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Preview: Football news, match reports and fixtures | guardian.co.uk

Football | The Guardian



Football news, results, fixtures, blogs, podcasts and comment on the Premier League, European and World football from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:47:46 GMT2017-07-22T18:47:46Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



West Ham announce club-record signing of Marko Arnautovic from Stoke

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:22:09 GMT2017-07-22T17:22:09Z

• Austrian international signs five-year contract
• Arnautovic: ‘I can only say it is a massive club’

West Ham have announced the signing of Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City on a five-year deal for a club-record fee believed to be around £24m.

The 28-year-old had been agitating for a move and after rejecting two earlier bids Stoke finally relented. Arnautovic will bolster the Hammers’ squad following the addition of Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart on loan, and the imminent transfer of Javier Hernández.

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Liverpool fans and Hillsborough groups have emotive safe standing debate

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:28:41 GMT2017-07-22T17:28:41Z

• Spirit of Shankly group organised Saturday’s meeting in Liverpool
• Opinion remains divided but rail seating options are proving popular

Liverpool fans are to vote on the introduction of rail seating in football stadiums following a constructive and at times emotive meeting on safe standing. As Damian Kavanagh, one of roughly 100 people who attended the two and a half hour discussion, put it: “This is uniquely complicated for us. We should be full, front and centre of the debate because we lived with Hillsborough.”

Momentum is growing in favour of the return of standing in the top two divisions of English football. The success of Celtic’s pilot experiment last season – now a permanent feature at Celtic Park – has given further impetus to a campaign long promoted by the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). For Liverpool, however, and particularly those affected by the 1989 disaster, it is a sensitive and complex issue that divides opinion, although on the evidence of Saturday’s public meeting the tide is turning marginally in favour.

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Benjamin Mendy set to join Manchester City from Monaco in record £52m deal

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:49:23 GMT2017-07-22T09:49:23Z

• France left-back set for medical ahead of proposed move
• Mendy will eclipse Kyle Walker as most expensive defender in history

Manchester City have agreed a fee of €57.5m (£52m) with Monaco for Benjamin Mendy, with the France international set for a medical this week ahead of his proposed move. Pep Guardiola had identified the 23-year-old left-back as one of his transfer priorities at the end of last season following the departure of Gaël Clichy but City saw three bids turned down for the player who only joined Monaco last season for £11m.

Related: PSG increasingly confident of signing Neymar and Alexis Sánchez

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Dele Alli and Harry Kane expose absurdity of football’s silly season

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:53:00 GMT2017-07-22T15:53:00Z

Spurs pair who cost pittance are second and third most valuable players in the world behind Neymar according to one estimate – but fans still crave a splurge

Now that the Lions tour and Wimbledon are over, and with the Test series against South Africa yet to grab the attention, thoughts can easily turn to the start of the new football season, which is only two weeks away. Or rather to the pre-season competition. I don’t mean friendly tournaments, like the money-spinning non-event of the so-called International Champions Cup. But the true sport and drama of the transfer window. A kind of fantasy football for chairmen, it is also a ritual that finds generous space for frenzied media and desperate fans alike. And all to the tune of sums of money that are increasingly difficult to conceptualise, let alone justify.

Related: Kyle Walker for £50m? Collective madness has gripped the Premier League | Jonathan Wilson

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Antonio Conte praises Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi after double in Arsenal win

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:23:25 GMT2017-07-22T16:23:25Z

• Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea; Willian 40, Batshuayi 42, 49
• Pedro forced off with concussion during pre-season friendly in Beijing

Antonio Conte praised the performance of Michy Batshuayi after he scored twice in Chelsea’s comfortable pre-season win over Arsenal in China. Both Arsène Wenger and Conte named strong teams for the match at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, with Alexandre Lacazette again featuring for Arsenal. Wenger also named youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Cohen Bramall in his starting lineup. Recent £58m Chelsea signing Álvaro Morata did not feature but arrived in Singapore on Saturday to meet up with his Chelsea team-mates.

Batshuayi excelled in attack, leading the line in front of Pedro and Willian, who opened the scoring five minutes before half-time. Batshuayi, who scored the decisive goal at West Bromwich Albion as Chelsea won the Premier League in May, scored his first goals of the new season in style, curling an opener before striking home from the edge of the box.

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Manchester United confident of signing Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 10:53:34 GMT2017-07-22T10:53:34Z

• José Mourinho frustrated in pursuit of Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier
• United confident of closing a deal for Matic, with a fee of £50m mooted

Manchester United are confident of closing a deal for Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic after hitting a wall in their efforts to take Eric Dier from Tottenham Hotspur. José Mourinho identified Dier as his No1 defensive midfield target at the start of the close season and he has seen three bids for him turned down by Tottenham. The third bid was understood to be close to £40m.

Related: Benjamin Mendy set to join Manchester City from Monaco in record £52m deal

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Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha claims he was racially abused on social media

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:49:00 GMT2017-07-22T17:49:00Z

• Zaha claims he was called a ‘black monkey’ in Instagram messages
• Frank de Boer accuses West Brom of trying to injure Zaha in friendly

Wilfried Zaha claimed he was racially abused on social media on Saturday, shortly after his Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer accused West Brom’s players of targeting the winger during a pre-season friendly.

Zaha added a message to his Instagram story following the 2-0 victory in Hong Kong, suggesting followers of his former club Manchester United and their rivals Liverpool had sent him abuse.

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Tottenham need to find their bearings quickly as Wembley tenants | David Hytner

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:30:33 GMT2017-07-22T08:30:33Z

After poor results at the national stadium in last season’s European games Spurs need to find their feet on the larger pitch now it is their temporary home

The irony was not lost on Mauricio Pochettino. “Remember when I first came to Tottenham and I was criticised for saying the White Hart Lane pitch was too small for us?” the manager said. “And now, people are saying that Wembley is too big?”

Pochettino’s comments came last season, when his team’s travails at Wembley – their temporary home for European matches – were under the microscope. It was a regular talking point, one of those things that become a thing, much to the annoyance of the manager who finds himself caught up in them.

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Euro 2017 fixtures and results: interactive wallchart

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:22:19 GMT2017-07-17T10:22:19Z

Your guide to where and when the matches are taking place in the Netherlands – and a comprehensive results service. England are among the favourites for a tournament won by Germany on the past six occasions.

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Toni Duggan: ‘I’m not thinking about Barcelona. Hopefully we’ll smash Spain’

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:30:20 GMT2017-07-21T21:30:20Z

Toni Duggan is concentrating on firing England to European Championship glory as she prepares to face Spain and a number of her new club-mates on Sunday

A shaft of sunlight highlights a minor chip in the otherwise immaculate bright red polish adorning Toni Duggan’s fingernails. It is a high maintenance colour but Barcelona’s new attacking addition is simply not the type of woman to opt for understated neutrals: taupes, beiges and nudes represent the antithesis of one of the game’s most vibrant personalities.

As she relaxes on a terrace after training at England’s Euro 2017 Utrecht base, Duggan’s strong Merseyside accent and sharp Scouse wit enliven an atmosphere already buoyant following the Lionesses’ 6-0 win over Scotland in their opening Group D game.

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PSG increasingly confident of signing Neymar and Alexis Sánchez

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:48:02 GMT2017-07-21T21:48:02Z

• French club working on respective £199m and £40.3m deals
• Sánchez and his agent met PSG official in Paris on Friday

Paris Saint-Germain are increasingly confident of signing Neymar from Barcelona and Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal in the next few days in what would rank as one of the biggest double-signings in football history.

Nasser al Khelaifi, the PSG chairman, is working on a potential world-record €222m (£199m) deal for Neymar while Antero Henrique, the club’s sporting director, is focusing on a deal to lure Sánchez. Henrique spent Friday afternoon with the Chile forward and his agent, Fernando Felicevich, at the luxurious Royal Monceau hotel in the centre of the French capital. The two camps are close to an agreement regarding the player.

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Chelsea announce signing of Álvaro Morata on a five-year contract

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:01:47 GMT2017-07-21T18:01:47Z

• Spain striker is champions’ third signing of summer at cost of £58m
• ‘It’s an incredible emotion to be part of this big club,’ says Morata

Chelsea have announced the signing of Álvaro Morata from Real Madrid on a five-year contract. The Spain striker is the Premier League champions’ third major signing of the summer, following the arrival of Antonio Rüdiger from Roma and Tiemoué Bakayoko from Monaco and reportedly costs in the region of £58m.

Related: Álvaro Morata may need to channel his inner Costa to be Chelsea success | Jonathan Wilson

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Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk told to train alone after saying he wants to leave

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:49:17 GMT2017-07-21T18:49:17Z

• Van Dijk declared ‘he is not available to play’, says Mauricio Pellegrino
• Liverpool’s No1 defensive target is not for sale, Southampton insist

Virgil van Dijk has in effect gone on strike at Southampton in an attempt to force a transfer, according to Mauricio Pellegrino. The manager said the defender had told him he wanted to leave and was not available to play for the club. Pellegrino has responded by ordering the Holland international to train alone.

Van Dijk was the subject of a botched move by Liverpool earlier in the summer, with Southampton reporting the Merseyside club to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach. Liverpool made a public apology to try to defuse the tensions and they promised that their interest in the player had ended, although they have continued to covet him and he remains their sole defensive target. They had been willing to pay £60m.

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Euro 2017: Babett Peter seals win from spot as Germany battle past Italy

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:33:58 GMT2017-07-21T21:33:58Z

• Elise Bartoli sent off for Italy as champions earn first win
• Sweden defeat Russia 2-0 to go top of Group B

Germany, six times European champions, sealed their first win in this year’s tournament but were pushed all the way by Italy who were eliminated by their 2-1 defeat in Tilburg.

Steffi Jones’ side, aiming to bounce back from a disappointing 0-0 draw with Sweden in their first match, looked on course for a routine win when Josephine Henning opened the scoring after 19 minutes. The Italy goalkeeper, Laura Giuliani, spilled the ball from a free-kick, allowing Henning to head Germany in front.

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Romelu Lukaku no Messi but he’ll thrive at Old Trafford, says Kevin De Bruyne

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:30:20 GMT2017-07-21T21:30:20Z

• Lukaku has scored in Manchester United’s last two US tour matches
• ‘He has his way of playing. He’s a big physical guy and that can be awesome’

Romelu Lukaku should not be compared to Lionel Messi but will be a highly successful signing for Manchester United, according to Kevin De Bruyne, his Belgium team-mate.

Related: Ederson makes inglorious start as Manchester United account for City

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Fifa ethics committee was investigating Gianni Infantino over election expenses

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:15:34 GMT2017-07-21T12:15:34Z

• Fifa president allegedly under-declared money spent on election campaign
• Infantino organised removal of committee’s chairman and members in May

The Fifa ethics committee was investigating the president, Gianni Infantino, for allegedly under-declaring the money he spent on his election campaign, before he organised the removal of the committee’s chairmen and members in May.

The declaration of his election expenses was the second issue for which Infantino was under investigation; the ethics committee had also started preliminary inquiries into whether he improperly sought to influence the election in March of a new Confederation of African football president.

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Liverpool reject £72m Barcelona bid for Philippe Coutinho: ‘we aren’t a selling club’

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:53:48 GMT2017-07-21T21:53:48Z

• Playmaker signed new contract worth £150,000 a week last season
• Jürgen Klopp: ‘We want to make the next step and we need to stay together’

Jürgen Klopp will speak to Philippe Coutinho about the playmaker’s importance to Liverpool and the club’s determination to keep him at Anfield after rejecting an €80m (£72m) bid from Barcelona for the Brazilian.

Klopp insisted Liverpool were not a selling club having dismissed the Spanish side’s approach for Coutinho, although the size of Barcelona’s opening offer demonstrates their intent and they are expected to return with a higher bid. Coutinho is close friends with Barcelona’s forwards Luis Suárez and Neymar – who could swell the Camp Nou coffers by joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee.

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Ederson makes inglorious start as Manchester United account for City

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:06:24 GMT2017-07-21T04:06:24Z

  • Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City in Houston
  • Romelu Lukaku scores in front of 67,401 American fans

The latest edition of a fixture first played in 1881 was the story of an unimpressive debut from Ederson, the £34.69m-priced goalkeeper, who was culpable for each of Manchester United’s strikes.

Errors are a feature of close season football and Ederson may make more. Yet given Manchester City’s travails with No1s under Pep Guardiola the hope will be the Brazilian settles quickly.

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Arsenal and Crystal Palace move closer to agreeing Calum Chambers deal

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:36:18 GMT2017-07-21T10:36:18Z

• Clubs confident permanent transfer can be agreed for central defender
• Palace’s initial offer of around £16m was well under Arsenal’s £25m valuation

Arsenal are in dialogue with Crystal Palace over the sale of Calum Chambers with both clubs increasingly confident a compromise can be struck over the fee.

Palace had discussed loan and permanent deal options for the England defender but their initial offer, believed to be worth around £16m including add-ons and potential percentage of sell-on fees, fell well under Arsenal’s £25m valuation of the 22-year-old, who spent last season at relegated Middlesbrough. Frank de Boer considers Chambers a ball-playing centre-half who can fit into his desired 3-4-3 formation, as the Dutchman attempts to tweak the team’s style.

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Chelsea's title, Hull go down and the revival of Dirk Kuyt – Football Weekly

Mon, 15 May 2017 15:11:56 GMT2017-05-15T15:11:56Z

The podders reflect on the results that tied up the top and bottom of the Premier League. Plus, news of Feyenoord, Forest Green Rovers and our final ever debate about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Barney Ronay, Iain Macintosh and Sasha Goryunov to congratulate Chelsea on successfully swaggering their way to the Premier League title, and to wave goodbye to Hull whose plucky battle against relegation wasn’t quite as plucky as that of plucky Swansea or Crystal Palace.

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Gheorghe Hagi: ‘I took a lot of risks because of the passion I have for football’

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:00:12 GMT2017-07-21T15:00:12Z

Viitorul Constanta, the club Hagi formed eight years ago, have won the Romanian title and are about to enter the Champions League. So how has he done it?

Gheorghe Hagi has been talking for almost an hour when, not for the first time, he shoots a glance at the adjacent training pitch. Viitorul Constanta’s Under-17 and Under-19 squads are going through their paces under the late-afternoon sun and on several occasions there has been the sense that Hagi, watching from the corner of his eye, is having to restrain himself from darting across to correct certain imperfections. “Look at this,” he says, waving an arm out into the heat. “This is not about money; that’s the last thing for me. This is about work – work and dedication.”

Nobody leaves this smart facility, five kilometres from the beaches of Mamaia and their swarms of Black Sea holidaymakers, without that outlook being seared upon them but the fruits of Hagi’s work are about to go on show to the wider world. Viitorul’s senior team will play their first Champions League fixture on Wednesday when the Cypriot side Apoel visit for a third qualifying round first leg; they earned that right through winning Romania’s Liga I last season despite having one of its smallest budgets, a remarkable feat that outstripped every projection Hagi had made for his club when he founded it in 2009. At that point the professional squad was intended merely as a finishing school for the academy before it. The aim was to give something back to the sport that made him; to help young Romanian players become great, just as he had been. If their path has been accelerated beyond all imagining it is the result of a constant, clear vision that has left Viitorul’s more storied rivals trailing.

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Not feeling the (Dallas) Burn: why MLS teams tried to sound more European

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:00:13 GMT2017-07-21T08:00:13Z

There was a time when US soccer was a storm of Rowdies and Cosmos, but now United is the name of choice. What’s going on?

Once, pro soccer in the United States firmly embraced the country’s sporting culture. Teams that came to prominence in the 1970s in the North American Soccer League (NASL) had names that wouldn’t sound out of place in the NFL: the New York Cosmos and and Tampa Bays perhaps being the most notable. Cheerleaders roamed the sidelines, and even the foundations of the game – such as the offside rule and the draw – were changed to appeal to an audience accustomed to traditional American sports.

But over the last 15 years, Major League Soccer has evolved from a league of teams with names, such as Wizards, Burn and Clash, to something that sounds a lot more, well, European. There are three Uniteds (Atlanta, Minnesota and DC), two called City (New York – whose name is down to their parent club, Manchester City – and Orlando), one Real (Salt Lake) and a Sporting (Kansas City). That’s not to mention the many lower division sides who have also changed their names in recent years.

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Álvaro Morata may need to channel his inner Costa to be Chelsea success | Jonathan Wilson

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:42:00 GMT2017-07-20T18:42:00Z

The £58m forward is clearly hugely gifted but can he inspire Chelsea as effectively as the raging and ruthless Diego Costa did when motivated?

Of the players who scored 10 goals or more in La Liga last season, none did so with a better conversion rate than Álvaro Morata. His 55 shots yielded 15 goals, which is one of the reasons he began the summer ranked alongside Kylian Mbappé, Romelu Lukaku and Andrea Belotti as one of the four most eligible young strikers in Europe. Chelsea, having failed to land Lukaku (or refused to pay over the odds for him, depending whose account you prefer), pretty much had to sign one of the other three to replace Diego Costa, who will almost certainly join Atlético Madrid at some point in the next six weeks.

Morata is clearly hugely gifted. He is decent in the air, mobile and looks the part. He impressed at Juventus as well as Real Madrid, which should offer encouragement about his capacity to thrive in different environments against varying styles of defending. He has played in three of the past four Champions League finals, scoring in one of them. At 24, he is used to the rhythms and pressures of playing for an elite club.

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From the army to Bristol Rovers: Tom Broadbent’s extraordinary journey

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:00:20 GMT2017-07-20T12:00:20Z

The defender describes being shot at in Afghanistan, having his biceps squeezed by Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the FA Cup final and reveals why he is leaving the army to pursue his dream

Tom Broadbent leans across the table at a coffee shop in Bristol, stretching out the huge, muscular frame that impressed a few Chelsea players a couple of months ago, and casually tells the story about the time he was shot at in Afghanistan while listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It is quite a tale, even if Broadbent’s unassuming, laid-back demeanour suggests otherwise, and forms part of a fascinating and colourful story that includes handing over FA Cup medals in the royal box, working behind the hot food counter in Sainsbury’s and filing an entry for “Speedo fan of the year” via a photograph on social media. “Bloody hell, you have been digging around,” Broadbent says, breaking into laughter.

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Going global: how Besiktas are aiming to become the Turkish Chelsea | Emre Sarigul

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:44:10 GMT2017-07-20T09:44:10Z

The Black Eagles president, Fikret Orman, tells the Guardian of his plans to make the club a global brand in an era when the Super Lig is finally about to get some TV coverage abroad

Five years ago it looked like the Istanbul big three – Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas – were about to become two. Besiktas were struggling with £250m of debt, 142 lawsuits and a suspension from Uefa competitions.

“Nobody else wanted to run this club, we were on the verge of collapse,” Fikret Orman said after his election as Besiktas president in 2012 – and he was probably right.

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Afghanistan's unlikely football league: eight teams, 18 matches and one city

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:00:24 GMT2017-07-20T15:00:24Z

Afghanistan’s first professional football league was set up in 2012 – with the help of a reality TV show – and it has given fans some much-needed normality

By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network

The last time Afghan football attracted the attention of the global media, it was all down to a plastic bag, a young boy and his idol. Lionel Messi met Murtaza Ahmadi in December after a picture of the five-year old in his homemade blue-and-white striped replica shirt had captured the world’s sympathy.

After Ahmadi was tracked down to the Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, the UN’s child refugee agency arranged a meeting with Messi in Doha, before a friendly between Barcelona and Al-Ahli, where he was also the official mascot. The unfortunate and telling consequence of this moment of fame was that the Murtaza family had to move to Pakistan shortly afterwards because of fears the boy would be kidnapped, an all too common occurrence in his own country.

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Beyond the Premier League bubble: the biggest transfers in Europe this summer

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:21 GMT2017-07-19T13:00:21Z

Premier League clubs have been blowing vast sums in the transfer market – £50m for Kyle Walker anyone? – but not every player wants to move to England

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Premier League clubs, Tottenham aside, have been busy in the transfer market this summer. Arsenal have made Alexandre Lacazette their most expensive player; Liverpool have broken their transfer record to sign Mohamed Salah (and they want to break it again on Naby Keïta); Everton have made Jordan Pickford the most expensive British goalkeeper ever; and Manchester City have made Kyle Walker the most expensive defender in history. But, despite its vast riches, not every player wants to play in the Premier League. Below we look at the best players who have opted against moving to England to play elsewhere in Europe.

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When Football Banned Women review – Clare Balding recalls the beautiful game’s ugliest decision

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 05:00:11 GMT2017-07-19T05:00:11Z

After the first world war, women’s football drew big crowds before the sport was banned by the FA. It’s an extraordinary story, ripe for further investigation

Alice Woods picks up the ball in the centre of the park. She doesn’t need to look up, she knows the run Lily Parr will be making on the left, spreads the ball out to her. Parr’s on to it, like a greyhound chasing a hare down the flank. She looks up to make the cross, but no one has kept up with her lightning pace, so she cuts in, past one defender, past two, then she pulls the trigger, bam!

The poor keeper gets a hand to it, but there’s no stopping that one, the heavy leather ball cannons into the net. Gooooaaaaaal! The crowd – all 60,000 of them – go mad. One-nil to the Dick, Kerr Ladies, one-nil to the Dick, Kerr Ladies … Parr jogs over, takes the Woodbine from the mouth of the man at the front of the stands, has a couple of celebratory puffs …

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What happens when Opta analyses a team of football journalists? – video

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:50:57 GMT2017-07-17T10:50:57Z

Opta are the industry leaders when it comes to compiling statistics in sport - they measure millions of ‘game events’ every year, from foul throws to blocked shots, so they can be used to increase our collective understanding of how much numbers matter to success. This season they’re introducing a new metric, xG, or ‘expected goals’, so Paul MacInnes went along to see how it works in practice

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Romelu Lukaku: Manchester United is a club you don't say no to – video

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 13:35:53 GMT2017-07-11T13:35:53Z

Romelu Lukaku admits that once he knew there was interest in him from Manchester United he could not say no to the move. Speaking from United’s pre-season training camp in Los Angeles, Lukaku says ‘the way that the club is always hungry to win trophies’ was another factor in his decision to join José Mourinho’s side from Everton

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Theo Hernández's kick-ups go array at Real Madrid presentation – video

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 15:51:11 GMT2017-07-11T15:51:11Z

Real Madrid’s latest signing Theo Hernández shows off his skills during his official presentation at the Bernabéu. Unfortunately for the full-back, it does not quite go to plan as he loses control of the ball attempting some kick-ups in front of fans and the media. The 19-year-old joins Madrid for a reported fee of €24m from city rivals Atlético

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Wayne Rooney: Everton was the only club I wanted to join – video

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:39:37 GMT2017-07-10T13:39:37Z

Wayne Rooney says Everton was the only club he wanted to join following his move from Manchester United to Goodison Park at the weekend. The 31-year-old rejoins his boyhood club 13 years after leaving Merseyside for Manchester. Rooney, who became United’s all-time leading scorer during his time at Old Trafford, also admits he has been sleeping in Everton pyjamas since leaving the club

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Alexandre Lacazette: I always dreamed of playing for Arsenal – video

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:00:27 GMT2017-07-05T18:00:27Z

New Arsenal signing Alexandre Lacazette says he’s always dreamed of playing for the Gunners after confirming his move to the club on Wednesday. Lacazette joins Arsenal from Lyon for a club record fee of £52.7m. The striker remembers watching French players such as Thierry Henry in action for the north London club growing up

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How football is adapting to the demands of the digital world – video

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:01:14 GMT2017-06-14T11:01:14Z

From AFC Wimbledon to Manchester City via Hashtag United, Tom Jenkins explores the changing face of football and asks how the world’s most popular sport is adapting in the digital age. The second film in our Sport 2.0 series sees the real and virtual sporting worlds getting more and more entwined

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Should Celtic's safe standing trial be rolled out to the Premier League? – video

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:47:44 GMT2017-06-27T08:47:44Z

Last season Celtic became the first British club to use a ‘safe standing’ system of rail seating in a section of their stadium. Standing was banned in the top two tiers of English football on the recommendation of the Taylor Report, issued after the Hillsborough disaster. After the inquest cleared fans of any wrongdoing last year, attitudes towards standing at top-level football have softened, and the Premier League is currently consulting its members on whether they should reintroduce it.

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David Squires on ... Arsenal's pre-season trip to Sydney

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:00:03 GMT2017-07-19T18:00:03Z

Our resident cartoonist looks at the fallout from the Premier League club’s tour to Australia where they faced Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers

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Euro 2017 is a chance to showcase how far women’s football has come | Suzanne Wrack

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:02 GMT2017-07-18T09:00:02Z

As the women’s game grows and professionalism increases, so does that technical ability and pace – which we will be able to see in the Netherlands

The Women’s European Championship finals got under way on Sunday. Holland beat Norway 1-0 after a beautiful swerving cross from Barcelona’s newly signed Lieke Martens was powered in by the stooping head of Liverpool’s Shanice van de Sanden. And it always promised to be an exciting match. Norway possess some of the most exciting attacking talent in Europe, which was excellently nullified by the Dutch, while the rapid growth of women’s football in the Netherlands is showing on the pitch. The Stadion Galgenwaard in Utrecht was rocking with 21,732 fans, a record crowd for women’s football in the Netherlands, the Oranje Leeuwinnen feeling the love in their home tournament.

Yet despite this, and while there were three Arsenal players, a Liverpool goalscorer and an international captain who plays her club football with Reading on the pitch, there was little fanfare in the UK about this showpiece opener.

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USA striker Jozy Altidore bitten in Gold Cup win over El Salvador – video

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:20:07 GMT2017-07-20T11:20:07Z

American striker Jozy Altidore is bitten by El Salvador defender Henry Romero during a Gold Cup quarter-final in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Romero also appears to twist the US player’s nipple for good measure. Away from the skirmishing, the United States won the match 2-0 and will now face Costa Rica in the semi-finals this weekend

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USA survive biting incident to see off El Salvador in Gold Cup quarter-final

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:19:38 GMT2017-07-20T03:19:38Z

Skirmishing for position at the goal line ahead of a corner kick, Jozy Altidore could not believe what occurred: El Salvador defender Henry Romero bit the back of his left shoulder, then twisted his nipple.

Altidore maintained his composure – just – and then made light of the incident.

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Spanish FA president Ángel María Villar Llona arrested on corruption charges

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:28:58 GMT2017-07-18T09:28:58Z

• Villar Llona and four others held after raid on RFEF headquarters
• Arrests follow investigation into finances of Spanish federations

Police in Spain say they have arrested Ángel María Villar Llona, the president of Spain’s football association, Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF).

Villar Llona, who is also a senior vice-president at Fifa and Uefa, was arrested on Tuesday morning along with his son and three other federation executives as part of an anti-corruption investigation.

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Borussia Dortmund tell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang he is not leaving this summer

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:40:59 GMT2017-07-18T13:40:59Z

• Club had given striker a deadline to complete a move away
• We consider the transfer window closed, says Dortmund sporting director

Borussia Dortmund have told Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that he will not be allowed to leave the club this summer. The striker had been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga but the German club gave him a deadline before which he had to leave and that deadline has now passed.

“We consider the transfer window closed. The timing [of it all] was decisive in the end,” said that Dortmund sporting director, Michael Zorc, on Tuesday.

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Antonio Cassano retires, then un-retires and vows to ‘have fun’ with Verona

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:35:44 GMT2017-07-18T12:35:44Z

• Former Italy forward first tells team-mates he wants to quit football
• Cassano, 35, then calls press conference to say he has changed his mind

The former Italy forward Antonio Cassano has sensationally “un-retired” from football a few hours after telling his Verona team-mates that he was missing his family too much and wanted to quit the game.

The former Italy international joined Verona only eight days ago and made the decision to leave the club and retire from football early on Tuesday. However, in the afternoon the 35-year-old held a press conference to tell the media that he had reconsidered and was now looking forward to “having a fun season” with his new club.

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Milan look set to resurrect golden era that most thought was long gone | Nick Ames

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:54:12 GMT2017-07-19T08:54:12Z

The £35m signing of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus has shown doubters that Li Yonghong is serious about building a team to recreate the glory days at the club

“It all happened in a flash. We haven’t yet come to terms with it.” Massimiliano Mirabelli was talking of Milan’s astonishment at signing Leonardo Bonucci and it was a sentiment mirrored far beyond those with a direct hand in events at San Siro. Until last Friday there remained the temptation to see the Rossoneri’s extraordinary summer spend as a curiosity; a sequence of scattergun fripperies that would satisfy the club’s wealthy owners until the point of its high-profile, high-risk failure. It may yet turn out that way but the £35m purchase that so amazed their sporting director has caused the rest of Serie A, and many abroad, to sit bolt upright. Is this something more than a fantastical attempt to recreate an era that seemed to have long since passed?

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe's top five leagues

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Sweden’s Nilla Fischer: ‘There will always be idiots – but you can’t give up’

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 10:59:19 GMT2017-07-16T10:59:19Z

In an exclusive interview the defender talks about Euro 2017, gender equality, LGBT rights and receiving death threats after wearing a rainbow-armband for Wolfsburg

When Nilla Fischer looks at the younger faces around her in the Sweden dressing room, she sees evidence of a sport growing more comfortable in its own skin. “There’s both a good side and a bad side to it but they don’t have the same respect for the older players,” she says, with a half chuckle. “It doesn’t matter to them who they tackle or go up against. They’re just focused on winning and they want to show off, in a good way.”

Sixteen and a half years have passed since Fischer, who should win her 161st cap when Sweden begin their Euro 2017 campaign against Germany on Monday, first played a senior international game. That is almost exactly how old she was at the time, too. She admits to being “really nervous and scared” as a young player; perhaps too happy simply to be there, too deferential to those with greater experience and lacking the self-confidence to make her voice heard.

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Despacito: how a Puerto Rican pop song became a global hit at football grounds

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 08:00:01 GMT2017-07-15T08:00:01Z

Despacito is not only a global hit with 2.5bn views on YouTube. It’s also one of the most popular tunes on the terraces – thanks to a group of fans in Argentina

By Copa90 for the Guardian Sport Network

Over the last seven months, Luis Fonsi’s song Despacito has eaten up the global music charts. The song has become a viral phenomenon, racking up more than 2.5bn views on YouTube and even being credited with boosting Puerto Rico’s economy with a 45% spike in tourism.

The music video was released on 12 January and reached one billion views on YouTube within 97 days. Justin Bieber put out a remix of the song in late April, taking it to a new audience and giving the story a political edge. When Bieber garbled the song’s lyrics in a concert in May, singing “I don’t know the words so I say burrito, I don’t know the words so I say Dorito,” he was accused of mocking the Spanish language, exploiting Latino singers and culture appropriation.

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Matt Miazga's late strike lifts USA to first place in Gold Cup group

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 01:32:23 GMT2017-07-16T01:32:23Z

  • Corona (37th minute), Rowe (56th) and Miazga (88th) hit for US in 3-0 win
  • Bruce Arena’s side move through to 19 July quarter-final in Philadelphia
  • The United States have now won group in 13 of 14 Gold Cup appearances

Matt Miazga scored on a closer-range header from Graham Zusi’s corner kick in the 88th minute, giving the United States first place in its Concacaf Gold Cup group with a 3-0 victory over Nicaragua on Saturday night.

Panama’s 3-0 win over Martinique in the first match of the doubleheader meant the US needed a three-goal win to move back over Los Canaleros into first. But the Americans struggled for long stretches against Nicaragua, a team ranked 105th by Fifa.

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Juventus's Leonardo Bonucci agrees to join Milan in shock move

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:56:05 GMT2017-07-14T09:56:05Z

  • Italy defender leaving Juventus after seven years in Turin
  • Bonucci and manager Max Allegri fell out during last season

The Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has agreed to join Serie A rivals Milan. The Italian international, who has been with the Turin club for seven years, is signing a five-year deal with the Milanese club and is hopeful of concluding the deal before the weekend.

Bonucci, regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, has not always seen eye to eye with the Juventus manager, Max Allegri, and the pair traded insults during a game against Palermo last season, with the defender subsequently being dropped against Porto. The defender was travelling to Milan for his medical on Friday morning.

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Jordan Morris double lifts USA to 3-2 win over undaunted Martinique

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 03:23:40 GMT2017-07-13T03:23:40Z

Jordan Morris’ second goal of the game broke a tie in the 76th minute, and the United States edged tiny Martinique 3-2 Wednesday night in the Concacaf Gold Cup after wasting a two-goal lead against a team that is not even a member of Fifa.

Failing to break through in the first half, the US built a 2-0 lead on goals by Omar Gonzalez in the 53rd minute and Morris in the 64th.

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Theo Hernández’s move to Real clouds gentleman’s agreement with Atlético | Michael Butler

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:59:08 GMT2017-07-11T10:59:08Z

Real have broken their ‘non-aggression pact’ with Atlético to sign the teenage left-back for €24m, but is this a one-off or the start of frostier relations in Madrid?

It has been called a number of things over the years: a gentleman’s agreement, an unwritten rule, a non-aggression pact. But since the sale of Santiago Solari from Atlético to Real Madrid in 2000, no first-team regular has moved directly between the two clubs. In a footballing world dominated by obscene money, media manipulation, agents and even transfer bans, there seems little room for honouring tradition these days, but between the Madrid clubs, there does seem to be a special bond. Chairmen and directors of both clubs share a meal before each derby, and often greet each other like old friends. It is hard to imagine the same being true in Manchester or Milan.

Related: Chelsea set sights on Real Madrid’s Álvaro Morata to replace Diego Costa

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The day Opta tracked me: ‘My pass completion was 60% … Christian Benteke standard’ | Paul MacInnes

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:51:18 GMT2017-07-17T10:51:18Z

When Opta invited a team of journalists to a match in which all their stats would be recorded, the offer was one I could not turn down

When you play a match at Gander Green Lane you feel the weight of recent history. The run that took Sutton United of the National League to the fifth round of the FA Cup, one which ended only in narrow defeat by Arsenal, is commemorated on the walls of the clubhouse. There are numerous photographs of Jamie Collins’s winning penalty against Leeds, of ecstatic pile-ons after the late replay victory over Wimbledon. There are pictures of manager Paul Doswell pointing on the touchline, there are very few of Wayne Shaw. It gets the goosebumps popping before you step on the pitch.

I know this because I played on Gander Green Lane’s hallowed 3G myself recently. And I’ve got the stats to prove it. Alongside a bunch of other hacks, pundits, podcasters and YouTubers I was invited by the sports data company Opta to play in an 11-a-side game in which they would record the statistics, just as they do for every Premier League match. Passes completed, interceptions made, shots on target, all would be noted down. The same also applied to those incomplete, unmade and off target.

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Premier League: 20 players ready to make a breakthrough next season

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:10:00 GMT2017-07-18T14:10:00Z

A club-by-club guide to the rising stars who could make a mark in 2017-18, including Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson and West Brom’s Sam Field

The 17-year-old was trending on Twitter last Thursday morning during his first appearance for Arsène Wenger’s first team – against Sydney FC – and it was because his pace, power and trickery are always going to be popular. The attacking midfielder played in an unfamiliar right wing-back role but there were no nerves, only a determination to show what he could do. Will Wenger give him his professional debut this season? According to the manager, Nelson is “very, very close”. David Hytner

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Rose Reilly: the only Scottish footballer to win the World Cup ... as Italy captain

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:47:01 GMT2017-07-17T12:47:01Z

The Scottish FA would not let women play the game, so Reilly set off for Italy and won eight league titles, four Italian cups and the Mundialito Femminile

By Ginny Clark for Nutmeg magazine, part of the Guardian Sport Network

When Rose Reilly wandered away from her home in Stewarton, her three-year-old legs trudged 300 yards to the main road, right across from a big dusty patch of ground. “My mum told me I disappeared around the corner and she found me at the football pitch. I then wanted a ball with all my passion, but got a doll at Christmas, and in those days that was the only time you got something. I was so devastated I went out and swapped it for a ball. From the age of four, that ball went everywhere with me. I slept with it. If I went down the street for messages for my mum, I played keepie-uppie on the way there – and on the way back. Sometimes there would be a wee hill or stairs, but on I went.”

On, and on – in a sporting journey that can be measured in the height of Rose’s triumphs and in the miles travelled to achieve that success. She went from keepie-uppies to a full-time professional career in women’s football, from the dark blue of a Scotland strip to the azzurro of Italy, scoring for them as they won the World Cup.

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Setting off all manner of alarms and fleeing for dear life | The Fiver

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:09:06 GMT2017-07-21T15:09:06Z

Today: Swedish security forces, Craig Shakespeare and U2 pitching in

This isn’t a tale that normally wins The Fiver many friends in our local, but it has been to Ostersund before, while wandering the bucolic pastures of its misspent youth. After a heavy night of fruit cider-based Tin it opted to stroll round a folk museum in the city, only to stumble upon one of the models on display, send it tumbling, set off all manner of alarms and flee for dear life before a swarm of Swedish security forces pitched up. The exhibit presumably survived in the end, but then The Fiver hasn’t opened any of its bills for some years.

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Football transfer rumours: Manchester City's Jadon Sancho to Arsenal or Spurs?

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:54:48 GMT2017-07-21T08:54:48Z

Today’s rumours have no boundaries

The notion of Philippe Coutinho moving to Barcelona has always been an itchy, scratchy little thing you can’t quite get shot of. Nimble-footed, quick-thinking, dynamic playmaker doing well at a big Premier League club – all boxes ticked. Mates with a certain former team-mate now turning it on in Catalonia – another box ticked. So there’s always been a fairly unsurprising hum around that potential connection but now that hum has turned into a loud and, if you are of an Anfield persuasion, decidedly unseemly bellow. Things have got real on this one, with Barça dangling a reported £72m under Jürgen Klopp’s nostrils and seeing him as a medium-term replacement for the ageing, albeit still absolutely brilliant, Andrés Iniesta. No dice, Liverpool are expected to say – and they might well say that having seen RB Leipzig resolutely flat-bat their own move for Naby Keïta – but you wouldn’t necessarily expect the cuddly La Liga runners-up to stop there.

Liverpool will rubber-stamp a new arrival of their own, though, in the form of the Hull left-back Andy Robertson – who has had his vital signs checked and should be unveiled soon enough. It should mean Sevilla or Napoli can get their paws on the unwanted, unloved Alberto Moreno.

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Are there any footballers with identical names at the same club? | The Knowledge

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:34:00 GMT2017-07-19T09:34:00Z

Plus: Newcastle’s Daytona days and other football club sidelines (2) and footballers with politically-inspired names. Send questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“FK Partizan, current Serbian league and cup holders, have two Nemanja Miletićs in their squad,” exclaims Leo Crnogorcevic. “Both were born in 1991 and neither has a middle name. It appears as if they have collectively decided to be referred to as Nemanja ‘G’ and Nemanja ‘R’ after their fathers’ first names, respectively (in turn showcasing what a patriarchal society we live, although that’s a matter for another time). My question therefore is: has a club ever had two (or more) players with the exact same name in their squad, and how have they differentiated them?”

This isn’t quite so rare as you might think Leo, particularly in Israel. Here’s Ciaran Hannigan-Purcell to get the ball rolling. “In June 2015, Maccabi Tel Aviv bought the journeyman defender Tal Ben Haim to go with the young winger already at the club, Tal Ben Haim. The younger and less prestigious winger went by the subtly different Tal Ben Chaim from then on on his shirts, though Uefa reports record his name as Tal Ben Haim II. As they have over a hundred caps for Israel between them, they’ve probably also been on the pitch for the national team at the same time, too.”

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Sports quiz of the week: Wimbledon, Wayne Rooney and Led Zeppelin

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:12:50 GMT2017-07-14T10:12:50Z

Why Romelu? Who won with Venus Williams? And who is not a Belieber?• Test your knowledge on previous quizzesVenus Williams will try to win her sixth Wimbledon singles title on Saturday, 17 years after she won her first in 2000. Who won the men's singles that year?Pete SamprasBoris BeckerAndre AgassiGoran IvanisevicJohanna Konta made it to the last four at Wimbledon for the first time this week. In which grand slam did she reach the semi-finals last year?US Open Australian Open French Open What is the etymology of Romelu Lukaku's forename?Romelu is the district in Antwerp in which he was bornRomela is his mother's nameHe was named after the great Congolese striker Romelu IssamaIt is an acronym, composed of the first two letters of his father's three names: Roger Menama Lukaku.What has Floyd Mayweather asked of the US government?To make him "secretary of wealth creation" when he retires later this yearTo broadcast his fight with Conor McGregor on the White House website for freeTo give McGregor a lend of Air Force One so he can fly back to Ireland "with his tail between his legs"To give him a few more months to pay off a $22m tax bill from 2015Which of these trophies did Wayne Rooney not win while at Manchester UnitedPremier LeagueFA CupLeague CupChampions LeagueEuropa LeagueCommunity ShieldFifa Club World CupHe won all of themWhich manager offered this opinion on the spiralling sums of money involved in football: "The money in football is absurd but it is like that in other sports and also in show business. You have Bieber, who is earning a lot more than Rolling Stones, not to mention Led Zeppelin or Elvis Presley. Everything cracked, nothing is normal any more"?Ronald KoemanGareth SouthgateJürgen KloppSlaven BilicWayne Rooney's last game for Everton was a 5-1 defeat by Manchester City in May 2004. Who scored two goals for City that day?Danny MillsPaulo WanchopeDarius VassellAndy ColeHow did South African football club Usuthu react when they finished fifth in the league and missed out on promotion to the top division?They bought the league champions and secured their place in the top tierThe players said they would forego their wages for a yearThe manager quit his job, quit football and vowed never to set foot in South Africa again The owner sold all 11 players who started their last game of the seasonWhy was Jurij Rodionov's match at Wimbledon held up by a short delay?His taxi driver took him to Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium rather than the tennis courtsHe was asked to wear a lighter colour of[...]


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Silverstone highlights, the Open at Birkdale and long-range darts | Classic YouTube

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 09:20:44 GMT2017-07-13T09:20:44Z

This week’s roundup also features casual lacrosse goalkeeping, how to deal with a high-speed crash and a threatening umbrella at the Tour de France

1) The Open is back at Royal Birkdale for the first time in nine years. Some of the greats of golf have conquered Birkdale, which first hosted it in 1954, including Arnold Palmer in 1961, Lee Trevino in 1971 (the 100th Open), Johnny Miller (with Seve Ballesteros co-starring) in 1976 and Tom Watson in 1983. The last time it was held at the Merseyside course, Padraig Harrington won to retain the Claret Jug; here are 10 of the best from the 2008 Open, featuring Harrington’s stunning five-wood approach to the 17th that sealed his victory ahead of Ian Poulter. And here’s a nice tour of the course courtesy of the head pro at Birkdale, Brian Hodgkinson.

2) Here’s a lovely series of interviews behind the scenes in the New Zealand dressing room following their series draw with the British & Irish Lions, which captures some of the camaraderie and spirit within the squad and what it means to be an All Black. For something with more of a Hollywood blockbuster feel, check out the Lions’ version looking back after a barnstormer of a final Test.

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David Squires on … Arsenal's Invincibles of 2003-04

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:54:21 GMT2017-07-11T09:54:21Z

Our cartoonist continues his off-season series on the Premier League at 25, with a look at Arsène Wenger’s unbeatable (in the league, anyway) Gunners

More takes on the world of sport from our cartoonist

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Golden Goal: Sergio Agüero for Argentina v Poland (2007 Under-20 World Cup)

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 10:32:31 GMT2017-07-07T10:32:31Z

Sergio Agüero and Dawid Janczyk were young strikers with the world at their feet who both scored fine goals in their Under-20 World Cup meeting, but Agüero became a superstar while Janczyk suffered a painful fall from grace

You can be forgiven for pleading ignorance if you have never heard of Sandecja Nowy Sacz, even if they have just returned to Poland’s top division as champions. They are an unremarkable club from a small city in southern Poland, play in a ramshackle little stadium and rank a run to the last eight of the Polish Cup in 2014 as one of their finest achievements. All of which explains the schadenfreude at Freddy Adu’s expense when he was linked with a move to Sandecja earlier this year. Where, people wondered, did it all go so wrong for the USA’s former golden boy?

Related: Golden Goal: Gianfranco Zola for Chelsea v West Ham (1996) | Jacob Steinberg

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Germany too hot for Chile as they also rain on Spain's parade - Football Weekly

Sun, 02 Jul 2017 22:20:22 GMT2017-07-02T22:20:22Z

The podders evaluate Germany’s double success as they emerge victorious at both the Confederations Cup and the Euro U21s

On your final Football Weekly of 2016-17, AC Jimbo, James Horncastle and Iain Macintosh cuddle up closely to riff on the conclusions of the Confederations Cup and Euro U21s. What a time to be alive - especially if you’re German.

And that, folks, is your lot for this, the tenth season of the interweb’s favourite football podcast. An entire decade. Perhaps we’ll meet again someday.

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Football transfer window quiz: signings that went very wrong, very quickly

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:15:11 GMT2017-06-27T13:15:11Z

Who lasted one day? Who lasted one game? And who couldn’t hack two hours?•Sports quiz of the week Sol Campbell signed a five-year deal with League Two side Notts County in August 2009. How many times did he play for the club?NoneOne FourEightHow many days did Dietmar Hamann spend at Bolton Wanderers after signing for the club from Liverpool in 2006?OneSevenElevenTwentyBefore Ali Dia made his infamous and ill-fated appearance for Southampton in 1996, he had come on as a substitute for which other English club?Kidderminster Harriers BournemouthDagenham & Redbridge Blyth SpartansManchester United signed Massimo Taibi in 1999 as Alex Ferguson tried, unsuccessfully, to replace Peter Schmeichel. The Italian only managed four appearances for the Treble winners; how many goals did he concede?FourEightElevenFifteenDavid Unsworth signed for Aston Villa in the summer of 1998 before moving on to Everton before the start of the season. What reason did he give for wanting to return to Merseyside?He had a pizzeria to run in LiverpoolHis best mate had just signed for Everton He thought it rained too much in Birmingham His commute to work took "two hours even when breaking all the speed limits"Coventry City signed Croatian left-back Robert Jarni from Real Betis for £2.6m in 1998. Which of this season's Champions League semi-finalists signed him for £3.5m a few weeks later?Atlético MadridMonaco JuventusReal MadridArsène Wenger signed Alberto Méndez in 1997 after seeing him in action for a German non-league side. Méndez spent five years on Arsenal's books but only made four league appearances before moving on to which club?Bayern Munich Racing FerrolKilmarnockBirmingham City Wilfried Zaha never started a game for Manchester United in the Premier League. How much did they pay Crystal Palace to sign him?£6m£10m£13m£19mWhich English club signed Jonathan Woodgate after he had made nine league appearances in three years for Real Madrid?MiddlesbroughSunderlandLiverpoolNewcastle UnitedWho made a £500,000 move from Millwall to Leeds in the summer of 2006 before making another £500,000 move from Leeds to Hull City 13 days later?Kevin KilbaneNick BarmbyJimmy BullardDavid Livermore Continue reading...[...]


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The Joy of Six: Diego Maradona

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:30:21 GMT2017-06-23T09:30:21Z

From a debut remembered mainly by opponents to the rousing of Napoli and that goal against England, half a dozen moments that sum up El Diego

“A lot of people claim they were there on 20 October 1976 when we played Talleres de Córdoba at home. The truth is, if everyone who says they were there for that match – my debut in the first team – had actually been there it would have had to be played at the Maracanã, not La Paternal” – Diego Maradona in El Diego, his autobiography

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The legacy of George Best - Football Weekly Meets Dan Gordon

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:55:40 GMT2017-05-26T09:55:40Z

Iain Macintosh speaks to filmmaker Dan Gordon about his documentary George Best: All By Himself, which charts the career of the Manchester United legend through his glory years on the field and the addictions off it that ultimately killed him

On this edition of our Football Weekly Meets interview series, Iain Macintosh speaks to filmmaker (and long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan) Dan Gordon about his documentary chronicling the life and death of George Best.

The film celebrates Best’s footballing legacy but is far from a hagiography and doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of the Manchester United legend’s life: womanising, absent parenting, domestic violence and alcoholism.

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Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea: pre-season friendly – as it happened

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:39:47 GMT2017-07-22T13:39:47Z

Michy Batshuayi scored two fine goals to help Chelsea to a comfortable win over an under-strength Arsenal

Related: Antonio Conte praises Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi after double in Arsenal win

Peep peep! That’s a good win for Chelsea, with Willian and Cesc Fabregas looking really sharp and Michy Batshuayi scoring two cracking goals. Arsenal were rusty, and Arsene Wenger is a lucky man if he survives this defeat. Thanks for your company, bye!

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Mourinho and Guardiola content after Manchester United's win over City – video

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:03:15 GMT2017-07-21T09:03:15Z

Manchester United manager José Mourinho says he is satisfied with his side’s 2-0 win in the pre-season meeting with Manchester City on Thursday night in Houston. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford sealed the victory for United in the first Manchester derby to be played on foreign soil. City manager Guardiola is also pleased with his team’s showing despite the loss

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Manchester United v Manchester City: pre-season friendly – as it happened

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:58:59 GMT2017-07-21T03:58:59Z

That’s all for now. Thanks for following along with us and do check back later for Jamie Jackson’s full match report.

Related: Ederson makes inglorious start as Manchester United account for City

There’s the whistle and United have seen off City in the first ever Manchester derby played on foreign soil.

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Norway in danger of elimination after Belgium defeat at Women’s Euro 2017

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:01:02 GMT2017-07-20T23:01:02Z

• Norway 0-2 Belgium
• Holland 1-0 Denmark

The two-times champions Norway must beat Denmark on Monday to avoid elimination from the Women’s Euro 2017 after a shock 2-0 defeat by Belgium.

Related: Euro 2017 fixtures and results: interactive wallchart

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Manchester City’s £44.5m bid for Benjamin Mendy rejected by Monaco

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:34:00 GMT2017-07-20T21:34:00Z

• Monaco demand fee closer to the £50m paid for Kyle Walker
• Doubts over Jadon Sancho’s future after he is left off City’s pre-season tour

Manchester City have had a €50m (£44.5m) bid for the left-back Benjamin Mendy rejected, with Monaco demanding a fee closer to the £50m plus add-ons paid to Tottenham Hotspur for the right-back Kyle Walker.

Related: Monaco threaten to report clubs to Fifa for tapping up Kylian Mbappé

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Africa Cup of Nations to switch from January staging to June in 2019

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:32:16 GMT2017-07-20T21:32:16Z

• Tournament will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams, Caf decides
• Change of timing will be welcomed by European club sides

The Africa Cup of Nations will move from January to June from its next staging in Cameroon in 2019 and be expanded from 16 to 24 teams.

The change of timing will be welcomed by European clubs, many of whom have lost players at vital periods of the season because of the time slot.

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England’s new aura has Karen Carney thinking of gold at Euro 2017

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:29:00 GMT2017-07-20T21:29:00Z

• Winger says England now like Germany and the USA
• ‘Why shouldn’t we be confident? We’ve got some excellent players’

Karen Carney believes England have developed the sort of aura that distinguishes champions from also-rans. Although the Chelsea winger does not turn 30 until next month, the European Championship is her eighth major tournament and she can remember a time when the Lionesses felt, if not out of place, a little uncomfortable in elite company.

“I think there’s a bit of an aura about this team now,” said the creator of England’s fifth goal – scored by Jordan Nobbs – in Wednesday’s 6-0 humiliation of Group D rivals Scotland. “Germany have had it for years and the United States have it but it’s what England have lacked going into major tournaments for the last 10 years.”

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Manchester City among clubs accused by Monaco of tapping up Kylian Mbappé

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:27:00 GMT2017-07-20T17:27:00Z

• Monaco threaten to report clubs to Fifa, alleging unauthorised approaches
• PSG and Real Madrid also accused in battle to sign highly regarded forward

Manchester City are one of four clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, whom Monaco are threatening to report for allegedly making an unauthorised approach to Kylian Mbappé.

Monaco’s move reveals City are targeting the 18-year-old forward, considered one of Europe’s finest young players.

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West Ham confirm agreed terms with Bayer Leverkusen to sign Javier Hernández

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:22:22 GMT2017-07-20T17:22:22Z

• Mexico international will join Hammers for fee believed to be £13m
• Striker will fly to London to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical

West Ham United have agreed a deal with Bayer Leverkusen to sign the former Manchester United striker Javier Hernández for a fee believed to be around £13m.

West Ham have confirmed the 29-year-old Mexican will arrive in London in the next few days to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical.

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Becoming a lot like one of The Fiver's Tin-powered sessions | The Fiver

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:02:20 GMT2017-07-20T16:02:20Z

Today: Glenn Whelan, the irresistible Jozy Altidore and a Stop Football campaign success story

If the Fiver had a penny for every Premier League manager we’ve heard demanding time to implement a project, philosophy or identity, The Fiver would still be skint but at least the brewers of Tin would be richer. Ailsa from Home and Away may or may not have issued such a demand – we don’t remember, to level with you – but the peculiar thing is that his reign at Stoke City is becoming a lot like one of the Fiver’s Tin-powered sessions: the longer it goes on, the less clear everything gets. So as Hughes prepares for his fifth season in charge at the Potteries, The Fiver feels moved to ask, possibly to the air of Haddaway’s greatest hit, what is Stoke? (Sparky don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them).

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Football quiz: the Premier League's French connection

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:41:56 GMT2017-07-20T09:41:56Z

Alexandre Lacazette and Tiemoué Bakayoko are the latest in a long list of French players to move to England. How much do you know about their predecessors?Who was the only French player to make an appearance on the first day of the Premier League in August 1992? Rémi Garde Eric CantonaDavid GinolaFrank LeboeufHow long did it take Thierry Henry to score for Arsenal when he joined the club in 1999?Fourteen minutes Four matches Nine matchesFifteen matches How many of the 11 players who started for France in the Euro 2000 final spent some of their careers in the Premier League?FiveSixEightAll 11Before Paul Pogba signed for Manchester United at the start of the 2016-17 season, which of these players held the distinction of being the most expensive French footballer in Premier League history?Eliaquim Mangala Samir Nasri Morgan SchneiderlinAnthony MartialWho has captained France more than any another player?Didier DeschampsMarcel DesaillyHugo LlorisLaurent BlancClaude Makélélé didn't score a goal for Chelsea until the last few weeks of his second season in England. What type of goal was it?A free-kick from 30 yards An overhead kick from a corner A rebound off a penalty he missedA towering header in which he outjumped Rio Ferdinand Christophe Dugarry became a cult hero when he scored five goals in four games to save which club from relegation in 2003?West Brom Birmingham CityLeicester City Norwich City Which Premier League club has fielded the most French players over the last 25 years?ArsenalManchester UnitedNewcastle UnitedSunderlandWhich French player has scored in a Manchester derby and a Merseyside derby in the same year?Louis SahaNicolas Anelka Gael Clichy Mikael SilvestreWho was the first French player to win the Premier League golden boot?Thierry HenryNicolas AnelkaLouis SahaEric Cantona Continue reading...[...]


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Football transfer rumours: Manchester United to move for Renato Sanches?

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 07:28:25 GMT2017-07-20T07:28:25Z

Today’s fluff is wallowing in it

This month Renato Sanches apologised for posting a video on social media of himself counting a huge wad of cash. It had been “tasteless” and “thoughtless”, admitted the 19-year-old midfielder after many people offered similar criticisms. The Mill isn’t going to hold that post against Sanches because the Mill did far more tasteless and thoughtless things when it was 19 and was just lucky that no one was interested enough to be watching. So the Mill is happy to give young Sanches a chance to learn and move on. And the Portuguese midfielder, rarely used by Bayern Munich, could soon have the perfect opportunity to show just how tasteful and considerable he has become, because Manchester United are thinking of lavishing yet more riches on him.

With Spurs still refusing to release Eric Dier, United are plotting a move for Sanches, who Bayern have made available for £40m. Milan are also interested but if the transfer to Old Trafford goes through, all Sanches has to do to show how much he has grown up is post a video of himself doing something that will amuse people rather than antagonise them. Maybe do a dance with Jesse Lingard or give José Mourinho a clip round the ear.

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Gold Cup quarter-final: USA 2-0 El Salvador – as it happened

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:06:46 GMT2017-07-20T03:06:46Z

That’s all for now. Thanks as always for following along with us and do check back the match report below.

Related: USA survive biting incident to see off El Salvador in Gold Cup quarter-final

And there’s the final whistle and the United States will survive, but questions will persist entering Saturday’s semi-final against Costa Rica in Arlington.

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José Mourinho says Lukaku still has to prove himself at the highest level

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:24:00 GMT2017-07-20T02:24:00Z

José Mourinho says Manchester United have acquired a top player in Romelu Lukaku, but the £75m striker still has to prove himself in big games

José Mourinho says Manchester United have acquired a top player in Romelu Lukaku but the manager admits the striker still has to prove himself at the highest level.

The Belgian was signed from Everton for £75m at the start of last week and scored his first goal for United in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. Lukaku has registered 85 times in the Premier League since 2012 – second only to Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero – but has never played in the Champions League, as he will next term.

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Jodie Taylor’s hat-trick gives England a flying start to Euro 2017

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 22:17:00 GMT2017-07-19T22:17:00Z

• England 6-0 Scotland
• Taylor 10, 26, 53; White 32, Nobbs 87, Duggan 90

Jodie Taylor simultaneously ruined Scotland’s European Championship debut and sent English optimism levels soaring courtesy of a master class in intelligent movement and perfectly weighted finishing.

Such attributes brought the Arsenal striker a hat-trick as Mark Sampson’s England suggested their status as one of the favourites to win Euro 2017 is anything but overblown.

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England v Scotland: Euro 2017 – as it happened

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:41:28 GMT2017-07-19T20:41:28Z

England overpower their old rivals with a 6-0 victory in Group D, Jodie Taylor’s hat-trick added to by goals from Ellen White, Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan

So, England were ultimately far superior – just faster, stronger, quicker, technically better and of course far more clinical. Nobody had really expected any other outcome but Scotland will feel disappointed with the two late goals, which may well have made any hope of qualifying from the group much harder, and will also reflect that they had started the first half well before being carved open a mite too easily.

But England were convincing. They controlled the game well, on the whole, and certainly took their chances. Taylor is a proper, goalpoaching striker and Duggan looks a sharp deputy; Kirby has wonderful ability on the ball and kept finding pockets nobody else could; White worked intelligently, with a goal and assist, while Nobbs, for my money, is as good a midfielder as any when she plays like this. Sampson will be very pleased with what he saw there – but also well aware that there are much tougher tasks ahead.

Related: Jodie Taylor’s hat-trick gives England a flying start to Euro 2017

England make the statement they had hoped for.

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Everton suffer double injury blow to Ross Barkley and Ramiro Funes Mori

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:32:32 GMT2017-07-19T17:32:32Z

• Tottenham target Barkley to miss four weeks following groin surgery
• Defender Funes Mori out for ‘six to nine months’ with knee injury

Ross Barkley will miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery on a groin problem that has curtailed his pre-season with Everton. His team-mate Ramiro Funes Mori, meanwhile, could miss the bulk of the new campaign owing to complications in his recovery from a knee operation.

Barkley has missed Everton’s trips to Tanzania and the Netherlands and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks. The midfielder will miss the club’s Europa League third-round qualifier plus the Premier League opener against Stoke City, though whether he would have featured in Ronald Koeman’s plans is doubtful given the stand-off over his new contract.

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Chelsea confirm deal agreed to sign Álvaro Morata from Real Madrid

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:06:08 GMT2017-07-19T16:06:08Z

  • Chelsea agree to pay club record fee which could reach £70m
  • Forward will fly to England from United States for medical

Chelsea are on the verge of bolstering their attack for their Premier League title defence after agreeing a club record deal worth an initial £58m with Real Madrid to sign the Spain forward Álvaro Morata.

Discussions have been ongoing with Madrid since Chelsea lost out on their first-choice, Romelu Lukaku, to Manchester United, with a breakthrough achieved on Wednesday. United have paid an initial £75m to Everton for the Belgian. Chelsea’s fee for Morata eclipses the £50m they gave Liverpool for Fernando Torres in 2011 and could rise to £70m with achievable add-ons.

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The Fiver | Subjected to Mel Gibson’s assault on the Scottish accent

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:13:26 GMT2017-07-19T15:13:26Z

In today’s Fiver: Euro 2017, Sam Allardyce and plenty more besides

“If I fail to plan, I plan to fail,” The Fiver has never said, so imagine the bafflement when Mark Sampson’s painstaking pre-match regimen for Wednesday’s Auld Enemy clash revealed itself to these jaded eyes. Sampson had a trick up his sleeve for his England players, who are heavily favoured to begin their Euro 2017 campaign with a comfortable win in Utrecht, to jolt them out of any complacency. It was a history lesson, but the kind of history lesson your teacher would put on during lessons five and six on a Friday when they fancied phoning it in. On went the telly, in went the DVD … and the Lionesses could feast their eyes on, among other monolithic moments from times past, a selection of clips from Braveheart.

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PSG to hold talks over £196m deal to capture Neymar from Barcelona

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:41:29 GMT2017-07-19T13:41:29Z

• French club will discuss possible move with forward’s father
• Barça certain Neymar will stay but PSG hope deal can be struck

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to hold talks over a world-record €222m (£196m) deal to buy Neymar from Barcelona. Although Barça are insisting the forward will stay, PSG are getting more optimistic they may be able to sign him.

Related: Where are the young goalscorers available to buy? | Paul Wilson

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Manchester City set to sign Real Madrid right-back Danilo for £26.5m

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:34:02 GMT2017-07-19T12:34:02Z

• City reach agreement with European champions for full-back

• Brazilian set to challenge Kyle Walker for place in starting XI

Manchester City are set to sign their second right-back in a week with Real Madrid’s Danilo on the verge of following in Kyle Walker’s footsteps and joining Pep Guardiola’s side. City have reached an agreement with Madrid to sign the 26-year-old for €30m (£26.5m) with a potential €5m in add-ons.

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe's top five leagues

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Where are the young goalscorers available to buy? | Paul Wilson

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:16:58 GMT2017-07-19T12:16:58Z

There has been much talk about strikers this summer but apart from Kylian Mbappé, exciting and emerging names are not exactly flooding the marketAccording to just about every manager interviewed on the subject, not to mention the accumulated wisdom of more than 100 years of professional football, the hardest task in the game is putting the ball into the back of the net. It often looks deceptively easy, a tap over the line here, a well-timed header there, but at the highest level you are up against organised defences and highly-trained goalkeepers. Opportunities do not normally come along that often in a game, and frequently most of the team will have been involved in some way in creating the space to set up the attack, so that when you finally arrive – as Pep Guardiola is fond of putting it, meaning arrive in front of goal – the pressure on the guy on the end of the move is considerable.Some find it easy to handle and finish almost instinctively; think Jamie Vardy in Leicester’s title-winning season. Then when it becomes expected it becomes harder to do; think Vardy last term or even Diego Costa drying up for Chelsea. Some players seem to emerge from their teenage years as born goalscorers – think Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen or Wayne Rooney – only to find the necessary fearlessness and decisiveness more difficult to reproduce once they are marked men in their mid-20s. Occasionally strikers manage to improve with age and experience, by looking after themselves and bringing all their knowledge and maturity to bear, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jermain Defoe demonstrated last season. A reliable goalscorer at any age is an invaluable asset, which is why Manchester United have happily han[...]


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Lucas Leiva: a role model who is leaving Liverpool after 10 rollercoaster years

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:18:30 GMT2017-07-18T17:18:30Z

The Brazilian, who has joined Lazio, was heavily criticised when he joined from Grêmio in 2007 but earned the respect of his team-mates and the 30-year-old will be sorely missed in the Anfield dressing room

Lucas Leiva had heard the lament many times before but it was still a surprise when it was repeated at his testimonial dinner by Jürgen Klopp. An atypical Brazilian would be the politest summary of the Liverpool manager’s on-stage “tribute” in April, when he gave thanks that he could at least rely on Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to sprinkle the team with ingenuity and flair. It went unsaid but Liverpool could rely on the duo’s less-heralded compatriot for almost everything else.

The Liverpool squad have lost their longest-serving player with Lucas’ £5m transfer to Lazio. The club is not losing its most gifted or decorated player and many will be bemused by any fuss over the midfielder’s departure after 10 years but Klopp is losing an asset that he, and Liverpool managers before him, came to trust implicitly and value for his influence on and off the pitch.

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Will the wait for an English manager to win the Premier League ever end? | Paul Wilson

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 17:00:10 GMT2017-07-17T17:00:10Z

After 25 Premier League years an English coach is still to lift the title and the supply of qualified foreign coaches suggests the wait may continue awhile

The Premier League has been going for 25 years and it is still no closer to being won by a team with an English manager.

Actually that might not be completely true. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth finished ninth last season and in the arid landscape of English achievement since Howard Wilkinson took Leeds United to the final old First Division title in 1992 that possibly counts as progress. There have certainly been seasons, 2015-16 being the most recent, when the top 10 positions were the exclusive province of foreign coaches.

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