This will take a long time to sort out

Leo Messi was the first off the pitch, heading down the tunnel alone as Barcelona’s anthem began echoing around a stadium as vacant as the look in the team’s eyes. It was almost midnight on the last day of the financial year and it was over.

Looking down at the scene were the club’s directors who had made it to July, surviving another season, but only just. Any lingering hope of winning La Liga had gone. Ten days before Gerard Piqué said it would be “very difficult”. Now, held 2-2 by Atlético Madrid, a third draw in four, it was virtually impossible.

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» Real the big winners after Barcelona are held at home by Atlético Madrid

Barcelona met Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou and neither of them won. Six hundred kilometres away, Real Madrid did. An own goal and three penalties, one of them retaken to bring the total to four, delivered a draw that suited no one except the team watching from home. Barcelona are a point behind Real having played a game more.

It is a week now since Gerard Piqué said that winning the league would be “very, very difficult” – a second 2-2 draw in four days leaves it seeming impossible now, even if Barcelona win all of their last five games – and on this evidence, they won’t.

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» Klopp's Dortmund double can help guide Liverpool's second album

Critics are already out in force after Liverpool lost to City but the German is well practised in ignoring knee-jerk judgments

Liverpool have lost three games in the past two Premier League seasons, but as the most recent defeat was by four goals it has already been suggested that the new champions have been enjoying their title success a little too much.

Jürgen Klopp has heard it all before. Not on Merseyside, where he has just delivered the first title since 1990, but in his native Germany, where he followed up his unexpected Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund in 2011 with an even more unlikely retention a year later. “We didn’t do anything different the second season, all we did was continue to train hard and try to keep improving,” the Liverpool manager said.

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» Jordan Henderson: 'As you get older, your dreams get bigger' | Jonathan Liew

Liverpool’s captain talks pressing, politics, what makes Jürgen Klopp angry and the mentality that breeds success

“Through tough times, you can forget how much you love the game,” Jordan Henderson says. “You can take it for granted a little bit. When you’re a small kid, you don’t really think about trophies and winning things. You’re just thinking about playing football. But as you get older, your dreams get bigger. When you get to 16, 17, 18, it comes down to winning at all costs. Doing anything you can.”

We’re talking about trophies, and fulfilment, and happiness. When does pure enjoyment, the thrill of the game, give way to something larger? Why do footballers fixate so much on silverware, measure their lives in medals? At what point does it stop being about the taking part, and become about the winning?

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» Brutal and bizarre: the story of how Wigan collapsed into administration | David Conn

On the day Au Yeung took ownership after a £41m purchase he decided not to fund the club, and an investigation is now due

The brutal, bizarre collapse of Wigan Athletic has raised many glaring and alarming questions, but one central contradiction lies in the ruins. The Championship club have become the first to fall into administration during the Covid-19 crisis which could claim many more, but Wigan’s own insolvency has little to do with the coronavirus shutdown.

It is one of the most unlikely and baffling scenarios ever thrown up even among the frequently outlandish sagas of football’s relationship with money.

Related: Wigan go into administration four weeks after Hong Kong takeover

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» The Fiver | New normals featuring ruffled former Football Weekly panellists

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In the depths of lockdown, The Fiver attempted to better itself. There was a three-month self-imposed Tin ban, now long forgotten amid a blizzard of park-bench swilling not seen since the days The Fiver was a fan of The Levellers. The front garden at Fiver Towers was set for the Capability Brown treatment and yet long weeds grow among cigarette dimps and discarded Frazzles packets. Inside, box-fresh copies of Philip Roth and Dostoevsky lie unthumbed on the shelf, as the complete works of Jeffrey Archer have been devoured as comfort reading.

And an attempt to become better versed in statistics amid the barrage of log files and seven-day averages of Covid-19 has also failed. Standard deviation is still what Weird Uncle Fiver gets up to of an evening. The grey matter is not what it was way back in those happy, carefree days of February when the world’s biggest worry was how Nigel Pearson might get on at Watford. It may not just be The Fiver whose senses are dulled. The Big Cup and Big Vase tombola on Friday was a shambolic affair to suggest that any new normals are going to feature panicked, disorganised chaos. Even smooth-talking erstwhile Football Weekly panellist Pedro Pinto looked ruffled as a series of video links crashed, and various Euro football club bigwigs defied social distancing guidelines in those brief moments when Zoom was actually working properly.

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» Luton Town's Manager Idol – podcast

The best stories from the beautiful game that you may never have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists, and spanning more than 100 years of sporting history from across the footballing planet.

In this episode: Primetime TV would prove the inspiration for one of the most shambolic managerial appointments in football history.

Read the text version here

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» David Squires on … charting Liverpool's 30-year journey to the league title

David Squires on Liverpool’s 19th league title and the barren spell that preceded it, featuring Rafa, Roy, Craig Bellamy and Paul Jewell

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» Sir Everton Weekes, spectacular Steffi Graf and Lothar Matthäus loses it

Plus: Gooch and Smith, a journey into the mind of Roy Keane, the best of Nate Diaz and the Fash FC saga in full

1) On Wednesday, we will celebrate the return of Test cricket with England taking on West Indies. So here’s Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge flaying England as was his wont: twin tons in 1976; 214 not out in 1984; 223, also in 1984; and a partnership with Desmond Haynes worth 289 in 1990. See also: Graham Gooch’s unbeaten 154 at Headingley in 1991, Robin Smith’s savage 148 not out a couple of weeks later at Lord’s … and Brian Lara’s 179 in the drawn final Test in 1995. And will anything this series touch this inspired spell from Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh?

A word for Sir Everton Weekes, who sadly died on Wednesday. The Bajan batsman was feted as one of the three Ws – the others being Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell – and can be seen here limbering up before a Test series in England in 1950. A legend of the game. RIP.

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» Taking a deep dive into Liverpool's title-winning campaign – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Ceylon Andi Hickman, Andy Hunter and Gregg Bakowski discuss all the elements behind Liverpool’s first title win in 30 years. Plus the rest of the weekend’s Premier League and FA Cup action

In this podcast the team delve into Liverpool’s first title in 30 years and how it was achieved. Was it all Jürgen Klopp? Or are there other factors behind this season’s success, which is still on course to be a record-breaker?

In part two, we ask which Liverpool players have been most instrumental in the dominance we’ve seen. And we talk about the celebrations in the city, some of which were criticised by the club in a statement.

Finally, we round up the rest of the weekend’s football, with no upsets in the FA Cup quarter-finals and damaging defeats for Watford and Aston Villa in the Premier League. There’s also Championship action, Europe’s big talking points and a discussion over whether Barry should be rested for tomorrow’s podcast. Tune in then to find out.

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» Quiz: how much do you remember about Liverpool's title-winning season?

See if you were paying attention as Liverpool stormed to their 19th league title by testing yourself with these questions

Who scored Liverpool's first goal of the season?

Ben Godfrey

Jamal Lewis

Grant Hanley

Teemu Pukki

Which opponent was the first to take points from Liverpool?

Watford

Manchester City

Burnley

Manchester United

Defending champions Manchester City's first defeat came against which opponents?

Bournemouth

Norwich

Leicester

Manchester United

Who scored the winning goal in the last minute of the 2-1 victory over Leicester at Anfield on 5 October?

James Milner

Sadio Mané

Virgil van Dijk

Jordan Henderson

Who followed up the winner in the Fifa Club World Cup with a Boxing Day double against Leicester?

Sadio Mané

Mohamed Salah

Roberto Firmino

Georginio Wijnaldum

Who scored the first goal in what proved to be a November title decider against Manchester City?

Sadio Manê

Fabinho

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Andy Robertson

“Ask Mike Riley and the big bosses about that. Don’t ask me. Ask Mike Riley and his people. I’m here to talk about the game. Every time I’m being asked why one day it’s handball, the next day it’s not. Don’t ask me. Ask them. I know the way we were champions last two seasons, I’m so proud of that." Before that Fabinho goal the ball struck a player's arm in the Liverpool penalty area prompting this reaction from Pep Guardiola after the game. Who was the player?

Virgil van Dijk

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Andy Robertson

Joe Gomez

Early in the season, Jürgen Klopp said that he had learned the English language from which TV programme?

M*A*S*H

Friends

Cheers

B.J. and the Bear

Andy Robertson scored his only Premier League goal of the season so far against which club in a dramatic comeback win in November?

Leicester City

Crystal Palace

Bournemouth

Aston Villa

“The world at the moment is a circus with us at the centre. I am not influenced by it.” Jürgen Klopp said this after Liverpool had done what?

Won their first three league games in a row

Won their first five league games in a row

Beaten Leicester 4-0 on Boxing Day

Won their first eight league games in a row

In which match did Liverpool fans on the Kop first sing "We're gonna win the league"?

In the opening match against Norwich on 9 August

After beating Manchester City 3-1 on 10 November

During the 5-2 defeat of Everton on 4 December

During the 2-0 defeat of Manchester United on 19 January

Adrian has deputised for Alisson in how many Premier League games so far this season?

Seven

Nine

11

13

Who scored two goals for Watford to deny Liverpool their chance of an unbeaten league season?

Ismaïla Sarr

Troy Deeney

Gerard Deulofeu

Etienne Capoue

The scorer of Liverpool's last Premier League goal before lockdown was?

Sadio Mané

Mohammed Salah

Roberto Firmino

Trent Alexander-Arnold

And who scored Liverpool's first post-lockdown goal?

Takumi Minamino

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Mohamed Salah

Sadio Mané

9 and above.

You walked through a storm and held your head up high

8 and above.

You may not be 19 forever.

5 and above.

You are more 2009 and 2014 than 2020.

0 and above.

You are an Everton or Manchester United pleading ignorance

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» Golden Goal: Dietmar Hamann for Germany v England (2000) | Alex Hess

The final goal at the old Wembley marked the end of an era – and the start of the golden generation’s big-stage letdowns

The final goal at the old Wembley had all the hallmarks of a footballing fairytale: it was a long-range thunderbolt that snatched an unlikely win and gave the complacent favourites their comeuppance. Only problem was, those favourites were the hosts of the party. In the final match at the old national stadium on 7 October 2000, England were beaten by the Germans. Again.

There’s an irony that the party pooper in question would go on to become one of his country’s most popular players on these shores: a German whose long career in England left him with a cricket obsession and an enduring scouse-Bavarian twang.

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» The Joy of Six: football's wing wizards | Gregg Bakowski

From the ‘Wizard of Dribble’ to Ryan Giggs, via Garrincha and Jimmy Johnstone, we celebrate touchline-hugging wonders

Formations in modern-day football, improved playing surfaces and the evolution of tactics have completely changed the role of the winger. Now it is more accurate to describe an attacking player who plays on one of the wings as a forward, because the modern-day “winger” rarely hogs the touchline and often plays inside-out. Players such as Johan Cruyff, Luis Figo, George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo all excelled as wingers but their talent was such that their positions evolved to the extent that they are rightly remembered as supreme all-round footballers, not just gifted wide men. Those celebrated in this list get to the essence of what a winger used to be, delighting in trickery, seeing their job as that of an entertainer/provider and never more at home than when within a few feet of a white touchline.

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» Life in the Premier League's Amber Zone – a view of Project Restart

Guardian photographer Tom Jenkins has documented the Premier League since its restart in June. Here, he looks back on the experience of shooting matches in empty grounds amid strict Covid-19 precautions

Click on each image for more information

That bloody bird has been putting me off all game. High up in the stand above me at Carrow Road, a seagull is roosting and making a right old racket. It seems to be distracting the Norwich defence too, as Nathan Redmond strolls through and scores to put Southampton 3-0 up. There’s a brief cheer and a polite round of applause from a couple of Saints staff members in the stand before Redmond performs a Black Power salute. It’s all very surreal. Black Lives Matter meets Behind Closed Doors football. Welcome to the world of Project Restart, the Covid-19 version of the Premier League.

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» 'Ice-cold' Jamal Musiala making waves at Bayern after leaving Chelsea

Attacking midfielder is back in the country of his birth but remains an England youth international – at least for now

Even Jamal Musiala couldn’t have expected his first year back in Germany to end quite so well. On 20 June, aged 17 years and 115 days, the former star of Chelsea’s academy became the youngest player to make a Bundesliga appearance for Bayern Munich after coming on in a 3-0 victory over Freiburg – beating a record that has been held by such luminaries as Toni Kroos and David Alaba.

It capped the England Under-17 international’s extraordinary progress since leaving the Premier League club last summer, with Musiala emerging as one of Bayern’s brightest young prospects.

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» Sean Dyche must decide whether to stick or twist amid Burnley battles | Paul Wilson

The Burnley manager has proved himself in the top flight and could move on after raising concerns about board decisions

An endgame seems to be approaching at Burnley, where Sean Dyche has expressed frustration at the tightness of the purse strings even as the club climbed into the top half of the Premier League table after another season of punching above their weight.

The manager is ostensibly unhappy that too many out-of-contract players have been allowed to leave without arrangements made to help tide the club over for the remainder of the restarted season.

Dyche has managed to secure the 35-year-old Phil Bardsley on a one-year extension but that appears to be the limit of the board’s present generosity. Joe Hart, Aaron Lennon and Jeff Hendrick are gone, and with Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady all injured, Burnley could manage only a seven-man bench at Crystal Palace on Monday and two of those were inexperienced goalkeepers.

Despite their lack of numbers Burnley won quite comfortably, which says a lot for the quality of the players Dyche still has at his disposal and the manager’s ability to deploy them effectively. It is well known Burnley are a model of how to succeed on limited resources, though equally obvious that money rather than magic beans will be needed if the club’s status is to be maintained.

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» Carolina Rozo: 'It started with words. He would tell me I was very pretty'

Former physio with the Colombia Under-17 women’s team on the abuse she says she suffered at the hands of the coach Didier Luna

I was sexually harassed by the manager as soon as I went into the job,” says Carolina Rozo, the former physiotherapist of Colombia Women Under‑17s. “It started with words. He would tell me I was very pretty and then he would try to take advantage of me when we were together at mealtimes and other places. Saying goodbye he would push himself against me very hard and whisper into my ear how much he liked me.”

Rozo reported to the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) her allegations and those relayed to her by the players she treated, before speaking out publicly after it failed to deal adequately with the claims. Two and a half years since she went public with her allegations against the-then head coach of the under‑17s team, Didier Luna, finally Rozo has some form of justice.

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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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