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Football Team News

» Jorge Mendes confirms Man Utd transfer target Bruno Fernandes will leave Sporting
Manchester United have been strongly linked with a move for Portugal international Bruno Fernandes, but they now have competition from other teams for his signature
» Barcelona star Luis Suarez explains why Liverpool fans are 'the best in the world'
Luis Suarez spent three years with Liverpool, becoming an integral player at Anfield, before quitting for Barcelona in 2014
» What channel is Man Utd vs Burnley? Kick-off time, TV and live stream information
Manchester United take on Burnley on Wednesday night in a crucial Premier League clash for both sides. Kick-off 8.15pm
» Barnsley confirm Bambo Diaby suspension while FA investigates failed drugs test
The Championship club issued a statement after Mirror Sport revealed the defender tested positive after Barnsley’s defeat at Blackburn in November
» Jurgen Klopp fires warning to Premier League rivals as Liverpool close in on title
Liverpool are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table as they look to end their long wait for a title
» Jurgen Klopp addresses Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's furious reaction to being substituted
Oxlade-Chamberlain was visibly unhappy to leave the pitch during the win over Man Utd on Sunday, hitting the back of a seat in the dugout
» Chelsea 'table bid' for loan transfer of PSG striker Edinson Cavani worth more than £12m
Edinson Cavani has expressed his desire to leave Paris Saint-Germain with Chelsea and Manchester United both linked with the striker's services
» Man Utd predicted line up vs Burnley as Red Devils arrive at the team hotel
United are desperate for a morale-boosting win against the Clarets following the disappointment of their weekend defeat to their dearest rivals Liverpool
» Which three clubs will be relegated from the Premier League as survival battle hots up?
THE BIG DEBATE: Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places, but which sides will be in the bottom three come May?
» Lyon 'strike deal' to sign Arsenal transfer target Bruno Guimaraes
The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Brazilian defensive midfielder but look to have been beaten to the chase by the French side
» Kylian Mbappe says he's hoping to follow Cristiano Ronaldo's career path
The French World Cup winner says Ronaldo's career will act as an inspiration for him as he continues to make his way at the top of the game
» ADVERTORIAL: Wolves v Liverpool odds, prediction & tip for a first scorer who loves scoring against Midlanders
Wolves v Liverpool betting preview suggests this could be the time Reds drop points for only second time this season
» PSG name their price for Arsenal transfer target Layvin Kurzawa
The Gunners are keen to add the full back to their squad before the close of the transfer window and appear to have been given the green light to make a bid
» Marcus Rashford insists he'll play again this season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comments
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted Marcus Rashford may not play again this season - but the striker has moved to insist he will
» ADVERTORIAL: Man Utd v Burnley odds, prediction and Mason Greenwood tipped to come good late on
Man United v Burnley betting preview highlights a tip which which keeps your bet alive until the final whistle!
» Hector Bellerin hails Gabriel Martinelli after Arsenal youngster's goal vs Chelsea
Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli scored a fine solo goal for 10-man Arsenal against Chelsea on Tuesday night
» Ian Wright mocks Cesar Azpilicueta after Arsenal's late equaliser at Chelsea
The Arsenal legend couldn't help himself as he celebrated Hector Bellerin's late equaliser, which came just moments after Azpilicueta had put Chelsea in front
» Willian warns Chelsea could miss out on top four due to poor Stamford Bridge form
The Blues failed to win at home again in their draw with ten-man Arsenal on Tuesday evening and could see their advantage over Manchester United cut to three points if United win tonight
» Aymeric Laporte vows to live up to Pep Guardiola's billing as world's best left-sided centre-half
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Aymeric Laporte is the best left-footed central defender in the world following his return from injury at Sheffield United
» Man Utd urged to sign ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings to replace Marcus Rashford
The Southampton forward has been in remarkable goalscoring form for the Saints this season, and could earn a place in England's Euro 2020 squad
» Kylian Mbappe names Liverpool among his four favourites to win Champions League
The French forward will be desperate to win the competition with Paris Saint-Germain but admitted there are four other sides who he fears in the tournament
» Man Utd warned Dean Henderson will not return to play second fiddle to David de Gea
The goalkeeper has impressed since joining Sheffield United on loan in 2018 but he has yet to make a senior appearance for his parent club
» Man Utd 'advance in Bruno Fernandes transfer bid' with bonuses key to deal
The Portuguese playmaker has been on United's radar throughout the transfer window, and the Red Devils will hope to finally conclude a move for him
» Dani Ceballos hints at Arsenal transfer exit after Gunners' draw at Chelsea
Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos has not featured since recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in November and has hinted he will not extend his stay

Football resources

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Other sport news:

» Spurs are desperate for goals and must sign a striker this month

Tottenham have not scored in the Premier League in 2020. They have to bring in some backup for Harry Kane

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored

One centimetre. That was the difference between one point and three points for Tottenham at Watford on Saturday. When Ignacio Pussetto hacked Érik Lamela’s attempt off the line in the 92nd minute, José Mourinho must having been ruing yet another missed opportunity for his team. The 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road extended Tottenham’s poor run in front of goal this year. Only two of the 91 clubs in the Premier League and Football League have not scored a league goal in 2020. Bristol Rovers, whose last goal came in a 2-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day, are one of them. And – after failing to score against Southampton, Liverpool and Watford – Spurs are the other.

Related: 'One big dream': Gedson Fernandes seals Tottenham loan from Benfica

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» Barnsley suspend Bambo Diaby after FA starts anti-doping investigation
  • Defender faces maximum four-year ban if guilty
  • Player has pleaded his innocence to teammates

Barnsley have suspended Bambo Diaby from playing for the club after receiving notification that the Football Association is investigating a potential anti-doping violation by the defender. It is understood that the 22-year-old failed a drugs test following defeat by Blackburn in November.

The Senegalese defender, who joined Barnsley last summer from the Belgian club Lokeren, faces a maximum four-year ban if found guilty. It is understood he has pleaded his innocence to his teammates and intends to clear his name.

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» Edinson Cavani set to choose Atlético over Chelsea if deal with PSG is struck

• Uruguayan’s father says striker’s preferred destination is Spain
• PSG are treating him unfairly, says Luis Cavani

Chelsea have been dealt a blow in their search for attacking reinforcements after Edinson Cavani’s father said the striker will join Atlético Madrid if the Spanish club can agree a deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Frank Lampard wants Chelsea to sign Cavani but it is understoodthe Uruguayan has already agreed an 18-month deal worth €10m (£8.5m) a year with Atlético, who are locked in negotiations with PSG over a fee for the 32-year-old. Cavani, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has fallen down the pecking order at PSG this season and has made it clear he wants to secure a move to Diego Simeone’s side this month.

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» Football managers sacked when their teams were top of the league | The Knowledge

Plus: booked benchwarmers, special trophy lifts and Shoot magazine’s hardest shots

“With Barça sacking Valverde,” tweets Gordon, “when was the last time a manager was sacked at the top of the league?”

William Hogg can recall one Halloween horror show. “Scot Symon was told – through an intermediary, though this was typical of Rangers at the time – that his services were no longer required at Ibrox on 31 October 1967, when Rangers were a point ahead of Hibernian and three clear of Celtic at the top of Division One. It should, of course, be remembered that 1967 had been a difficult year for Symon. Rangers had fallen out of the Scottish Cup at the first hurdle the season before against the mighty, er, Berwick Rangers, while hopes of a Cup Winners’ Cup win to stand alongside Celtic’s European Cup triumph in Lisbon were dashed by Bayern Munich in the final.

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» Eni Aluko takes job as Aston Villa Women's sporting director
  • Former England striker retired as player last week
  • Aluko: ‘Villa’s commitment and ambition is exciting’

Eni Aluko has been appointed sporting director for Aston Villa Women. The former England striker takes up the post with the Championship leaders a week after announcing she was ending her playing career.

“I feel it’s something that I’m ready for at this point in my career,” said Aluko. “I’ve always been passionate about the women’s game, its development and setting cultures that drive excellence.

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» The Fiver | Carlo Ancelotti's eyebrow arching towards the heavens

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The Arco da Rua Augusta in Lisbon, Munich’s Siegestor, the Roosevelt Arch in Montana and the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Élysées in Paris are among the world’s best known arches. But when it comes to perfectly curved symmetry, none could hold a candle to the famous left eyebrow of Carlo Ancelotti as it headed towards the heavens while its owner watched Everton surrender a two-goal lead to Newcastle in the fourth and fifth minutes of added time at Goodison Park on Tuesday night.

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» Marcus Rashford posts upbeat tweet signalling return before end of season
• United striker facing a lengthy layoff with back injury
• Length of recovery unclear with Euro 2020 in doubt

Marcus Rashford is confident of returning to action for Manchester United before the end of the season. The England striker is facing a lengthy absence after sustaining a stress fracture of the back.

Related: For Manchester United the gulf to Liverpool is cause for major concern | Jonathan Wilson

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» Newcastle’s Florian Lejeune strikes twice to grab dramatic draw at Everton

Carlo Ancelotti clasped his hands to his chest in sheer disbelief. He was not alone. The Everton manager has inherited a team with a reputation for throwing points away but this was a spectacular and staggering implosion even by their standards. Two goals up in the 94th minute, in complete control against a Newcastle team devoid of attacking intent or options, yet held to a draw thanks to two goals in the final seconds from Florian Lejeune.

Steve Bruce cavorted on to the pitch in celebration of the heist before offering a sheepish handshake to his counterpart. “I lost the final of the Champions League after being 3-0 up,” the former Milan manager said. “So it can happen sometimes.” It seems to happen to Everton frequently.

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» Transfer window January 2020 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the top divisions in England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany.

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» David Luiz’s red card leaves Arsenal pondering philosophical matters | Barney Ronay

An encouraging display at Chelsea poses a question: is no David Luiz a more effective defensive tool than David Luiz?

They laughed at the idea David Luiz might bring spirit and a fighting mentality to this Arsenal team. Well, he found a way here.

Not the orthodox way. Rather, in a way that involved removing himself from the pitch for 64 minutes of this slightly wild 2-2 draw, the opening act in one of the more robust and indeed quietly encouraging Arsenal performances at Stamford Bridge of recent years.

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» Sergio Agüero’s tap-in for Manchester City breaks Sheffield United barrier

Sergio Agüero came off the bench to restore normal service for Manchester City, securing a win with a sharply taken goal when the defending champions appeared in danger of being held for a second game in succession.

Certainly before Agüero’s introduction there had been little to choose between the sides, which is as much a compliment to Sheffield United as a criticism of City’s performance. And then there was Gabriel Jesus’s first-half penalty, saved by Dean Henderson. The striker has been unsuccessful with all three penalties he has taken for club and country this season, and if Pep Guardiola is going to persist with using Agüero sparingly he may like to consider giving someone else a turn from the spot.

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» Harry and Callum Wilson’s goals help Bournemouth surge past Brighton

In Eddie Howe’s office, the words of John Wooden, the American basketball coach, adorn a wall. One of Wooden’s renowned quotes refers to ignoring outside interference and a gutsy Bournemouth did just that to defeat Brighton.

Related: Nathan Redmond keeps Southampton rising at expense of Crystal Palace

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» Aston Villa haul themselves out of bottom three with late win over Watford

Tyrone Mings’s last-gasp winner lifted Aston Villa out of the relegation zone and ended Watford’s revival in dramatic style. The defender grabbed a fortunate deflection on Ezri Konsa’s shot in the fifth minute of stoppage time with virtually the last touch of the game to snatch victory.

Douglas Luiz had earlier come off the bench to level in the second half, just as Villa looked like they would be plunged into further trouble. That cancelled out Troy Deeney’s opener as Watford’s six-match unbeaten run in the league was ended.

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» Nathan Redmond keeps Southampton rising at expense of Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace became the latest victims of Southampton’s purple patch as goals either side of half-time from Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong saw Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side record a fourth away victory in succession in the Premier League.

Related: Harry and Callum Wilson’s goals help Bournemouth surge past Brighton

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» Mikel Arteta hails ‘spirit, fight and leadership’ of 10-man Arsenal

• Arteta: ‘If you put in everything, anything can happen’
• Frank Lampard: ‘If they can’t do it right then someone else will’

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal’s fight after they twice recovered from a goal down to snatch a point against Chelsea, whose failure to take advantage of David Luiz’s early red card infuriated Frank Lampard.

Related: Héctor Bellerín leaves it late to secure 10-man Arsenal a draw at Chelsea

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» Former Osasuna official says club fixed La Liga matches in 2013 and 2014
• Ángel Vizcay says Getafe and Real Betis were paid to lose games
• Former president Miguel Archanco denies any match-fixing

The Spanish top-flight club Osasuna fixed football matches in an attempt to avoid relegation over two seasons, a court heard on Tuesday.

The club’s former secretary said Osasuna had paid Getafe and Real Betis to lose against them in 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively and had made a further payment to Espanyol in return for a draw. Ángel Vizcay testified in the case led by the investigating judge Fermín Otamendi and brought against 11 men: six former Osasuna directors, three former Betis players and two estate agents also accused of being involved.

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» LA Galaxy confirm signing of Javier Hernández from Sevilla
  • Mexico striker says it is ‘the right time’ to join MLS
  • Hernández’s deal reported to be for three years

Sevilla have agreed a fee with LA Galaxy for the Mexico striker Javier Hernández. In an interview published on Tuesday with the Los Angeles Times, the 31-year-old said it was “the right time, the right opportunity” to make the move to the MLS club.

The Galaxy confirmed the move on Tuesday morning, and a photo of Hernández in the club’s shirt appeared at the top of their Twitter page. Reports say the Galaxy paid €8.5m ($9.4m) for Hernández, and he will earn around $6m a year under the terms of a three-year deal.

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» David Squires on … the resurrection of Nigel Pearson at Watford

Our resident cartoonist recalls the myths and legends surrounding Watford’s renascent manager

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» Chelsea harness collective power to ignite WSL title race | Suzanne Wrack

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea produced moments of magic to beat Arsenal but most impressive was their unyielding unity

It is rare to see a complete team performance but Chelsea’s 4-1 demolition of Arsenal on Sunday was just that. Most of the focus before the game was on the battle of the superstar strikers, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema, but in the end it was the collective that was decisive.

Miedema struggled to find room throughout, with Chelsea working relentlessly to cut off her supply, Ji So-yun, Guro Reiten, Erin Cuthbert and the indomitable Sophie Ingle harrying two of the league’s most creative players in Jordan Nobbs and Kim Little.

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» It is time to scrap the League Cup – and give the FA Cup a radical makeover | Paul Wilson
Pep Guardiola’s call is well placed and better still would be for a streamlined FA Cup to emerge with the final in February

When Jürgen Klopp was asked last week for his thoughts on the Africa Cup of Nations being moved to January next year he spoke uninterrupted for almost eight minutes, detailing his dissatisfaction with the burden on players and clubs and the complete lack of meaningful response from anyone in charge of the game when managers complained of the dangers of trying to cram too much into an already crowded fixture list.

A few days later when Pep Guardiola was asked for his views on fixture congestion, bearing in mind that Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford had been sidelined long term, almost certainly as a result of playing too many games in too short a space of time, the Manchester City manager was ready with a plan of action. Scrap a competition, was the gist of his reply. Most likely the Carabao Cup. “We need less games, less competitions, less games,” Guardiola said. That should have been fewer, or course, but this is not the time to be picking up a non-native English speaker on his grammar. What Guardiola said next was spot on. “People can live without football for a while. It’s too much.”

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» For Manchester United the gulf to Liverpool is cause for major concern | Jonathan Wilson

United have just been well beaten by a Liverpool side 30 points ahead of them. They are sleepwalking towards mediocrity

Liverpool are brilliant. They are top of the league by 16 points with a game in hand and will probably have the title wrapped up by the end of March. And yet at the same time, while acknowledging how preposterous it is to offer any criticism of a side that has taken 64 points from 22 games this season, there must be a sense that of late they’ve become a little bit sloppy.

In their past two league games, against Tottenham last week and then against Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday, they have come extremely close to drawing games they have dominated almost entirely. Giovani Lo Celso and Anthony Martial both missed extremely presentable chances to make it 1-1. In both games Liverpool ended up under pressure in the final 10 minutes – on Sunday at least until Mohamed Salah added a second on the break deep in injury time. Tottenham they had broadly held at arm’s length, in a performance of great control; United they had pummelled for roughly a third of each half. And yet in each two points could have slipped from their grasp.

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» Pass masters Barcelona deliver first glimpse of the Setién manifesto | Sid Lowe

Against Granada it was very Setién. It was also very Barcelona, in a move driven by nostalgia, but with a glimpse of the future

Nine hundred and ninety-eight … 999… 1,000. And still it went. Jordi Alba played the ball to Riqui Puig, who played it to Sergi Busquets, who played it to Arthur Melo, who played it to Sergi Roberto, who played it to Gerard Piqué. Who, finally halted on 100, didn’t get the chance to play it to anyone else. Half an hour before his first game as coach of Barcelona, Quique Setién had sat on the bench alongside his assistant Éder Sarabia, empty seats rising around them, still barely able to believe they were here, and silently contemplated the players – his players – warming up with a ball at their feet. Two and a half hours later, standing now, collar turned up against the cold, when the final whistle went it was still there.

“I’ve seen some of the things I wanted,” Setién said afterwards and others had too, although not all of them. Above all, he had seen the thing he says all players want and always have, right back to the playground: the ball. Barcelona won 1-0 on his debut against Granada but there were other numbers that occupied everyone. Piqué was one of four players to reach 100 passes, 98 of them accurate. Rakitic had only been two away from making it five; Lionel Messi was seven away. Puig had played more passes than all of Granada’s players – and he had only been on the pitch 22 minutes. Busquets had played more than all of them put together. His 157 was a record this season.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Chelsea’s imperious win at Arsenal makes them title favourites although Manchester City are unlikely to fade away

During Chelsea’s remarkable win at Arsenal I sent messages to a couple of people at the FA who have been involved in women’s football for many years. I told them how proud I feel about where the Women’s Super League is at the moment. It is the best product in the world, in my opinion, and the showcase fixture on Sunday showed that once again. We saw a celebration of quality goals and fine football, epitomised by the way Chelsea got hold of Arsenal and simply pinned them up against the wall by their throats. Arsenal definitely had an off day but Emma Hayes’ side were sensational in their attitude, work rate and application.

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» Ancelotti recalls Champions League final defeat after Everton's late collapse – video

Carlo Ancelotti shared sympathies with his Everton players after they gave away a 2-0 lead to Newcastle in the final minute of injury-time. ‘I lost the Champions League final after winning 3-0, it happens,’ said the Everton manager after the 2-2 draw. In 2005, Carlo Ancelotti managed a Milan side into the Champions League final to face Liverpool. Despite being 3-0 to the good at half-time, his side would infamously go on to lose on penalties to Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool

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» Arteta praises Arsenal's 'spirit, fight and leadership' after coming back to draw at Chelsea – video

Mikel Arteta was delighted with Arsenal’s spirit as they twice recovered from a goal down to snatch a point against Chelsea, whose failure to take advantage of David Luiz’s early red card infuriated Frank Lampard. 'When someone makes a mistake, what cannot happen is that we don’t stand up for him. Every single player did it, with belief as well,’ said the Arsenal manager. Speaking after the 2-2 draw Arteta praised the performance of former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka. 'I didn't know how good he was going to do, but he was going to put everything in there. And and he was great.' Xhaka played in central defence after the early red card to David Luiz.

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» Beating Manchester United 'one of the best' says Klopp as Liverpool go 16 points clear - video

Liverpool took a further step forward to their first title in 30 years with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United. Jürgen Klopp's side now sit 16 points ahead of Manchester City, with a game in hand over Pep Guardiola's side. A header early in the first half from Virgil van Dijk opened the score before a stoppage-time goal courtesy of Mo Salah sealed the result

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» Fair play: futsal player refuses to score after opponent goes down injured – video

A moment of sportsmanship from a futsal match in Spain when Cartegena's Solano chooses to put the ball out of play - despite having an open goal. 

After Zaragoza's Javi Alonso goes down injured, the ball is squared to Solano to tap in, but instead he puts ball out of play. The game finished 5-5.

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» Notts County's Michael Doyle scores stoppage-time winner from halfway – video

There was a stunning injury-time winner in Notts County's FA Trophy tie with Dagenham and Redbridge, as 38-year-old Michael Doyle's strike secured a 2-1 victory. After a poor clearance from Daggers goalkeeper Elliot Justham, the midfielder took a touch before striking the ball from just inside the halfway line into the net. 'In your life, in your career, Michael Doyle, you're 38 years old, have you ever scored a goal like that?' said the commentators. Well, he has, but this was still a beauty.

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» Sadio Mané's home village celebrates wildly as star named African Footballer of the Year – video

Liverpool's Sadio Mané has been named African Football of the Year for the first time. In his speech he thanked the Senegalese people, paying particular gratitude to the small village of Bambali, where Mané is from. Speaking at the ceremony in Egypt the forward said: 'To be honest I would prefer to be playing football than speaking in front of so many people'. When speaking about Bambali, he said to the audience that 'I’m sure they are all watching me tonight'.

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» There is still magic in the French Cup

Domestic cups have lost their lustre in recent years but the Coupe de France is as romantic as ever

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

La Magie de la Coupe is thriving in France. While the big European leagues demand more and more of our attention, the simple pleasure of a humble domestic cup is becoming more marginalised. This weekend, however, the biggest and arguably greatest cup competition in world football – led by the usual cast of postmen, builders and shop assistants – fought back for attention against the modern behemoths of Europe’s top five leagues and the Champions League.

Given that there are only three national leagues in France above the sprawling regional divisions, the scale of French football can be a little overwhelming. More than 8,000 teams entered the Coupe de France this season and not all of them are from within the country’s borders. Teams from French overseas departments and regions – such as Réunion in the Indian Ocean, Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea, and Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean – all compete in the Coupe de France. ASPV Strasbourg travelled 20,000 miles to New Caledonia and back in November to face against Hienghène Sport in a seventh-round tie that makes Bournemouth v Newcastle look like a local derby.

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» Erling Braut Haaland gatecrashes again to haul Dortmund out of mire | Andy Brassell

The Norwegian became the Bundesliga’s second-youngest hat-trick scorer, and the first substitute to score three times

It felt like a regular, gentle Sunday morning in Brackel, the district to the east of the centre where Borussia Dortmund train. The reserve team trained and senior squad strikers Paco Alcácer and Erling Braut Haaland joined them, to get an extra few miles in their legs. Midfielder Julian Weigl, who recently joined Benfica, dropped in to say hello, bringing a gift of his shirt from his new club for his friend Axel Witsel, with the former now wearing the No 28 that the latter also wore in his own spell at Estádio da Luz nine years back.

Just as Weigl had gone from tempest to tranquillity, stepping out of his first Lisbon derby on Friday night, so had his old teammates. Their Sunday morning might have felt like a slightly jarring change of gear, but then again very little about Dortmund’s first game back after the Winterpause made sense.

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» Ciro Immobile makes Sampdoria suffer as Lazio join Serie A title race | Nicky Bandini

With 23 goals in 19 Serie A games, the striker has scored more on his own than seven of the division’s 20 teams

For Ciro Immobile, football is simple: either he scores, or he suffers. Speaking to Corriere della Sera in 2017, the Lazio striker insisted he would always do whatever a manager required of him. But when his interviewer asked if it hurt to finish a game without a goal, he replied honestly: “Yes. Without that I feel incomplete.”

It is an unfamiliar sensation these days. A hat-trick against Sampdoria on Saturday brought Immobile’s Serie A tally for this season to 23 goals in 19 appearances. He has netted more on his own than seven of the division’s 20 teams.

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» Matildas' European migration exciting but fanning W-League anxiety

Australian football’s hierarchy must catch the European wave or watch it roll on without them

In the 24 hours between the preliminary squad release and the starting XI announcement for Brisbane Roar’s game against Sydney FC on Thursday night, one W-League player’s career took a sudden and dramatic detour.

Hayley Raso, the Matildas winger adored around the world for her dynamic playing style, remarkable comeback from a spinal injury and characteristic hair ribbon, was scratched from Brisbane’s squad hours before they took to the field. Raso’s omission stoked earlier rumours that she had a contract with Women’s Super League club Everton FC – a signing confirmed a few days later.

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» European roundup: Cristiano Ronaldo double moves Juventus four points clear
  • Rebic scores first Milan goals in 3-2 win at San Siro
  • Valencia’s Champions League hopes hit by 4-1 loss

Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice to continue his sensational scoring run and help move Juventus four points clear at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over Parma. The 34-year-old’s deflected shot opened the scoring in the first half, but Juve were pegged back after the break when Andreas Cornelius headed in from a corner. Ronaldo restored the home side’s advantage just three minutes later with a low strike that took his tally for the season to 16 league goals, 11 of which have come in his last seven appearances.

Mario Balotelli was sent off just eight minutes after coming on in Brescia’s 2-2 draw with Cagliari. The striker was booked for a clumsy challenge before being dismissed almost immediately, having collected a second yellow card for dissent.

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» David Squires on ... Melbourne Victory's coaching hot seat

Our cartoonist looks Marco Kurz’s dismissal and who may replace him in the long term

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» Markus Babbel the third A-League coaching casualty – but is the coach or club to blame?

The German is the latest A-League coach to go but club leadership shares his failure

The prevailing wisdom when a football club is underperforming is that you can’t sack all the players, so you may as well sack the coach.

Often said coach has contributed significantly to the club being in that situation – poor tactics, poor man-management, even poor recruitment if they’ve been handed that responsibility. But more often the chief burden of responsibility lies elsewhere. With the players, certainly; with backroom staff whose responsibility it is to prepare the players, potentially; with the club management, absolutely.

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» How Barcelona made a right mess of sacking Ernesto Valverde | Sid Lowe

The Barcelona head coach was eventually sacked late on Monday night after a day of waiting

Barcelona’s ex-manager took training on Monday morning, if only because he was not the ex-manager just yet. Besides, someone somewhere had to act with a little dignity. And what if it didn’t happen? He was certainly not about to make the decision for them, so Ernesto Valverde drove into San Joan Despí not long after 8am. At 11 he was out on the training pitch as normal, players gathered in a circle around him, which was one way to say: “Goodbye … probably.” By the time he drove out again he knew it was likely to be for the last time. But not because they had actually told him.

On Thursday night Valverde’s team had collapsed again. While they played better than they had so far this season, he got booed every time he appeared on the big screen. They were 2-1 up with nine minutes remaining against Atlético Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in Jeddah – Barcelona lost 3-2. Echoes of Rome and Anfield, that recurring nightmare. Three times was too many. Two already had been but to almost everyone’s surprise the club did not act in the summer, instead keeping their coach. They did act now, just not particularly well. “A bit ugly,” was Andrés Iniesta’s verdict. “Unpleasant,” he called it.

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» Juventus evolution goes beyond Sarri's attire as they reach summit | Nicky Bandini

New clothes, ‘same dickhead’: for the third time in his career, Maurizio Sarri has his team in pole position at the halfway point

Maurizio Sarri had to update his wardrobe after taking over as manager of Juventus. A man who has always felt most comfortable in a tracksuit showed up for his first day of work in Turin sporting a shirt and tie. He soon confessed that his contract obliged him to wear such a uniform when representing the club away from the football pitch. For matches, a compromise was reached. Sarri’s sideline attire at Juventus has typically featured suit trousers and a zip-neck sweater.

Related: Barcelona in managerial limbo after Xavi Hernández turns down role

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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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» Harley Willard: ‘Iceland’s a good place just to concentrate on your football’

The winger, who was part of the Guardian’s first Next Generation in 2014, talks about rebuilding his career after being released by Southampton

Harley Willard made one of those sliding-doors decisions that can turn anyone’s life around last December. He had arrived at Heathrow airport, packed and ready for the 14-hour slog back to Phnom Penh, and at that point another season at the Cambodian club Svay Rieng felt like a trade-off he could just about stomach. The football there offered few real prospects but he had enjoyed the lifestyle and, after such an uncertain year and a half since leaving Southampton, surely his happiness was the most important thing.

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

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» Yes, social media and video games really can hurt footballers' decision-making | Sean Ingle

Study of footballers in Brazil shows spending time on a smartphone or console before a game causes mental fatigue

Could spending too much time on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram affect a footballer’s performance? Manchester United appear to think so. One report before their trip to Anfield claimed the club were “consulting leading experts” about how to help their stars deal with the negative mental effects of social media and also suggested there were concerns that players were suffering dips in form as a result of being abused online.

Some may suggest the players should just “man up”. But scientists are increasingly scrutinising how mental fatigue – the lack of energy we feel from long periods of purely cognitive activity – can influence sporting performance, often with startling results.

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» Unheard-of achievement beckons as Liverpool begin their victory parade | Barney Ronay

If the champions of Europe win the title undefeated they will have to be recognised as the best of the Premier League era

They’re coming for you, they’re coming for you. The boys of ’99. Fergie and Eric. Andy and Dwight. Arsène, Thierry, Sergio and Pep. They’re coming for you.

So much for the league and so much for Manchester United, who were awkward opponents at Anfield, without ever feeling like much more than a bump in the road. At the end of this 2-0 victory Liverpool will have something else in their sights.

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» Handshakes, dark suits and money-glaze: welcome to the Mendes supremacy | Barney Ronay
The Portuguese super-agent is busy closing deals this month, but is he starting to wield too much influence in football?

When Jorge Mendes got married a few years back a story emerged that Cristiano Ronaldo had given football’s most potent agent a Greek island as a wedding present.

It is hard to know the real truth of this. But it seems fitting, given Mendes’s deep-state mystique, that the legend of Ronaldo island has been recycled admiringly ever since, gaining resonance, layers, compound interest. Either way it seems likely Mendes would have enjoyed his Greek island in the expected style: loaning it to Lazio for five years, setting up a complex series of loans for its outlying archipelago, then selling it on to Turkey for six times the original price. Cristiano. You know me so well.

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» Football transfer rumours: Agüero and David Silva to Inter Miami?

Today’s fluff is good at construction

Inter Miami have not played a competitive game in MLS yet. In fact, they have only had two training sessions in their history. But that’s not stopped the club’s co-owner, David Beckham, from dreaming big when it comes to his plans for assembling a winning team from scratch. Becks has taken on harder challenges – such as the time he stayed up till 3am to build a 4,000-piece Lego castle – so creating a competitive MLS club in a few months shouldn’t be a problem.

Which is why he’s batting his eyelids in the direction of David Silva and Sergio Agüero. Hot air doing the rounds suggests Agüero might prefer to see out his career on the same continent as his son, while Silva’s already said he will leave City at the end of the season and Miami’s not a bad place to spend your downtime. They could be South Beach’s most famous double act since Crockett and Tubbs. Mind you, the City empire includes New York City FC, so any move Stateside for either player could cause a family rift.

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» The Fiver | A day to celebrate squirrels and hugs, obviously

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Less than two and a half years have passed since the evening in October 2017 when Manchester City squeaked past Wolves on penalties in the Rumbelows Cup, but in case the match has slipped your mind here’s a reminder of the key incidents: a squirrel ran on the pitch, did a fair bit of squeaking past Wolves itself, and eventually had to be captured by groundstaff, who had previously and unsuccessfully attempted to literally sweep it away with a broom. Also, there were some penalties.

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» The Dozen: Pickford flies and red skies – best Premier League photos

Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s action

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

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

17 Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

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» Football quiz: career paths of the past decade – can you guess the player?

These well-travelled footballers have been around the block more than once in the past 10 years - see if you can name them

Portsmouth > Burnley (loan) > Leicester City > Middlesbrough > Derby County > Preston North End.

Jimmy Bullard

David Nugent

Dean Windass

Kevin Phillips

Barcelona > Roma > Milan (loan) > Barcelona > Ajax (loan) > Stoke City > Mainz 05 (loan) > Alavés (loan) > Montreal Impact.

Tuncay Sanli

Jordi Alba

Bojan Krkic

Stefano Okaka

Tottenham Hotspur > Toronto FC > Tottenham (loan) > Sunderland > Bournemouth > Rangers (loan).

Peter Crouch

Luka Modric

Rafael van der Vaart

Jermain Defoe

Blackburn > QPR > Doncaster Rovers > Market Drayton > Carlisle > Arles-Avignon > Washington > Ashton Town.

Morten Gamst Pedersen

Chris Samba

Pascal Chimbonda

Steven Nzonzi

Liverpool > Galatasaray (loan) > Sporting CP > Atlético Madrid > Rayo Vallecano (loan) > Stuttgart.

Jay Spearing

Fabio Aurelio

Daniel Ayala

Emiliano Insua

Portsmouth > Milan > Schalke 04 > Milan > Las Palmas > Eintracht Frankfurt > Sassuolo > Barcelona (loan) > Fiorentina.

Kevin-Prince Boateng

Niko Kranjcar

John Utaka

Nwankwo Kanu

Chelsea > QPR (loan) > Wolves (loan) > Hamburg > Nottingham Forest > New England Revolution.

Adel Taraabt

Michael Mancienne


José Bosingwa

Arsenal > Barcelona > Roma (loan) > Vissel Kobe.

Vito Mannone

Thomas Vermaelen

Alexander Hleb

Marouane Chamakh

Birmingham City > Stoke City > Crystal Palace (loan) > Norwich City > Derby County > Goztepe.

Jordon Mutch

Gary McSheffrey

Cameron Jerome

Marcus Bent

Fenerbahce > Toulouse (loan) > Galatasaray > Olympiacos (loan) > Blackburn Rovers (loan) > Bursaspor > Feyenoord (loan) > Feyenoord > Celtic > Coritiba > Corinthians > Lobos BUAP (loan) > Veracruz.


Colin Kazim-Richards

Amine Linganzi

Jamie O'Hara

10 and above.

You're the best! Lionel Messi-level quizzing. Congratulations!

9 and above.

Very, very good. If this quiz was a stadium, there would be a statue of you outside.

8 and above.

Congratulations on an exceptional performance. You've earned yourself a testimonial at the very least.

7 and above.

Well done! You missed out on the title but you're in the Champions League, at worst.

6 and above.

A very respectable effort. You are the James Milner of quizzes.

5 and above.

Not bad, not great. A mid-table season in the Championship.

4 and above.

Definite room for improvement. The board have issued a public vote of confidence.

3 and above.

Disappointing. Knocked out in the qualifying rounds.

2 and above.

Two better than zero, you are still destined to end up on loan at Trabzonspor.

0 and above.

Your career never even began. But you probably still lie about having a trial with Stoke City.

1 and above.

A one-hit wonder. You are being sent on loan to a non-league club in Siberia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi Carles. Hi Small Talk.

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

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» Ole Gunnar Solskjær is not the right manager for Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

There has been little sign of improvement since Solskjær took over and he looks ill-equipped to turn things around

O n Friday 5 March 1909, Manchester United went to Burnley for an FA Cup quarter-final. The pitch was frozen, there was heavy snow and with 18 minutes remaining the referee, Herbert Bamlett, decided the match couldn’t go on. For United, the abandonment was fortunate: they had been 1-0 down but won the rearranged game 3-2 and went on, for the first time, to lift the FA Cup.

Bamlett, having refereed the 1914 FA Cup final, turned his hand to management, taking charge of Oldham, Wigan Borough and Middlesbrough, guiding the latter to the verge of promotion when, in April 1927, he was named manager of United.

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» The goalkeepers’ union: why do they stick up for each other?

There are no union meetings, subs or walkouts, but goalies do share a sense of solidarity

By Will Magee for When Saturday Comes

James Shea tells a story that captures the fraternal spirit among goalkeepers. Back when he was a novice at Arsenal – before his meandering path from the wilds of non-league took him to his current club, Luton Town – new gloves felt like a luxury and, on an academy keeper’s salary, were still a significant expense. Shea asked Lukasz Fabianski if he could borrow a pair for training. A few days later, Fabianski turned up with a big box full of gloves with Shea’s name emblazoned on them.

It was far from a one-off act of kindness. There are many goalkeepers with similar stories. Football is so often a dog-eat-dog environment but many keepers testify to a different moral code. There is even a term for this tendency towards mutual support: the goalkeepers’ union. There are no subs, no union meetings and no walkouts, but many will bear witness to the sense of solidarity between the sticks.

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» Camp Moo: Quique Setién goes from cows to Barcelona job in 24 hours
New Barça manager, who admits to having no CV or winners’ medals, on how he has always embraced the club’s philosophy

There are 3,537 people in Liencres, 9km west of Santander, or there were. Today there is one fewer. There are also a lot of cows. “Yesterday I was walking past cows in my home town; today I was at Barcelona’s training ground coaching the best players in the world, an enormous club,” Quique Setién said at his unveiling as the new manager at the Camp Nou in place of Ernesto Valverde. “I’m an emotional manand this is a special day,” he added, and it showed. There was humility, gratitude and at times even the sense that he was overwhelmed, still trying to digest the fact that this had actually happened.

Related: Barcelona appoint Quique Setién as head coach to replace Ernesto Valverde

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