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80S Casual »
Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
Afc Barkode »
Sunnybank Road, Crewe, Cheshire
Adult Male
Afc Tima »
Arrowe Park Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside
Adult Male
Archers »
The Rake, Bromborough, Merseyside
Adult Male
Ark Fc »
Grange Lane, Winsford, Cheshire
Adult Male
Atlantic »
Navigation Road, Altrincham, Greater Manchester
Adult Male
Avon Athletic »
Adult Male
Bank Of America Fc »
Chester Business Park, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Barcode Athletic »
Adult Male
Benidorm »
King Edward Street, Middlewich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Bentley (Crewe) »
Sunnybank Road, Crewe, Cheshire
Adult Male
Boughton Hall (Chester Sunday) »
Great Broughton, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Bromfield Arms »
Hoole Road, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Brownley Albion »
Hale Road, Hale, Greater Manchester
Adult Male
Burtonwood Albion »
The Glyn Davis Pavilion, Gorsey, Lane, Burtonwood
Adult Male
Business School »
Hilfoot Road, Liverpool, Merseyside
Adult Male
Canal Walk »
Adult Male
Cestrian Alex »
Plas Newton Lane, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Cetco Europe »
Liscard Road, Wallasey, Merseyside
Adult Male
City Bar »
Wrexham Road, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Cobra F.C. »
Adult Male
Crewe Athletic »
Thomas Street, Crewe, Cheshire
Adult Male
Crossbar »
Longshaw Lane, Warrington, Cheshire
Adult Male
Eagle & Crown (Wirral) »
Greasby Road, Greasby, Merseyside
Adult Male
Earlestown Athletic »
Common Road, Newton-Le-Willows
Adult Male
Engineers »
Adult Male
Euro Wirral Fc »
Bridle Road, Eastham, Cheshire
Adult Male
Fc Village »
Lever 5, New Chester Road, Eastham
Adult Male
Fender Athletic Fc »
Sandbrook Lane, Moreton, Merseyside
Adult Male
Grappenhall Sports »
Stockton Lane, Grappenhall, Warrington
Adult Male
Great Float Social Fc »
Wirral, , Cheshire
Adult Male
Green Bank Villa »
Town Meadow Lane, Moreton, Wirral
Adult Male
Greenfield »
Bishop Road, St Helens, Merseyside
Adult Male
Heswall Legion »
Adult Male
Heswall Windows »
Fishers Lane, Pensby, Merseyside
Adult Male
Inter Barrow »
Plas Newton Lane, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Itcl. Gunners Fc »
Ellesmere Port And Neston, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
Junction »
Pitches & Changing Rooms, Parr Stocks Rd, St Helens
Adult Male
Kent »
Bridle Road, Eastham, Cheshire
Adult Male
Lingholme Fc »
Pitches & Changing Rooms, Bishop Road, St Helens
Adult Male
Mackenzie Fc »
Arrowe Park Road, Woodchurch, Merseyside
Adult Male
Malbank »
Barony Road, Nantwich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Meols »
Bridle Road, Eastham, Cheshire
Adult Male
Mersey Town »
Lower House Lane, Widnes, Cheshire
Adult Male
Mhs Allstars Fc »
King Edward Street, Middlewich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Milewalk »
Highfield Road, Widnes
Adult Male
Military Arms »
Newall Avenue, Sandbach, Cheshire
Adult Male
Millhouse »
Adult Male
Morton Arms »
Arrowe Park Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside
Adult Male
Navigation Bay Fc »
Navigation Road, Altrincham, Greater Manchester
Adult Male
Neston »
Raby Park Road, Neston, Cheshire
Adult Male
New Brighton Afc »
Harrison Drive, New Brighton, Wallasey
Adult Male
Oak Tree Fc »
Wirral, , Cheshire
Adult Male
Old Congs »
Adult Male
Old Star Fc »
Grange Lane, Winsford, Cheshire
Adult Male
Orchard (Folded) »
Adult Male
Pad Sutton Trust 7 »
Walton Lea Road, Higher Walton, Cheshire
Adult Male
Peggy Gadflys Fc »
Greasby Road, Greasby, Merseyside
Adult Male
Piper Fc »
Plas Newton Lane, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Plastic Palace Fc »
Adult Male
Prenton Dell F.C »
Bridle Rd, Upton, Wirral
Adult Male
Primrose Fc (Wallasey & District Sunday League) »
Harrison Drive, New Brighton, Merseyside
Adult Male
Queens Arms (Birkenhead & Wirral) »
Adult Male
Raeburn Rovers »
Bridle Road, Eastham, Merseyside
Adult Male
Reos »
Adult Male
Rockville (Wallasey) Afc »
Belvidere Road, Liscard, Wallasey
Adult Male
Rose & Crown »
Adult Male
Royal Rovers (Folded) »
Coppenhall Lane, Crewe, Cheshire
Adult Male
Runcorn Linnets »
Chapel Street, Wincham, Cheshire
Adult Male
Saughall Thursday »
Plas Newton Lane, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Shelley Fc Sandbach Commercial »
King Edward Street, Middlewich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Shoe »
Pitches & Changing Rooms, Parr Stocks Rd, St Helens
Adult Male
Sidac Sports & Social »
Adult Male
Sir John Deane's College »
Monarch Drive, Northwich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Sir Robert »
Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
South Cheshire College »
Adult Male
Sportsmans Fc »
Pitches & Changing Rooms, Bishop Road, St Helens
Adult Male
Stanley's Cask »
Liscard Road, Wallasey, Merseyside
Adult Male
Stirrup Sports And Social »
Carrbridge Road, Woodchurch, Birkenhead
Adult Male
Subway Crewesaders »
Adult Male
Sutton Way Villa »
Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
Tarporley Vics »
Flacca Fields, Berwardsley Road, Tatton Chester
Adult Male
The Hoop & Mallet Callands »
Adult Male
The Queen's Head »
Back Lane, Congleton, Cheshire
Adult Male
Timperley Vets »
Balfour Road, Timperley, Timperley
Adult Male
Tower (Birkenhead Sunday League) »
Belvidere Road, Liscard, Wallasey
Adult Male
Tranmere Victoria (Wirral Sunday) »
Adult Male
Uberlube Fc »
Hough Green, Chester, Cheshire
Adult Male
Union Fc »
Thomas Street, Crewe, Cheshire
Adult Male
University Of Chester Mens »
Adult Male
Upton Magnets »
Adult Male
Vale (Macc Sunday) »
Back Lane, Congleton, Cheshire
Adult Male
Walkers »
Long Lane, Orford, Cheshire
Adult Male
Warrington Integrated Sports Club (Wisc) »
Barrowhall Lane, Great Sankey, Warrington
Adult Male
Waterside »
Playing Fields, Bishop Road, St Helens
Adult Male
Wick Fc »
Shrewbridge Road, Nantwich, Cheshire
Adult Male
Wilkies Tavern »
Eastford Road, Lower Walton, Warrington
Adult Male
Willows (Bsl) »
Greasby Road, Greasby, Merseyside
Adult Male
Windsor »
Belvidere Road, Liscard, Wallasey
Adult Male
Wing Half Fc »
Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
Winsford United »
Wharton Road, Winsford, Cheshire
Adult Male
Wirral Health (Wi Sun) »
Bridle Road, Eastham, Merseyside
Adult Male
Woodchurch Community Angels »
Carrbridge Road, Woodchurch, Birkenhead
Adult Male
Woodlands »
Dunkirk Lane, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Adult Male
Wyvern S/S »
King Edward Street, Middlewich, Cheshire
Adult Male

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Football News

» 10 Premier League transfers that could still happen including Arsenal and Man Utd deals
Premier League clubs have to complete deals before the closure of the tranfer window on Friday night, and there are several switches that could go down to the wire
» Arsenal set sights on Cedric Soares after completing Pablo Mari transfer
Arsenal could complete a deal for Southampton full-back Cedric as Mikel Arteta bids to strengthen his defence before the deadline
» What channel is Man City vs Man Utd? TV and live stream information
Manchester United must overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg if they are to secure a spot in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley
» Liverpool's FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury to take place days after Southampton clash
Liverpool take on League One minnows Shrewsbury Town in a FA Cup fourth-round replay on Tuesday, February 4. Jurgen Klopp is expected to snub managing the Reds for the match
» Pablo Mari makes promise to Mikel Arteta after completing transfer to Arsenal
Arsenal splashed out £4million up front to sign Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo for the season, with the option of making the deal permanent at the close of the campaign
» Wycombe dedicate win to fan who died after suffering heart attack before match
Kick-off at Adams Park was delayed by over an hour as an air ambulance landed on the pitch, with Mr Bird attended to before being taken to the nearby Hospital
» Arsenal new boy Pablo Mari opens up on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane battle
The Spaniard has signed on loan for the Gunners until the end of the season, having previously been on the books of Manchester City when Mikel Arteta coached there
» Jonny Evans issues Leicester rallying cry after Carabao Cup loss to Aston Villa
Leicester suffered an injury-time semi-final loss to Aston Villa on Tuesday, costing them a final place at Wembley, and now Evans is calling on them to bounce back and secure a top four finish
» What channel is West Ham vs Liverpool on? TV and live stream information
Jurgen Klopp's Reds take on the only team they haven't yet faced in the Premier League this season, having beaten all the others to pull 16 points clear at the top
» Arsenal complete Pablo Mari transfer as Mikel Arteta eyes another January signing
Arsenal have completed the transfer of Pablo Mari from Flamengo. The centre-back becomes Mikel Arteta's first signing staking over from Unai Emery as Gunners boss
» Inside the sinister Man Utd group who attacked Ed Woodward's house
The group of United fans - who are believed to have attacked Ed Woodward's home on Tuesday - are known as 'The Men in Black' due to their preference to dark clothing
» Mino Raiola says "moron" Man Utd fans who attacked Ed Woodward's home should be locked up
The super-agent has had several dealings with United in the recent past, and says that anyone using him as a reason to justify the attack on Woodward's home is in the wrong
» Jorge Mendes 'pulled off masterclass' to get Bruno Fernandes transfer to Man Utd done
The super agent has been instrumental in Manchester United's transfer pursuit of Portugal international Bruno Fernandes, with the deal set to take place this week
» Flamengo confirm Pablo Mari exit with tribute ahead of Arsenal transfer
Flamengo have seemingly confirmed the Spaniard's exit with a tribute, hailing the defender for helping them win the Brazilian league title and Copa Libertadores
» Man Utd to complete January transfer for Southend United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop
England Under-20s international goalkeeper Nathan Bishop missed Southend's 3-1 defeat by Doncaster United in order to have his medical at Manchester United on Tuesday
» Tottenham seal Steven Bergwijn transfer as Jose Mourinho strikes another January deal
Jose Mourinho is keen to add further attacking options to his ranks after an injury to talisman Harry Kane
» Tottenham using Olivier Giroud interest to boost Krzysztof Piatek transfer hopes
Jose Mourinho is keen to add further attacking options to his ranks after an injury to talisman Harry Kane
» Ed Woodward's house protected by police after Man Utd thugs vandalise Cheshire mansion
Mirror Sport revealed how between 20 and 30 balaclava-clad United fans marched on Woodward's Cheshire mansion and threw flares on Tuesday night
» Man Utd record transfers as Bruno Fernandes prepares to take spot in top 10
The Portuguese midfielder is closing in on a switch to Old Trafford in the coming days, and his fee could eventually rise to make him United's fourth-most expensive player
» Man Utd outcast Marcos Rojo to seal January transfer back to Argentina with Estudiantes
Defender Rojo, 29, is set to move back to his homeland on loan after six years at Old Trafford, as he looks to revive his career and nail down a place in Argentina's next Copa America squad
» Arsenal 'agree transfer' for Pablo Mari on loan with option to buy defender
The move for Pablo Mari, who spent three years at Manchester City without playing a league game, appeared to have collapsed at the last minute
» Man Utd's transfer package for Bruno Fernandes as star flies in complete deal
The Portuguese midfielder shared an image of himself at an airport on Tuesday evening as he prepared to complete his long-awaited move to Manchester United
» Details of Barcelona's failed Bruno Fernandes transfer attempt to pip Man Utd
Mirror Sport understands that Barcelona made a late bid on Tuesday to try to hijack United's move for Fernandes
» Marcelo Bielsa reacts to the pressure from anxious Leeds United fans after poor run ends
The Leeds United chief warning to Patrick Bamford as new signing arrives, and he condemns coin-throwing accused
From

Other sport news:

» Six of the best: the players Premier League clubs should sign this week

Options for Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs, Villa, West Ham and Watford before the transfer window closes on Friday

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

A host of Premier League clubs are still trying to patch up problem areas in their squads before the transfer window closes on Friday night. We assess a handful of these clubs and propose a player who could fit the bill for them.

Continue reading...
» TV piracy hits Saudi Newcastle takeover – not the beheadings and crucifixions then? | Marina Hyde

Newcastle United fans might not like Mike Ashley much but some things that go on in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia are a little bit more sinister

News that Saudi Arabia may have their eye on acquiring Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United feels as inevitable now as it would have felt insane 20 years ago. The “complicated” nature of the UK’s relationship with the kingdom is so powerful that you can’t expect it to be confined to the mere arms trade or the superprime London property market. Ultimately, the formbook suggests, Saudi Arabia will wish to acquire a huge reputation-laundering machine, with a somewhat smaller stadium-based athletic content facility attached. What we used to think of as “the football club”, if that isn’t going back too far to make sense in this day and age.

Happily, the Saudi regime are not the only ones whose priorities are somewhat out of whack. Only last week, I was marvelling at the point-missing evident in a newspaper headline announcing that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had “TAUNTED JEFF BEZOS WITH A SEXIST MEME”. Ooh, then now he’s REALLY gone too far. Yet within mere days, that headline’s football equivalent has presented itself, with a warning that “TV piracy row could hit Newcastle takeover bid”. Well, 134 crucifixions between January and September last year … but I guess we found it. TV piracy: the last taboo.

Continue reading...
» Manchester United fans have a right to be angry but attacking Woodward’s home was outrageous | Paul Wilson

United fail a little more every year and nothing is done about it but turning up at a director’s house was beyond the pale

Remember the good old days, when Manchester United supporters used to be characterised by their uncomplaining politeness and fondness for prawn sandwiches? There were clear signs that attitudes had hardened last week, when many fans left Old Trafford early and others used the Burnley defeat as an opportunity to hope dire fates might befall the unpopular Glazer family and their representative in the north-west of England, though it is still a shocking progression to go from chanting nasty things about Ed Woodward inside a football ground to finding out where he lives and attacking his home.

The club have quite properly responded to the attempt to put the frighteners on United’s executive vice-chairman with a pledge to ban anyone found responsible for life. One would expect nothing less, yet it is entirely possible that those who turned up at Woodward’s home with flares and fireworks are not regular attendees at Old Trafford anyway. Far from being representative of the prawn sandwich brigade they are more likely to be people disenfranchised by either the price of season tickets or the difficulty of gaining admission to mainstream games nowadays.

Continue reading...
» Transfer latest: Fernandes heads for United medical, Bergwijn joins Spurs
  • Bruno Fernandes due to fly to England after agreement struck
  • Spurs make Olivier Giroud inquiry but chances of deal are slim

Bruno Fernandes is due to fly to England on Wednesday for a Manchester United medical after the final details of the midfielder’s transfer from Sporting Lisbon were settled.

It is understood the Portugal international will cost United a basic €55m (£46.5m) plus up to €25m in add-ons and that he has agreed a contract to 2024 worth around £70,000 a week before bonuses, with the option of an extra year.

Continue reading...
» Meet Eez Eldin Bahder, 74, 'the world's oldest professional footballer' – video report

Eez Eldin Bahder is believed, aged 74, to be the oldest professional footballer in the world after he signed with a third-tier side in the Egyptian league. Bahder got his chance after registering with the Egyptian Football Federation when he showed them a video of him demonstrating his skills. 'So I spoke with them and told them: 'Why not?' I showed them the video of me playing and they said that he didn't realise that at this age you can display such skills, movement and flexibility'. 

The veteran player is hoping to get a place in the starting 11. 'There is a feeling that they will be playing with 10 men, but I don't want them to feel that … I might be able to make a contribution. I don't know yet, but we'll see what will happen in our next game.'

Continue reading...
» Chelsea make inquiry about Napoli's Dries Mertens in hunt for forward
  • Napoli may not be willing to let 32-year-old leave
  • Chelsea finding it hard to land their main targets

Chelsea have made an inquiry about the availability of the Napoli forward Dries Mertens as Frank Lampard seeks to solve his side’s goalscoring problems.

Lampard is keen to sign a player to compete with Tammy Abraham before the transfer window shuts on Friday and Mertens has emerged as an alternative to Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani, who favours a move to Atlético Madrid. The 32-year-old Mertens, out of contract at the end of the season, can play on the right or through the middle and has scored 116 goals for Napoli since joining from Genk in 2013.

Continue reading...
» Arsenal sign Pablo Marí on loan from Flamengo and close on Cédric Soares
  • Marí was on Manchester City’s books while Arteta was there
  • Southampton full-back Cédric wanted on loan for rest of season

Arsenal have signed the central defender Pablo Marí on loan from Flamengo, with an option to buy this summer, and have made a late move for the Southampton full-back Cédric Soares.

The club are confident of closing a deal for Cédric that would see him join on an initial loan for the remainder of the season as well.

Continue reading...
» Which footballer holds the world record for the longest throw-in? | The Knowledge

Plus: hat-trick scoring debutant substitutes, Brian Kilcline’s unique trophy lift and more table-topping sacked managers

Last week’s Knowledge touched on the subject of football magazines recording hard shots, long throws and other niche feats. Alex Murphy may have witnessed the longest throw ever for a magazine series he worked on in the 1990s.

“I don’t know if Shoot! covered the subject as well, but the magazine I worked on as features editor – Total Football – had a long-running obsession with long throw-ins,” writes Alex. “One day we trotted down to St Andrew’s with a photographer and a 50m tape measure and invited Birmingham City and Wales midfielder, Andy Legg, to attempt a new world record. Despite suffering from an ankle knock, and amid complaints about the wet surface, Legg hurled a football the entire width of the pitch.

Continue reading...
» 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.

Continue reading...
» Manchester United Women up their game with sleep watches and yoga

Players outline greater emphasis on nutrition and recovery before Continental League Cup semi-final against Chelsea

Millie Turner is loving the high standards demanded of players at Manchester United in their first season in the top flight. “I’ve even got quads for the first time in my life – I’ve never been in better shape,” she says as the team prepare to face Chelsea in a Continental League Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

Preparation is key. The games are coming thick and fast, and in the Women’s Super League there are no easy wins, as United discovered when they gifted Bristol City their first victory of the season at the start of the month.

Continue reading...
» Samatta gets his chance but Grealish keeps Aston Villa dreaming of glory
Dean Smith gave his new forward Mbwana Samatta his debut yet Jack Grealish showed again he is the heartbeat of the team

They came to see the new signing Mbwana Samatta but left talking about a player whose roots lie much closer to home. Jack Grealish was born just up the road and joined Aston Villa’s academy at the age of six so he knows what a first piece of silverware since 1996 would mean in these parts.

On the evidence of this thrilling performance, during which Villa’s talisman dominated against a Leicester side featuring his potential England rival James Maddison, there can be only one choice for Gareth Southgate when he names his next squad for the friendlies against Italy and Denmark in March.

Continue reading...
» Manchester City bemoan fixture clash between men’s and women’s teams

• Women’s team travel to Arsenal in League Cup on Wednesday
• Men’s side in Carabao Cup derby action at Etihad on same night

The outgoing Manchester City manager Nick Cushing has criticised the fixture clash that means his women’s team travel to Arsenal on Wednesday night at the same time as Manchester City men’s team host Manchester United, both in League Cup semi-finals.

“I think it would definitely help if we didn’t play on the same day,” said Cushing, who leaves City to take up the position of assistant coach at New York City FC in the MLS after Sunday’s Women’s Super League home game against Arsenal. “I consistently talk with our fans; we have a group of fans that travel to every game, men’s and women’s, and I think when you have to ask them to choose it puts them in a place where they don’t really want to be in because they want to watch both teams. If we’re going to grow the game it’s not ideal.”

Continue reading...
» Aston Villa’s Dean Smith says he let himself go after goal ‘made in Egypt’
• Trézéguet’s late winner sends club to Carabao Cup final
• ‘If we could go and lift the trophy I’ll be a very proud man’

Dean Smith, an Aston Villa supporter long before he became the club’s manager, said he “certainly let myself go” when Trézéguet scored a stoppage-time goal to send his team into the Carabao Cup final.

Joyous scenes engulfed Villa Park after a thrilling semi-final in which Matt Targett opened the scoring for the hosts before Kelechi Iheanacho equalised. Leicester had several chances to win before Villa got what Smith hailed as “a goal made in Egypt”, with Trézéguet firing into the net from a cross by Ahmed Elmohamady.

Continue reading...
» Championship: Bamford’s double fires Leeds top after West Brom lose again
• Leeds come back from 2-0 down to beat Millwall 3-2
• Previous leaders West Brom lose 2-1 to Cardiff

Leeds climbed back to the top of the Championship after fighting back from 2-0 down at Elland Road to beat Millwall 3-2. Marcelo Bielsa’s side appeared to be heading for a fourth straight defeat in all competitions but turned it round after the break as Patrick Bamford’s double sandwiched Pablo Hernández’s effort.

Shaun Hutchinson’s header had given Millwall a fourth-minute lead and Jed Wallace’s penalty made it 2-0 after Ezgjan Alioski’s challenge on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

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» David Moyes wants West Ham to sign younger players with resale value

• Manager optimistic 24-year-old Tomas Soucek will join
• Club trying to sell midfielder Carlos Sánchez

David Moyes has said West Ham have to stop buying players with no resale value and he hopes the impending arrival of Slavia Prague’s Tomas Soucek is the start of the club adopting a more progressive recruitment policy.

West Ham could drop into the Premier League’s bottom three on goal difference if they lose heavily at home against Liverpool on Wednesday evening and there is a worrying admission about “serious financial consequences” of relegation in their latest accounts, which reveal a pre-tax loss of £28.8m in the last financial year. While the club pointed to a net spend of £214.4m on signings since moving to the London Stadium in 2016, the stark reality is their work in the transfer market has lacked coherence.

Continue reading...
» Jürgen Klopp will not attend Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury

• Neil Critchley will manage a team of under-23s
• ‘We have to make a stand’ against fixture congestion, says Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has confirmed he will not attend Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury next week and is taking a stand against fixture congestion by fielding an under-23s team managed by Neil Critchley.

Klopp has attracted widespread criticism for refusing to play senior players in the fourth-round replay or take charge of a game that clashes with the club’s scheduled mid-season break. He apologised to the League One side on Tuesday for taking the spotlight from their comeback in the first tie with his post-match comments but, on his stance over the replay, he was unrepentant.

Continue reading...
» Cardiff City begin proceedings against Nantes over death of Emiliano Sala

• Cardiff want investigation into Nantes’ role up to Sala’s death
• ‘We believe there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing’

Cardiff have started proceedings to bring criminal charges against Nantes over the death of Emiliano Sala.

The Championship club have submitted documents to the public prosecutor in Nantes, calling for an investigation into the role played by the French club in events leading up to Sala’s tragic death in a plane crash a year ago.

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» Charlton v Netzer: when stars faced off to celebrate the UK joining Europe

With Brexit Day looming we recall Wembley’s Common Market Match in 1973, part of a festival in which not all went to plan

Ted Heath may not have been the most charismatic prime minister in the United Kingdom’s long rich history, but at least the man knew how to throw a party. When he took the UK into the European Economic Community in January 1973, he celebrated the occasion by spending a quarter of a million of your sterling pounds on the Fanfare for Europe, an 11-day festival that included, among more than 150 other cultural high-points, concerts by Slade, the Kinks, Status Quo, the Chieftains, and the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Georg Solti. Fast forward 47 years, and what does Boris Johnson, self-styled natural-born showman, have lined up for the similarly epochal Brexit Day? Not a great deal, by the looks of it. A new interpretation of John Cage’s 4’33” by the avant-garde campanologist Mark “Hot Mallets” Francois isn’t exactly scratching our itch.

Related: David Squires on … football's fixture wars

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» Gary Lineker: ‘Put my 1990 team against a modern team and we’d get murdered’

The BBC presenter and former striker on how VAR must change, his views on Klopp and Guardiola, Brexit ‘lies’ and why the licence fee should be voluntary

Gary Lineker is surprisingly cheerful in his kitchen. He has even made us chicken soup for lunch which, on a midwinter afternoon, is as tasty as it is comforting. The world outside might be reeling but here, in the affluent enclave of Barnes, it is easier to feel sanguine. As the BBC’s highest-paid presenter, Lineker is seemingly insulated from the world’s miseries and woes. Yet he is also one of the most politically outspoken and compassionate people in British sport and, as a waspish critic of Brexit, he is entitled to feel gloomy that the UK will leave the European Union on Friday.

Instead, he is resigned to a reality he has argued against for four years. “I find it difficult to comprehend,” Lineker says. “But it’s a done deal, so get on with it now. I don’t tweet about it any more. Some people keep going on about it – but I’m not going to bother saying: ‘I told you so.’”

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» 'A sad day': Espanyol v Athletic Bilbao marred by alleged racist chants

After Saturday’s incident involving Iñaki Williams, there is still a lingering sense that racism is not being taken seriously enough

Iñaki Williams had just begun the long walk to the bench when he heard something. There were 20 minutes left and Athletic Bilbao were drawing 1-1 at Espanyol, but that didn’t matter much any more. He was heading towards where Iker Muniain was about to take corner, yet his mind was elsewhere now. Barely a metre from Muniain as he ran up and bent the ball into the box, the pair crossing paths, his attention was drawn to the stands instead. Williams slowed slightly, head turned, hearing it more clearly now. He couldn’t tell how many, but it was too many. There was a hint of a challenge, but he kept going. Then, as turned up the touchline he did stop. “Sons of bitches, all of you,” he muttered. As he sat on the bench, someone leant across: “What happened?” he was asked. “Uh! Uh! Uh!” he said.

“I leave here a bit sad, because of the draw, but above all because I suffered racist abuse,” Williams said afterwards. “It’s something that no black player, or any player of any race wants to hear. It’s totally unacceptable: people should come to the ground to enjoy it, to support their team, to enjoy football, which is a team sport, a sport of friendship. It’s a sad day.”

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» Jürgen Klopp’s approach to replays waters down delights of the FA Cup | Paul MacInnes

While Premier League clubs increasingly see the Cup as an irrelevance, it can still be a season-saver for the rest

Jürgen Klopp’s halo slipped a bit on Sunday night. Having watched a reserve Liverpool side get overrun by Shrewsbury and throw away a two-goal lead into the bargain, Klopp used his post-match remarks to threaten another scratch team as he zoned in on a recurring topic – fixture congestion. The replay with Shrewsbury, he said, ran contrary to the spirit of the Premier League’s new winter break.

Related: It is time to scrap the League Cup – and give the FA Cup a radical makeover | Paul Wilson

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» Ashley Young makes rapid Inter impact as Serie A title race heats up

Internazionale were held at home, but Lazio failed to capitalise in the Rome derby before Juve were rocked in Naples

On his first weekend playing in Serie A, Ashley Young brought Inter back within touching distance of league leaders Juventus. OK, maybe that’s oversimplifying things a smidge. There were twists and turns galore on a weekend when the top four sides picked up three points between them, scoring fewer goals collectively than Atalanta managed on their own.

Still, let’s begin with Young, and Inter. They were first to act in the title race, with a Sunday lunchtime kick-off at home to Cagliari. It felt like an opportunity to put pressure on Juventus and Lazio before they played at Napoli and Roma, respectively, in the evening.

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» Garforth Town player sent off after two bookings in same passage of play – video

A game in the Northern Counties East Football League saw three consecutive cards shown by the referee. Garforth Town were playing against Bridlington when the home side's Alex Low made a late tackle on one of the Bridlington players. The referee played the advantage before Low made another sliding challenge further down the pitch. After the referee blew his whistle, he brandished two yellow cards at Low before adding a red. The game ended 1-1

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» Jürgen Klopp will not be at Liverpool's FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury – video

Jürgen Klopp will field youngsters in the FA Cup again after his side failed to beat Shrewsbury Town on Sunday. The Liverpool manager is to honour the decision to give his players time off for a winter break. 'I have said to the boys already, two weeks ago, that we will have a winter break, so it means we will not be there – it will be the kids who play that game'. Klopp was asked whether he would be in attendance, to which he confirmed he would not be present, with Neil Critchley in his place

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» Hemel Hempstead keeper takes no chances in getting his angles covered – video

A long-range effort from Bath City's Tom Smith brought about cheers and laughter as Hemel Hempstead goalkeeper Sam Beasant sarcastically dived as the ball flew almost 20 yards off target in their National League South game. The ambitious effort from behind the halfway line from City's top goalscorer was mishit, sending the ball trickling out for a goal-kick. However, the next time Smith had an effort from a closer range free-kick, he cannoned the ball through the wall, as it rose into the net. No laughing matter. The Romans went on to win the game 2-0

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» Tottenham manager José Mourinho: 'Teams are lucky against us' – video

José Mourinho has claimed that whenever sides play against his Spurs side they are lucky. Speaking after Tottenham's 2-1 victory over Norwich, Mourinho said that 'normally, players and teams are lucky against us. [Watford's Étienne] Capoue was lucky, Watford was lucky, [Liverpool's Andy] Robertson was lucky, Liverpool was lucky'

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» Solskjær on Manchester United's latest defeat: Burnley deserved to win – video

Further pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjær after his Manchester United side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Burnley, the first time the Clarets have won at Old Trafford since 1962. 'You can lose to teams that out play you, but tonight should have been a game we should have won,' admitted Solskjær. As well as trouble on the pitch, fans off the field could be heard chanting against club owners the Glazers and Ed Woodward

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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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» Nagelsmann reads the riot act after Leipzig's rude awakening in Frankfurt | Andy Brassell

The Bundesliga leaders sleepwalked to defeat and now have Bayern, Mönchengladbach and Dortmund hot on their heels

This week Julian Nagelsmann had his players sit through a presentation on the importance of good sleep to athletic performance. Some supporters might have felt RB Leipzig had already overindulged on that score during the Bundesliga’s hibernation period, with only a couple of high impact contributions from the red-hot Timo Werner rousing them from their slumbers against Union Berlin last week to take the points that maintained a healthy lead at the top of the table.

Seven days later and Leipzig were still having trouble switching on for the full duration of proceedings, although the order of service was inverted this time around. Nagelsmann’s team began the afternoon by breathing the sort of flames Germany’s top flight has become used to in the last couple of years. They ended napping at the fireside as Eintracht Frankfurt turned up the volume and took over the party. Having had 12 efforts at goal to the home side’s one before the break, Lepizig were caught cold by Almamy Touré’s beautifully struck opener and rarely looked like getting back into it, before Filip Kostic profited from defensive confusion to finish them off in stoppage time.

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» Chaos delights as W-League proves it has more to offer than just its Matildas | Ella Reilly

The league’s non-international players were able to take centre stage during a wild round

The double pendulum swing is one of the most well-known symbols of chaos theory. The lines traced by a double-jointed line, which makes sense when its creation is watched step by step from beginning to end, look a shemozzle when considered in its totality. Chaotic systems illuminate the notion that chaos and order need not be polar opposites, and can coexist in many systems.

In this way, so much of the conversations surrounding the W-League can be distilled to those centred on its players, and those concerned with the machinations of the league they have effectively become synonymous with; two parts of the W-League pendulum’s swing.

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» Juventus shocked by Napoli while Real Madrid go clear in La Liga
• Zielinski and Insigne score in Napoli’s 2-1 win over Juve
• Real Madrid win 1-0 at Real Valladolid

The Serie A leaders, Juventus, suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Napoli, with the coach Maurizio Sarri returning to his former club for the first time, though Cristiano Ronaldo still managed to score for an eighth league game in a row for the visitors.

Related: Cummings double stuns Liverpool as Shrews fight back to claim shock replay

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» Hardworking and humble: Robbie Fowler’s Roar seize on football’s fortunes | Richard Parkin

Small moments can change seasons, but big turnarounds more often have deeper wellsprings

In football, games – even seasons – can turn on the tiniest of incidents. A missed chance. A moment’s recklessness. A second’s quick thinking. These are the inflection points that can haunt players or coaches for decades in retirement. Often the significance is apparent in the moment. Steven Gerrard’s slip. A failed offside trap as Ali Daei releases Khodadad Azizi. But more often than not, they’re not.

In round 12 of the A-League, 47 minutes in, a ball strikes Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s arm inside the box. A referee twirling their spoon through the alphabet soup that is IFAB + VAR could easily have spelt “penalty”. This time, they didn’t. In the 80th minute, Angus Thurgate burst through one-on-one on goal, only to spurn the chance as the ball sat stubbornly inside the teenage striker’s gait. In the 90th minute, Jamie Young’s big left hand denied a goal-destined header from Ben Kantarovski. A save of the season.

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» Erling Braut Haaland's scoring run continues as Dortmund thrash Cologne
  • Teenager takes tally to five goals in two substitute appearances
  • Milan beat Brescia 1-0 in Serie A thanks to Ante Rebic goal

Erling Braut Haaland came off the bench to score twice as Borussia Dortmund thrashed Cologne 5-1 to move up to third place in the Bundesliga. Haaland had started as a substitute despite scoring a hat-trick on his debut at Augsburg last Saturday.

But the Norwegian, who had been linked with a move to Manchester United, made a dramatic late impression with a brace in the final 13 minutes to seal an emphatic win. Raphael Guerreiro had put Dortmund ahead inside the opening minute after a neat cut-back by Jadon Sancho, and Marco Reus doubled the lead on the half-hour mark.

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» Olyroos end barren streak, but risk trailing rising Asia | Richard Parkin

Australia’s men’s football team are back at the Olympics - now the challenge is to stay there

As Mohammed Abdulla’s whistle sounded around the Rajamangala stadium in Bangkok, Australia’s players slumped to their knees – exhausted, relieved, delighted.

They’d done it the hard way. Their semi-final loss to Korea meant another 100 grueling minutes – a sixth game in 17 days – amid the sapping heat and humidity of South-East Asia.

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» 'I’ve had setbacks in my life': Ali Abbas tries to find relaxation in football | Emma Kemp

The A-League cult hero opens up on his secret satellite dish, post-Asian Cup threats, when Iraq tried to recruit Graham Arnold and his own comeback hopes

Ali Abbas was 17 when he told Saddam Hussein’s men to go home. Warned them, rather, that US troops had taken Baghdad. The Abbas family was driving back to the capital they called home, having fled to the neighbouring Diyala province once the bombs started falling in early 2003, and on the way encountered the inevitable roadside congregation of uniformed figures.

The future A-League star and Iraq international’s initial instinct was to disclose what they knew, that Hussein’s shackled statue was toppling and the symbolism was about to get very real for the overthrown dictator’s allies.

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» David Squires on … the comings, and ultimately goings, of Markus Babbel

Our resident cartoonist looks at the departure of a man who promised much as Wanderers coach but delivered little

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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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» The Club World Cup is not about football – it's about making the rich even richer | Jonathan Wilson

The tournament will begin in its new expanded format in summer 2021 and already it has forced the Africa Cup of Nations to be re-rescheduled

Tippi Hedren sits on a bench outside the school. Behind her, crows gradually settle on a climbing frame. She smokes, distracted. By the time she finally notices a crow pass above her, it is too late. The frame, the roofs behind, the telegraph pole, the fence are laden with crows and the attack on the children cannot be averted. This is the greatest scene of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and it is also modern football.

Every week, there comes a new detail, stat or report of an initiative. Individually they can be laughed off. What’s the Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli banging on about this time? Who is Fifa’s Gianni Infantino abasing himself in front of now at Davos? Why has the Spanish Super Cup been rejigged with wildly variant appearance fees to try to put on a Clasico for the people of Jeddah? What’s the point of the Champions League group stage?

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» Aston Villa job feels right and I hope it helps other women into leading roles | Eni Aluko
Villa’s women are going places and guiding them to the WSL in the city where I fell in love with football is an exciting challenge

Next week it will be two months since my last game of football, and in that time my life has changed significantly. I have left Juventus and moved home to London from Turin. I have announced my retirement, and this week I joined Aston Villa as their sporting director for women’s football. It’s a full-circle moment for me: I grew up playing football in Birmingham and now I will start the next phase of my career in the city where I met the game.

I always had a niggling feeling that this was going to be my last season in football. When I was first approached by Villa I was still at Juventus, and I thought it was something I would consider at the end of the campaign in Italy. But the more I thought about it the more excited I became, and in the end I felt my decision was between a role that can launch me into a second career on the executive side of football that might last for a decade or more, and at best another one- or two-year playing contract with Juventus or another club. In many ways, this opportunity pushed me into making the decision to retire.

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» Gabriel Martinelli shrugs off Arsenal’s shackles and lets hope fly again | Jonathan Liew
Such is the Brazilian’s swagger that his solo goal at Chelsea seemed predestined; he could be the perfect fit for Mikel Arteta

“I’m not the Messiah!” “I say you are, Lord, and I should know – I’ve followed a few.” – Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Has a goal ever looked so breathtakingly easy and ludicrously difficult all at once? As Gabriel Martinelli gathered the ball in his own half on Tuesday night, he found himself all on his own, 80 yards from goal, with N’Golo Kanté blocking his path. And yet within a few seconds the ball was rolling past Kepa Arrizabalaga into the Chelsea net, the 18-year-old Martinelli having simply run the length of the field in a very fast straight line, dumping perhaps the world’s best covering midfielder on his backside in the process. You know, as you do.

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» Football transfer rumours: Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich?

Today’s tell-all is looking for the last piece in the jigsaw

We begin with some heartening fitness news for cash-strapped minnows Manchester City. Leroy Sané is back in full training and possibly in line for some Carabao Cup minutes on Wednesday night which can mean only one thing: his name can be merrily tossed into the Mill for a good churning. And Bayern Munich, once again, have wasted no time in linking themselves with the Germany winger. With Sané entering the final year of his contract come the summer, the Mirror quotes Bayern’s chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as remarking gnomically: “If we are still interested in principle, which I do not rule out, we will first talk to the club in order to create a friendly atmosphere of conversation.”

José Mourinho, meanwhile, wants a Proper Target Man for Tottenham in the light of Harry Kane’s long-term injury, and who has he alighted on as a possible quick-fix? Only Olivier Giroud. The 33-year-old striker had been heavily linked with Premier League old boys’ club Internazionale but, according to 90min.com, his agent has been touting him in Tottenham’s direction and the north London club are tempted.

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» The Fiver | Come on then, what’s José Mourinho up to?

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Come on then, what’s José Mourinho up to? What’s his angle? He has spent most of his career buying ready-made players, and The Fiver fully expected him to celebrate his first transfer window at Spurs by signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o and Ricardo Carvalho’s dad. Instead, he’s brought in three players whose combined age is only just older than Ibrahimovic. Gedson Fernandes, 21, joined on loan from Benfica with a view to a permanent move; goalscoring winger Steven Bergwijn, 22, is on the way from PSV; and Welsh comedy hip-hop group Goldie Lookin’ Chain, 23, have made their loan from Betis permanent. Eh? What do you mean GLC stands for Giovani Lo Celso?

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» The Dozen: the best FA Cup pictures from the weekend

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

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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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» 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)

16
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

Paulinho

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.

Tugay

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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» Eric Cantona and 'the hooligan': the impact of the kung-fu kick 25 years on

Twenty-five years have passed since Cantona launched himself into the crowd at Selhurst Park. It remains his best moment

By Rob Smyth for Nessun Dorma

Eric Cantona scored 82 goals for Manchester United. He won four league titles and two Doubles, and was a catalyst for the most successful period in the club’s history. None of that will keep him warmest in his dotage. “My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan.”

Cantona always refers to Matthew Simmons, with a delightful, absent-minded contempt, as “the hooligan”. It’s a neat way of dehumanising the gobby fan he dealt with when he tried to kick racism out of football on 25 January 1995. Twenty-five years later, the footage and images of his kung-fu kick retain an exhilarating power. It was the definitive example of what Alex Ferguson called Cantona’s “defiant charisma”. His defiance that night defined his career, and also his life.

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» Paulo Dybala: ‘You have to put the mask on like gladiators do and fight’

The Juventus No 10 discusses his Polish heritage, nearly giving up on football and interest from Tottenham and Manchester United

Behind the mask is a boy. Just before Christmas 2016, Paulo Dybala missed Juventus’s last penalty in the Italian Super Cup final against Milan. It was still on his mind days later when, watching Gladiator, he had an idea. From that moment, he has celebrated every goal by putting his hand across his face, thumb and index finger extended to imitate a mask. It has been seen often – there have been 64 goals since, starting with a penalty in the next match – instantly identified as his. It is also, he says, “not just a celebration but a message”.

Juventus’s No 10 speaks softly; he is thoughtful and the mask is worn lightly but listening it becomes apparent it goes beyond celebration to become more meaningful, if subconsciously. He says it was inspired by the penalty and the film, that he “didn’t really think about” it as protection or some emotional shield. But in the way he explains it – in everything he says the morning after its latest outing – it is revealed as deeper.

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» Revealed: the scale of Manchester City’s FFP breaches before 2014 Uefa deal

• Accounting rejected and £118.75m of sponsorships questioned
• City could face Champions League ban in second Uefa inquiry

Manchester City were found to have made inadmissible submissions to Uefa over financial fair play in 2014 and were reported for not making their bank statements available, the Guardian can reveal.

City’s submissions for the 2012 and 2013 financial years were questioned in relation to £118.75m in sponsorships from companies in Abu Dhabi, the home state of the club’s owner, and their accounting methods over transfer fees and the formation of two new companies were rejected.

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» Flat Earth FC: the football club who represent a conspiracy theory

The Flat Earth FC chairman says he is ‘using the club to make sure that people reconsider their lives’

Javi Poves was a promising young footballer. Having risen through the ranks at Sporting Gijón, the Spanish defender made his La Liga debut in 2011 on the final day of the season. He retired that summer having made that one appearance for the club. He was 23 years old.

“What I’ve seen from within makes it clear: professional football is only money and corruption. It’s capitalism, and capitalism is death,” said Proves. “I don’t want to be part of a system based on people earning money at the expense of the deaths of others in South America, Africa and Asia. To put it simply, my conscience will not let me continue with this.”

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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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