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We found 119 teams

Male » Female » Youth » 
A.C. Hayes »
Male, U12
Albrighton Juniors »
Male, Female, U16, U14, U12
Aldersley Athletic »
Barnhurst Lane, Codsall, Wolverhampton
Male, U21
Aldridge Town »
Aldridge, , West Midlands
Male, U13
All Saints Juniors Girls »
Dixon Street, Parkfield, Wolverhampton
Male, Female, U13, U11, U10
All Star Harriers »
Park Way, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton
Male, U16
Areley Kings Youth »
Minster Road, Stourport Upon Severn, Worcestershire
Male, Female, U14, U13, U10, U8
Atherstone Rangers Junior »
Male, U16, U15
Beacon »
Male, Female, U11, U10, U8
Bedworth Eagles Girls »
Bulkington Road, Bedworth, Nuneaton
Male, Female, U15, U10
Bedworth Rangers J »
Male, U14
Bilston Town 2007 »
Queen Street, Bilston, West Midlands
Male, U21
Black Country Rangers »
The Broadway, Dudley, West Midlands
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U11, U9
Blakenall Harriers »
Male, Female, U14, U13, U10, U7
Bloxwich Rangers »
Stafford Road, Bloxwich, Walsall
Male, Female, U13, U12, U11, U9
Bloxwich Youth »
Somerfield Road, Bloxwich, West Midlands
Male, U13
Bridgnorth Spartans Junior »
Bridgnorth, , Shropshire
Male, Female, U16, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Bridgnorth Town Youth U18 »
College House, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
Male, U18
Brockmoor Badgers »
Dudley Wood Road, Dudley Wood, Dudley
Male, U16, U15
Brownhills Community Colts Girls »
Female, U13
Bulkington Sports Junior »
School Road, Bulkington, Bedworth
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Burntwood Dragons »
High Street, Chasetown, Staffordshire
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8, U7
Cannock Rangers »
Park Road, Cannock, Staffordshire
Male, U16
Cannock Town Juniors »
Park Road, Cannock, Staffordshire
Male, Female, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Chapelfields Colts »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Chasetown Ladies »
Female, U16, U14, U11
Chasetown U17/U18 Youth »
The Scholars, Church Street, Chasetown
Male, U18, U17
Coopers Casuals Jfc »
Park Way, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton
Male, U16, U12
Coundon Colts »
Male, U16
Coven United »
School Lane, Coven, Staffordshire
Male, Female, U16, U14, U13, U12, U10
Coventrians Saturday »
Yelverton Road, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, Female, U8
Coventry Copsewood Junior »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U12, U11, U10
Coventry Jaguar Youth Saturday »
Radford, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, Female, U8
Dudley Sports Juniors »
High Ercal Avenue, Brierley Hill, West Midlands
Male, Female, U15, U12, U11, U10
Duncan Edwards Juniors »
Priory Road, Dudley, West Midlands
Male, Female, U17, U13, U9
Emerald Athletic Minor »
Male, U18, U12
Ettingshall Juniors »
Male, U12
Eurofast »
Male, U15
Exhall Tigers »
Male, U16
Fc Strollers »
Male, U17, U14
Ferndale Youth Girls »
Minster Road, Stourport On Severn, Worcestershire
Male, Female, U15, U14, U13, U11, U10
Future Legends »
Eagle Street, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, U18
Gilbert Girls »
Bryce Road, West Midlands
Male, Female, U10
Gornal Athletic Minor »
Male, Female, U17, U15, U13, U9, U8, U7
Gornal Colts Saturday »
Male, U15
Greets Green »
Davis Road, New Invention, Willenhall
Male, Female, U10
Grove Farm Junior »
Male, U15, U14, U13, U11
Halesowen Town Colts »
Dudley, Birmingham
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Halesowen Town Colts Saturday »
Male, U14
Haunchwood Sports Juniors »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U11, U10, U9
Hawkes Mill Colts »
Male, U17
Hawkesmill 87 »
Hawkesmill Lane, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, Female, U14, U12, U11, U9
Hawkins Sports Juniors »
Male, Female, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Kewford Eagles Girls »
Kingswinford, West Midlands
Male, Female, U18, U17, U16, U12, U11, U9
Khalsa Junior »
Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Male, U16, U15, U12
Khalsa Junior Saturday »
Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Male, Female, U9, U8
Kidderminster Harriers Fc »
Aggborough Stadium, Hoo Road, Kidderminster
Male, U18
Kidderminster Lions »
Chester Road, Kidderminster, Worcestershire
Male, Female, U16, U15, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8, U7
Kingswinford A »
St James's Road, Dudley, West Midlands
Male, Female, U16, U15, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Leamington Hibernian Girls »
Newtbold Corryn, Newbold Terrace East, Leamington Spa
Male, Female, U16, U14, U10
Leamington Hibernian Minor »
Newtbold Corryn, Newbold Terrace East, Leamington Spa
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Lee Sports »
Male, U16, U14
Lichfield City »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Lichfield City Girls »
Female, U13
London Road Lions »
Male, Female, U15, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Massey Ferguson Junior Saturday »
Coventry, , Wesst Midlands
Male, Female, U8, U7
Mostyn Rangers Youth »
Minster Road, Stourport On Severn, Worcestershire
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U9
Netherton Colts Girls »
Female, U12
North Warwicks & Hinckley College Juniors Minor »
Hinckley Road, Nuneaton, West Midlands
Male, U15
North Warwickshire & Hinckley College Minor Sunday »
Hinckley Road, Nuneaton, West Midlands
Male, U18
Norton Canes »
Bridge Cross Road, Chase Terrace, Burntwood
Male, Female, U18, U15, U14, U12, U11, U9, U7
Nuneaton Griff »
Avenue Road, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
Male, U18
Old Wulfrunians Junior Girls »
Female, U18
Oldswinford Youth »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8, U7
On The Ball Academy »
Male, Female, U9
P S A Peugeot Citroen »
Stoke, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, U14, U13
Park Hill Boys »
Tame Avenue, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Male, Female, U15, U14, U13, U12, U10, U9, U8
Parkside Rangers »
Off Henne Drive, Ivyhouse Lane, Coseley
Male, U15
Pelsall Villa »
The Bush Ground, Walsall Road Heath End, Pelsall
Male, U18
Pelsall Villa Colts Veterans »
Walsall Road, Pelsall, West Midlands
Male, U21
Pelsall Villa U15 (Mjpl) »
Male, U15
Pendeford United Harriers »
Male, U13
Pensnett Harriers »
Male, U13, U12
Pinley »
Wyken Croft, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, Female, U17, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Priory Rangers »
St James Road, Dudley, West Midlands
Male, U16
Pro Santos Youth Saturday »
Palermo Avenue, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, Female, U8
Romsley Rangers »
Male, U16
Rosehill Raiders »
Male, U11
Sedgley Athletic »
Henn Drive, Coseley
Male, U17
Sedgley White Lions »
Male, Female, U17, U11, U10, U9, U8
Shelfield Hat Trick »
Male, U16, U14
Shelfield United »
Lichfield Road, Rushall, West Midlands
Male, Female, U14, U12, U11, U9, U8, U7
Sporting Club Albion Girls »
University Of Aston Rec, Birmingham Rd, Walsall
Female, U16, U14, U13, U11
Springhill Spartans »
Stockwell Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton
Male, U13
Tipton Athletic »
Powis Avenue, Tipton, West Midlands
Male, U16
Tipton Town »
Wednesbury Oak Road, Tipton, West Midlands
Male, U18
Tower »
Male, U16, U14, U13, U11
Triumph Athletic Juniors »
Tanners Lane, Coventry, West Midlands
Male, U14, U12, U11
Walsall Elite Advanced Development Centre »
Pendeford Lane, Off Wobaston Road, Wolverhampton
Male, Female, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Walsall Girls »
High Street, Bloxwich, Walsall
Male, Female, U15, U13, U12, U11, U10
Walsall Wood Juniors »
Lichfield Wood F.C. Ltd, Walsall, West Midlands
Male, U16, U14
Walsgrave Juniors »
Male, Female, U9
Warwick Juniors »
Myton Road, Warwick, Warwickshire
Male, Female, U10, U9, U8
Warwick Juniors Sunday »
Myton Road, Warwick, West Midlands
Male, U17, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12
Wednesbury Raiders »
Wood Green Road, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Male, U13
Wednesbury Rangers »
Male, U13, U12
Wednesbury Wildcats »
Wood Green Road, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Female, U15, U13
Wednesfield Rbl »
Lichfield Road, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton
Male, U13
Wellesbourne Wanderers »
Dovehouse Drive, Warwick, West Midlands
Male, U14, U13, U12, U11
Westside Athletic »
Green Lane, Coventry
Male, U12
Willenhall Town Girls »
The Beeches, Packwood Road, Tividale
Female, U16, U12
Windsor »
Pinfold Road, Penn, Wolverhampton
Male, U16, U14
Withymoor Tigers »
Male, Female, U10, U8
Wombourne Olympic Minor »
Wombourne, Wombourne
Male, Female, U18, U17, U16, U13, U12, U9, U8
Wombourne Warriors »
Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, Wolverhampton
Male, U12
Wordsley Wasps »
Lawnswood Road, Wordsley, Stourbridge
Male, Female, U16, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Wordsley Wasps Girls »
Bryce Road, Brierley Hill, Dudley
Female, U14
Wulfston Dynamo L I »
Long Itchington, Southam, Warwickshire
Male, U11
Yew Tree Yc »
Wood Green Road, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Male, U17

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Football News

» Rhian Brewster transfer talks confirmed as striker nears Liverpool exit
The Liverpool youngster has been linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs, with Jurgen Klopp ready to sanction a shock exit for the England youth international
» Bruno Fernandes named on three-man for Europa League Player of the Season award
Manchester United made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League before being knocked out by Sevilla, who would go on to win the tournament after beating Inter Milan in the final
» Jamie Carragher outlines what Thiago Alcantara transfer will give Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara is on the verge of joining Liverpool after a summer-long transfer saga which will see the Spain international leave Bayern Munich for a fee totalling £25m
» Chelsea transfer round-up with new contract signed as Edouard Mendy awaits move
Chelsea’s transfer business kicked into overdrive before the summer window had even begun, with agreements already in place for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner
» Liverpool transfer round-up as Reds enter transfer tug of war after Thiago deal
Liverpool had been relatively quiet on the transfers front ahead of this week, with Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas the only notable arrival as back-up to Andy Robertson
» Arsenal transfer round-up, Guendouzi options running out after latest rejection
Mikel Arteta has enjoyed a fine start to life at Arsenal. He hascadded a degree of continuity to proceedings in north London after Unai Emery’s reign came crashing down late last year
» Man Utd transfer round-up as Alex Telles agent 'expects' transfer bid
Just over two weeks left until the October 5 deadlines leaves Manchester United’s hierarchy in a hurry to get more deals over the line with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles linked
» Luis Suarez passes Italian exam but doubts emerge over Juventus transfer
Barcelona are looking to sell several players before they can make moves for the likes of Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum and Ronald Koeman has told Luis Suarez he is not needed
» Andy Robertson responds to rumours Thiago was seen at Liverpool training ground
Andy Robertson said Thiago, who has reportedly agreed a transfer to Liverpool from Bayern Munich, has not been at Melwood despite rumours of the Spaniard’s arrival at the training ground
» Neville has suggested Man Utd hijack Liverpool transfer as valuation confirmed
Liverpool are admirers of Watford winger Ismaila Sarr - but with the Hornets placing a £40million price tag on the winger, Man Utd could move for Gary Neville's transfer recommendation
» Rhian Brewster drops transfer hint in response to Liverpool exit claims
Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster has been heavily linked with a transfer away from Anfield with Sheffield United and Crystal Palace linked with the young forward
» Torres relishing chance to follow in hero Silva's footsteps at Man City
The £21million summer signing has inherited Silva's old City No.21 shirt, and he says he hopes he can be worthy of such an iconic club jersey
» Bale wage didn't cause Macclesfield demise - but football needs regulation
ANDY DUNN COLUMN: If English football is to continue to have a proud structure topped by 92 league clubs it simply cannot just be about the survival of the fittest
» New Man City star Torres sends warning to Liverpool over title race
The Spanish international has got his eyes on the prize as his new club seek to wrestle the trophy from Liverpool's grasp in the new campaign
» Carabao Cup 4th round draw in full as Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal learn fate
The third round of the Carabao Cup takes place between Tuesday and Thursday next week, with Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all in action
» Arsenal fans make decision on Mesut Ozil after his latest display in training
Arsenal fans want to see Mesut Ozil back in Mikel Arteta’s squad as the German midfielder showed off one of his trademark passes as he made a return to training with the squad
» Setien begins legal proceedings as Barca president faces vote of no confidence
There has been a fresh twist in the ongoing saga at Barcelona as former manager Quique Setien issues damning statement and Josep Maria Bartomeu faces a vote of no confidence
» Lionel Messi could miss El Clasico in favour of Argentina game in Barcelona blow
Barcelona face taking on Real Madrid in their first El Clasico without Lionel Messi with two World Cup qualifiers for Argentina confirmed to take place in October
» Ian Wright rates Tottenham's top four chances with Gareth Bale in team
Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Gareth Bale’s imminent arrival at Tottenham on loan will mean Jose Mourinho’s side can ‘easily get into the Premier League top four’
» Gareth Bale will fly to London on Friday to complete £20m loan move to Tottenham
Gareth Bale underwent a medical at Real Madrid’s training ground on Thursday, lawyers have drawn up contracts and Tottenham are paying £20m in wages and a loan fee
» Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov responds to Man Utd takeover speculation
Man Utd have been linked with a takeover bid from Russian billionaire and former presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov - but the ex-Brooklyn Nets owner insists he has no plans to return to sports ownership
» Carabao Cup draw live as Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal discover fourth round fate
Premier League clubs including Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal have already learnt their Carabao Cup third round ties and will now discover their fourth round fate if they make it through
» Liverpool's deadline to complete Thiago transfer on Friday in time for Chelsea
Liverpool are set to wrap up the signing of Thiago Alcantara on Friday - but they will need to get the deal complete and registered by midday if he is to be eligible to take on Chelsea on Sunday
» Jurgen Klopp addresses "rivalry" between him and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard
Jurgen Klopp has said there is ‘absolutely nothing’ between him and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, despite the pair clashing on the sidelines in Liverpool’s last clash against the Blues

Other sport news:

» Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Chelsea and Liverpool could both be vulnerable, Nathan Aké has a rare chance and are Newcastle the Entertainers again?

Last season Liverpool won 15 league games by the odd goal, and began their title defence in similar style, beating Leeds 4-3 in an indecently entertaining match. But this habit is not an easy one to sustain, and it is worth nothing that they have lost five of their past 14 games, conceding 19 times in the process. It is true that now is a good time to play Chelsea – Kepa Arrizabalaga is still first choice, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech are unfit, and Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have not fully settled. But Werner still looked sharp against Brighton, while Havertz can change the course of a game at any moment. If Chelsea somehow refrain from tossing goals in their own net, they will ask some serious questions of a back four that has looked more vulnerable of late. DH

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

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

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

Which, when you put it like that ...

Continue reading...
» Brentford reject multiple bids from Arsenal for goalkeeper David Raya
  • Gunners need to replace departed Emiliano Martínez
  • Raya has worked with Arsenal goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana

Brentford have rejected multiple bids of around £10m from Arsenal for their goalkeeper, David Raya, and are adamant that the 25-year-old will not be sold in this transfer window.

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

Continue reading...
» Tanguy Ndombele scores Tottenham winner at nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv
  • Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
  • Harry Kane also on target in Bulgaria

Tottenham might hope Gareth Bale had better things to do than watch this. They managed to extricate themselves from trouble against a limited Lokomotiv Plovdiv but only after the Bulgarian side had imploded when the finishing line was in sight.

Related: Liverpool agree £27m fee to sign Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich

Continue reading...
» Ferran Torres: 'David Silva has always been a role model. I'll try to follow his steps at City'

The £24.5m winger, who will inherit his idol’s No 21, on joining Manchester City, Messi staying at Barça, and his beach training

As a young Valencia fan Ferran Torres’s heroes were David Villa, Juan Mata and David Silva when they played for the club he joined as a six-year-old.

Now 20 and at Manchester City after his €27m (£24.5m) transfer last month the winger will wear the recently departed Silva’s No 21 shirt and is at ease comparing himself to Leroy Sané, who left for Bayern Munich in July.

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

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

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

Continue reading...
» Tottenham fail with approach to sign Danny Ings from Southampton

Tottenham have had a formal approach for Danny Ings rejected by Southampton, who remain hopeful of securing the England striker to a new contract.

Spurs have not bid for the forward but José Mourinho is desperate to bolster his attacking options and has identified Ings as a target, with Harry Kane his only bona fide striker. The club’s pursuit of Gareth Bale on a season’s loan from Real Madrid has moved closer to completion and the Wales international is due to fly to London on Friday.

Continue reading...
» Bielsa defends making Casilla Leeds captain despite racism verdict
  • ‘His teammates think he deserved to be the captain’
  • Goalkeeper was banned but denied making racist remarks

Marcelo Bielsa has defended his politically freighted decision to name Kiko Casilla as the Leeds captain for the Carabao Cup defeat against Hull Wednesday night, maintaining it was a move fully endorsed by the Spaniard’s teammates.

The former Real Madrid goalkeeper received an eight-match Football Association ban and £60,000 fine in February after being found guilty of racially abusing the forward Jonathan Leko in a game against Charlton last September.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading...
» Liverpool agree £27m fee to sign Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich
  • Liverpool meet Bundesliga club’s asking price for midfielder
  • Spain international set to sign four-year contract

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign the midfielder Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich for €30m (£27.3m). The Spain international is set to sign a four-year deal with the Premier League champions.

Related: Thiago Alcântara: ‘The most important thing in football is thinking fast’

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

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

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» Gareth Bale flying with Sergio Reguilón to seal Spurs loan after passing medical

Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilón have been booked to fly on the same private jet on Friday from Madrid to London, where they are set to put the finishing touches to their transfers from Real Madrid to Tottenham.

Bale will arrive on a one-year loan and continue to earn his basic £600,000-a-week wage, with Real paying a percentage of it; the Wales winger will become the highest-paid player in the Premier League. Reguilón, the 23-year-old left-back who excelled on loan for Sevilla during their Europa League-winning campaign last season, will join for £27.6m on a long-term contract. Both players have already completed their medicals in Madrid in line with Covid-19 guidance.

Continue reading...
» Crystal Palace selling Sørloth to Leipzig and hope to sign Brentford's Benrahma
  • Palace splitting £20m fee for Sørloth with Trabzonspor
  • Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson set for Arsenal medical

Crystal Palace have agreed to sell the striker Alexander Sørloth to RB Leipzig and are hoping to use the proceeds to fund a move for Brentford’s Saïd Benrahma.

Palace are splitting the £20m they will receive for Sørloth equally with Trabzonspor, where the Norway international was due to spend a second full season on loan with an option for a permanent transfer.

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» Gareth Bale's Spurs return and the end for Macclesfield – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paul MacInnes and Jonathan Liew to discuss Macclesfield Town going out of business and Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham. John Brewin is on hand for the former, and Sid Lowe for the latter. And we find out whether Barry has the Carabao box

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max and the pod discuss the end of the road for Macclesfield Town, along with Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham. Is it right to link the two stories? And could any more have been done to save the Silkmen?

Continue reading...
» Neil Warnock has coronavirus and will miss Middlesbrough's next match
  • Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson in charge on Saturday
  • Manager also stayed away from midweek Carabao Cup game

Neil Warnock has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Middlesbrough’s Championship game at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Boro’s manager was also absent from the home Carabao Cup defeat by Barnsley on Tuesday after feeling mildly unwell. A positive test subsequently confirmed the 71-year-old had Covid-19 and he is working on transfers and game plans from home. Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson will again take temporary charge this weekend.

Continue reading...
» Katie Zelem withdraws from England Women's camp after Covid-19 positive
  • Manchester United captain will self-isolate for 10 days
  • City’s Lucy Bronze pulls out of squad after weekend injury

Katie Zelem has withdrawn from the England Women’s training camp at St George’s Park after testing positive for coronavirus, while Lucy Bronze has pulled out because of injury.

Zelem, the Manchester United captain, will now self-isolate for 10 days in line with protocols, her club said.

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

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

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

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

Continue reading...
» Derby's Louie Sibley: 'I have taken Rooney's aggression into my game'

A successful three-mile keepie-uppie attempt showed the talent of one of the Championship’s most exciting teenagers

“When I was younger, and I’m not just saying this, Wayne Rooney was one that I looked up to,” Louie Sibley says, smiling, acutely aware someone once considered a faraway idol is now his captain at Derby County. “What he did for [Manchester] United and England was amazing and now to be here to learn from him is great. His aggression I have taken into my game. He has always had that bit of bite about him and that’s the way I play as well.”

Related: Football League rings alarm for Premier League to help save clubs from ruin

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» Dean Smith: ‘Villa have won the top trophy. Challenging in Europe has to be the aim’

Aston Villa manager on his five-year plan, what Jack Grealish asked for after England duty and the truth about the signings

Dean Smith did his job exceptionally well last season, his first in the Premier League in a managerial career that began at Walsall in 2011. Almost everything that could go wrong for Aston Villa did – including key injuries and chronic individual mistakes in a rapidly assembled squad – but Smith kept morale high and made shrewd use of the pandemic-enforced suspension to repair what had been the top-flight’s leakiest defence and, ultimately, pull clear of the drop.

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

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» How signing Sergio Reguilón and Gareth Bale would transform Spurs

The Real Madrid pair would give José Mourinho more options and his team more balance in attack and defence

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

It has been a fairly typical transfer window for Tottenham so far, with a huge number of players being linked with the club but most of those rumours falling flat. However, that is looking increasingly likely to change, with new arrivals Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Matt Doherty perhaps being joined by an eye-catching duo from Real Madrid. Sergio Reguilón is expected to sign for Spurs this week, following a fine season on loan at Sevilla, and a return for Gareth Bale appears a real possibility.

No team should be judged on one game, but the manner of Spurs’ defeat to Everton at the weekend suggested there is big room for improvement. For all his merits as a dependable defender, Ben Davies’ lack of attacking threat leaves the side imbalanced. They are also lacking strength in depth in attack – a problem that was evident throughout last season.

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

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

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

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

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» 'It's never easy': Gareth Bale at Real Madrid in quotes – video

Gareth Bale is returning to Tottenham Hotspur after a glittering but turbulent spell at Real Madrid. The Welshman joins on a season-long loan, linking up with former Real manager José Mourinho. Bale has seen many highs during his time in the Spanish capital, most notably winning the Champions League four times and La Liga twice. However, during his recent years at the club, Bale has struggled with injuries as well as selection issues under the tenure of Zinedine Zidane

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» 'Am I allowed to see my nan?': Chris Wilder bemused by football fans' return – video

Chris Wilder has spoken vehemently about the decision to allow a small section of fans into stadiums for some fixtures this weekend. 'We can have 1,000 people in the ground but I can't go and have a pint with my mates unless there's only six of us', the Sheffield United manager laughed as he said he 'hasn't got a clue' what's going on

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» 'It doesn't get much better': Arteta praises Willian and Gabriel after Arsenal win – video

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hailed debutant Willian after he made all three goals in a 3-0 victory against Fulham in the opening game of the new Premier League season on Saturday.

 Arteta had warm words for another Brazilian debutant, after Gabriel showed early signs of promise having defended well in addition to scoring the second goal. 'They were both really good,' Arteta said about the two players, 'I don't think it gets any better than that'.

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» 'Here we go': inside the transfer window with Fabrizio Romano – video

The transfer window can be a time of huge excitement or heartbreak for football fans across the world. Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano, who prides himself on being the first to break the latest transfer rumours, shares his insight into what it is like to work during the transfer window, his unusual sleeping pattern and the challenges Covid-19 have presented to closing a deal

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» Alexis Sánchez admits wanting United exit after first training session – video

Alexis Sánchez revealed in an Instagram video that he asked his agent whether he could leave Manchester United and return to Arsenal after only one training session. 

The 31-year-old has used a six-minute long Instagram post to tell his side of the story about his failed move to Old Trafford in 2018. Sánchez endured a torrid spell after signing under José Mourinho, scoring five goals in 45 appearances before being loaned to Internazionale last season and joining them on a free this summer.

'I think I remember that at the first training I had there, I realised many things. I got home and I told my family and my agent: can’t the contract be cancelled and I go back to Arsenal? They started laughing,' he said

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» Phil Foden and Conor Coady on their first England call-ups – video

Wolves captain Conor Coady and young Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden have been called up to the England squad for the first time. Gareth Southgate's team face Iceland and Denmark in the Nations League and both players will be hoping to earn their first caps. 

'When I was young, you know, every kid on the estate used to dream of playing for England and pretending that they were players,' said Foden. 'That's something I used to do, and now I'm in the senior team'

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

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

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

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

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» Marseille beat PSG in a battle and show they are Ligue 1 title contenders

The game will be remembered for its splenetic finish but it was also the night Marseille planted a flag in the title race

By Eric Devin and Adam White for Get French Football News

“Imbeciles.” “Red with Shame.” “OM breaks Paris.” The headlines in France after Le Classique could not have been more damning. The match, always a showpiece for French football, was settled by Florian Thauvin’s goal in the first half. The narrative of PSG coasting to another title has been changed. However, the focus at the end of play was on the five red cards shown by the referee in injury time – two to Marseille and three to the hosts – and Neymar’s accusation of racism against Marseille defender Álvaro González.

That such a big match should end in ignominy will be a real source of disappointment for the league. Aside from a dull goalless draw between Lyon and Bordeaux on Friday, the weekend’s action had been exciting, with plenty of goals, including a spectacular finish from Irvin Cardona in Brest’s 2-0 win at Dijon. However, there was never any doubt that the big story of the weekend for the world at large would come from the Parc des Princes. It was certainly a spectacle, although not always for the way in which the two teams played.

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» Australia's foreign legion begin to prove their worth in WSL | Samantha Lewis

Fortunes were mixed but for the most part the sizeable group of Matildas joining Sam Kerr in England did not look out of place

Last week, when asked about Sam Kerr’s performance during Chelsea’s Community Shield win over Manchester City, head coach Emma Hayes responded in a way that was at odds with the melodramatic “Wembley nightmare” headlines written in the game’s wake.

“She caused problems and created chances,” Hayes said. “If you’ve got a striker who’s not creating chances, that’s a concern. Sam has been outstanding in pre-season and I expect that she’ll be on the training pitch tomorrow, working on her finishing.”

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» Ivan Rakitic's move brings revelry at Sevilla and relief in Barcelona

Midfielder served Barça well but they wanted rid of him a year ago and now the Croat is back where he believes he belongs

“Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.” Better still, bring a Sevilla shirt and put his name on the back. Ivan Rakitic’s transfer to Sevilla from Barcelona was foretold with a reading from the bible, quoted by the club: Luke 15:22, the parable of the prodigal son. After six years away, the man they called sevillano has returned home and, as the father declares in the next verse of the new testament, this calls for celebration.

In Seville, that is. In Barcelona, the reaction was more like relief, some sort of resolution finally reached: at least this time they had done the right thing. A little late perhaps and with little reward, but they had. A year after Barcelona tried to force Rakitic out, using him to try to prise Neymar out of Paris and prompting him to note that he is “not a sack of potatoes”, they said farewell. Some did so more fondly than others but, take a step back, and they must see him for what he is: a man who served them so well, a central figure in the team that won it all before the end came.

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» Why Eduardo Camavinga is the most exciting teenager in world football

The 17-year-old is a strong, smart and skilful midfielder who will only improve while playing for Rennes and France

By Eric Devin and Adam White for Get French Football News

Eduardo Camavinga handles pressure better than most. “I remember the fire as if it were yesterday,” Camavinga told Ouest-France in May. “I was at school and through the windows I saw the firefighters. I saw the damage with my own eyes, the burned house.” His family had moved from Angola and built that house themselves. Now they were watching it burn. “Things were really not going well for my family,” said Camavinga. After relocating the family to a new home, Camavinga’s father turned to his 10-year-old son and said: “Eduardo, you are the hope of the family, it is you who will raise us up.” He has not let his father down.

Many children would find such expectations difficult to bear, but Camavinga took it in his stride. “At the time it made me laugh,” he says. “I was carefree. I didn’t necessarily take it seriously.” Now, however, he takes a great deal seriously. The 17-year-old’s focused, magnetic and domineering performances helped Rennes qualify for the Champions League and he has now been rewarded with his first call-up to the France squad.

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» David Squires on ... the final word on the A-League season

Our cartoonist looks at a fittingly unique climax to a campaign like no other

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» One-club hero Rhyan Grant defies convention for serial winners Sydney FC | Jonathan Howcroft

The defender, whose improvised goal landed the Sky Blues a record fifth A-League championship, has become the focal point of his team’s sustained success

After rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2013 Rhyan Grant told reporters: “It’s a long road ahead but I’m positive and looking forward to getting back on my feet.”

After rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2017, Grant’s enthusiasm remained undimmed. “It’s disappointing, but I’ll be alright,” he said. “These things happen in football and it has happened to me before so I know what it takes to recover and come back stronger.”

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» Lorient and Lens offer newly promoted clubs a lesson in purpose

Two of Ligue 1’s new clubs showed the benefits of playing a well-organised, contemporary style of football

By Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It is easy to get carried away with the results of one round of football, especially in France where we have been deprived of Ligue 1 for more than five months. Cardiff City and Norwich City have enjoyed early 3-2 wins over Manchester City in recent Premier League seasons, but both sides went on to finish bottom of the table. So, while newly promoted Lorient and Lens are historic clubs with passionate fans who will be popular with neutrals in Ligue 1, we must take their fine performances on Sunday with a grain of salt. That said, neither side appears likely to drop back into Ligue 2 immediately and they seem determined to stay up while playing some surprisingly compelling football.

Lorient hosted Strasbourg on Sunday, playing a 4-2-3-1 with record signing Adrian Grbic leading the line, the Austrian youth international having shaken off a knee injury. Grbic, who finished as the second top scorer in Ligue 2 last season while at Clermont, combines physical power with plenty of innovation and a keen ability to involve his teammates. Lorient’s front three of Grbic, Yoane Wissa and Stéphane Diarra (who was unfortunately forced off early), left the Strasbourg defence – normally the picture of calm under the organised Thierry Laurey – chasing shadows with their pressing and insistent running.

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» MLS is pulling fans into stadiums, but TV audiences remain underwhelming

The league is behind only the NFL and MLB in terms of average attendance at games, but attracting television viewers is still tough

The ties between the MLS Is Back Tournament and TV were undeniable. The mid-season tournament, designed to keep the league rolling during the Covid-19 pandemic, was by its very nature a TV product right down to its hosting at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. No fans in the stands didn’t mean no fans watching.

In fact, with almost every other major sports league in the United States put on ice over the early part of the summer this was a chance for MLS to dominate the airwaves. The NBA would eventually join MLS in gathering in Florida, but there was nearly a month between the start of the MLS Is Back Tournament and the resumption of the basketball season. Soccer had Walt Disney World to itself for weeks.

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» Star signings for English clubs herald a power shift in women’s football

The Women’s Super League was badly hit by the pandemic. But now fans can watch the world’s best … remotely

For more than two decades, the Premier League has sought to attract the finest male footballers in the world. But despite the huge influx of money, the very best – including Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé – have remained tantalisingly out of reach. The Women’s Super League (WSL), on the other hand, seems to have no such trouble.

In the past week some of the world’s best female footballers have signed for English clubs, highlighting a power shift in women’s football globally and setting up an enticing season, which will be watched, at least remotely, by more fans than ever before.

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» Cristiano Ronaldo's 101 Portugal goals a product of unceasing appetite | Barney Ronay

In passing an international century, Ronaldo has constructed a monument to himself that may never be surpassed

Eat, sleep, score against Armenia, repeat. And repeat. Then repeat again for the next 13 years until there are no more rungs left to climb, and the entire Fifa-mapped world, from Oceania to Concacaf, has been coloured a shade of Cristiano.

Yes, I watched all 101 of Cristiano Ronaldo’s international goals so you don’t have to. It was a brilliantly absorbing watch too, a flick-book version of the journey from there to here, with a sense of the past beginning to stir, older Ronaldos coming into view, Ronaldos beyond the Ronaldos.

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» Magical Marcelo Bielsa transforms Anfield into a delirious dreamscape | Barney Ronay

Leeds went toe to toe with the champions in a majestic opening half-hour that broke all the rules of football as we know it

Oh yes, you can definitely come again. This was, frankly, a bonkers game of football. At 5.30pm Michael Oliver blew the starting whistle on Liverpool’s defence of their Premier League title. At which point, enter: the Bielsa zone.

In that opening half-hour the hands of the clock seemed to spin, the sun turned a shade of purple, the birds above Anfield flew backward through the sky.

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» The Fiver | A passion that drives Gareth Bale like a sweetly struck Titleist Pro

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If Gareth Bale had his way, he would have been firmly embedded at Jiangsu Suning by now, perhaps mastering Nankinese, exploring museums with wondrous collections of Ming and Qing imperial porcelain and straining every well-preserved sinew to get on the end of passes from Wu Xi, Yang Boyu and the rest of the lads. But nasty Real Madrid thwarted that dream more than a year ago and now Bale is on the hunt for a new gig. It’s a passion that drives him like a sweetly struck T!tleist Pro.

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» Football transfer rumours: Alex Telles back on Manchester United's radar?

Today’s fluff will get it together and get it all done

They might have missed out on the Tottenham-bound Sergio Reguilón but Manchester United are still in the market for a left-back, and Thursday’s A Bola announces that Porto’s Alex Telles is “back in their plans”, with the Portuguese side apparently willing to consider selling the 27-year-old Brazilian so long as there is at least €20m on the table.

In other left-back news Bayer Leverkusen have emerged as the most likely destination for Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and Folarin Balogun also available as the Gunners seek to fund a dream move for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar.

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

Roy Hodgson showed his ability to improvise, while Fulham and West Brom may well struggle without reinforcements

The cameo lasted 10 minutes but Eberechi Eze looked, er, at ease as he made his debut for Crystal Palace against Southampton. Repeating an almost constant condition of his time as manager, Roy Hodgson had been forced to play a patched-up side. He had central midfielders in central defence and wingers up front. But the adaptability of the manager means he can always find a way with the numbers. It is extra quality that Palace need. Alongside the return of Michy Batshuayi on loan, the addition of Eze looks to have ticked that box. Signed from QPR for £16m, he brings fresh qualities to the side. Hodgson is clear he wants more signings, but those numbers need to be the right ones if Palace are to improve their league position. Extra quality around Wilfried Zaha, the decisive figure against Southampton, might also help with his wanderlust too. Paul MacInnes

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» Buy a classic sport photograph – Cantona bosses Liverpool

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

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

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

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

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

Mo Salah

Jordan Henderson

Virgil van Dijk

Sadio Mané

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

Gareth Bale

Luka Modric


Loris Karius

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


Cristiano Ronaldo

Mario Mandzukic

Karim Benzema

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

Sergio Ramos

Toni Kroos

Antoine Griezmann

Jan Oblak

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

Andrés Iniesta


Javier Mascherano

Luis Suárez

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

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ángel Di María

Gareth Bale


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

Thomas Müller

Mario Mandzukic

Arjen Robben

Ilkay Gündogan

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

Didier Drogba

Frank Lampard

John Terry

Thomas Müller

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

Lionel Messi


David Villa


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

Diego Milito

Wesley Sneijder

Javier Zanetti

Samuel Eto’o

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


Thierry Henry

Samuel Eto'o

Sergio Busquets

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

Cristiano Ronaldo

Edwin van der Sar

Didier Drogba

Rio Ferdinand

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

Filippo Inzaghi

Paolo Maldini

Pepe Reina


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

Sol Campbell

Henrik Larsson

Samuel Eto’o


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

Steven Gerrard

Hernán Crespo

Dietmar Hamann

Xabi Alonso

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

Paulo Ferreira


Ricardo Carvalho

Patrice Evra

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

Andriy Shevchenko

Edgar Davids

Paolo Maldini

Alessandro Del Piero

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


Luís Figo

Michael Ballack

Zinédine Zidane

5 and above.

Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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Well played. Enjoy the final on Sunday

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

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

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

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

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» Buy a classic sport photograph: Marching On Together with Jack Charlton

The latest in a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images from the likes of Gerry Cranham, Mark Leech and Tom Jenkins – yours to own for just £55 including free delivery

Footballing legend Jack Charlton died last week aged 85, leaving behind memories of a glittering playing career for both England, with whom he won the World Cup in 1966, and Leeds United. He played for the Yorkshire club 773 times – a club record – and enjoyed two spells in the top flight, the latter of which saw Leeds become a dominant domestic force under manager Don Revie. A tough-tackling centre-back, Charlton marshalled their defence as Leeds won the League Cup in 1968, the league title in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972. He and his teammates also recorded the now famous “Leeds, Leeds, Leeds” song in the lead up to the 1972 cup final. Originally a B-side, the anthem is still proudly sung at Elland Road as the club march closer and closer to a return to the Premier League.

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» Luton Town's Manager Idol – podcast

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

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

Read the text version here

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» ‘Football should be an extended family’: the fans turning the tide on racism

As the Premier League kicks off, meet the supporters changing the face of the beautiful game

Manchester City’s 22 June match against Burnley – a brisk, 5-0 dismantling in the ghostly expanse of a spectator-free Etihad Stadium – will not go down as a vintage contest of the Covid-disrupted 2019/20 Premier League season. But it will, regardless, live on ignominiously in the memory. Shortly after the kick-off of a game that had begun with players, staff and officials taking a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the whirr of a light aircraft was heard overhead. Eyes went up. And there it was: a chartered plane towing a banner that read: “WHITE LIVES MATTER BURNLEY”.

The public outcry was swift (Burnley promised lifetime bans for those involved; the alleged key organiser, Jake Hepple, was sacked by the engineering company he worked for). But for those who have been paying attention to the atmosphere around domestic football in recent years – a climate that has seen a Brighton supporter jailed for eight weeks after screaming racist obscenities during a Tottenham game; and an FA Cup fourth round qualifier abandoned because Yeovil Town fans were hurling slurs and objects at Haringey Borough’s black players – this incident was both wholly shocking and grimly predictable.

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» Jeff Stelling: 'I did think about resigning but all three urged me not to do anything silly'

Sky’s Soccer Saturday host on sackings, saving someone’s life without knowing it and changing his views on female pundits

“It’s been a difficult few weeks because it would be like I’ve lost the entire midfield just before the start of the season,” Jeff Stelling says as, in a deserted pub in Winchester, I compare him to a football manager. The usual giddy optimism of a new season is missing for Stelling as he starts his 22nd year of hosting a bizarre but cherished Saturday afternoon programme in which he barks out scores across the English and Scottish leagues while four former footballers in the Sky studio watch games on television monitors we cannot see. A seemingly ludicrous concept has worked seamlessly ever since Stelling helped launch Soccer Saturday in 1998 – four years after he joined Sky’s Sports Saturday programme.

This Saturday will not be the same. Three of Stelling’s four closest colleagues have been axed from the show and the 65-year-old host, whose good cheer and smooth professionalism provide the bedrock on which Soccer Saturday has built its popularity, still seems hurt and perplexed. Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier were told last month they were no longer wanted by Sky.

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» A Zoom with Mrs Ranieri and Roy Keane's Doc Brown hair – lockdown behind the mic | Kelly Cates

Kelly Cates on pundit wrangling, the challenge of broadcasting during a pandemic, and why she can’t wait to get back to work

I love that this season is starting in September. It’s always felt like the best time for a fresh start, to coincide with the change of seasons and the new school year. I’ve already stocked up on stationery for work and have a rainbow of coloured pens and highlighters. I much prefer to work off paper and find that the information filters through better if I write it down, but it usually ends up on an iPad for practical reasons. Sadly, evolution hasn’t yet caught up with my need for more than two hands to hold a microphone, steady a strong-willed umbrella in a gale, balance a sheaf of papers and still retain the capacity to handle the microphones thrust at me by departing players and managers.

The first live game back for me is at Anfield for Liverpool v Leeds. I can’t think of an opening-day fixture where the absence of fans is going to be felt more keenly. There’s a school of thought that the historic old grounds are never really empty. That they hold the energies of past atmospheres and ghosts of previous games and while that description suits my overly romantic nature and may well have an element of truth when completely unoccupied, I can tell you that on a Covid matchday, it’s a load of rubbish.

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» Paint, pools and parking: inside the maverick mind of Marcelo Bielsa

How the manager rebuilt Leeds – and why he wanted hillocks removed and a wood stove installed at the training ground

There was consternation at Leeds council. Why had a painted blue line appeared on the streets of Wetherby, running from outside Marcelo Bielsa’s flat to Leeds’s Thorp Arch training ground? The call duly went into the club to ask the question and it is good fun imagining the reaction. “Blue paint? Ah, OK. Yes. Absolutely. Yes. Ridiculous. We’ll look into it. Yes. We know.”

Bielsa and one of his assistants, a wizened old guy from Chile, had been spotted walking the route with a trundle wheel and the video was uploaded to social media. It looked like a scene from Last of the Summer Wine and the paint would appear the following day. Apparently, the Leeds manager had planned to cycle into work and he did not want to have to concentrate on the logistics, merely lock on to the blue line and leave his mind free to think about other things – namely his club’s quest for Premier League promotion.

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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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