Javier Hernandez wins Bundesliga Player Of The Month award again

Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has been named Bundesliga player of the month for December, the second consecutive month that the Mexican international has received the honour.
Hernandez scored five times for Leverkusen in December, or once every 52 minutes — the best rate in the league.

That man again! @bayer04_enstar @CH14_is Player of the Month for December! More here: https://t.co/ArrVQpz5sY pic.twitter.com/MzGkT6g9LB—

Bundesliga (@Bundesliga_EN) December 30, 2015

Hernandez, 27, completed a hat trick in his side’s 5-0 rout of Borussia Monchengladbach and added a goal each against Hertha Berlin and Ingolstadt.

The former Manchester United man also scored in all five games that Leverkusen played in December, including a Champions League draw against Barcelona and a German Cup win over Unterhaching.
He has scored 11 goals in the Bundesliga and 19 in all competitions since joining his new club in the summer.

It is the first time a Mexican will be winning the award back to back.

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Cristiano Ronaldo said that he isn’t bothered by those who criticise him for being overconfident.

Manchester United are closing in on a £35m deal for Lazio’s Brazil international midfielder Felipe Anderson, 22.

Valencia boss Gary Neville says he has no desire to take on the Manchester United or England jobs in the short term.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, 48, is learning English and would like to manage Chelsea or Manchester United.

Arsene Wenger says right-back Mathieu Debuchy, 30, could leave the club after losing his place to 20-year-old Hector Bellerin.

Debuchy wants to leave so he stays in contention for a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad. Roma and Lyon could be possible destinations.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed that he would not be interested in a move away from the French champions in January.

Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has dismissed speculation that he could join Real Madrid, insisting he is going nowhere this winter.

Stephan El Shaarawy is set to return from his loan spell with Monaco early and Roma are interested in signing him from AC Milan in January.

Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez has indicated that the club could re-sign their former player Denis Suarez from Villarreal during the January transfer window.

Former Italy manager Marcello Lippi has told Gazzetta dello Sport Carlo Ancelotti is the world’s best coach and predicted that he will excel at Bayern Munich.

Chelsea are set to recall Christian Atsu from his loan spell at Bournemouth

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Arsenal and Liverpool will have to wait until the summer if they want to sign Paris St-Germain winger Ezequiel Lavezzi as the 30-year-old is unlikely to leave the French champions in January.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is considering a £4m bid for Leicester’s England under-20 international Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea, who currently languish in 14th place, have not put relegation clauses into the contracts of their star players, meaning they would be committed to a wage bill of around £200m if they were demoted to the Championship.

Pep Guardiola has made Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte and Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan his main targets at Manchester City, but he will wait to sign Thiago Alcantara.

Manchester City have made Schalke youngster Leroy Sane a prime transfer target but are hopeful of paying less than the £32 million asking price.

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Chelsea scout Piet de Visser believes the talent of striker Bertrand Traore, 20, is being “wasted on the bench”.

Harry Redknapp has told former club Spurs not to sign West Brom striker Saido Berahino. The White Hart Lane club had several bids for the 22-year-old rejected by the Baggies last summer.

Jurgen Klopp says he is not bothered about being called ‘a soft German’ by Sam Allardyce.

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Everton boss Roberto Martinez says skipper Phil Jagielka will return from a long-term injury within the next 10 days.

Everton have offered Grasshopper Zurich’s Switzerland forward Shani Tarashaj a four-and-a-half-year contract. Grasshopper want the 20-year-old loaned back to them for the rest of the season if a deal is agreed.

Dimitri Payet is expected to return from ankle trouble for West Ham against Liverpool at Upton Park on Saturday.

Norwich bid 10m euros (£7.3m) for Inter Milan’s Italy international central defender Andrea Ranocchia.

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Manchester United and Scotland legend Denis Law has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list.
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City are considering making a bid for Liverpool forward Jerome Sinclair after contract talks with the Anfield outfit stalled.

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Having sent scouts to watch him on at least five occasions, Atletico Madrid are keen to bring Watford striker Odion Ighalo to Spain for around £12 million.

Arda Turan will wear the No.7 shirt for Barcelona, while Aleix Vidal has been handed No.22.

Real Madrid are keen on Roma’s Miralem Pjanic and recently made contact with the midfielder’s representatives.

Barcelona forward Sandro Ramirez, 20, has emerged as a target for Tottenham in January.

Inter will make a move for Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta at some point in 2016 with manager Roberto Mancini having worked with the full-back during his time in England.

Alexis Sanchez wants Arsenal to make a move for Javier Hernandez in January, even though the striker has already played in the Champions League with Bayer Leverkusen.

Arsenal are keen on a move for Barcelona midfielder Sergi Samper and are willing to offer €6 million for the 20-year-old.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has told Real Madrid that he wants to join them next summer.

Chelsea have made another approach for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22.

Louis van Gaal would be the ideal candidate to take over as technical director of the Netherlands national team, says current coach Danny Blind.

United are preparing a £33m bid for Lazio and Brazil winger Felipe Anderson, 22.

The Red Devils are willing to allow goalkeeper Sam Johnstone leave the club on loan in January, with a number of Championship clubs interested.

Cesc Fabregas remains part of Guus Hiddink’s plans but is now set to compete for the No.10 role instead of a deeper midfielder position. Juventus and Inter are keen on the Spaniard.

Juventus are set to sign Genoa midfielder Rolando Mandragora. The 18-year-old, who has been labelled as ‘the next Marco Verratti’, was also wanted by Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

Lazio are set to look elsewhere after admitting defeat in their bid to lure Kurt Zouma away from Chelsea to the Italian capital.

Both AC Milan and Juventus are interested in signing Ever Banega in January. The midfielder’s contract expires in the summer and he could leave Sevilla for a small fee during the transfer window.

Italian club AC Milan would like to sign the Blues’ 31-year-old defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Having failed in their bid to sign him in the summer, Juventus will return to Chelsea and try to prise Oscar away from Stamford Bridge.

Barcelona forward Sandro Ramirez, 20, has emerged as a target for Tottenham in January.

The Montreal Impact are actively pursuing strikers, with Didier Drogba very unlikely to return amid speculation he is joining Chelsea’s coaching staff.

Liverpool are considering making a £4m bid for Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, 19. The England Under-20 international, who was targeted by Arsenal in the summer, is on loan at Huddersfield.

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren is planning a £10m bid for CSKA Moscow’s Russia midfielder Alan Dzagoev, 25, as he looks to add more quality to his squad in January.

Tottenham are targeting 22-year-old West Brom striker Saido Berahino in a swap deal that would see Spurs winger Andros Townsend, 24, join the Baggies.

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Swansea City’s French striker Bafetimbi Gomis, 30, could be a January target for Qatari club Lekhwiya.

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Bamford is seeking to stay in the Premier League despite confirming he wants to leave loan club Crystal Palace.

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Norwich City are closing in on a £2.2 million move for Dinamo Zagreb defender Ivo Pinto having beaten off the likes of Stuttgart and Anderlecht.

The Canaries have agreed an £8million deal to sign Steven Naismith from Everton.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce will make a move for Bayern Munich’s 6ft 5ins centre-back Jan Kirchhoff, 25.

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Louis van Gaal, 64, plans to resign as Manchester United manager if they lose a fifth game in a row – against Chelsea on 28 December.

Manchester City could be a step closer to making Pep Guardiola their next manager after director of football Txiki Begiristain met with the 44-year-old Bayern Munich boss last week.

Chelsea have chosen Manuel Pellegrini to become their next permanent manager and view the Chilean as the ideal candidate after Jose Mourinho’s turbulent reign.

Real Madrid are doing everything in their power to persuade Jose Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu, following his sacking at Chelsea, but the Portuguese boss would prefer a move to Manchester United.

Mourinho, 52, would like to replace Roy Hodgson as England manager if the 68-year-old leaves the job after next summer’s European Championship.

The Football Association, however, is lining up Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew, 54, and Valencia manager Gary Neville, 40, to replace Hodgson.

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink says he will speak to striker Diego Costa about his temperament after the 27-year-old Spain international was booked against Watford, ruling him out of Monday’s match against Manchester United.

Didier Drogba has recommended to Chelsea’s decision-makers that the Stamford Bridge club should take steps to re-sign Romelu Lukaku back from Everton.

Carlo Ancelotti has begun planning his summer signings for when he takes over at Bayern Munich & will return to former club Real Madrid to try sign Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Real Madrid will not make a bid for Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea in January, but will launch a £40 million bid in the summer of 2016.

The Spanish giants are keeping close tabs on Dinamo Zagreb playmaker Ante Coric, a Croatian Under-21 international. A financial proposal has not yet been made by the Spanish club.

With Denis Cheryshev struggling for first-team appearances at Real Madrid, Villarreal are looking at making a move for the Russian winger in the winter window.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is said to have made contact on several occasions with Neymar’s camp over a move to the Bernabeu, though each team the answer has been the same: not interested.

Barcelona director Ariedo Braida is said to be a big fan of Lazio midfielder Antonio Candreva, with the player himself interested in a move to Camp Nou. Barca would be unwilling to meet the player’s current valuation of €35 million, however.

Manchester City are planning a £30m bid to take Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, 28, to Etihad Stadium.

However, Leicester City will offer Jamie Vardy a new contract that will see his wages doubled from their current £40,000 per week.

Kevin de Bruyne has urged his Manchester City team-mates to give injured captain Vincent Kompany a happy new year by claiming top spot in the league for his return.

The agent of 19-year-old Schalke midfielder Leroy Sane has told Liverpool he does not want to discuss a potential transfer for the £11m-rated player until the summer.

In the market for a new goalkeeper, Liverpool are weighing up the merits of a move for Lazio shot-stopper Federico Marchetti.

Alternatively, the Reds could bid £15 million for Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera as they look to replace the out-of-form Simon Mignolet.

Arsenal will make a £33 million bid in January for Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak as they look to cover the loss of Francis Coquelin in midfield.

Arsenal have agreed a £5 million deal to bring Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny to the Emirates Stadium, with the 23-year-old having undergone a medical.

Tigres winger Jurgen Damm, said to be one of the fastest players in the world with the ball at his feet, has attracted the interest of Arsene Wenger. The £10.1m-rated wideman is also being monitored by PSG and Sporting CP.

Manchester United are set to lodge a £10 million bid for Mainz striker Yoshinori Muto in a bid to bolster their attacking options.

Former United striker Dwight Yorke said his old club were “painful to watch” as they lost 2-0 at Stoke.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez wants to sign Matt Ritchie, 26, from Bournemouth but West Ham, West Brom and Manchester United are also keen on the winger.

Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor will be allowed to leave next month for £3m – and three clubs in the United Arab Emirates are interested in signing the 29-year-old forward.

The Villans will offer QPR £8m for striker Charlie Austin, 26, in the January transfer window.

West Ham United and Crystal Palace are on the trail of Juventus striker Simone Zaza, who could be available for £19.9 million, as the Italian is behind Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata in the Turin pecking order.

Stoke are considering a permanent move for 25-year-old Ghana forward David Accam – the top scorer for MLS side Chicago Fire last season – after he impressed during a trial.

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Manchester United are ready to make a move for Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward looks to muscle in ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea.

 

But, City are set to land Pep Guardiola after offering him the most lucrative contract in the history of football. The Spanish coach will receive a record-shattering €25 million (£18m) per season.

 

Another report suggests Guardiola is close to agreeing a three-year-deal with City but is holding out for an offer from either United or Chelsea before he makes a final decision.

 

Chelsea have sounded out Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli as Hiddink’s potential successor next season.

 

Chelsea would have to continue paying Mourinho, who was sacked as Blues manager earlier this month, even if he became United boss.

 

The Blues are also plotting bids for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22, and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, 24, in a deal worth £110m and could finance the move by selling playmaker Eden Hazard, 24.

 

Liverpool’s hopes of signing Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi, 28, have been boosted after the player’s agent told Italian radio station Radio Marte he is 99% certain to leave in January.

 

The father of reported Liverpool target Marko Grujic has confiscated the passport of the 18-year-old Red Star Belgrade midfielder in an attempt to block a move despite the Serbian club saying they have accepted a £5.14m bid.

 

Arsenal have suffered a blow after one of their targets in the January transfer window, Jorginho, signed a new deal to keep him at Napoli until 2020.

 

Arsenal full-back Calum Chambers, 20, is heading back to Southampton on loan – 17 months after joining the Gunners from the Saints for £16m.

 

The Gunners are in the hunt for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, who could cost up to £25 million, though Manchester United and Tottenham are also interested in the Algerian.

 

Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez, 22, has claimed that both Manchester United and Tottenham want to sign him but wants to stay with Steve McClaren’s side.

 

Paris Saint-Germain are set to tie down Marco Verratti to a new five-year contract, as the Ligue 1 champions attempt to hold onto one of their prized assets.

 

Milan are set to swoop for out-of-favour Sunderland winger Jeremain Lens as they look to bolster their options in wide areas.

 

Napoli duo Juan Zuniga and Jonathan de Guzman are close to agreeing moves to Bournemouth.

 

Bournemouth are set to swoop for Manchester United youngster Ben Pearson in a January deal worth up to £1million.

 

Manchester City’s new badge may have been leaked accidently by the Intellectual Property Office ahead of its intended launch date on Boxing Day.

 

Leicester City’s owners will reward the club’s fans at their last home game of the year against Manchester City by giving them all a free beer.

 

The hiring of Gary Neville as manager of Valencia was based on his qualifications not friendship, according to club owner Peter Lim.

Lim, a Singaporean businessman, co-owns semi-professional Salford City F.C. with Neville and other members of the Manchester United class of 1992.

 

Arsene Wenger has defended under-pressure Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal and said his treatment is “disrespectful.”

 

Jordi Cruyff could delay Fulham’s plans to appoint Maccabi Tel Aviv boss Slavisa Jokanovic before 26 December.

 

Lionel Messi told his countryman and former Argentina international Juan Sebastian Veron that he had a desire to play for Internazionale in Serie A.

 

Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Rafinha has backed Neymar to overtake Blaugrana teammate Lionel Messi as the best in the world, but cautions the “from another planet” Argentine is still No. 1 and is his pick to win a fifth Ballon d’Or trophy in January.

 

David Villa has crowned the Barcelona attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez as “undoubtedly” the best in the club’s history.

Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, won the 2011 Champions League with the Blaugrana alongside Messi and Pedro up front. That team’s triumph came just two seasons after the trio of Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o fired the Catalans to the club’s third UCL crown.

While three years before that still, Messi, Ronaldinho and Eto’o often provided the offence as Barcelona stormed to Champions League glory against Arsenal in Paris.

“I can say I was part of one of the best forward lines that the club has had.”

 

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was told he can match Lionel Messi’s scoring record for the year with 21 goals against Norwich on Saturday. “No problem,” he said on Twitter.

 

Former Liverpool and England keeper David James could be a surprise appointment as the new Luton Town boss.

 

Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Southampton are all pondering a £10million swoop for out-of-favour Chelsea striker Loic Remy in January.

 

Montreal Impact are in talks with Didier Drogba amid reports he is set for a player-coach role back at Chelsea.

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Jose Mourinho’s agent denies a deal has been agreed for the former Chelsea boss to replace Louis van Gaal at Manchester United.

 

Louis van Gaal stormed out of a news conference after blaming the media for stories that he is on the brink of losing his job.

 

Van Gaal is still clinging onto his job as Man United manager because club officials want to stand by their word and give him the chance to meet the effective ultimatum he was set.

 

Real Madrid are set to move for recently sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, with president Florentino Perez worried that head coach Rafa Benitez has lost the dressing room after falling out with James Rodriguez and Isco.

 

But Former Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano says he finds it hard to believe speculation in the local media that Mourinho will replace Benitez as coach in the coming days.

 

If Mourinho is appointed as United boss, his first move would be to sign Galatasaray playmaker Wesley Sneijder.

 

United are also considering Paris St-Germain boss Laurent Blanc as a potential replacement for Van Gaal, should they fail to land Pep Guardiola.

 

One of the conditions for Carlo Ancelotti signing for Bayern Munich is that Robert Lewandowski will not be sold to Real Madrid.

 

After the Spanish midfielder was booed by Chelsea fans in the 3-1 win over Sunderland, Real Madrid are interested in bringing Cesc Fabregas to the Santiago Bernabeu, as the playmaker has fallen out with a number of Blues team-mates.

 

Fabregas has welcomed Pat Nevin’s apology after the latter suggested the midfielder was leaking negative comments about Mourinho

 

Pep Guardiola will join Manchester City in the summer according to reports in Germany, despite rumours linking the Bayern Munich boss with Manchester United.

 

Manchester City could join Chelsea in the race to sign £30 million-rated Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy.

 

Chelsea are looking to make Inter Milan and former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini their next permanent manager.

 

Alternatively, Abramovich will have to change Chelsea’s transfer strategy to make Diego Simeone the club’s next permanent manager, as the Argentine would demand the final say over technical director Michael Emenalo on all incoming players.

 

Meanwhile, the Blues have agreed to sign £30m-rated Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira, 25, from Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

Manchester United have been given the green light by PSG to sign winger Lucas Moura, with Liverpool expected to rival Louis van Gaal’s side for the £22 million-rated Brazilian.

 

Wayne Rooney has led crisis talks between senior Manchester United players and Louis van Gaal. The striker is desperate to save the Red Devils’ season.

 

Liverpool are lining up a January move for Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is considering his future having fallen out of favour at Camp Nou.

 

Red Star Belgrade have confirmed they have accepted a £5.1million bid from Liverpool for Marko Grujic, who will stay in Serbia on loan.

 

Ashley Cole is ready to make a fresh start in MLS and join Steven Gerrard at LA Galaxy after a forgettable spell with Serie A side Roma.

 

Arsenal are ready to start contract talks with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, with the duo expected to take home a combined total of £300,000 per week.

 

But French midfielder Mathieu Flamini, 31, is set to leave the Gunners when his deal expires in the summer despite having never lost a league game at home.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, has given his Twitter followers a look around his £4.8m mansion, which has seven bedrooms, a swimming pool and mini football pitch.

 

Real want Andriy Yarmolenko, the new ‘pearl’ of Ukrainian football who had been groped by FC Barcelona.

 

Real are interested in 17-year-old Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe.

 

Ex-Norway striker and German television pundit Jan Age Fjortoft believes Van Gaal will be sacked and replaced by assistant Ryan Giggs in the next few days, possibly even before Christmas.

 

Everton are set to be taken over by an American-led consortium within the next six weeks.

 

Aston Villa are prepared to offer West Ham reject Morgan Amalfitano a route back into the Premier League

 

Villa are considering Leicester City midfielder Gokhan Inler and Bodeaux winger Wahbi Khazri as possible transfer targets

 

Cameroon defender Joel Matip, 24, is closing in on a move to Liverpool after rejecting a contract offer from Schalke.

 

Bournemouth look set to beat Watford to the signing of 22-year-old Roma forward Juan Iturbe.

 

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan, 36, is interested in playing in the MLS.

 

Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony, 27, says he was “disappointed” he was dropped for Sergio Aguero by manager Manuel Pellegrini for Monday’s match against Arsenal.

 

Sampdoria want to sign Leicester’s 28-year-old French defender Yohan Benalouane in the January transfer window.

 

Southampton tweeted a pictureof goalkeeper Fraser Forster, 27, on his return to full training after nine months out with a knee injury.

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Jose Mourinho is willing to take a £16m pay cut to become Manchester United’s next manager.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson will help United’s hierarchy decide on Van Gaal’s future at Old Trafford.

 

Van Gaal will have extra security if he is still in charge of the club when the Red Devils face Chelsea at home on 28 December.

 

Meanwhile, United are ready to pay £51m for Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, 27.

 

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has told outgoing Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola he will give him anything he wants in a bid to lure him to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

 

Abramovich is planning to make Guardiola the world’s highest-paid manager and will also fund a massive overhaul of the Blues’ playing staff.

 

Fulham hope to unveil former Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic as their new manager this week.

 

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich exit will not be followed by an exodus of key players joining their old boss at a new club, says the Bavarian side’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

 

Roma striker Juan Iturbe has arrived in London to complete a loan move to Watford after falling out of favour in the Italian capital.

 

New Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink is said to have asked the London club to make a move for Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, who would be open to a switch due to a poor relationship with Rafa Benitez.

 

With several Chelsea stars’ futures up in the air following a dismal start to the season, Rafa Benitez is said to be keeping tabs on former Barca star Cesc Fabregas with a view to bringing the Spaniard to Real Madrid

 

Chelsea are looking for a new attacker and it is said that Atletico’s Jackson Martinez fits the bill. The Colombian allegedly hasn’t impressed Diego Simeone and the ever-controversial Diego Costa could be used in a part-exchange deal.

 

Papy Djilobodji is in talks over a move to Besiktas, despite only moving to Chelsea in the summer.

 

Arsenal will be without star Alexis Sanchez for another three weeks, manager Arsene Wenger said after Monday’s 2-1 win over Manchester City.

 

Riyad Mahrez, 24, is likely to stay at Leicester in January according to his agent, despite interest from other Premier League clubs including Manchester United.

 

Manchester City scouts are interested in 19-year-old Partizan Belgrade winger Andrija Zivkovic.

 

City are set to rival Napoli for Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes and will make a huge bid for the 22-year-old.

 

Midfielder Marko Grujic, 19, has agreed a five-year contract with Liverpool ahead of completing a £5m move from Red Star Belgrade.

 

Liverpool and Everton are watching Marseille captain Steve Mandanda, with the 30-year-old keeper considering a move to the Premier League.

 

Aston Villa boss Remi Garde is hopeful of signing Mandanda.

 

Villa are keeping close tabs on Bordeaux midfielder Wahbi Khazri with a view to a summer move.

 

Tottenham are preparing another attempt to bring West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino to White Hart Lane. The 22-year-old was the subject of a £23m bid by the London club in the summer.

 

Spurs will look to sign Valencia’s former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo, 30, if they fail to revive a deal for Berahino.

 

Southampton have joined Arsenal and Liverpool in showing interest in 18-year-old Charlton forward Ademola Lookman.

 

Roberto Mancini is said to be in the market for a new midfielder, with the Inter boss closely monitoring the situation of Lazio’s Lucas Biglia.

 

Roma striker Juan Iturbe has arrived in London to complete a loan move to Watford after falling out of favour in the Italian capital.

 

Saul Niguez has been denied a January move to Arsenal after Atletico Madrid midfielder Thiago picked up a serious injury.

 

Arsenal’s players celebrated their win over Manchester City on Twitter. Mesut Ozil, who provided both assists in his side’s 2-1 victory on Monday, expressed himself through emojis.

 

Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey tweeted his thanksto the home fans. The 24-year-old Wales international wrote: “Brilliant performance by the boys tonight. Had to dig deep in the end and with your help we got through. Have a good Christmas!”.

 

Manchester United’s squad paid a Christmas visit to local hospitals to visit young patients. Defender Daley Blind tweeted a picture of himself posing with a fan, saying: “Great to give some children a big smile on their faces today”.

 

Tottenham’s players have been playing Secret Santa by choosing a Christmas present for one of their team-mates and defender Jan Vertonghen cheekily suggested he would get young midfielder Dele Alli a girlfriend.

 

FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale has been questioned by a United States grand jury regarding an alleged illegal payment of $10 million from South Africa to ex-Fifa vice president Jack Warner, the BBC is reporting.

 

David Beckham says he would love to see Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic line up for his proposed Major League Soccer team in Miami.

EPL Result: Arsenal beat City

Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud scored in the first half as Arsenal claimed a deserved 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester City to move two points behind Premier League leaders Leicester.

 

City, who haven’t won away from home in the Premier League since beating Crystal Palace 1-0 in September, pulled one back through Yaya Toure who scored a sublime goal out of almost nothing with 10 minutes left.

 

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are now four points behind Arsenal, and six points behind league leaders Leicester City.

 

Arsenal 2 – 1 Manchester City

 

 

1. Leicester City 17 38

2. Arsenal 17 36

3. Manchester City 17 32

4. Tottenham Hotspur 17 29

5. Manchester United 17 29

6. Crystal Palace 17 29

7. Watford 17 28

8. West Ham United 17 25

9. Liverpool 17 24

10. Everton 17 23

11. Stoke City 17 23

12. Southampton 17 21

13. West Bromwich Albion 17 20

14. AFC Bournemouth 17 19

15. Chelsea 17 18

16. Norwich City 17 17

17. Newcastle United 17 17

18. Swansea City 17 15

19. Sunderland 17 12

20. Aston Villa 17 7

Latest Football News

Jose Mourinho has agreed a deal in principle to take over as manager of Manchester United,though the final decision onwhethe to sack Louis van Gaal is yet to be made.

 

United made contact with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho about replacing Van Gaal, even before Saturday’s defeat to Norwich.

 

Meanwhile, Both Roma and Monaco have targeted Mourinho as a possible new manager should either Rudi Garcia or Leonardo Jardim be sacked.

 

Chelsea have lined up Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini as a permanent replacement for Mourinho.

 

City are favouritesPep Guardiola has requested Manchester City to make Luis Suarez their priority summer signing when he takes over at the Etihad Stadium.

 

Bayern Munich have confirmed that Carlo Ancelotti will become their new coach at the end of the 2015-16 season after Guardiola decided not to renew his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

 

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were each banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee on Monday in a stunning takedown of world football’s most powerful leaders.

 

Chelsea captain John Terry has said Mourinho lost his job because it was not possible to “get rid of a lot of players” but said he is still not ruling out a top-four finish this season.

 

Lionel Messi declared Barcelona are the “best team in the world” after becoming Club World Cup champions with a 3-0 win against River Plate in Sunday’s final.

Messi, 28, returned from a kidney issue to start the game in Yokohama against Copa Libertadores champions River, and opened the scoring after 33 minutes with a fine finish from Neymar’s header down.

Luis Suarez scored twice more after half-time as Barca added a fifth trophy to the Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey and European Supercup titles already won in 2015.

 

Arsenal and Barcelona are set to swoop for Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic after an agreed move to Chelsea broke down in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s departure.

 

Chelsea are set to make a January bid for Liverpool striker Christian Benteke as they look to bolster their attacking options.

 

Manchester United will bid £29m in January for Leicester’s Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez, 24.

 

Chelsea’s Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, 29, wants talks with new manager Guus Hiddink to find out if he has a future at Stamford Bridge.

 

Hiddink, in charge on a temporary basis until the end of the season, wants former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to be part of his coaching staff at Stamford Bridge.

 

Drogba is being groomed as a future Chelsea manager with Roman Abramovich keen to bring the 37-year-old back to the club.

 

Netherlands winger Jeremain Lens, 28, has been dropped from the first team by Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce and fined two weeks’ wages for refusing to take part in a post-match workout, after the 1-0 defeat by Watford on 12 December.

 

And Allardyce will try to sell Lens when the transfer window opens in January.

 

Juventus wish to sign Sevilla’s Ever Banega in order to bolster their midfield options. Ilkay Gundogan of Dortmund is another player they like.

 

Espanyol are set to make an offer for Liverpool youngster Jerome Sinclair in January after talks over a new deal stalled.

 

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot would be open to joining Arsenal in January.

 

Arsene Wenger has revealed he regrets not signing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, 21, while the England international was at QPR.

 

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva, 29, wants to see out the final three-and-a-half years of his contract.

 

Swansea look set to allow caretaker boss Alan Curtis to continue over Christmas instead of bringing in Marcelo Bielsa.

 

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal gave a trial to a youngster who had stood outside the club’s training ground for weeks and begged for a chance.

 

Liverpool appeared to jinx goalkeeper Adam Bogdan before he made his first Premier League start for the Reds. The club’s official Snapchat uploaded a photograph of Bogdan in the pre-match warm-up with the caption ‘safe hands’. Just three minutes into the match, the Hungarian dropped a corner, allowing Nathan Ake to tap in.

 

Gareth Bale took home the match ball after his four-goal display in Real Madrid’s 10-2 win over Rayo Vallecano…and put iton top of his Christmas tree. The Wales forward tweetedto say it was the “perfect Christmas present”.

 

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has tweeted his disappointment after Saturday’s defeat to Norwich, and says the club “have to win the next game”.

 

After winning the Fifa Club World Cup, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique tweeted “for my superiors” in response to Real Sociedad’s Esteban Granero. Former Real midfielder Granero had defended Los Blancos defender Alvaro Arbeloa over a dispute with Pique and told the Barcelona defender to “respect your superiors”.

 

Social media goes crazy over Inter Milan midfielder Felipe Melo’s neck-high challenge on Lazio’s Lucas Biglia.

Bundesliga Results

Bayern Munich moved eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga thanks to a 1-0 win over Hannover at the Niedersachsenstadion.
Thomas Muller’s penalty was all that was needed for Pep Guardiola’s men to extend their advantage at the top going into the second half of the season.

Cologne came from behind to deal Borussia Dortmund’s title hopes a blow with a 2-1 win at the Mungersdorferstadion.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed Dortmund in front, but Simon Zoller crowned a sustained period of Cologne pressure by bringing them level before Anthony Modeste netted the winner in the last minute, denying Dortmund a point and seeing them slip eight points behind Bayern.

Bayer Leverkusen picked up maximum points from a 1-0 win at Ingolstadt.
Javier Hernandez continued his impressive season with the match-winning goal.

Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 and move ahead of their opponents.
Claudio Pizarro gave Bremen the lead with his second league goal of the season, and one which was well worth waiting for. The Peruvian is the Bundesliga’s all-time top foreign goalscorer. Bremen’s lead lasted little over a minute, though, before Alexander Meier nodded Frankfurt level from close range.
Stefan Aigner’s first goal of the season — a delicate lob over Felix Wiedwald — put the hosts in front early in the second half, and they held on to climb above Bremen and away from immediate relegation danger.

Stuttgart moved out of the bottom three thanks to a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg — their first victory in six.
Maximilian Arnold gave the visitors the lead, but an inspirational Daniel Didavi brought the Swabians level before Filip Kostic put them in front.
The hosts wasted several chances before Didavi gave them a cushion they would not throw away with his second of the game early in the second half.
Augsburg brought a positive end to the biggest year in the club’s history with a 1-0 win at Hamburg lifting them to 12th, their highest position of the season.
The Bavarians qualified for Europe for the first time back in May, but their Bundesliga season had seemingly suffered from Europa League football.

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Werder Bremen

FC Cologne 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Hamburger SV 0-1 Augsburg

Hannover 96 0-1 Bayern Munich

Ingolstadt 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen

VfB Stuttgart 3-1 Wolfsburg

EPL Results

Manchester United suffered a second straight defeat as Norwich won at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989 after goals from Cameron Jerome and Alexander Tettey earned a shock 2-1 win, with Anthony Martial scoring a consolation goal.

Van Gaal and his lads were booed by the home fans after failing to win for a sixth game in succession. United have now won just four of their last 15 matches in all competitions.
The result also made for a miserable afternoon for captain Wayne Rooney on the occasion of his 500th appearance for the club.

Chelsea returned to winning ways as they start their post-Mourinho era with a 3-1 win over Sunderland at a discontented Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar had put Chelsea three goals ahead, but Sunderland pulled a goal back through Fabio Borini.
The fans were angry with a banner accusing ‘The Three Rats’; Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, for getting Mourinho sacked while another read ‘you let Jose down’.
Hiddink watched on alongside owner Roman Abramovich and former striker Didier Drogba.

Riyad Mahrez scored twice from the penalty spot as Leicester won 3-2 at Everton to make sure they will be on top the Premier League table at Christmas.
History is on the Foxes side as five of the last six teams to top the table on December 25 went on to become champions – Liverpool the only exception in 2013-14.
Mahrez, whose goal on Monday proved decisive in the 2-1 win over Chelsea, capped a brilliant week with a penalty in each half with Shinji Okazaki ensuring substitute Kevin Mirallas’ 89th-minute strike was academic.
Striker Romelu Lukaku won the individual battle of the top flight hot-shots against Jamie Vardy when he scored for the eighth consecutive match – a feat not achieved by an Everton player since Dave Hickson in 1954 – to equalise and move to 13 league goals and within two of his Leicester counterpart.

Tottenham moved into the top four for the first time this season after seeing off Southampton 2-0 at St Mary’s thanks to goals from England pair Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Bournemouth beat nine-man West Brom at The Hawthorns courtesy of goals from Adam Smith and Charlie Daniels.
Gareth McAuley looked to have rescued a point for the Baggies when he cancelled out Smith’s second-half opener, but Daniels’ late penalty gave the in-form Cherries a third successive Premier League win.
The victory takes the Cherries five points clear of the drop zone and they were the better side from the off.
Albion had to play almost an hour with 10 men after James McClean was dismissed for a wild lunge at Smith as he looked for revenge following a tackle between the pair just 10 seconds before.
And Salmon Rondon was sent off in injury time after an altercation with Gosling to complete the late drama.
The Defeat was Tony Pulis’ 100th as a Premier League manager and ended the Baggies’ four-match unbeaten run.
It also increased the Baggies’ home woes as only Aston Villa (two) have won fewer points at home than Albion (eight).

Jordan Ayew’s stunning goal, cancelled captain Fabricio Coloccini’s opener, to earn a point for rock-bottom Aston Villa against Newcastle in a thrilling 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.

Goals from Connor Wickham and Lee Chung-Yong earned Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
The goal was Wickham first for the club.

Connor Wickham made it 1-0 to Palace just before the half-time whistle, hammering in from the penalty spot after Glenn Whelan fouled Wilfried Zaha.
Stoke restored parity after a handball from Damien Delaney, allowing Bojan Krkic to dispatch his spot kick.
With a minute left on the clock, Lee thrashed in a stunning shot from around 30 yards out.

Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland

Everton 2-3 Leicester City

Manchester United 1-2 Norwich City

Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 AFC Bournemouth

Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa

Latest Football News

Arsene Wenger is weighing up a shock move for Bayer Leverkusen’s former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, 27, who has scored 19 times in 22 appearances

Jose Mourinho wants Manchester United to be his next job, sources close to the Portuguese manager have told ESPN FC, and representatives have already taken initial steps to try and make it happen.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich visited the club’s Cobham training base to outline his vision for the future, the reasons for sacking Jose Mourinho and confirmed to the squad that Guus Hiddink would be the caretaker manager.

Leading Chelsea players Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard reportedly pushed for Mourinho’s sacking.

Abramovich will now make a move to appoint 44-year-old Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola, who has also been linked with Manchester City and Manchester United, as the Chelsea manager next summer.

Hiddink has told Chelsea to buy him an English striker in January, with Leicester forward Jamie Vardy, 28 and West Brom’s Saido Berahino, 22, top of his list.

Chelsea are keen to add to their squad in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s sacking, with the Blues set to bid for Alex Teixeira, John Stones and Marquinhos in January.

Atletico Madrid’s Argentine manager Diego Simeone is open to joining Chelsea next season and believes the language barrier would not pose him a major problem. The 45-year-old has a £15m release clause in his contract.

Reports claim Roman Abramovic is looking at bringing Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge to join the club’s coaching team.

Former Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand has urged the Old Trafford club to get the “best manager on the planet” in Pep Guardiola, who could leave Bayern Munich.

Louis van Gaal, 64, does not want to end his career with the sack in what is expected to be his last managerial job in the game.

Van Gaal is hoping to lure Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez, 24, to Old Trafford, according to reports in Spain.

The Manchester United coach says he will not recall striker James Wilson from his loan stint at Brighton unless they reach crisis point, commenting: “When we are in trouble we can recall him. That’s a decision when it comes – maybe and maybe not.”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed that Luis Enrique wants to add a striker to his squad in January.

Neymar’s head has been turned by the interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, while his representatives have been ‘blown away’ by the potential offer of a five-year contract worth £500,000 a week.

Ex-France international Olivier Dacourt says he hopes that Jose Mourinho will not become manager of Paris Saint-Germain in the future.

Swiss Super League club FC Sion are interested in signing Brazil legend Ronaldinho, the club’s general director Marco Degennaro has said.

Crystal Palace have completed a deal that sees American investors Josh Harris and David Blitzer take a large stake in the club

Former Fulham footballer and Match Of The Day presenter Jimmy Hill has died aged 87, his agent has announced.

Radamel Falcao, 29, could leave Chelsea and return to Monaco in January – and then move to Major League Soccer next summer.

Jonjo Shelvey is set to leave Swansea after the club’s owner Huw Jenkins questioned his commitment to the club.

Swansea have made a loan bid for Chelsea striker Loic Remy, 28.

Stoke playmaker Bojan Krkic, 25, linked with Manchester United and Liverpool, says feeling loved at the Britannia Stadium is the best place to be at this stage of his career.

England midfielder Fabian Delph, 26, says it was a tough decision to leave Aston Villa in summer 2015 but that he made the “right decision” in joining Manchester City.

Sampdoria have reportedly placed an £11m price tag on Norwich transfer target Eder, the 29-year-old Brazil-born Italy international striker, who has scored 11 goals for club and country so far this season.

Roma’s Juan Iturbe is on the verge of sealing a loan move to Watford, who will have the option to buy the 22-year-old attacker for €18 million.

Aston Villa’s players and staff could have to take pay cuts if the club – who are bottom of the Premier League – are relegated.

Liverpool midfielder James Milner, 29, has not ruled out a return to his first club Leeds.

Liverpool forward Jerome Sinclair looks set to leave the club this summer after talks over a new contract stalled.

David Beckham sends an Instagram pictureof a rendezvous with his former Real Madrid team-mates including Roberto Carlos and Luis Figo and writes: “Boys are back in town … Couldn’t resist being back on the field with these guys again… Makes me miss Madrid.”

Theo Walcott has challenged Arsenal team-mate Hector Bellerin to a race after a long, drawn-out debate over who is faster.

“Player power is not a new thing” – Jermaine Jenas shares his thoughts on suggestions Jose Mourinho “lost the dressing room”.

Anthony Martial wins 2015 Golden Boy award

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has won the prize for Europe’s best young player: the 2015 Golden Boy award.

Martial joined United in the summer for £36 million and has bagged seven goals in 20 games to date.

Martial, 20, scooped the prize — which is reserved for players under the age of 21 — ahead of Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, while teammates Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj were also on the 40-man shortlist.
Wayne Rooney (2004) and Anderson (2008) were the club’s previous winners, with Man City star Raheem Sterling (then at Liverpool) winning the 2014 version.

Italian publication Tuttosport first began the voting in 2003, with journalists from 30 major newspapers across the continent, including L’Equipe (France), Marca (Spain) and The Times (England) now invited to join.

No sabbatical for Mourinho, as he plans swift return to management

Jose Mourinho has released a statement through his Los Angeles based agents CAA insisting that he will not be taking any time off from the game after leaving Chelsea by mutual consent on Thursday.

“Jose Mourinho is pleased that he returned to Chelsea football club because he was able to give the fans another Premier League title, which they had not won for many years,” a statement by a CAA spokesman read.
“He is immensely proud of his eight trophies at Chelsea, and thanks the fans for all their support throughout his two spells at the club.
“During his career, Jose has sometimes chosen to leave a club, but only at Chelsea has the club decided that he should leave. Each time represents for him the end of a cycle, and the opportunity to start a new one. Jose hopes that his future after Chelsea this time will be as successful as when he left the club in 2007.
“He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn’t tired, he doesn’t need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward. Because of his love of football, you will see Jose at football grounds working and supporting friends. He will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future.
“Jose will remain living in London and hopes he and his family will be given the opportunity to do this privately. Jose will not speak about his current situation for the foreseeable future. He asks the media to respect this decision.”

Hiddink confirmed as new Chelsea manager

Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Guus Hiddink as their new manager on a contract until the end of the season.

The Dutchman, who had a previous spell in charge at Stamford Bridge in 2009, succeeds the sacked Jose Mourinho.

@ChelseaFC can confirm Guus Hiddink has been appointed first-team manager until the end of the season. https://t.co /ysm9lCR0jF

– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 19, 2015

Hiddink, 69, whose last post was as Holland coach, said on the club’s official website: “I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world but is not where it should be at the moment. However, I am sure we can all turn this season around.”
He added: ‘I am looking forward to working with the players and staff at this great club and especially renewing my wonderful relationship with the Chelsea fans.”
Hiddink is at Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s match with Sunderland but Mourinho’s number two Steve Holland will take control of the team alongside Eddie Newton, who is now assistant first-team coach.

Hiddink previously took temporary charge of Chelsea in February 2009 and guided the Blues to FA Cup success at Wembley.

Chelsea’s announcement came hot on the heels of Mourinho revealing he is already looking for a route back into management.

Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins, who worked alongside Hiddink, told Sky Sports News before the appointment: “In the interim, the best guy for the job would be Guus Hiddink. I don’t see anyone else.
“To put him in and have Steve Holland alongside him would be the right choice. His career hasn’t gone well, but he is the best man-manager I’ve ever seen. His English is first class and his mentality is too. He works hard but he loves a good giggle.
“He was a success last time firstly because he didn’t have the language barrier, which Chelsea had with Felipe Scolari, who couldn’t quite get his message across. Guus came in to enjoy himself, and enjoy himself he did.
“The pressure wasn’t really off him, because when you take over at Chelsea you’ve got to win. But he was extremely successful in that period because everyone worked his socks off for him.”

PSV Eindhoven (1987-90)
In first managerial role, Hiddink led PSV to three Eredivisie crowns and as many KNVB Cups, as well as the European Cup in 1988.

Fenerbahce (1990-91)
Spent one year at the helm, finishing fifth in the Turkish top flight and exiting the UEFA Cup at the first hurdle.

Valencia (1991-94)
Got the side playing attractive, attacking football, leading them to European qualification in his first two seasons.

Holland (1995-98)
Took the reins of the Dutch national team for the first time, leading a divisive group to the Euro 96 quarter-finals and World Cup semi-finals two years later.

Real Madrid (1998-99)
A short, frustrating spell at the Bernabeu came to an end shortly after controversially suggesting the club needed to be “much more professional”. Hiddink did, though, manage to win the Intercontinental Cup in his time there.

Real Betis (2000)
Hiddink’s last spell in Spanish football was very short, with struggling Betis sacking him after a matter of months. They were relegated at the end of the season.

South Korea (2001-02)
Led the World Cup joint hosts to a remarkable semi-final finish, earning awards and plaudits aplenty.

PSV Eindhoven (2002-06)
Hiddink’s return to his first club brought with it three more Eredivisie titles, a KNVB Cup and Dutch Super Cup. Furthermore, PSV reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2005.

Australia (2005-06)
Combining the national team post with his work at PSV, he led the Socceroos to their first World Cup finals appearance in 32 years. They reached the second round and exited somewhat controversially to eventual winners Italy.

Russia (2006-10)
Hiddink impressively led the Russian national team to the Euro 2008 semi-finals, but failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after losing to Slovenia in the play-offs.

Chelsea (2009)
Took interim charge at Stamford Bridge following Luiz Felipe Scolari’s departure. Combining with the Russia job, the Blues went out of the Champions League to eventual winners Barcelona and lost just one Premier League match, with his first spell ending by winning the FA Cup.

Turkey (2010-11)
A seemingly exciting appointment went awry and Hiddink resigned after failing to lead Turkey to Euro 2012 qualification.

Anzhi Makhachkala (2012-13)
Returning to club management for the first time in six years, the Dutchman led Anzhi to third in the Russian Premier League and Europa League last-16. He resigned two matches into the following campaign.

Holland (2014-15)
Replacing Louis van Gaal after the 2014 World Cup looked a great move but proved a disaster. Holland lost five of his 10 matches during his 10-month spell.

Preview: Chelsea Vs Sunderland

Mourinho_Hazard_0

The Special One is now the Sacked One. Chelsea’s disastrous defence of their title culminated in the exit of Jose Mourinho. It has been a difficult season for the Champions with key players failing to live up to their usual high standards. In such circumstances, the manager usually takes the fall. Due to Mourinho’s reputation at Chelsea, a poor start to the season meant he had more time to turn around the season. Every bad result meant that the patience of the hierarchy at Chelsea continued to wear thin. Sadly, it did not look that they had truly turned the corner at any point in the season.

The Chelsea star players have failed to perform this season (with the exception of Willian).

They will be expected to raise their game. If they miraculously do so in this game just 48 hours after the Portuguese manager was fired, will that make Mourinho’s claim that he has been betrayed by his players true? Chelsea’s recent form has been terrible. They have only taken four points from their last seven games, losing five games in that time.

Sunderland arrives at the Bridge in similar precarious position. This season has already seen a change of manager. They will be buoyed by the fact the miracle escape of 2014 included a victory at the Bridge and will hope for similar fortune against a Chelsea side lacking in confidence but with a lot to prove. Their records against Chelsea, however, have been poor with the Blues winning 18 of the last 21 meeting with the Black Cats. The Black Cats though will be encouraged by their improved recent showings which have seen them win two out of their last five trips to Chelsea.

Team News

Chelsea

Falcao is doubtful for the game with a calf injury while Hazard could miss out with a hip injury sustained at the defeat at Leicester City.

Sunderland

Lee Cattermole and Larsson are injured with back and knee problems respectively while Coates is doubtful due to illness.

Real Madrid named Most Valuable Club in the World

Real Madrid have been named as the most valuable football club in the world by marketing experts, who placed Manchester United second and Manchester City fourth.
Premier League clubs occupied five of the top 10 positions and eight of the top 20 in the London School of Marketing rankings — a sign of the financial power of the English top flight.
Reigning European champions Barcelona were ranked third, with Bayern Munich the fifth and last club deemed to be valued at more than £1 billion.

Real, who have won a record 10 European Cups, were valued at £2.070bn, followed by United, at £2.050bn and Barcelona at £2.007bn.

City were deemed to be worth £2bn, the valuation quoted when a Chinese company paid £265 million for a 13 percent stake in their parent company, City Football Group, earlier this month.

It means their value has risen 94 percent since Sheikh Mansour’s 2008 takeover, although the Abu Dhabi owner has also invested more than £1bn in the club.

Chelsea were placed sixth, Arsenal, seventh and Liverpool eighth, with Tottenham (13th), Newcastle (18th) and West Ham (19th) all in the top 20.

There are four Italian clubs, three Spanish, three German, one French and one Turkish in the top 20.

Top 20 (value in million pounds):

1. Real Madrid – £2,070m
2. Manchester United – £2,050m
3. Barcelona – £2,007m
4. Manchester City – £2,000m
5. Bayern Munich – £1,492m
6. Chelsea – £870m
7. Arsenal – £832m
8. Liverpool – £624m
9. Juventus – £531m
10. AC Milan – £492m
11. Borussia Dortmund – £445m
12. Paris St Germain – £403m
13. Tottenham Hotspur – £381m
14. FC Schalke – £363m
15. Inter Milan – £279m
16. Atletico de Madrid – £277m
17. Napoli – £224m
18. Newcastle United – £222m
19. West Ham United – £196m
20. Galatasaray – £187m

#ESPN

Latest Football News

Former Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti is set to be appointed as boss at Bayern Munich on a three-year deal, with current coach Pep Guardiola set to leave at the end of the 2015-16 season.

A deal for Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, 44, to become Chelsea boss in the summer is 90% done.

But another report claims Guardiola is a big fan of Arsene Wenger’s philosophy at Arsenal and could be open to succeeding the French boss at the Emirates.

Australia’s national football team website has congratulated former coach Guus Hiddink on his appointment as Jose Mourinho’s successor at Chelsea, though no official confirmation has yet been released by the Premier League club.

Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman claimed that the Dutchman had revealed to him he would take over, but the Socceroos website took the speculation to a new level after publishing their own announcement and sharing their congratulations on Twitter.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has denied the club are planning a move to make Mourinho their next manager.

After the sacking of Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, 69, is set for a second short-term stint in charge of Chelsea, but Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is the Blues’ long-term target.

Simeone, 45, is yet to be convinced a move to Stamford Bridge is right for him.

Mourinho was sacked soon after eating Christmas lunch at the club’s training ground.

Manchester United have ordered a complete overhaul of their youth academy over the next 12 months to avoid falling further behind cross-town rivals City.

With Paris Saint-Germain seemingly ready to offer Robert Lewandowski £15 million per year, Manchester United are willing to match the French side’s offer to bring the Pole to Old Trafford.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Angel Di Maria thinks his club can bring his Argentine countryman Lionel Messi to the team in the near future.

Di Maria thinks where Messi ultimately winds up is down to finances and said that PSG can compete with any club in the world on that front.

Manchester United are monitoring Servette’s 15-year-old striker Lorenzo Gonzalez, who is nicknamed ‘Speedy’ after Mexican cartoon mouse ‘Speedy Gonzales’.

Bournemouth are preparing to bid for Hull defender Curtis Davies in January. The 30-year-old centre-back’s contract expires at the end of the season, and the Championship club may be willing to let him go to avoid losing him on a free transfer in the summer.

Brighton’s fear that Manchester United striker James Wilson, 20, will be recalled from his loan spell have been played down by United reserve-team coach Warren Joyce.

On-loan Hull striker Chuba Akpom, 20, has apologised after throwing his gloves at the bench when he was substituted against Reading.

Emmanuel Adebayor is in talks with Chelsea after being frozen out at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea flop Papy Djilobodji is the subject of interest from Marseille, who want to strengthen the heart of their defence. He will move on a loan deal with an option to buy.

Swansea City will move for Sevilla boss Unai Emery if they fail in their attempt to land Marcelo Bielsa.

Sunderland have agreed a deal to sign Lorient centre-back Lamine Kone.

Manchester City are keeping tabs on Charlton Athletic’s 18-year-old striker Ademola Lookman.

Wolfsburg are said to be the first club to make an offer for Basel’s Breel Embolo. The Bundesliga side are hopeful their offer of €18 million will be enough to beat Juventus, Manchester United and Chelsea to the 18-year-old’s signature.

Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac is a January transfer target for Manchester City, according to the 22-year-old’s agent Gordon Stipic-Wipfler.

Jose Mourinho’s penultimate day as Blues boss was marred by a shoving match after a tackle from Cesc Fabregas during a training session involving players from both the first team and academy.

Demba Ba has shed light on the managerial methods that led Chelsea to sack Jose Mourinho, describing the Portuguese’s style as “very exhausting” and admitting that he is not a coach who looks to rebuild the confidence of his players.

According to Voetbal International Memphis Depay and Robin van Persie fell out before Kazachstan – Netherlands in October. “Do big guys play at Fenerbahçe?” is what Depay reportedly said to RVP.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan says Mourinho’s dismissal is “the worst decision in football history”.

Manchester United teenager Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has broken a club record, by having the longest name of any player to appear for the Red Devils.

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas wrotea tribute to Mourinho: “Thank you for all you have done for me. I owe you a lot and we will all miss you. Good luck in the future.”

Harry Redknapp who replaced Juande Ramos as Spurs manager when they had only two points from eight games in 2008, joked the Spaniard would be a “fantastic candidate” for the Chelsea job.

Hiddink set to take charge at Chelsea

Guus Hiddink is set to take over as caretaker manager at Chelsea after Jose Mourinho was sacked with the club one point above the relegation zone, reports suggest.
Mourinho was sacked by the club on Thursday afternoonafter club officials met to discuss his future following the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Monday.

According to the Daily Telegraph, former Holland and Russia boss Hiddink has agreed to return to Chelsea, having also taken charge after Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked in 2009.
Hiddink guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph, beating Everton 2-1 in the final.
However, the 69-year-old faces a much tougher task this time around, with the Blues 20 points behind league leaders Leicester City and 14 points off the top four.
Furthermore, he will also be tasked with uniting a dressing room which is believed to have revolted under Mourinho, amid speculation one member of the squad leaked the team to Porto ahead of a Champions League clash last week.

Jose Mourinho ‘sacked’ by Chelsea

Chelsea have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after an abyssmal campaign that has seen the reigning champions sitting one point above the relegation zone in the Premier League, the club have confirmed.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that owner Roman Abramovich was losing patience with Mourinho with Chelsea having lost nine of their opening 16 league matches, and 12 of their past 25 games in all competitions.
The final straw was after losing 1-0 to newly promoted Bournemouth two weeks ago and 2-1 to table-topping Leicester on Monday night.

Furthermore, there have been reports of a dressing room revolt against the Portuguese, who led the Blues to the Premier League title only seventh months ago.
The 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Monday nightwas the final straw for the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge, who reportedly met on Wednesday to discuss the 52-year-old’s future.

Spanish sports newspaper AS had said earlier on Thursday that the agent of former Sevilla and Tottenham boss Juande Ramos was in London negotiating with Chelsea.
Ramos has been tipped to take charge on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Telegraph journalist Sam Wallace reported Guus Hiddink is set to return.

Former Holland boss Hiddink – who was named interim manager following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2009 – is reportedly set to return to Stamford Bridge as caretaker manager.

The club confirmed Mourinho’s departure on Thursday afternoon, releasing the following statement on their official website:

“Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent.
All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013.
His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history. But both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.
The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.
The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential.
There will be no further comment until a new appointment is made.”

Following the loss at the King Power Stadium, Mourinho claimed he felt betrayed by his players, which is understood to have been fueled by a suspicion that one of his squad leaked his team to Portoahead of the Champions League clash with his former side.
It is possible Chelsea’s hand was forced by the fact Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola – who Abramovich is known to be a big fan of – is expected to announce he will leave the German champions at the end of the season.

Latest Football News

Chelsea will hold an emergency board meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future of manager Jose Mourinho.

Former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos has emerged as a shock candidate to become Chelsea’s manager until the end of the season if Mourinho is sacked.

Or Chelsea could re-sign either Guus Hiddink or Carlo Ancelotti, who top their shortlist, on a short-term basis.

Chelsea’s players are turning on Mourinho and themselves.

In a bid to compete with Real Madrid’s big-spending policy, the two Manchester sides could make a staggering £1 billion worth of business in the summer, with Neymar and Lionel Messi among their stellar targets.

Louis van Gaal is starting to lose the Manchester United dressing room, with players having openly questioned his tactics after the 1-1 draw at Leicester at the end of November.

Swansea are hoping to appoint Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, 60, as Garry Monk’s successor before their game against West Ham this Sunday.

If Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez, they will replace him with Zinedine Zidane. The board is rapidly losing faith with the former Chelsea boss after the weekend’s loss against Villarreal.

Carlo Ancelotti is in advanced talks with Bayern Munich to replace Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.

Guardiola has confirmed he will make a decision on his future next week amid speculation linking him with Manchester clubs.

Former Italy boss Marcello Lippi would be interested in taking over at Lyon, should they sack under-pressure coach Hubert Fournier after a poor start to the season.

Reports in the Belgium media claim Eden Hazard faked his hip injury against Leicester in an attempt to ‘boycott’ Mourinho.

Mourinho has told his players he should have sold some of them in the summer.

It is a question of when, not if, Mourinho will be sacked, with Chelsea likely to have to pay £10m to get rid of the Portuguese.

And Mourinho will not be able to spend his way out of trouble as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will not sanction a large transfer outlay during the January window.

A lack of options for a move away from Stamford Bridge means Eden Hazard will not leave Chelsea in the January transfer window.

Chelsea will return with a new £40m bid for Everton defender John Stones, 21, when the transfer window opens in January.

Leicester City and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez, 24, says he is staying at the Foxes until the end of the season despite being linked with Arsenal and Tottenham.

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri is on course to receive a huge bonus after being promised an extra £100,000 for every place above 17th that City finish in the Premier League table. The Foxes are two points clear at the top.

Sergio Aguero has returned to full training as he steps up his recovery from a heel problem ahead of Man City’s trip to Arsenal on Monday

Southampton want England and Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, 24, who turned out for Spurs’ Under-21s on Monday.

Napoli have joined the race with Manchester United for Fulham forward Moussa Dembele. Everton, Tottenham and Bayern Munich are also keeping tabs on the 19-year-old.

Juan Manuel Iturbe is unhappy with his lack of playing time at Roma and wants to depart in the winter. Watford lead the race, ahead of AC Milan and a clutch of other Serie A sides.

Tottenham will learn on Wednesday whether their revised plans for a new £400m 61,000-seater stadium will get the go-ahead.

Midfielder Alex Song, who is on loan at West Ham from Barcelona, caused a stir when he turned up for trainingon Tuesday wearing a suit and…a pair of white shoes.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech equalled the Premier League clean sheet record on Sunday in the 2-0 win at Aston Villa, with his 169th shut-out in the English top flight. To mark the occasion, his wife baked him a cake depicting the keeper in his full Gunners kit. “Found this in the morning…My wife’s baking,” he wrote on Twitter.

Arsenal’s attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil is way ahead of the game when it comes to Premier League assists. The German has got 13 so far – six more than Everton’s Gerard Deulofeu in second. Even when he’s soaking up the sun, setting up goals is very much on his mind – why else would he add the hashtag #alwaysassisting to this Instagram snap?Arsenal play Manchester City next Monday.

UEFA president Michel Platini will not attend his FIFA Ethics Committee hearing on Friday in protest because he believes his case has been pre-judged.

Sepp Blatter has said Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will face “similar sanctions” to Barcelona if they are found guilty of infringing FIFA rules on youth players.

Championship club Huddersfield Town have come up with a new money-making venture – pre-paid funeral plans. A Town-themed funeral costs £4,195 and includes a blue and white coffin or a traditional coffin draped with a Huddersfield shirt, and the name and number of the deceased.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage XI

UEFA.com has announced its Champions League XI for the 2015-16 group stage, with no representatives from European champions Barcelona.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have the most representatives with two apiece, with Thomas Muller and David Alaba making the cut for the German champions and Kevin Trapp and Thiago Silva included from the French side.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who was the leading scorer in the group stage with 11 goals and also contributed three assists, is included alongside Muller (five goals, two assists) and Hulk, whose three goals and four assists helped Zenit St Petersburg top Group H.

There is no place for Barca forwards Luis Suarez (five goals, two assists), Lionel Messi (three goals, one assist) or Neymar (two goals, four assists), while Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski (seven goals, no assists), Zenit’s Artem Dzyuba (six goals, two assists) and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud (five goals, no assists) also miss out.

In midfield, Willian (five goals, one assist) is included after playing a key role for Chelsea as they took top spot in Group G, while Raheem Sterling (three goals, one assist) makes the cut after Manchester City edged out Juventus to finish first in Group D.

Sven Kums (one goal, two assists) is also recognised for his contribution to Gent’s successful start in the competition as they finished ahead of Valencia to take second place in Group H.

PSG keeper Trapp and centre-back Thiago Silva make the XI after Laurent Blanc’s men conceded just one goal in the group stage, while Alaba, Juventus’ Andrea Brazagli and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin are selected after their sides conceded three apiece.

GK: Kevin Trapp (PSG)
DF: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
DF: Thiago Silva (PSG)
DF: Diego Godín (Atletico)
DF: David Alaba (Bayern)
MF: Sven Kums (Gent)
MF: Willian (Chelsea)
MF: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
FW: Thomas Muller (Bayern)
FW: Hulk (Zenit)
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Latest Football News

Lionel Messi has hit out of critics of the Argentina national team, saying they can “go f**k” themselves.

Jose Mourinho refuses to accept Chelsea are in a relegation battle – but admits he felt betrayed by his players after defeat at Leicester.

Chelsea will resume their £40m bid to sign Everton’s England centre-half John Stones, 21, as soon as the transfer window opens in January.

The Blues will allow 24-year-old Eden Hazard to join Real Madrid if Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez, also 24, is offered as part of a swap deal.

Pep Guardiola will be appointed as Manchester City manager next summer, according to former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Former Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa is the favourite to be the new Swansea manager.

Mesut Ozil has started negotiations over a new contract with Arsenal. The Germany international wants to raise his wage from £140,000 a week to £160,000.

Arsenal target and Spain midfielder Isco, 23, is frustrated at a lack of playing time at Real Madrid.

But the Gunners may face a fight to keep Alexis Sanchez, 26, as Real Madrid see the Chile winger as an ideal replacement for Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo should the 30-year-old leave at the end of this season.

Madrid are also wary of letting Sanchez join up with Pep Guardiola at Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been involved in another row with Rafa Benitez. The Real Madrid boss asked the forward to undergo a biometric study to help improve his free-kick accuracy but the move has only angered him.

Manchester United have made Everton striker Romelu Lukaku their primary target for the January transfer window as they look to bolster their attacking options.

Meanwhile, Lukaku, 22, says it “hurts” him to see his former club Chelsea struggling so badly in the Premier League.

United are mulling over whether to recall James Wilson from his loan spell with Brighton after their recent issues in front of goal.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker may regret his immediate reaction to his former club Leicester beating Chelsea 2-1 to return to the top of the Premier League. He said:”YES! If Leicester win the Premier League I’ll do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies.”

Chelsea have been warned that Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Alex Teixeira, 25, could cost them at least £7m more if they fail to sign him in January.

Arsenal and Chelsea both sent scouts to watch Benfica teenager Goncalo Guedes in action as the winger starred in a 4-2 win over Vitoria Setubal.

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck is expected to be sidelined until February after reportedly being forced to shelve his return from injury

Barcelona target Nolito will miss at least four weeks of action due to a hamstring injury.

Stoke are holding contract talks with Marko Arnautovic and Erik Pieters as they bid to extend the duo’s stay at the Britannia Stadium.

Aston Villa’s new manager Remi Garde is prepared to sell striker Gabriel Agbonlahor to raise transfer funds in January.

West Brom are considering a move for Besiktas striker Kerim Frei, 22, if a move for QPR forward Matt Phillips falls through. Frei has previously played for Fulham in the Premier League.

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, who has not started a league game this season, wants to leave the club in January with West Brom and Newcastle interested in signing the 24-year-old England international.

Jurgen Klopp is reluctant to make any signings in the January window, despite being offered funds to bring in new players by the club’s American owners.

Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, 27, is close to signing a new contract before the end of the month.

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has escaped serious injury but is likely to be out for a month with a knee problem sustained on Sunday.

Toffees captain Phil Jagielka has resumed light training after damaging his medial ligaments in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal in October.

Napoli are hopeful they can lure Guillermo Varela away from Manchester United as the Uruguayan, 22, has only made three appearances for the Premier League club.

New Valencia boss Gary Neville, 40, has admitted he would have been “sceptical” about his appointment were he still a pundit and has accepted that taking the job was a “big risk”.

Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal, 29, will be allowed to join Spanish club Athletic Bilbao.

Newcastle made an approach for Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier but were knocked back by the France international.

Sunderland are considering a move for West Ham defender James Collins in January. Any deal would see the 32-year-old work under his former manager Sam Allardyce again.

Loic Remy says he cannot pick out any Chelsea player who did not let themselves down against Leicester

Southampton have joined the chase for in-demand Birmingham City winger Demarai Gray. Liverpool, Spurs and Leicester are also interested in the player.

Editorial: Leicester City can start to dream

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A lot has been said about how ridiculously poor Mourinho’s team has been this season. Against Leicester, it took them an hour to get out of the team bus but by then Leicester City was already out of sight with Mahrez and Vardy providing two goals. While Chelsea’s poor form has been analysed and reanalysed, and then reanalysed again, little has been said about how good this Leicester side has been.

Nigel Pearson’s sack was widely criticised by fans, pundits and the media. But, the arrival of Claudio Ranieri has been like a breath of fresh air. The Italian manager has had difficult spells since he was sacked from Chelsea in 2004. At Leicester, the Italian has been reborn. The brand of football on display at the King Power Stadium has been exhilarating.  In the first 60 minutes, they were like a moving train and the Blues felt the full effect. The Champion improved in the final 30 minutes but aside the goal Leicester City conceded, they looked assured at the back showing a ruthless and efficient resilience that Mourinho would have been proud of.

Claudio Ranieri may be trying hard to keep the target low and even dismiss a title challenge, but this Leicester side must now be taken seriously. Only 5 points are required to meet the manager’s target of 40 points. But surely, you expect that the expectation will have to go up. In Mahrez and Vardy, they have the most potent duo in the league. Both combined have scored more goals than 16 other teams in the league. Past league winners have depended on star players to provide goals. The great Arsenal sides had Thierry Henry or Ian Wright. Manchester United had Ruud Van Nistelrooy and City has Sergio Aguero. Leicester City however, boasts of two very potent forwards. The key has been to get the ball forward to them quickly and they have duly punished every defence they have come against this season.

They may fall away before the end of the season but there is something about them that makes one feel they will have a big say. Chelsea’s star players may have “betrayed” their manager last night but Leicester City ensured that happened. They in fact were the catalyst meaning that Mourinho was forced to make changes more in desperation. They forced Chelsea into very uncomfortable situations and saying Chelsea were poor will amount to us not giving the Foxes the credit the quality of their play deserved. Chelsea will not win the league. They may not even make the Champions League next season unless they win the competition this season. But for Leicester City, their fans can start to dream.

EUROPA League: Round of 32 Draw

Manchester United will take on FC Midtjylland of Denmark, while Liverpool will face German outfit Augsburg in the last-32 of the Europa League.
After finishing third in their Champions League group United will be involved in Thursday night football and face a trip to minnows Midtjylland after the Europa League draw was made in Nyon on MOnday lunchtime. The Danish champions are currently third in the Superliga table and will travel to Old Trafford for the second leg.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will make a return to Germany, but not against his former club Borussia Dortmund as many neutral were hoping for, but against Augsburg, who are 13th in the Bundesliga.
Tottenham will play Italian side Fiorentina again after losing 3-1 on aggregate against the Florence side last season at the same stage of the competition.

All three English clubs will be at home for the second leg because they were seeded.

Gary Neville’s Valencia have been paired with Rapid Vienna, while Dortmund face Porto, Galatasaray take on Lazio and Turkish side Fenerbahce will play Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow in a potentially volatile encounter after the recent tension between the two countries.

Europa League last-32 full draw:

Valencia v Rapid Vienna
Fiorentina v Tottenham
Borussia Dortmund v Porto
Fenerbahce v Lokomotiv Moscow
Anderlecht v Olympiacos
Midtjylland v Manchester United
Augsburg v Liverpool
Sparta Prague v Krasnodar
Galatasaray v Lazio
Sion v Braga
Shakhtar Donetsk v Schalke
Marseille v Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla v Molde
Sporting Lisbon v Bayer Leverkusen
Villarreal v Napoli
St Etienne v Basle

First legs to be played on February 18.

Second legs to be played on February 24/25.

UEFA Champions League: Round 16 Draw

Champions League draw was made in Nyon on Monday
Arsenal have been drawn against holders Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League, while Chelsea face PSG for the third consecutive season.

Manchester City meanwhile, have been drawn against Dynamo Kiev in a tie for which the game in Ukraine must be played behind closed doors.

Roma versus Real Madrid and Juventus, last year’s beaten finalists, against Bayern Munich are two of the standout matches in the draw.

The winners of each group, including Chelsea and Man City, are at home in the second legs, while Arsenal will host their first leg.

Barca eliminated Arsene Wenger’s side in successive years in 2010 and 2011 and denied the Gunners the trophy with two late goals in the 2006 final at the Stade de France.

The Gunners, who reached the last 16 with a memorable victory at Olympiacos in their final group game, knew they could have faced Barca or 10-times winners Real Madrid.
Their task will be a daunting one and Barca, having beaten Manchester City at this stage for the last two seasons, are clear favourites.

PSG, who are 17 points clear at the top of the French league, beat Chelsea on away goals at this stage last season, while the Blues beat them on the same rule in the quarter-finals the previous year.

Man City will be pleased to have avoided the dangerous PSG as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time but their fans may be frustrated about the Kiev situation.
The Ukrainian club were ordered to play two games behind closed doors last month as punishment for offences that included racial abuse of players by supporters during their group game against Chelsea.
City fans already boo the Champions League anthem in protest against UEFA, chiefly because their fans were not allowed to travel to a game at CSKA Moscow last season. That situation was slightly different, however, as some fans had already made visa, travel and accommodation arrangements before the ruling was made.
Kiev beat City in the 2010-11 Europa League last 16, with Mario Balotelli sent off for the English side.

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 18 March with the semi-final line-up drawn on 15 April.

Gent v Wolfsburg
Roma v Real Madrid
Paris St-Germain v Chelsea
Arsenal v Barcelona
Juventus v Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid
Benfica v Zenit
Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City

First legs to be played February 16/17 and 23/24.

Second legs to be played March 8/9 and 15/16.

Latest Football News

Manchester United are considering sacking manager Louis van Gaal and replacing him with former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti in order to seal a move for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alternatively, United still hope they can beat rivals Manchester City to the signing of Pep Guardiola and have increased their contact with the Bayern Munich manager.

Napoli have made United’s Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela, 22, a target for the January transfer window.

Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, 23, could move to Old Trafford to make room in the French champions’ squad for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi says Marco Verratti would fit in perfectly at the European champions.

Swansea are monitoring Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli’s dispute with the country’s football federation, but former Brighton and Sunderland manager Gus Poyet remains the frontrunner for the Swans’ vacant managerial post.

Van Gaal has been compared to controversial Republican presidential candidacy frontrunner Donald Trump in a critical newspaper editorial in the city.

Roy Hodgson has been told by the Football Association to reach the last eight at Euro 2016 to earn new two-year deal as England boss.

The FA will consider a foreign coach to succeed Hodgson if his four-year reign with England comes to an end after next summer’s tournament in France.

Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling, 31, has suggested he may have played his last game for the club, increasing speculation that he could be on his way to Liverpool in January.

Jorgen Klopp is hopeful the injury Dejan Lovren sustained against West Brom is not serious as the club await the results of a scan on the defender’s knee.

Crystal Palace are leading the way in the chase for 24-year-old Juventus striker Simone Zaza, who is also wanted by Watford and Norwich.

Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has dismissed reports the club are considering selling Paulo Dybala to Barcelona — just months after he moved to the Bianconeri from Palermo.

Ex-Manchester United defender Jaap Stam – currently an assistant coach at Dutch side Ajax- is keen to take his first step into management with Fulham.

Norwich and Sunderland are both keeping a close eye on Utrecht and France Under-21 striker Sebastien Haller, who is valued at around €9 million.

Stuttgart are facing competition from Eintracht Frankfurt for Bayern defender Jan Kirchhoff. He is looking for a transfer this winter to get more playing time.

Borussia Dortmund are monitoring Cesena midfielder Franck Kessie. The Ivorian teenager is out of contract next summer.

Questions have been raised over the future of Leeds manager Steve Evans after owner Massimo Cellino appeared in the dressing room twice in recent weeks during half-time. Evans had previously said he would quit if Cellino interfered with tactics.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is on his way to Japan with his team for the Club World Cup, but has found the in-flight pyjamas a little baggy for his 5ft 7ins frame.

Tottenham forward Harry Kane is not mincing his words in the wake of his side’s defeat by Newcastle on Sunday. “Very bad result. We need to learn to keep our foot on the pedal when 1-0 up and kill teams off,” he wrote on Twitter.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini congratulated ex-team-mate Petr Cech as the now-Arsenal stopper matched David James’ record of 169 Premier League clean sheets. “Many congratulations for such a great achievement. Many more to come for the best GK ever in PL. #Topclass,” he tweeted.

Stoke striker Peter Odemwingie joined new British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua following his win over Dillian Whyte on Saturday night.

Arsenal’s official Twitter feed got a little over-excited after Aaron Ramsey put them 2-0 up against Aston Villa on Sunday, wrongly awarding him a second and third goal inside a minute.

Jurgen Klopp says he did not shake hands with Tony Pulis after Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against West Brom “because it was not a friendly game”.
On Pulis, he said: “I didn’t see him after the game. I can say nothing. We had some words in the game; sometimes it takes more than a few seconds to cool down.
“Usually I shake hands, I did not today because it was not a friendly game.”

Derby County are set to win the race to sign highly-rated Cheltenham Town youngster Luke Thomas.
The likes of Southampton and Tottenham have been credited with an interest in Thomas

Jose Mourinho claims it is too easy for foreign managers to earn Premier League jobs – and believes English coaches should fear for their futures.

Diego Costa is happy to stay at Chelsea but will not leave a legacy to match that of Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Latest Football News

Manchester United have stepped up their pursuit of Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola, but they are concerned they have left it too late to beat neighbours City to the ex-Barcelona boss.

But Guardiola is under pressure to stay in Germany and reject a job at Manchester City or Manchester United – from his wife.

Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has been sounded out by the German giants who are preparing for life after Guardiola.

Valencia wanted to appoint Ryan Giggs ahead of giving Gary Neville the job, but the Manchester United assistant manager turned down the Spanish club as he believes he is in line to take over at Old Trafford after Louis van Gaal.

United are on the trail of the FC Zurich youngster Nishan Burkhart, with the 15-year-old Swiss youth winger thought to represent an investment for the future after being likened to a young Theo Walcott.

The Red Devils have watched Paris St-Germain’s 17-year-old striker Odsonne Edouard and are ready to move if he rejects a new contract with the French champions.

Real Madrid will look to re-sign Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, 27, if they sell 24-year-old James Rodriguez.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, 32, will be offered a £24m deal to leave Manchester for Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.

However, City are watching PSV Eindhoven’s highly-rated Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Pereiro, 20.

Corinthians’ 26-year-old Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato, on loan at Sao Paulo, says he would be happy to play in the Premier League.

Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez says he will not talk about the personal problems that affected 30-year-old forward Cristiano Ronaldo’s form earlier in the season, adding: “Now that he is scoring I’m calm because that will give him more confidence and help him to score even more.”

Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi is subject to a tug of war between Arsenal and north London rivals Tottenham.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez faces a battle to keep John Stones from moving in January, and he has earmarked Arsenal’s Calum Chambers as a potential replacement.

Newcastle will make an £8 million approach for Tottenham’s Andros Townsend, signalling a change of transfer policy as they had not previously made a habit of moving for English players.

Liverpool’s French defender Mamadou Sakho, 25, could return to the first team next weekend after resuming full training following five weeks out.

New Valencia boss Gary Neville says he has eaten paella every day since taking charge of the Spanish club.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole, 34, says his former club could still win the Premier League this season. Cole, now at Coventry, said: “That team could beat everyone from now until the end of the season.”

“Football in England is beautiful thanks to Jean-Marc Bosman,” said…Jean-Marc Bosman, 20 years after the Belgian midfielder won a landmark case at the European Court of Justice allowing out-of-contract players to leave clubs.

Wales and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was excited after his country was drawn in the same Euro 2016 group as England. He said:”All getting very real now. Can’t wait to face England.”

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty was similarly thrilled by the prospect of next summer after Michael O’Neill’s side were grouped with Germany, Poland and Ukraine. “What a test for us to show everyone how far our wee country has come,” he said.

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane said:”Who’s looking forward to the summer already?”

Republic of Ireland were drawn with Italy, Belgium and Sweden, and keeper Shay Given said:”Tough draw for us but still very excited about next summer, bring it on.”

After Bournemouth beat Manchester United 2-1, Cherries defender Adam Smith said:”What a result against United today. Lads were unreal.”

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea responded to the loss by saying:”A painful defeat and a disappointing situation, there’s no excuse. We are Manchester United and we’ll fight back.”

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was relieved by his side’s win over Swansea. He said:”Left it late but we did it again, congrats to the lads. Vital three points.”

Kompany’s team-mate Yaye Toure added:”We will fight until the end. Always!! Great to get the win today!!”

Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie was happy after his side’s 1-0 win over Southampton ensured they stayed sixth in the Premier League. He said:”Great win, fantastic atmosphere, well done lads.”

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku scored for the seventh successive game but his side were unable to win after dominating the first half. He said:”Difficult to accept but we need to keep on working to turn draws into wins.”

Watford striker Troy Deeney was happy with a 1-0 win at Sunderland. He said:”Wasn’t bad for a ‘very beatable team’. Not a great performance but we got the job done.”

Jurgen Klopp is renting former boss Brendan Rodgers’ old home on Merseyside from him. The house was previously owned by ex-Reds skipper Steven Gerrard.

Club World Cup

Paulinho scored in the final minute of stoppage time on Sunday as Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande beat Mexico’s Club America 2-1 to advance to the semifinals of the Club World Cup.
Paulinho’s header from a corner kick in the 93rd minute allowed Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team to secure a showdown with tournament favourites Barcelona on Dec. 17 in Yokohama.

Club America dominated for most of the second half until substitute Zheng Long equalised in the 80th minute, taking a pass from Gao Lin and beating Club America goalkeeper Moises Munoz with a shot from 15 metres.
Oribe Peralta gave Club America a 1-0 lead 10 minutes after the break with a header from a Dario Benedetto cross.
“My goal is to win against Barcelona,” Scolari said after the game. “My job is to convince my players of the possibility to win. Today my players fought hard and won so we should have a giant dream for the next match.”
Barcelona forward Neymar is injured and is doubtful for the Club World Cup.
“Even without Neymar, Barcelona has many great players,” Scolari said. “They are a perfect team. So not having Neymar is a slight advantage for us but they are still a great team.”

Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat TP Mazembe 3-0 in the Club World Cup in Sunday’s other game.
Tsukasa Shiotani gave Sanfrecce the lead a minute before half-time. Kazuhiko Chiba headed in a corner in the 56th minute and Takuma Asano added the third 12 minutes from time.

Sanfrecce’s reward is a meeting with South American giants River Plate on Wednesday.

EURO 2016 Draw

England and Wales have been drawn together in the same group at Euro 2016, while Belgium and Italy will also meet in France next summer.

Wales are competing in only their second major finals, after qualifying for the 1958 World Cup.

Belgium, currently world No. 1 in the FIFA Ranking, will take on Italy who lost to Spain in the final of Euro 2012.

Hosts France will kick off the tournament against Romania in Saint-Denis on Friday, June 10, before also playing Albania and Switzerland in Group A.

Germany and Poland have been drawn together again, along with Northern Ireland and Ukraine in Group C.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal look to have been handed a favourable draw in Group F, alongside Austria, Hungary and Iceland.

GROUP A
France
Romania
Albania
Switzerland

GROUP B
England
Russia
Wales
Slovakia

GROUP C
Germany
Ukraine
Poland
Northern Ireland

GROUP D
Spain
Czech Republic
Turkey
Croatia

GROUP E
Belgium
Italy
Republic of Ireland
Sweden

GROUP F
Portugal
Iceland
Austria
Hungary