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Football News

» Juventus chief 'flies to London' to hold Man Utd transfer talks
The likes of Mario Mandzukic, Paul Pogba and Merih Demiral are set to be on the agenda in a meeting between Man Utd and Juventus chiefs to discuss transfer business
» DeAndre Yedlin hits out at Newcastle's critics who "want this club to fail"
The United States international isn't happy with some of the criticism of the Magpies, while the club are looking to tie Matty Longstaff down to a new deal
» Danny Rose admits he never realised how much Liverpool fans 'dislike' Raheem Sterling
Sterling was constantly booed by Liverpool supporters during his side's 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday and Rose said he was surprised by the level of animosity
» Fred explains how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally got the best out of him for Man Utd
The Brazilian midfielder had a tough start to life at Old Trafford but his performances have seen a huge improvement in recent weeks
» Gylfi Sigurdsson issues rallying cry to Everton teammates after win against Southampton
The Toffees have climbed up to 15th in the table after two positive results and next face bottom club Norwich ahead of a tricky run of fixtures in December
» Willian wanted by Juventus and Barcelona but Frank Lampard keen to keep Chelsea star
Chelsea winger Willian is out of contract at Stamford Bridge next summer and while Frank Lampard is keen to keep him, two of Europe's elite are keen to sign him
» Thierry Henry says Arsenal stars are to blame for Nicolas Pepe's tough start
The Gunners legend has hit back at critics of the £72m signing and claims Pepe's teammates are more to blame for his lack of goals so far than the Ivory Coast winger
» Sir Bobby Charlton has vital role in Man Utd changing room before every game
Michael Carrick has explained how the legendary 82-year-old former Red Devils striker helps the current squad after every game by passing down his wisdom
» Dalian Atkinson: Police officers charged over the death of ex-Aston Villa star named
Two police officers were charged last week after an inquiry into the death of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson
» Mike Phelan says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is following Sir Matt Busby's Man Utd philosophy
The Norwegian manager has been known to offer young players a chance and according to assistant manager Mike Phelan he has many of the same qualities as Sir Matt Busby
» Furious Man City decide against Bernardo Silva appeal over fear of increased ban
Bernardo Silva is facing a one-game ban - but furious Man city do not plan to appeal the punishment given for a controversial tweet
» Legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lands new job
Arsene Wenger has been out of work since parting company with Arsenal after 22 years in charge, but is not returning to football management for the time being
» Man Utd target Erling Haaland admits his "five girlfriends" are behind his success
Norwegian wonderkid Erling Haaland has enjoyed a remarkable rise at Red Bull Salzburg, where he has netted 22 times in just 16 appearances this season
» Bernardo Silva banned for 'racist' tweet comparing Benjamin Mendy to cartoon character
Manchester City star Silva will serve a one-match suspension, has been hit with a £50,000 fine and ordered to attend face-to-face education
» Jose Mourinho opens up on his theory on why Liverpool are streets ahead of Man Utd
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool tasted Champions League success last season and are in the driving seat to win a first Premier League title this campaign
» Jurgen Klopp wary of injury crisis ahead of crucial Premier League title run-in
Liverpool hold a commanding eight-point lead in their quest to win their first title since 1990, but Klopp knows injuries to any of his stars could eat away their advantage
» New pictures show full extent of Joe Gomez facial injury following Raheem Sterling bust-up
Raheem Sterling trained on Wednesday despite being punished as a disciplinary measure following an altercation with teammate Joe Gomez - who was also present
» Tahith Chong addresses rumours he'll snub new Man Utd deal and leave on a free
Tahith Chong has reportedly stalled on signing a new contract at Manchester United and Juventus are ready to snap him up when his current deal expires
» Danny Rose admits Tottenham want him gone - but vows to run down Spurs deal
Tottenham defender Rose insists no bids were made for him in the summer as Spurs tried to offload him - but now says he is going nowhere
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed for championing Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson's Man Utd legacies
Current boss Solskjaer is following the same philosophy, according to assistant manager and former United midfielder Mike Phelan
» Man Utd's buy-back transfer clause details to re-sign Memphis Depay explained
Manchester United sold Memphis Depay to Lyon for £16million back in January 2017, with then boss Jose Mourinho insisting on the clause being included
» Marcus Rashford lifts the lid on handling fame and pressure as Man Utd superstar
Rashford admitted his life changed forever, after he came to the world's attention with two goals on his United debut back in February 2016
» Pep Guardiola 'lined up for Bayern Munich return because his family don't like Manchester'
Guardiola is still held in high regard by Bayern chiefs, having enjoyed a successful three-year spell at the Allianz Arena
» Liverpool left sweating on fitness of Mohamed Salah as Egyptian is seen wearing protective boot
Reds forward Salah has been struggling with an ankle problem since early October and the injury was aggravated by a kick from Fernandinho on Sunday

Other sport news:

» Arsène Wenger lands new Fifa role as head of global football development
• Former Arsenal manager to oversee progress at all levels
• Wenger had been linked with Bayern Munich vacancy

Arsène Wenger has taken up a new role with Fifa as its chief of global football development, the game’s world governing body has announced. Wenger, 70, will be at the head of all Fifa’s football development activities throughout the world for the men’s and women’s game, including its coaching, training and coach education programmes. His department will be involved in football elements of Fifa’s development projects through its Forward programme, under which $6m is being made available to every football association in the world.

The role for the former Arsenal manager will also include chairing Fifa’s technical study group, and overseeing Fifa’s participation in the International Football Association Board, which governs the laws of the game and any rule changes, such as the recent introduction of video-assisted refereeing.

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» Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva banned for one match over Mendy tweet
• Silva also fined £50,000 and sent on education course
• Portugal midfielder set to miss Chelsea match on 23 November

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one game, fined £50,000 and must undergo education after a tweet sent to Benjamin Mendy was deemed to have constituted an “aggravated breach” of the Football Association’s rules on social media behaviour because it appeared to reference the French left-back’s race.

City will not appeal against the independent FA commission’s decision because of the possibility that Silva’s punishment could be extended, though the club believe the tariff is too high considering he deleted the tweet almost instantly and apologised. Silva escaped the maximum penalty of a six-match ban and will miss the champions’ hosting of Chelsea on 23 November – their next fixture. The Portuguese was given a one-match ban due to the mitigating circumstances articulated in the commission’s ruling.

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» How Bahia became the most progressive football club in Brazil

Bahia have cut prices, given fans a voice, tackled political issues and dedicated themselves to ‘affection, integration and love’

By Joshua Law for Yellow & Green Football

As the Bahia players walked on to the pitch for their Série A game against Ceará last month, there was something striking about their shirts. Their elegant blue, red and white stripes were covered by splotches of black around the neck, under the arms and on the hem. They had not accidentally spilled a pot of paint on the kit bag. Bahia were making a statement.

For the last 52 days, hundreds of tons of thick crude oil had been washing up on beaches in the north east of Brazil. Nobody knew where the oil was coming from and the government’s response was woefully inadequate. “We saw the news being spread,” says Bahia president Guilherme Bellintani. “But it was timid in relation to the scale of the disaster.” So the club decided to speak up.

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» Before England’s 1,000th, the story of the first full football international | Simon Burnton
The 1872 match between Scotland and England attracted the cream of Queen’s Park … and a 124-word report in the Guardian

“The laws of the Association game are exceedingly simple, numbering only 12, as against some 40 in the Rugby code,” wrote the Scotsman. “One of the principal differences consists in the entire prohibition of the use of the hands, except by the goalkeeper for the protection of his goal, thus making the skilful and always pleasing ‘dribble’ one of the best points of the game. A goal is scored when it is kicked under the tape, the ball not being allowed to be carried, thrown, or knocked in. Hacking, tripping, holding, or charging an adversary from behind are among things forbidden. Such are some of the differences of the two styles of play, and it will readily be admitted that the Association game is one which will commend itself to players who dread the harder work of the Rugby mode.”

It says a lot about the status of association football in Scotland in the 1870s that the country’s biggest daily paper was among several publications which felt the need to explain the rules in their report on what is now accepted as the first full international. As England prepare for their 1,000th game, very little – not even the rules – remains unchanged from that day in November 1872 when their XI faced Scotland’s at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground in Glasgow.

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» Wilf McGuinness: ‘I thought Munich was the end, that United were finished’
The 82-year-old former Manchester United player and coach talks about the air disaster, Sir Matt Busby and playing for £20 a week

Wilf McGuinness is 82 but his face lights up with vivid memories of the man who had such an impact on his life. “Matt Busby was a god,” McGuinness says simply as he looks up with an expression of gratitude and awe and remembers the football manager who turned Manchester United into one of the world’s greatest clubs. “We used to look up at him when we were growing up. We thought: ‘There he is. That’s the boss.’ That’s what we called him. Boss. He was a wonderful man.”

McGuinness was one of the original Busby Babes, a team of youthful brilliance which was decimated by the Munich disaster of 1958. He was injured and so missed being on the plane which took the lives of many of his best friends and teammates, while scarring those who survived. McGuinness was part of the second wave of Babes with whom Busby created a new team that would eventually become the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968. Another bad injury had ended his career long before then but Busby respected him so much that he persuaded McGuinness to become a coach at Old Trafford.

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» Dalian Atkinson death: police officer charged with murder is named

Judge lifts anonymity order on PC Benjamin Monk over death of former footballer

A police officer charged with murdering the former footballer Dalian Atkinson has been named as PC Benjamin Monk.

An order protecting his identity was lifted at Birmingham crown court on Wednesday by Judge Simon Drew QC after a challenge by media organisations.

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» ‘I’m not going anywhere’: Danny Rose resolves to see out Tottenham contract
• England defender says Spurs wanted to sell him in summer
• ‘My contract is up in 18 months’ time and I’ll leave then’

Tottenham defender Danny Rose intends to see out the remaining 18 months of his contract at the club and revealed he would not be offered a new deal.

The 29-year-old England left-back was again made available for transfer during the summer and left off the club’s pre-season tour to Asia. However, a move away failed to materialise, and Rose has since started 11 games for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season. Rose now maintains he has no intention of leaving the club before the end of his current contract in June 2021, when the defender will become a free agent.

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» The Fiver | Who to support at Euro 2020 next summer?

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The Fiver wanted England to win the last World Cup. We really did, they seemed a great bunch of lads. But Euro 2020? Not so much. Look at the state of them, Gareth Southgate in full Frank Drebin mode, insisting there’s nothing to see here while a comic-book cloud with fists and boots poking out of it rumbles away in the background, the result of Raheem Sterling being miffed that assorted social media disgraces hadn’t given him sufficient credit for leaving a cynical late one on Virgil van Dijk’s ankle, or whatever it was that got his goat. Hey, if they don’t even like each other, there’s no reason for the rest of us to love them.

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» Chelsea Women pull off major coup in signing Australia striker Sam Kerr
• Chelsea beat rivals to land striker on two-and-a-half year deal
• Kerr has won five consecutive golden boots in US and Australia

Chelsea have beaten a host of top European clubs to the signing of the Australia striker Sam Kerr on a two‑and-a-half year deal.

After Kerr announced she would not be returning to Perth Glory in Australia’s W-League – having finished the NWSL season with Chicago Red Stars – European teams including the Champions League holders Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona were linked with the record-breaking forward.

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» David Villa to retire: 'It's better to leave football before football leaves me'
  • Striker will finish career in January with Vissel Kobe
  • 37-year-old scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain

Spanish striker David Villa says he will retire in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career with Vissel Kobe in January of next year at the close of the league season in Japan, ending the career of Spain’s top scorer in international play.

Related: David Villa's understated majesty is a model for a modern superstar | Barney Ronay

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» Managerial swap-shop and flogging Wembley: a new manifesto for football | Louise Taylor
My Blueprint for Change can cure English football of its worst excesses, but those affected may not be keen

An election beckons. Forget Boris v Jezza, this one is even more surreal. I am campaigning for the post of English’s football’s very own prime minister, or, to give it an official title, Dictator (Benevolent) of the national game.

As at Westminster, Europe remains a contentious subject but my manifesto champions both integration and much-needed reform. England will lead the way in overhauling its showpiece club competitions, which brings us to the Blueprint for Change; a document embracing all the big issues …

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» Raheem Sterling believes Southgate has overreacted to Gomez altercation
• England forward punished after canteen clash with teammate
• Gomez left scratched but City player feels harshly treated

Gareth Southgate faces the sternest test of his England tenure after his decision to drop Raheem Sterling for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley left the forward and others in the squad believing the manager has overreacted.

Sterling has been punished following an altercation with Joe Gomez in the canteen at St George’s Park on Monday that left the latter with a cut under his right eye. The Manchester City forward is thought to have still been upset about a coming together with the Liverpool defender during Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield.

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» Phil Neville says England have to improve despite win in Czech Republic

• ‘We’re giving teams that smell that they can get at us’
Late goal from Leah Williamson secured 3-2 win

Phil Neville conceded after England scrambled from behind to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 late on that his team need to be better. “The win was important because we’ve now won two out of three,” he said jokingly with a big grin on his face. “I didn’t think the result was in any doubt.

“To play in front of 400 and to come out and feel that eerie atmosphere in the snow, in the sleet and cold, and to perform with that attitude I thought was great,” he said more seriously.

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» New Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari asks fans to be ‘activists, not bystanders’
• Speech sets out vision for anti-discrimination body
• Former lawyer to embark on three-month listening tour

The new chair of Kick It Out, the organisation which campaigns against discrimination in football, has called on supporters to become “activists not bystanders” in an attempt to stifle a new wave of racist behaviour.

Sanjay Bhandari is only the second chair of Kick It Out and replaces the founder, Lord Herman Ouseley, who held the role for 25 years. A former lawyer and member of the Premier League’s independent panel on equality, Bhandari believes football has the ability to lead on racism in society. But he says it also remains a real problem for the game and admits having never reported an incident for fear of the consequences.

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» Chelsea players face fines of £20,000 for turning up late to training

• Lampard has imposed strict disciplinary regime on young squad
• Players charged £500 for every minute late to team meetings

Chelsea’s manager, Frank Lampard, has imposed a strict disciplinary regime on his young squad with a range of hefty fines, including £20,000 for being late for the start of training. Players are also charged £500 for every minute they are late to team meetings.

Any player not reporting an illness or injury before a day off or an hour-and-a-half before training can expect a £10,000 fine, while lateness for treatment, medical appointments or matchday departure will cost £2,500. A phone ringing during a team meal or meeting will set a Chelsea player back £1,000, as will wearing the wrong clothing for team travel or matchdays.

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» Arsenal say Unai Emery is ‘the right man for the job’ and will stand by him

• Arsenal urge fans to get behind manager and struggling team
• Granit Xhaka ready to play again after captaincy furore

Arsenal have given Unai Emery a public vote of confidence, backing him to turn their fortunes around but adding a clear caveat that the team’s form must improve.

Emery’s position has come under scrutiny after a turbulent start to the season that has brought a run of one win in six Premier League games. They are eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and nine short of Leicester, who beat them 2-0 on Saturday and sit in second place.

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» Emily Gielnik fires Matildas past Chile for second time in a week
  • Australia beat South Americans 1-0 in Adelaide
  • Gielnik’s 23rd-minute goal proves to be winner

Emily Gielnik’s first-half goal proved the difference as Australia secured their second win over Chile in four days, albeit with another unconvincing display against the No 37-ranked South Americans in Adelaide.

Related: Matildas address major World Cup concerns in dual victories against Chile | Richard Parkin

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» Which football matches have featured TV show spoilers? | The Knowledge

Plus: footballers married to other footballers, leaders getting thumped (2) and a new leader in the longest spell away stakes

“Last week, there was uproar at Whitby Town when their PA announcer, Colin, revealed the winner of the Great British Bake Off over the Tannoy during the match,” writes Elliot Leaver. “Are there any other examples of TV spoilers being given at live football events?”

Chris Page and several others got in touch with one spectacular example from 23 February 1983. “On Coronation Street, Deirdre Barlow found herself having to make a choice between staying with her husband, Ken, or leaving him for Mike Baldwin. She would eventually choose [SPOILER ALERT] … the former, leading to an announcement at Old Trafford.

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» From Bellingham to Watkins: 10 young Championship stars shining this season

Birmingham’s youngest scorer and a player likened to Callum Wilson make our selection of second-tier players aged 23 or under

Bellingham was born in June 2003, when a ponytailed David Beckham joined Real Madrid and Gareth Southgate was in the England defence, but the teenage midfielder has displayed a maturity that belies his years. In August Bellingham, who has shone in the crux of the Birmingham midfield alongside the former Arsenal prospect Daniel Crowley, became the club’s youngest goalscorer at 16 days and 63 days, eclipsing Trevor Francis’s record. The son of Mark, a prolific striker at non-league level, Bellingham is the latest Birmingham academy graduate to make a splash in the first team, as Demarai Gray and Nathan Redmond did previously.

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» Clarence Seedorf: ‘If someone has talent and ideas, give them a chance’

Seedorf’s three spells as a manager – at Milan, Deportivo and Cameroon – have shown him the power of positivity

By The Coaches’ Voice for the Guardian Sport Network

Starting at the highest level felt natural to me. I know how that might sound, but hear me out. The top level of football is the environment I know best. Not the youth. The highest level. Choosing such an important club as Milan for a first job as a coach can feel very natural. If you have the competences and the confidence, then you feel prepared for it.

When I got the call from the president in 2014, I felt I had all of those things. It was a role I had been preparing for since I left Milan as a player two years earlier. I was leaving the club to play in Brazil but, before I went, the president and I had a conversation about me returning one day as a coach. “Prepare yourself,” he said. Nobody thought my return would be so fast. Five years, maybe. But two? I don’t think so.

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» Gareth Southgate was right to lay down marker over Raheem Sterling | Barney Ronay

An England manager has nothing but mystique and soft power. If they don’t use it they become irrelevant

Happy thousandth everyone. Another month, another England landmark. Welcome to the 1,000th overblown mini-drama to enliven an otherwise deathly international break.

Congratulations are due on all sides. First to Raheem Sterling for instigating a significant but far from terminal training-ground bust-up. Second to the Premier League, the world’s greatest sporting soap opera, for granting us this spin-off episode and finally to the FA for “announcing” the incident on a slow Monday evening, electrifying the buildup to an inevitable 2-0 [Kane 2 (1 pen)] home win against Montenegro.

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» David Squires on … football and the poppy

Our cartoonist looks at football’s dignified, private reflection over the annual weekend of remembrance

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» Southgate tries to put brakes on but Sterling v Gomez will run and run | David Hytner
England manager wanted to draw a line under the squad bust-up but there is little chance of that given the protagonists and the backdrop of the Premier League title race

To recap, England’s star player, a trailblazer and one of the most popular in the country, has been at the heart of a bust-up with a teammate on international duty. It has seen him punished with a one-game internal suspension and the simmering Premier League title rivalry between Manchester City and Liverpool enter the dynamics of the national team squad.

“It’s done, we move forward,” Raheem Sterling wrote on Instagram in the early hours of Tuesday, in the wake of his confrontation with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez at St George’s Park on Monday. “[Let’s] not make this bigger than it is.”

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» 'Maradona in Mexico': watch a trailer for the new Netflix series – video

The trailer for the new Netflix series 'Maradona in Mexico'. The docu-series follows Argentinian footballing great Diego Maradona as he heads to Culiacán, the heart of the Sinaloa Cartel, to help the local Dorados team

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» David Villa to retire: a look back at Spain's most prolific goalscorer – video report

Spanish striker David Villa is to retire from football in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career at Vissel Kobe in Japan. The forward scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain, five of them coming at the 2010 World Cup, where Spain were crowned champions for the first time. Villa made a name for himself at Valencia before moving to Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. His time at Barcelona saw him become a Champions League winner, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, scoring the opening goal in a 3-1 victory over Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. After a season in Madrid, Villa headed to MLS,  scoring 80 in 124 appearances. After that he headed to Japan to pair up with former teammate Andrés Iniesta

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» I feel sorry for Granit Xhaka, says former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira – video

The former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira admitted he felt sorry for the club's midfielder Granit Xhaka after he was stripped of the captaincy after reacting angrily to his fans while being substiuted. 'He's going through a really difficult period and really difficult time at Arsenal. But I think we have to remind ourselves that he's achieve a lot since he's at Arsenal and he deserves a lot of respect' said Vieira. On the current situation at the Gunners, the Arsenal invincible called for calmness and time for Unai Emery to 'resolve the issues'

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» 'We're like a family': Southgate addresses Sterling and Gomez fallout – video

Gareth Southgate has spoken to the media about an altercation between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez which resulted in the Liverpool defender having a scratch below his right eye. Despite being removed from the team for England's game with Montenegro later in the week Sterling did train with the rest of the squad, alongside Gomez. Southgate insisted he felt 'love' for all his players and likened the squad and management to a family. 'All families have disagreements,' he said.

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» Shakhtar's Taison 'helpless' after being sent off for reaction to racist abuse – video report

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Taison was sent off on Sunday after reacting to racist insults from the crowd. The Brazilian midfielder raised a finger to Dynamo Kyiv fans before kicking the ball into the stands. Taison, 31, has played in Ukraine since 2011, and left the field in tears with his Brazilian teammate Dentinho also visibly upset. Following Uefa-recommended protocol, the referee then took the players to the dressing room for five minutes, Fare said, before dismissing Taison and restarting the game which Shakhtar won 1-0. The third step of the protocol would have been to abandon the match

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» 'Don't ask me, ask the referees': Pep Guardiola on Liverpool defeat – video

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was visibly upset after his side's 3-1 defeat away at Liverpool. He was asked about the first goal of the game, a long-range effort from Liverpool's Fabinho that came after the ball hit Trent Alexander-Arnold's hand in the penalty area. 'Ask Mike Riley and his people,' said the Man City boss after he was asked about the decision

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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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» Socceroos offered chance to lay down marker against old foes Jordan | John Duerden

Graham Arnold’s side can succeed where their more celebrated predecessors failed against a team this time led by a great admirer of Australian football

When Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006 there was the enticing prospect of establishing rivalries with the continent’s giants such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Yet it is Jordan that have become the Socceroos’ unlikely nemesis, winning three of the five competitive games the two have played.

If that becomes four from six on Thursday in Amman, the journey for Australia from the second stage of World Cup qualification to the third – where places in Qatar are up for grabs – shifts from comfortable stroll to a more hurried dash. Victory, however, means 12 points from four Group B games with four to play and top spot virtually assured.

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» Julen Lopetegui roars as the king of Seville and repays Monchi’s faith | Sid Lowe

This is the game you can’t afford to lose, and the Sevilla coach’s wild eyes showed what winning the 130th derby meant

When it was over, Julen Lopetegui started roaring, mouth so wide you could fit his half of Seville inside. He wore a wild look in his eyes and punched the air with the kind of force that dislocates shoulders. Which might not sound so unusual, but it is for him. Éver Banega was the first to leap into his arms, and then others followed, violence in the embrace.

Across the pitch, in the far corner where Banega was going now, the rest of Sevilla’s players hopped about, doing that disco thing, waving their arms up and down and shouting. Way above them at the Benito Villamarín were their fans: 6,000 had applied for tickets; 602 actually got them, and they were enjoying this. Now they were, anyway. The tension had gone with the whistle, and a 2-1 victory.

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» Radja Nainggolan and Cagliari are living the high life in dazzling style | Nicky Bandini
Midfielder has returned on loan to the club where he made his Serie A debut and is showing Internazionale what they’re missing

After watching his Internazionale team throw away a two-goal lead against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday, Antonio Conte lamented a shortage of top-level experience in his playing squad. “Who am I supposed to call on?” he demanded. “Nicolò Barella, who came here from Cagliari? [Stefano] Sensi, who we signed from Sassuolo?”

These were unworthy remarks from a manager whose club splurged more than €150m on transfer fees in the summer window, delivering him several of the players he wanted most. Barella had been one of Conte’s top priorities. Sensi was Inter’s standout performer through the first two months of this season.

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» Hansi Flick weaves magic as Borussia Dortmund curse their Bayern jinx | Andy Brassell

Lucien Favre had said his side had nothing to lose, but lose they did – their sixth successive Bundesliga defeat in Munich

Every team has their blind spot, their house of horror, where they can’t put a foot right. On the weekend of Der Klassiker we were emphatically reminded that Borussia Dortmund’s bad place is against ostensibly their biggest domestic rivals.

“In Munich,” wrote the ESPN journalist Stephan Uersfeld, “Dortmund are the new Hamburg.”

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» Matildas address major World Cup concerns in dual victories against Chile | Richard Parkin

Significant steps have been taken over the lack of depth at centre-back and an over-reliance on Elise Kellond-Knight in midfield

A two-game end-of-year friendly series against an emerging women’s football nation, months between significant competitive games. It’s hard to be either overly-critical or overly-impressed by a Matildas showing that on the surface has taught us simultaneously both a lot, and very little.

Competitive at France 2019, Chile are no easy-beats. So dual wins, while perhaps expected, still needed to be achieved. As coach Ante Milicic pointed out post-match in Sydney, the South Americans were probably the perfect opponent for this stage of the Matildas’ preparations. “It’s a team that’s drawn recently with Brazil, a team that’s got a strong footballing culture, it’s actually a type of opponent that causes us problems.

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» W-League 2019-20 season preview: team-by-team guide

Energised by local youth but anchored by international stars, how the nine clubs shape up for season 11

On the face of it, a delayed draw, inconsistent squad announcements and a muted marketing campaign have not given much cause for enthusiasm for the uninitiated, nor hope for change for the long-suffering. Just as well football is ultimately judged by the product on the pitch rather than its packaging off it. Thanks to the passion ignited by the Women’s World Cup, the return of the Matildas to Australian shores and the new collective bargaining announcement – as well as the likelihood of more signings right up to Thursday night’s kick-off – the 2019-20 W-League season looks set to inspire a new cluster of fans as it makes up for lost time.

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» Dimitri Payet has his revenge as Marseille finally beat Lyon in Ligue 1

Payet had a point to prove against his former manager and did it perfectly. If only he was that motivated every week

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Dimitri Payet didn’t hold back. “They have two different visions of football. The most obvious difference is that today we have a coach who speaks with his heart and does not try to make light of subjects when the hard things need to be said.” For Payet, the difference between new Marseille coach André Villas-Boas and the man he replaced, Rudi Garcia, is stark. That difference was evident this weekend, when Garcia returned to the Vélodrome as Lyon manager and suffered a 2-1 defeat. The battle between Marseille and Lyon has become the fiercest modern rivalry in Ligue 1 over the last few years and the balance of power shifted towards Villas-Boas’s team on Sunday night.

Marseille had a terrible record against Lyon under Garcia. The two clubs met five times in the league while he was Marseille manager and Lyon won all five of those encounters. In fact, Marseille’s victory this weekend was their first against Lyon since the 2014. Even though results have looked one-sided, historic tensions between the two clubs have escalated in recent seasons. Prior to their trip to PSG last month, Marseille captain Steve Mandanda even admitted: “Today, there is less rivalry [with PSG]. It’s more with Lyon that we find that now.”

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» Shakhtar Donetsk captain vows never to be silent in face of racism
• Taison was sent off after reacting to abuse from supporters
• Midfielder left the pitch in tears against Dynamo Kyiv

The Shakhtar Donetsk captain, Taison, has vowed never to be silent in the face of an “inhuman and despicable act” after hearing alleged racist abuse during his team’s match against Dynamo Kyiv.

Related: Shakhtar Donetsk’s Taison sent off for reaction to racist insults

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» The secret behind the Seattle Sounders' MLS dynasty? Efficiency

Major League Soccer’s original super franchise has made an understated, under-the-radar efficiency their calling card – and it served them well en route to their improbable second title

On the statistics alone, Toronto FC had the edge in Sunday’s MLS Cup final, claiming 65% of possession, attempting 408 passes in the attacking third compared to the Seattle Sounders’ comparatively low tally of 184 and registering just as many total shots (16) as their Pacific Northwest hosts. The Sounders are a team with a track record of going against the numerical grain, though.

Related: Opportunistic Sounders see off Toronto FC for second MLS Cup title in four years

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» Genesis, Revelation … Exodus: has Guardiola reached City endgame? | Barney Ronay

Guardiola is generally in one of three phases of engagement – it is tempting to conclude we are in this third stage now, that the Pep exodus has begun

This is the end, beautiful friend. Or rather, it may just be a vision of it. Watching Pep Guardiola capering on the Anfield touchline on Sunday – skinny legs splayed, arms flailing, black quilted jacket bouncing about like an angry rubber ball – was at least confirmation of one thing. Manchester City’s manager remains an extraordinarily agile and sprightly 48-year-old footballing obsessive.

Beyond that it was hard to interpret this reaction to a third Premier League defeat as a sign of good health, stability and plans for the future falling neatly into place. Instead Guardiola seemed oddly isolated, out there operating without restraint, still in the field, a manager who may just have entered the next phase in a familiar career parabola. So much so it is tempting to ask another question. Will he actually be back at Anfield for another league game?

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» VAR – let’s press pause on Boxing Day and check if we want to rewind technology | Richard Williams

Like Brexit, whatever sensible arguments are made for VAR, they are swamped by the damage it has caused and we need time to reflect on what kind of football we want to see

Three minutes and 47 seconds is a long time in football. An awful lot can happen. Twenty years ago in the Nou Camp it was long enough to enable Manchester United to recover from a position of defeat at the end of 90 minutes against Bayern Munich and, with the German club’s ribbons already on the trophy, to use added time first to draw level and then to win the Champions League final. Those three minutes contained as much drama and emotion as some entire seasons.

At Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium on Saturday three minutes and 47 seconds was the length of time in which no football took place at all. On the hour, two minutes after Son Heung-min had put the home side ahead, Sheffield United celebrated an equaliser when David McGoldrick applied the finish to Enda Stevens’ cross from the left. But then the referee, Graham Scott, passed the decision over to the VAR room at Stockley Park. Twenty-two players stood around waiting as, 20 miles away in west London, it took almost four minutes of deliberation to conclude that John Lundstram had been offside by the length of his big toe when he received the ball on the right wing before sending in a cross that was half-cleared to John Fleck, who fed the ball to Stevens before it was turned across to McGoldrick.

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» Son’s reaction to Gomes injury shows how hard it is for players to walk away
From John Fashanu to Andoni Goikoetxea, it is not just the injured who feel the pain of career-threatening tackles

‘Take that.” Roy Keane stood over Alf-Inge Haaland, lying in a crumpled heap never to play a full game again, delivered his message and walked away without remorse. As reactions go – as tackles go too, if Keane’s infamous lunge can be called that – it could hardly have been more different to that of Son Heung-Min, who broke down in tears after André Gomes broke his ankle last week. On Wednesday night, Son dedicated his opening goal against Red Star Belgrade to the Everton midfielder. “I’m so sad this happened and that I was involved with this situation. I feel really, really sorry about this accident,” he said.

Be clear: Gomes is the victim, unable to return to playing for a long time, if at all. But Son’s reaction was a reminder that for players involved in serious injuries it is not always so easy to walk away. There’s guilt, even if there is no blame, a backlash, a desperation to atone in some small, insufficient way.

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» Football transfer rumours: Moise Kean and Granit Xhaka to Milan?

Today’s fluff will forever be remembered for cupping the touch

With no goals in 11 appearances and a late arrival for a team meeting having blotted his copybook, Moise Kean could be forgiven for thinking his move to Everton has started badly. And if he isn’t he better start thinking that way soon because Mino Raiola is his agent and he waits for no man.

Related: Moise Kean was dropped from Everton squad after breach of club rules

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» The Fiver | Nobody wants to cause a terrible topsy turvy jumble, after all

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!

“Mr Topsy Turvy was a funny sort of a fellow. Everything about him was either upside down, or inside out, or back to front – topsy turvy in fact. It was all very extraordinary!”

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

Emery’s Arsenal have lost their direction and Spurs’ problems start at full-back but Burnley’s Dwight McNeil is on song

Riyad Mahrez impressed only in spells during his first season at Manchester City but, with Leroy Sané felled by a cruciate injury in August’s Community Shield victory, the onus was on the £60m man to step up. An imperious performance at West Ham on the opening day of the season suggested he would do exactly that, yet he has started only four league games since – two of those being defeats – and with his side desperate for goals in a critical game at Anfield he was not called on at all. Mahrez remains a magical player on his day but the suspicion remains that he is a player who reflects his team’s performance rather than dictates it. City broke the bank to sign Mahrez from Leicester. With their defence a shambles, it looks in hindsight like a woeful misjudgment. Alex Hess

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» The Dozen: flares, zorbs and Maddison's delight – the best Premier League pics

Our picture editors chose their favourite pics from the weekend’s action

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» Which players have had the longest gap between spells at a club? | The Knowledge

Plus: Lopsided and unusual stadiums (3); league leaders getting hammered; and the player arrested for an on-field heist

“Port Vale signed Will Atkinson on loan in 2007,” asked Rob Fielding. “This season he has returned on a short-term contract. The gap between his spells is 11 years and 11 months. Is this the longest gap between two spells at one club?”

No, is the short answer. For the longer answer, dozens of you got in touch with suggestions of returning heroes who were gone for a dozen years or more. This, it should be pointed out, is by no means a comprehensive list:

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» Football quiz: managers who won trophies ... then got sacked

Niko Kovac was sacked months after he won the double at Bayern. He’s not the first manager who has been treated harshly

Claudio Ranieri was sacked in February 2017, nine months after he led Leicester to their first ever league title. Where was his final game in charge?





Manchester United sacked Louis van Gaal on 23 May 2016. Which player scored the final goal of his tenure two days earlier?

Daley Blind

Ander Herrera

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Jesse Lingard

Real Madrid won the Champions League in 1998 and sacked their manager, Jupp Heynckes, a week later. How did the club’s president, Lorenzo Sanz, try to justify the decision?

He said: “We only won the final 1-0 and it was boring”

He said: “If we had not won the European Cup, this would have been one of the worst seasons in recent years”

He said: “I would rather win the Copa del Rey”

He said: “Heynckes did not look good in front of the cameras. He never smiled”

José Mourinho left Chelsea in September 2007 after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Rosenborg in the Champions League. What happened to Chelsea in the competition that season?

They won it for the first time in their history

They finished bottom of their group

They finished third, fell into the Europa League and won that tournament instead

They reached the final and lost on penalties

Bobby Robson won the Cup Winners’ Cup and Copa del Rey in his first season at Barcelona, but it wasn’t enough to save his job. Who took his place?

Pep Guardiola

Louis van Gaal

Frank Rijkaard

Johan Cruyff

Three managers have won European trophies for Chelsea this century. Which of them made it through the summer and was still at the club when the following season began?

Rafa Benítez

Maurizio Sarri

Roberto Di Matteo

None of them

Which club replaced their manager in May 2015 straight after he had secured them promotion to the Premier League?


Norwich City

Queens Park Rangers


In his four seasons as Real Madrid manager, Vicente del Bosque won La Liga twice and the Champions League twice. But apparently that wasn't good enough for the club. He was sacked in 2003, a few days after he had won the league title. What else happened at Real Madrid that week?

Del Bosque accused the Real Madrid president of fraud

They were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona in the final game of the season

They signed David Beckham

They lost the Champions League final to Milan

Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Chelsea in 2011, a year after he had won the Premier League and FA Cup. In which two countries has he won league titles since leaving Chelsea?

Spain and Italy

France and Germany

Italy and Portugal

Spain and Qatar

Which club won the league title in 1975, sacked their manager in 1976 and have not been champions of England since?

Nottingham Forest

Derby County

Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle United

1 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

2 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

3 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

4 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

5 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

6 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

7 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

8 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

9 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

0 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

10 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

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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

11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

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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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» Kieran Trippier: ‘Everywhere I go they shout Rooney at me. Everyone’

The defender on how Diego Costa created his nickname at Atlético Madrid, what went wrong at Tottenham and missing the darts

For one brief moment Kieran Trippier sounds worried. The England defender is talking about how his Atlético Madrid teammate Diego Costa calls him Rooney and how that means everyone else calls him Rooney too when a thought crosses his mind. “It’s just because I’m the only English player here and Rooney’s the only one he’s heard of; it could have been anything,” he’s saying. “He just calls me that because it’s the first name that came into his mind. And everywhere I go, they shout Rooney. When I warm up, everyone’s shouting it. Everyone. I have Diego to thank for this. Of all the names. I don’t think I ...”

And then there’s a pause. Two men sit with him at Atlético’s Cerro del Espino training ground, empty now after the morning session. “Do you think I look like Rooney?” Trippier asks. No. “Do you think I look like Rooney?” No. And if that’s your only concern, things must be going well. “I’m just loving every moment,” Trippier says after the first question of what becomes a long chat; “I’m loving every minute of it,” he says after the second; and “I’m very happy to be part of it,” he says after the third, a pattern confirmed long before the nickname comes up, certain words recurring. “Happy” and “enjoying”, mostly.

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» Liverpool’s symmetrical full-backs have turned them into world leaders | Barney Ronay

For all the protests from Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, this match was not settled by marginal refereeing decisions

It is the hardest thing in any sport to make astonishingly difficult things look astonishingly simple. With 13 minutes gone at Anfield Liverpool produced a piece of play that seemed to stop the day, a perfect little miniature of bold, simple lines, carved across the pitch, like a Miró line drawing.

It took six seconds, four touches and three diagonal movements for the ball to travel from right-back to left wing, back to inside-right, then back again into the left-hand corner of the net. The moment of ignition came from Trent Alexander‑Arnold, who looked up and played one of those lofted cross‑kicks, full-back to full-back.

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» Peter Reid: ‘I told Boris Johnson he was a fat, lying disgrace’

The former midfielder on champagne socialism, his toughest opponents and party time at Everton under Howard Kendall

The air turns royally blue inside Peter Reid’s home while Boris Johnson is on TV for prime minister’s questions. The old Evertonian silences the Old Etonian – a feat he once achieved with a splenetic put-down rather than a mute button – and messages Adrian Heath about the Minnesota United coach’s impending visit from the United States. Everton’s title-winning team of 1984-85 are being reunited on Monday at a special presentation of a film about their successes under Howard Kendall. Reid’s mood – and his language – is transformed by the thought of catching up with old friends and toasting an absent one.

“It’s a word that doesn’t come out among players but it is a love,” says Reid of his former Everton teammates. “That is a nice part of it. There is a love there and you cannot beat love. Even now when we meet up it is something I look forward to and it was a long, long time ago. But it is still there. We all met in the Hilton before Howard’s funeral and it was emotional. But it was also warm. I was speaking at the funeral so I said I wouldn’t drink. Andy Gray insisted the gaffer would want me to, so of course I did. People go on about the party time but we were dedicated professionals. Nothing got in the way of the games but when we partied, we partied.”

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