Real Madrid, Manchester United rated most valuable clubs

Real Madrid and Manchester United have been rated as the most valuable clubs in the world in an annual study by auditing giant KPMG.

“Football Clubs’ Valuation: The European Elite” estimated Madrid and United as being worth €2.9 billion at the end of the 2015-16 season.

Barcelona are third, valued at €2.8bn, ahead of Bayern Munich, rated at €2.2bn.

Arsenal (€1.7bn) complete the top five, with the next three places occupied by Manchester City (€1.6bn), Chelsea (€1.5bn) and Liverpool (€1.3bn).

Juventus, worth €983 million, and Paris Saint-Germain (€843m) complete the top 10.
KPMG Head of Sports Network Jean-Luc Leroux said: “It’s a study that associates several criteria.

“These include the popularity of clubs with their number of followers on social media, their sporting potential given the value of their players, TV rights and their ownership situation, notably of the stadiums.

“It allows clubs to compare themselves with each other, to see where they are in the European hierarchy and how they progress from one season to another.”
PSG are ambitious to move further up the rankings, with L’Equipe reporting that owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) hope to increase the club’s value to €1.5bn by 2020.

The club was worth just over €100m when QSI took over in 2011, and €540m following the 2014-15 season.

But the stumbling block could prove to be the Parc des Princes which, with a capacity of 48,000, does not provide the scope needed to push the club forward.

QSI plans to increase capacity at the stadium, owned by the City of Paris, to 60,000, but Leroux said: “If they owned their stadium, they would make a leap forward. Without that, it’s more complicated.”
KPMG reports on all aspects of football finance, including assessing the most successful spenders in the transfer market and an annual overview of trends in football finance.

Top 10 clubs

  1. Real Madrid (€2.9bn)
  2. Manchester United (€2.9bn)
  3. Barcelona (€2.8bn)
  4. Bayern Munich (€2.2bn)
  5. Arsenal (€1.7bn)
  6. Manchester City (€1.6bn)
  7. Chelsea (€1.5bn)
  8. Liverpool (€1.3bn)
  9. Juventus (€983 million)
  10. Paris Saint-Germain (€843m)

Bournemouth’s  Eddie Howe  wins March Manager of the Month award

Eddie Howe has been named the premier league Manager of the month, after guiding his side to two wins and a draw in March.

Bournemouth fine form was recognised as Howe took the manager’s award, Bournemouth’s Josh King and Artur Boruc were  missed out on the player of the month award.

Howe oversaw a 1-1 draw at Manchester United and wins against West Ham and Swansea as the Cherries pulled nine points clear of the relegation places.
‘It feels really good,’ Howe said when picking up the award.
‘It was such an important month for us.

‘The fact we were able to pick up seven points and go unbeaten means everything to us at this moment.’

Howe’s win means Antonio Conte will have to rely on a good month in April or May to see if he can win a record fourth award in a single season.

The Italian already holds the record for most months won in a row, having picked up the award in October, November and December.

Carlo Ancelotti (2010/11), Claudio Ranieri (2015/16) and Sir Alex Ferguson (2006/07) are the only other managers to have won it three times in a single campaign.

Six managers were included in the shortlist for this month’s award with Sam Allardyce, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino and Craig Shakespeare the others missing out.

Romelu Lukaku  wins March Player of The Month award

Romelu Lukaku has been named Premier League player of the month for March.

Lukaku scored four times in three games, becoming the first Everton player to hit the 20-goal mark in the Premier League era.

The Belgian’s first came in a 3-2 defeat at Tottenham, and he then scored and registered an assist against West Brom before netting twice in a 4-0 win over Hull.
“I’m really happy,” said Lukaku, whose next assignment is Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield

“It gives me another boost. I’m playing well at the minute and the team is doing really well.”

Lukaku saw off competition from  a six-man shortlist including Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum, Crystal Palace’s Mamadou Sakho and Nathan Redmond of Southampton.

Andros Townsend  wins March goal of the month award

Crystal Palace’ Andros Townsend has won the premier league goal of the month for his solo run and finish for Palace at West Brom.
The Crystal Palace star fended off competition from Fernando Llorente, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Robert Huth, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez and Oumar Niasse to claim the prize after his solo effort against West Brom.

Townsend said: “I shrugged off Leko and Christian [Benteke] ran away so he left me the space, and even though I had nothing left I thought ‘I’m going to have to go for this.’

“It ended up as a two-v-two attack and thankfully I scored the goal.
“It’s definitely up there as one of the best in my career. I’ve been criticised that I’m a great scorer of goals, but not a great goalscorer.

“I’ve scored one for Spurs from a similar distance against Swansea, and a couple for England against Italy and Montenegro as well as another for Leyton Orient against Yeovil from a similar distance, so I’ve scored quite a few!”

Latest Football News 

  • ​Watford have announced midfielder Tom Cleverley’s loan spell from Everton will be made into a permanent transfer. Cleverley has signed a five-year deal with the Hornets, moving for an undisclosed fee, with the transfer to be formalised from July 1.

  • Manchester United have held initial talks with Napoli forward Dries Mertens.

  • United will trigger the £85m release clause in Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann’s contract at the end of the season.
  • Atletico Madrid are prepared to part with Manchester United target Jose Maria Gimenez – but the 22-year-old Uruguay defender has a £56m release clause.
  • Atletico Madrid will challenge Chelsea for the signing of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, 28, this summer.
  • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola could be interested in signing Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

  • Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin has told Barcelona that is willing to move to Camp Nou this summer.
  • Chelsea believe they have beaten Manchester City in the race to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

  • Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has told owner Roman Abramovich he does not want midfielder Eden Hazard, 26, to be sold, as Real Madrid are said to be planning a world-record £100m bid for the Belgian.

  • Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is ready to sell 25-year-old playmaker James Rodriguez this summer, with the club hoping to recoup most of the £68m they paid for the Colombia international. Chelsea and Liverpool have both been linked with Rodriguez.
  • Liverpool are plotting summer moves for Real Madrid midfielders James Rodriguez and Marco Asensio. The duo would likely cost a combined £92 million in the current market.
  • Liverpool are the latest club to show an interest in Sampdoria attacker Luis Muriel. Inter, Roma, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are also interested. 

  • Manchester City and Manchester United have both made concrete enquiries about Bayern Munich wonderkid Joshua Kimmich.
  • Jose Mourinho has said he allowed Bastian Schweinsteiger to join Chicago Fire because he did not treat him “right” at Manchester United.
  • United defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones suffered “long-term injuries” while on duty with England, Jose Mourinho has said.

  • Juventus are once again interested in signing Andre Gomes.
  • AS Roma star Kostas Manolas has refused to rule out a possible summer exit with Inter, Chelsea and Manchester United interested.
  • Roma could sell Leandro Paredes this summer, with Liverpool interested, despite the 22-year-old Argentine midfielder being set to replace the injured Daniele de Rossi in the starting XI.
  • Schalke chief Christian Heidel has  played down speculation linking  Max Meyer with a move to Liverpool.
  • Paris Saint-Germain star Javier Pastore has distanced himself from the transfer speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea.
  • Antonio Conte has targeted Hoffenheim defender Jeremy Toljan to challenge Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso at Chelsea.
  • Chelsea and Tottenham target Domenico Berardi is wanted by Inter Milan.
  • Michael Keane is on his way out of Burnley this summer but the biggest stumbling block to a move will be the sell-on clause due to Manchester United.
  • Everton have added Hull City defender Harry Maguire to their shortlist of potential summer signings.
  • Galatasaray are set to make a bid for Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri.

  • Borussia Monchengladbach have confirmed Denmark defender Andreas Christensen, 20, will return to Chelsea this summer when his two-year loan spell ends.
  • Czech Republic international striker Patrik Schick is being watched by both Arsenal and Tottenham and his agent was due to hold talks with the Premier League side on Wednesday.
  • Tottenham are preparing to step up their bid to sign Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, 24, with Moussa Sissoko, 27, and Erik Lamela, 25, potentially making way.
  • Liverpool are in danger of being given a transfer ban over claims they tapped up a 12-year-old Stoke City schoolboy player.
  • West Brom have added Gent winger Moses Simon to their summer wishlist.

  • Gabriel Jesus could be in contention to play in the FA Cup final if Manchester City get there, coach Pep Guardiola has said.
  • Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge for Saturday’s Merseyside derby, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
  • Tottenham have confirmed their  deadline to make a decision on  playing games at Wembley next  season has been extended until the  end of April.
  • A retired 79-year-old schoolteacher has won a competition to be recognised as “the biggest Premier League fan in China”. ‘Gunner Granny Liu’ beat more than 600 rivals and will now watch the Gunners face Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday.
  • The founding partner of Brazilian investment group DIS has accused Neymar and his family of being “traitors,” while insisting the Brazil and Barcelona star can’t be a role model to children for what he’s done.
  • DIS owned a substantial stake in Neymar when the Brazil No. 10 was sold from Santos to Barcelona for upwards of €86 million in the summer of 2013, but were shorted in the deal because part of the fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and the company run by Neymar’s parents.
  • The Baggies remain interested in signing Leeds United’s Charlie Taylor.
  • Crystal Palace and France midfielder Yohan Cabaye, 31, is keen to join Marseille this summer.
  • West Ham, Stoke, Everton and Sunderland want Dynamo Kiev and Croatia defender Domagoj Vida, 27.
  • Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has emerged as a transfer target for Turkish giants Galatasaray.
  • David Moyes has insisted sacking him will not solve struggling Sunderland’s problems as they fight for Premier League survival.
  • Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha has met Billy Gilmour’s parents as he tries to prevent the highly rated 15-year-old from joining Chelsea.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Jose Mourinho is gearing up a for a £70m battle with former club Chelsea for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

  • Chelsea are willing to spend up to £70m on a marquee striker this summer, but are debating over whether to sign Everton and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, 23, or Real Madrid and Spain’s 24-year-old forward Alvaro Morata.
  • Eden Hazard has dropped a hint that he could be staying with Chelsea after declaring his children are happy in London.
  • Chelsea are set to offer Nathan Ake to nab star defender Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.
  • The Blues are set to send Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan next season with Premier League clubs circling.

  • Monaco have told Real Madrid it will cost them a staggering £112million to sign teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.
  • Manchester United will demand in excess of £66million for David De Gea should Real Madrid reignite their interest in the Spaniard again this summer.
  • United have started investigating alternative goalkeeping options like Inter’s Samir Handanovic and Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, amid growing worries that David de Gea could leave for Real Madrid in the summer.
  • Jose Mourinho says it will be “impossible” to take Neymar from Barcelona, and that it would be “absurd” for him to ask the Old Trafford club to try.
  • United are stepping up their efforts to sign Monaco’s £40m-rated midfielder and Chelsea target Tiemoue Bakayoko.
  • Barcelona have reportedly delayed contract negotiations with Lionel Messi.

  • Lionel Messi has asserted his innocence after being hit with a four-match international ban for verbally abusing a match official in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile last week, saying he was yelling “to the air.”
  • Real Madrid ace James Rodriguez has his heart set on a summer move to Bayern Munich despite Liverpool’s £52m plot.
  • Liverpool are ready to join the battle for the services of young Bundesliga midfielder Max Meyer, dubbed the ‘German Dele Alli”.
  • Liverpool and Arsenal are interested in Real Madrid’s 21-year-old attacking midfielder Marco Asensio.
  • Everton say defender Ramiro Funes  Mori is likely to miss the rest of the  season after suffering a torn  meniscus playing for Argentina.
  • German midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud has reportedly decided to join Borussia Dortmund, rejecting a move to Liverpool.
  • Sergio Ramos, 30, has advised Spain team-mate and Tottenham target Isco, 24, not to leave Real Madrid.

  • Arsenal and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, 28, said he is happy in London but added that he wanted to play for a team that has “a winning mentality”.
  • However, Sanchez could also be convinced to see out the final 14 months of his contract at Arsenal.
  • Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil, 28, has revealed his family would prefer that he left the club at the end of the season.
  • Mesut Ozil has refused to rule out a return to the Bundesliga as his contract talks with Arsenal are put on hold.
  • Arsenal’s Sunday showdown with Manchester City is set to decide Arsene Wenger’s fate.
  • Meanwhie, Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal he wants to sign new two-year contract.
  • Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has held talks with Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez in London before the international break.
  • Bournemouth will go all-out to entice Jermain Defoe back to the south coast next term – to keep him on track for the World Cup.
  • Jermain Defoe can leave Sunderland on a free transfer if they are relegated from the Premier League due to a clause in his contract.
  • West Brom defender Gareth McAuley  has signed a one-year deal to remain at the The Hawthorns until 2018.
  • Bayer Leverkusen have joined the race for Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun, who is also a target for Tottenham and West Ham.
  • Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinsteiger was asked if he can win the World Cup with his new side by a confused American reporter.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger revealed he did not get the chance to say goodbye to his Man Utd team-mates before signing for Chicago Fire.
  • Liverpool have re-opened contract talks with defender Dejan Lovren.
  • Danish left-back Riza Durmisi says he’s flattered by Liverpool’s interest in him – but he’s happy at Real Betis.
  • Rafa Benitez has no intention of quitting Newcastle United for West Ham.
  • Martin O’Neill will seek talks with Everton manager Ronald Koeman after stating that James McCarthy did nothing wrong in declaring himself fit to play for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last week.
  • Former England striker Carlton Cole is to be reunited with ex-Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien after joining Indonesia club Persib Bandung. The 33-year-old forward, who spent the bulk of his playing career at West Ham, signed a one-year deal before the start of the new Liga 1 season.
  • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has suggested it would be “impossible” to ever manage Barcelona.

  • The sculptor behind the Cristiano  Ronaldo statue has defended his  work and insisted the Real Madrid  forward is happy with the final  product.
  • Fifa is proposing a six-nation play-off tournament to decide the last two places at the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026.
  • Fifa has opened proceedings against Wales full-back Neil Taylor after his leg-breaking challenge on Republic of Ireland’s Seamus Coleman.
  • Leicester City are apparently among a host of clubs tracking Oxford full-back, Marvin Johnson.
  • Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner has emerged as a potential candidate for the West Ham job if the owners decide in the summer that Slaven Bilic is not the man to take the club forward in the long term.
  • A feisty Scarborough amateur cup final was abandoned after the referee is attacked by supporter.
  • Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean has surprised a team of children with Down’s syndrome following a social media appeal. Londonderry’s Oxford Bulls was formed in October 2015 but have struggled to find another team to play against.
  • A plea was put out on social media several weeks ago to try to find them some competitors. The team’s manager then received a message from West Brom star McClean, which he thought was a “wind-up”. “Out of the blue I get a message from the man himself, James McClean, on Facebook,” Kevin Morrison said.

Bizarre Ronaldo statue unveiled in airport naming event 

​Football fans have been questioning the resemblance of a statue of Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Many on social media say the work looks more like former Republic of Ireland captain Niall Quinn than Ronaldo.

The decision to officially add the Real Madrid star’s name to the airport, so it is now called the “Aeroporto Internacional da Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo,” was made by local regional government chief Miguel Albuquerque after Ronaldo captained Portugal to the Euro 2016 success last summer.
Although there has been some criticism of the idea from both locals on the island and politicians on Portugal’s mainland, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa both attended the ceremony, which included the unveiling of a plaque featuring the airport’s new name and a bust of the player’s head.

“Thank you for being here in my honour,” Ronaldo is quoted by O Jogo as saying at the event. “To see my name given to this airport is something very special, everyone knows that I am proud of my land and my country.
“I thank a lot the president of the regional government, who had the courage and strength to do this. My friend Miguel Albuquerque, I never asked for this, but I am very happy and honoured.

“I know that there were some people who did not agree, but I am not a hypocrite and I accept that some of those are here at this moment. That is all OK, we are all free, we live in a democracy and everyone has the right to their own opinion. I always prefer for those who have a position to say it openly, and not hide behind someone who speaks for them.

“I know the responsibility I have. I will always try to dignify Portugal and especially Madeira with dedication and a spirit of sacrifice and passion.”

Rebelo de Sousa said at the ceremony that “genius” Ronaldo “will always be an example” and that the renaming of the airport “was an exceptional decision for an exceptional personality, who we are convinced will never disappoint us.”

The event took place the day after Portugal hosted Sweden in a friendly, with Ronaldo opening the scoring before the visitors came back to win 3-2.
Ronaldo was born in Funchal in Madeira in 1985, and moved to Lisbon aged 12 to continue his football education at Sporting Lisbon, before going on to great success at Manchester United and Madrid, while making a record 138 appearances for Portugal and scoring a record 71 goals.

Funchal’s landmark waterside square has in recent years become known informally as the “Praca CR7,” as it is now home to Ronaldo’s personal museum, a 3.4 metre tall bronze statue of the player, and the Pestana CR7 Funchal hotel.

Ronaldo has also received a number of prestigious personal awards from the island’s authorities, including the “Medalla de Merito de la Asamblea Legislativa,” the region’s highest honour.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is among a host of names Real Madrid are considering this summer.

  • Los Blancos are set to sign a striker this summer, and are also targeting the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andrea Belotti.
  • Jose Mourinho is believed to be monitoring Arsenal duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil.
  • Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hinted he will remain at Old Trafford by saying he will “never leave a job unfinished.”

  • United are hopeful of kicking off their summer spending spree by signing Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier.
  • Barcelona have released a statement expressing their “surprise and indignation” at FIFA’s decision to hand Lionel Messi a four-match international ban for verbally abusing a match official in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile last week.
  • France captain Hugo Lloris and forward Antoine Griezmann bemoaned the delay in video assistant referee (VAR) decisions being made during Les Bleus’ 2-0 defeat to Spain in Tuesday’s friendly.
  • Chelsea will offer Hazard a new contract worth £300,000 per week.

  • The Blues will offer striker Diego Costa, 28, to Paris St-Germain as part of a swap deal for 27-year-old midfielder Javier Pastore.
  • Barcelona are set to beat Chelsea to the signing of PSG midfielder Marco Verratti, 24.
  • Barca will rival Arsenal for the signature of 22-year-old Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso.
  • Juventus are targeting a move for Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin.
  • Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom, 21, is set to reject England in favour of playing for Nigeria.
  • Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City are all interested in Villarreal winger Samuel Castillejo, 22.
  • Arsenal and Spurs will both hold talks with the representatives of Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick ahead of a potential summer move.
  • The Gunners fear they could lose Chris Willock this summer, with Everton, Southampton and Bournemouth registering interest.
  • Tottenham midfielders Erik Lamela, 25, and Moussa Sissoko, 27, are both targets for a number of Serie A clubs.
  • Erik Lamela has been ruled out for the rest of the season because of a hip injury. The 25-year-old Argentina international has not played for Spurs since October because of the problem and will undergo surgery on Saturday.
  • Spurs want 20-year-old Hoffenheim midfielder Nadiem Amiri, but face competition from Atletico Madrid.
  • Tottenham are confident of winning the race to sign in-demand Celtic striker Moussa Dembele.
  • Liverpool are prepared to spend £43m to sign Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, 25.
  • New Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has told the New York Times he viewed his struggles at Manchester United as a test of character and that he achieved his “dream” when he forced his way back into the team.
  • Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha turned his back on England because the Football Association is failing to nurture young talents outside the country’s biggest clubs, says club chairman Steve Parish.
  • Crystal Palace, Watford, Benfica, Roma and AC Milan are all keeping a close eye on Jack Wilshere.
  • West Ham manager Slaven Bilic will not be offered a new contract this summer, when he enters the last 12 months of his three-year deal.
  • And the Hammers may look to Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez as they seek Bilic’s successor.
  • Manchester United are monitoring Celtic’s 19-year-old left-back Kieran Tierney.
  • AFC Bournemouth are reportedly interested in Aston Villa’s Manchester United loanee Sam Johnstone.
  • Former Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate, 37, has rejoined the club as a first-team coach.
  • Brazil will be back on top of the FIFA World Ranking for the first time in six years when the new table is published on April 6.
  • Coach Tite has led Brazil to nine consecutive wins since taking over as coach, scoring 25 goals and conceding just two. They won 4-1 against Uruguay in Montevideo last week, and they best Paraguay 3-0 on Tuesday to become the first nation to qualify for next year’s World Cup, alongside Russia.
  • Jose Mourinho believes mid-season international friendlies “make no sense” after Chris Smalling and Phil Jones suffered injuries.
  • Arsene Wenger will sign a new contract at Arsenal, according to former Gunners midfielder Robert Pires.
  • Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez is keen on a summer transfer to Manchester United.
  • Wayne Rooney may not be inundated with offers from the United States if he leaves Old Trafford this summer, according to Houston Dynamo chief Chris Canetti.
  • Chelsea have reportedly opened talks with Anderlecht for midfielder Youri Tielemans.
  • Roma may be ready to sell Chelsea and Liverpool target Kostas Manolas, but will not sell to a Serie A rival.
  • Virgil van Dijk would prefer a move to Premier League leaders Chelsea from Southampton in the summer transfer window.
  • Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe has distanced himself from claims he  could sign for Real Madrid this  summer.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has praised the  decision to rename Madeira airport  in his name on the day one of  sport’s strangest statues was  unveiled.
  • #memories
  • Santiago Canizares, David Albelda,  Gaizka Mendieta, Pablo Aimar – we remember a great Valencia era when they won two out of three La Ligas.
  • Everton will give a week long trial to goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, son of Jurgen.
  • Hull City have taken Cardiff City youngster Scott Coughlan on trial.
  • Jurgen Klopp will have the ‘largest transfer kitty in the club’s history’ to spend.
  • Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has emerged as a transfer target for Marseille.
  • On-loan Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is being targeted for a permanent move by Crystal Palace in the summer, but they face competition from Southampton and Napoli.
  • Pep Guardiola has personally called one of Europe’s top rated young goalkeeper, Brazilian Ederson Moraes, in hopes of luring him to Manchester City.
  • Inter are open to sell Manchester United target Marcelo Brozovic at the end of the season.
  • West Ham United are reportedly in talks with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim regarding a potential deal for winger Steven Zuber.
  • West Brom are lining up a move to sign Schalke defender Dennis Aogo on a free transfer this summer.
  • Yannick Bolasie has provided a  positive update on his ruptured ACL – and has expressed sympathy for  fellow injury-victim Seamus  Coleman.
  • Newcastle United will not attempt to land Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer.
  • Swansea reportedly have no plans to use Bafetimbi Gomis again and will actively look to sell the striker in the summer.
  • Sunderland are interested in a summer move for Italian under-21 international Adam Masina.
  • Premier League side Stoke City have enquired about the availability of Besiktas’ star winger Ricardo Quaresma.
  • Udinese winger Jakub Jankto has admitted he would like to make the move abroad soon amid reports Stoke are keen on signing him.
  • West Brom, Leicester and Middlesbrough are keen to bring in Montpellier striker Steve Mounie.
  • Celtic have been urged to tie Stuart  Armstrong to a new deal – or risk  losing the man dubbed ‘the new  Kenny Dalglish’ to the Premier  League.
  • Fans vented their feelings about Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger by displaying a ‘Wenger Out’ banner at a game between New Zealand and Fiji – more than 11,500 miles from Emirates Stadium.
  • Hull City’s under-23 game against Millwall was abandoned after a brawl in the 89th minute.
  • Kenya international Clifton Miheso has filed a complaint to Fifa over his claim he was forced at gunpoint to end his contract with Golden Arrows.
  • Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua’s Hongkou stadium has been damaged by a fire. There were no casualties reported after the incident on Tuesday morning.
  • The club, managed by ex-Brighton manager Gus Poyet, signed former Man City striker Carlos Tevez last year in a deal reported to be worth £40m. Ex-Toons Obafemi Martins is also in the club.
  • Tottenham could continue playing at White Hart Lane next season, according to chairman Daniel Levy.
  • Spurs are having a new stadium built next to their existing home and had been expected to play at Wembley next season while the project is completed.

Ronaldo  in all-time top 10 international goalscorers 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 71st goal for Portugal took him into the all-time top 10 in international history.

The Portuguese star netted the opener in their 3-2 friendly defeat  against Swedenon Tuesday on his 138th appearance, taking him to joint-ninth in the standings, level with Majed Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Kiatisuk Senamuang of Thailand and Miroslav Klose of Germany.
He still has some way to go to catch all-time leader Ali Daei, however, who netted 109 times for Iran in 149 caps.

Ronaldo’s goal also took him to joint-third with Klose in the European list, behind the legendary Hungarian pair of Ferenc Puskas (84), and Sandor Kocsis (75).

All-time international goalscorers


1   Ali Daei   Iran   109
2   Ferenc PuskasHungary   84
3   Kunishige Kamamoto   Japan    80
4   Hussein SaeedIraq    78
5   Pele   Brazil    77
6   Godfrey Chitalu   Zambia    76

7   Sandor Kocsis   Hungary    75
7   Bashar Abdullah   Kuwait    75
9   Majed Abdullah   Saudi Arabia    71
9   Kiatisuk Senamuang   Thailand    71
9   Miroslav Klose   Germany    71
9   Cristiano Ronaldo   Portugal    71

Leading European goalscorers in international history

Player___ (Nation)___ Goals ___Caps

Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)      84       85

Sandor Kocsis (Hungary)     75      68

Miroslav Klose (Germany)      71     137

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)      71     138

International Friendlies –  VAR used as Spain beat France; Belgium held by Russia; Italy win Netherlands 

  • ​France 0 – 2 Spain

Video technology was used to correct two wrong decisions as Spain beat France in a friendly in Paris.

France striker Antoine Griezmann had a goal ruled out by a video assistant referee for offside.

And Spain’s second goal, scored by Gerard Deulofeu, was awarded by the video official after an assistant referee wrongly flagged for offside.

David Silva had opened the scoring for Spain with a penalty after Laurent Koscielny fouled Deulofeu.

Deulofeu’s goal – from a Jordi Alba cross – was awarded after a conversation between the referee and the video assistant that lasted about 40 seconds.

There appeared to be no player protests about either decision.

Video Assistant Referee )VAR( is currently undergoing trial runs, with Fifa president Gianni Infantino keen to employ the system during the World Cup in Russia next year.

It was first used in September, in France’s 3-1 friendly win in Italy, and both the Spanish and French football associations agreed to its use during Tuesday’s match.

“If it is verified and it is fair, why not )use VAR(?” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “It changes our football a little.

“It is against us today ]Tuesday[, but if we have to go through this, it will be the same for everyone.

“Afterwards, without ]VAR[, it would have been different, but it is the evolution of football. That is how it will be.”

VAR has also been used at the Fifa Club World Cup, and the Football Association wants to use it in next season’s FA Cup from the third round onwards.

  • Portugal 2 – 3 Sweden

Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his home island of Madeira, a day before the local airport is to be named in his honour, as Portugal surrendered a two-goal lead to lose to Sweden.

Portugal led through Ronaldo’s 71st international strike and an Andreas Granqvist own goal.

But a Viktor Claesson double and Cavaco Cancelo’s injury-time own goal secured a remarkable turnaround for the Swedes.

Ronaldo is expected to attend a naming ceremony at the airport on Wednesday.

  • Netherlands 1 – 2 Italy

The Netherlands were beaten at home by Italy in their first game since the sacking of head coach Danny Blind.

The Dutch, led by interim manager Fred Grim, went ahead as Quincy Promes’ deflected shot wrong-footed 18-year-old Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

But the visitors responded almost immediately as Eder drove in a low strike to level.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci pounced on Jeroen Zoet’s handling error to give Italy victory in the friendly.

  • Russia 3 – 3 Belgium

Alexander Bukharov salvaged a 3-3 draw for Russia against Belgium in stoppage time to cap a late comeback in Sochi.

Defender Viktor Vasin had given Russia an early lead before Roman Neustadter gave away a penalty with a clumsy challenge on Belgium forward Christian Benteke. 

Kevin Mirallas converted the spot kick, and Benteke followed up with a pair of goals shortly before half-time.

Substitute Bukharov set up Alexei Miranchuk to make it 3-2 in the 76th minute, before leveling in the second minute of time added on.

  • Ireland 0 – 1 Iceland

The Republic of Ireland’s 15-game unbeaten run at the Aviva Stadium ended as their under-strength side were beaten by Iceland in the friendly.

Hordur Magnusson’s superb 21st-minute free-kick secured victory as Iceland bossed the first half and then dealt with the Republic’s second-half rally.

Preston’s Daryl Horgan was the pick of the Republic’s four debutants.

John Egan and Conor Hourihane both started, with Horgan’s Preston team-mate Andy Boyle used off the bench.

  • Albania 1 – 2 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina came away with a 2-1 win at Albania, an early Edin Dzeko penalty and Senad Lulic goal enough to hold on despite Bekim Balaj’s second-half strike for the hosts.

  • Austria 1 – 1 Finland

Marko Arnautovic hooked the ball home following a corner kick to put Austria ahead, but Fredrik Jensen answered for Finland in a 1-1 draw.

  • Estonia 3 – 0 Croatia

Siim Luts scored in the opening minute and Estonia never looked back in surprising Croatia 3-0, Konstantin Vassiljev and Sergei Zenjov adding to the lead late in the second half.

  • Macedonia 3 – 0 Belarus

Goran Pandev brace helped Macedonia to a 3-0 home win over Belarus.

Stefan Spirovski opened the scoring for FYRM in the first-half.

  • Georgia 5 – 0 Latvia

Giorgi Kvilitaia and Jano Ananidze both scored twice to help Georgia cruise past Latvia 5-0.

Giorgi Kvilitaia was the other scorer, scoring the third goal for Georgia.

  • Egypt 3 – 0 Togo

Goals from Mahmoud Kahraba, Youssef and Mohamed Elnneny helped Egypt beat Togo at home.

  • Morocco 1 – 0 Tunisia

Tunisia lost at Morocco courtesy of an own goal by Tunisia’s Younes Hamza.

  • Cameroun 1 – 2 Guinea

African champions lost at home to Guinea. Fode Camara put the visitors ahead, but Ekambi levelled for Cameroun.

Guinea’s Kamano scored the winner before the break.

  • South Africa 0 – 0 Angola

It was a stalemate between South Africa and Angola.

World Cup Qualification: CONMEBOL – Messi-less Argentina in World Cup mess, shown no mercy by Bolivia; Brazil book world cup spot

​Bolivia 2 – 0 Argentina

Ecuador 0 – 2 Colombia

Chile 3 – 1 Venezuela

Brazil 3 – 0 Paraguay

Peru 2 – 1 Uruguay

  • ​Bolivia 2 – 0 Argentina

An Argentina side reeling from the shock suspension of captain Lionel Messi crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Bolivia on Tuesday, dealing a fresh blow to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

Goals from Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins secured a deserved win for Bolivia, who retain a slender hope of qualification for next year’s finals despite remaining second from bottom of the table.

Argentina had been rocked just hours before kick-off after confirmation Messi had been hit with a four-match ban following a ruling from disciplinary chiefs at world governing body FIFA in Zurich.

The Barcelona superstar  was stunned after being suspended for four of  Argentina’s five  remaining World Cup  qualification matchesafter being caught swearing at an official in a game against Chile last week.

Messi’s suspension left Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza forced to make a hasty reshuffle to his starting line-up, bringing in Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa in attack while leaving Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero on the bench.

But Argentina, clearly struggling in the thin air of La Paz, which is 3,600m )11,800ft( above sea level, were well beaten at the Estadio Hernando Siles.

Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori was stretchered off the field with what looked like a knee injury.

Argentina’s next games will be in August away to Uruguay and in Buenos Aires against Venezuela. In October, the 2014 World Cup finalists face Peru at home and Ecuador away.

  • Brazil 3 – 0 Paraguay

Brazil booked their spot at next year’s World Cup in Russia with a dominant 3-0 win over Paraguay.

Tite’s men are 11 points ahead of fifth-placed Argentina and 10 in front of Uruguay in fourth, and therefore cannot be caught as both nations are still to play each other.

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho curled in a low opener and Neymar capped an eventful evening with a goal in the second half before Marcelo added a late third.

Barcelona forward Neymar, captaining the side, missed a penalty and saw an effort chalked off for offside on an evening when he was routinely on the end of rough treatment from the Paraguay defenders.

  • Ecuador 0 – 2 Colombia

In Quito, James Rodriguez and Colombia built on the momentum from Thursday’s win against Bolivia with a 2-0 defeat of Ecuador.

James fired the visitors into an early lead in the 20th minute, poking home from close range to put his team 1-0 up.

And 15 minutes later, Juan Cuadrado added a second for Jose Pekerman’s team, with James setting up the Juventus man to make it 2-0 ahead of half-time.

Ecuador failed to break down a resolute Colombia defence in the second half, with the result pushing the visitors past Argentina into at least third.

  • Chile 3 – 1 Venezuela

Alexis Sanchez and Chile also took advantage of Argentina’s loss, hammering Venezuela 3-1 at home to take all three points and move past rivals Argentina in the table.
The hosts were on the board in the fifth minute, with Sanchez beating Wuilker Farinez from a free kick to equal Marcelo Salas as Chile’s all-time leading international scorer with 37 goals.

Two minutes later Esteban Paredes fired home a Charles Aranguiz pass from the centre of the penalty area to double his team’s lead. Paredes would score his second 15 minutes later to effectively end proceedings just past the 20-minute mark.

Salomon Rondon pulled one back for Venezuela in the 63rd minute, but the game was out of reach for the visitors who are bottom of the qualifying table with no shot at a chance at Russia 2018.

  • Peru 2 – 1 Uruguay

Peru upset Uruguay 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional de Lima.

Carlos Sanchez put the visitors in front on the half hour, but goals from Paolo Guerrero and Edison Flores pulled the tie back in Peru’s favour.

Uruguay’s hopes of salvaging anything from the match were dashed when Pachuca winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Bayern Munich are seeking Alexis Sanchez as the man to kickstart their bid to compete directly with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

  • Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has made Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez his top summer transfer target.
  • Arsenal will reportedly put a £50million asking-price on Alexis Sanchez’s head should he refuse to sign a new deal and leave the club this summer.
  • Manchester United have emerged as favourites to sign Mesut Ozil this summer as Jose Mourinho looks to reunite with his former Real Madrid midfielder.
  • United could be without seven first-team players when they host West Brom on Saturday. 
  • Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Ander Herrera are suspended, while defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, and striker Wayne Rooney are nursing injuries.
  • Eden Hazard is learning Spanish as he continues to be coveted by Spanish giants Real Madrid.
  • Should Madrid be successful in prising away Hazard, Chelsea will target Monaco’s Bernardo Silva as his replacement.

  • Arsenal are considering a €15 million (£13m) bid for Sporting and Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
  • Liverpool have been dealt a huge blow with the news midfielder Adam Lallana is set to miss Saturday’s Merseyside derby after sustaining a thigh injury on England duty.
  • Chelsea are confident they will sign 15-year-old Rangers midfielder Billy Gilmour, who is attracting interest from other clubs.
  • Chelsea star N’Golo Kante has revealed he nearly didn’t join Leicester City because he wanted to go to Marseille.
  • Everton are looking at 21-year-old Orlando City striker Cyle Larin as they search for a potential replacement for 23-year-old forward Romelu Lukaku, who is refusing to sign a new contract.
  • Romelu Lukaku “owes Everton one more season” reckons former Blues striker Tony Cottee. The striker, 23, is yet to sign an offer of a new contract.
  • Everton have the chance to overtake Liverpool as the biggest club in the city according to ex-Reds striker Stan Collymore.

  • Louis van Gaal could return to football, with the Netherlands open to working with the former Manchester United manager following the sacking of national boss Danny Blind.
  • Manchester United are discussing a deal for 15-year-old midfielder Will Vint, the son of Everton’s academy director.
  • United must qualify for the Champions League if they are to sign Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Europa League offers an easier route into next season’s Champions League than the top four for Manchester United.
  • Southampton are eyeing a move for Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho, as they look to replace Chelsea target Virgil Van Dijk.
  • Jesse Lingard has confirmed he is in talks about extending his contract with Manchester United.

  • Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce wants Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in a £3million permanent move.
  • Manchester City are reportedly keeping tabs on Southampton defender Cedric Soares ahead of a potential summer swoop.
  • Liverpool are taking no risks in their preparations for Saturday’s Merseyside derby by hiring a private jet to return Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino from international duty in Brazil.
  • Reds’ defender Dejan Lovren says players at the club would welcome a move for Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, 28.
  • Tottenham fans have started an online petition calling for former midfielder Darren Anderton to be given a testimonial – 13 years after he left the club.
  • Moussa Sissoko, 27, has insisted he does not want to leave Tottenham during the summer despite struggling to make the grade at White Hart Lane.
  • Franck Ribery, 33, claims he rejected offers from Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid before committing his long-term future to Bayern Munich.
  • West Brom have made an enquiry about the availability of Montpellier striker Steve Mounie ahead of the summer transfer window. Leicester and Middlesbrough are also keen on the 22-year-old.
  • England manager Gareth Southgate says Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha was the first player he went to see after getting the job permanently, but the 24-year-old had already decided to play for Ivory Coast.
  • Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has revealed part of the reason for his success in returning to international football aged 34 is due to sessions in a cryotherapy chamber.
  • England manager Gareth Southgate says Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha was the first player he went to see after getting the job permanently, but the 24-year-old had already decided to play for Ivory Coast.
  • A friendly fixture between Ivory Coast and Senegal was abandoned on Monday due to a series of pitch invasions, one of which saw a player dragged to the ground.
  • Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has revealed how buying £100-worth of beer for his players helped turn their season. The Blades are top of League One and closing in on promotion to the Championship.
  • West Ham will rival Juventus and  Sevilla in the race to sign Steven Zuber from Hoffenheim.
  • Everton are asking football fans from around the world to send in their well wishes to defender Seamus Coleman, who suffered a horrific leg break while on international duty. The club wants fans to send their messages via email, social media, or by mailing a card or letter.

Messi handed four-match ban for insulting official 

Lionel Messi was banned for four international matches – just five and a half hours before Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia kicked off.

The Barcelona forward was punished for directing “insulting words” at an assistant referee during Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile.

The 29-year-old was fined £8,100.

He will miss his country’s next four competitive fixtures.
Argentina later lost to Bolivia 2 – 0 on Tuesday evening. 

Latest Football News 

  • ​Manchester United are prepared to pay Neymar’s €200 million Barcelona buyout clause.

  • Eden Hazard’s representatives have held “positive talks” over a potential switch to Real Madrid, but Chelsea want playmaker James Rodriguez, 25, in exchange for the 26-year-old forward. It is rumoured that Hazard has already found a house to move into.
  • Chelsea have reached an agreement to sign Monaco holding midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, before a £35m move to Chelsea in the summer.
  • Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are both  tailing Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
  • Barcelona have been told that they must pay a massive €90 million if they are to re-sign Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich.
  • Real Madrid star Raphael Varane has hinted he would love to work with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

  • Juventus have their eyes on Liverpool target Inaki Williams.
  • AC Milan wants to take Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent deal this summer.
  • Chelsea target Radja Nainggolan should leave Roma, according to his team-mate Kostas Manolas.
  • Italy forward Andrea Belotti, 23, will reject a move to Arsenal or Chelsea this summer to stay at Torino.

  • Barcelona will offer midfielder Ivan Rakitic, 29, to Liverpool as part of a deal for 24-year-old Reds midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
  • Schalke youngster Max Meyer has  opened the door on a move to the  Premier League after admitting there is a “50-50” chance he will leave.
  • Udinese midfielder Jakub Jankto, a target for West Brom and Stoke, has told the Italian media he wants to play abroad in the near future.
  • Barcelona are considering a shock move for former Newcastle flop Florian Thauvin.
  • Barca are no longer interested in signing Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin, with the Gunners wanting at least £45m for the 22-year-old.
  • Jack Wilshere remains keen on a move to AC Milan after the club was recommended by ex-England international David Beckham.
  • Manchester United are set to turn their attention towards signing Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

  • Inter Milan are set to tempt Spurs with a swap deal involving Argentine international Erik Lamela and Croatian star Marcelo Brozovic.
  • Erik Lamela could be set for a return to Italy with Inter keen on bringing the Argentine back to Serie A.
  • Arsenal will rival Atletico Madrid for the signing of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, 25.
  • Arsene Wenger met with £50m-rated Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko in November, but failed to tempt the midfielder into an Arsenal move.

  • Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim says he is focused on his current club, rather than thinking about replacing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
  • Chelsea forward Diego Costa, 28, says he would be open to a move to France in the future and has praised Marseille, Monaco and Paris St-Germain.
  • Blues boss Antonio Conte has told owner Roman Abramovich he wants to sign 24-year-old Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
  • Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, 24, will be a target for the Premier League’s top six this summer, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City having regularly sent scouts to watch the England player.
  • Chelsea and Everton are leading the chase for Lazio central defender Stefan de Vrij.
  • With Newcastle on the verge of a return to the Premier League, they will look to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea.
  • Thierry Henry thinks he has still got a lot to learn before being talked about as a potential successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
  • Former Tottenham, Wolves and Fulham midfielder Jamie O’Hara, 30, missed his best friend’s wedding in Las Vegas on Saturday to make his debut for Ryman League Premier Division side Billericay Town.
  • FIFA will pay Seamus Coleman’s Everton wages while he recovers from his double leg break.
  • Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Arijan Ademi’s four-year doping ban has been halved as the Court of Arbitration for Sport found he did not intentionally cheat.
  • Man City have been fined £35,000 for failing to control their players against Liverpool, the Football Association has announced.
  • A former member of Ghana’s coaching team, Gerard Nus, has ended his sit-in as the football association settled his bonuses. He has told BBC Sport the matter is now over despite not being paid in full.
  • Claudio Bravo has insisted in no  uncertain terms that he is happy at  Manchester City and doesn’t want to  leave the club.
  • Chelsea star N’Golo Kante has revealed he nearly didn’t join Leicester City because he wanted to go to Marseille.

World Cup Qualification: UEFA  – Defoe score as England beat Lithuania; Germany win 5/5; Lewandowski score in Poland win

​Group C

Azerbaijan 1 – 4 Germany

San Marino 0 – 6 Czech Republic

N.Ireland 2 – 0 Norway

  • Azerbaijan 1 – 4 Germany

Germany maintained their 100 per cent record at the top of World Cup qualifying Group C with a comfortable 4-1 win inAzerbaijan.

Joachim Low’s side conceded their first goal in qualifying, but made it five wins out of five to maintain their comfortable lead in the table.

Dimitrij Nazarov cancelled out Andre Schurrle’s close-range opener in Baku, but Germany responded through Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez to lead 3-1 at the break and Schurrle emphatically netted his second in the 81st minute.

  • N. Ireland 2 – 0 Norway

Northern Ireland remain on course for a World Cup play-off spot thanks to an impressive qualifier win over Norway.

Jamie Ward’s strike put the hosts in front inside two minutes and Steven Davis set up Conor Washington to fire in the second on 33 at Windsor Park.

Alexander Soderlund hit the crossbar in the first half but it was a disappointing start to Lars Lagerback’s managerial reign with the Norwegians.

Northern Ireland are two points clear of third-placed Czech Republic.

  • San Marino 0 – 6 Czech Republic

Czech Republic thrashed San Marino 6-0 to keep up their challenge behind Germany in Group C.

Victory was pretty much sewn up in the space of seven minutes midway through the first half. First, Antonin Barak struck left-footed into the corner on 17 minutes after good work by Theodor Gebre Selassie and two minutes later, Barak turned provider for Vladimir Darida. Barak then grabbed his second of the match on 24 minutes, meeting Ladislav Krejci’s pass to fire high into the net.

Gebre Selassie made it 4-0 before the half-hour mark and Michal Krmencik added another just before the break. Darida’s second half penalty completed the rout.

Group E

Armenia 2 – 0 Kazakhstan

Montenegro 1 – 2 Poland

Romania 0 – 0 Denmark

  • Montenegro 1 – 2 Poland

Poland extended their lead at the top of Group E to six points after a 2-1 win against closest rivals Montenegro in Podgorica.

Robert Lewandowski’s free kick gave Poland the lead five minutes before the interval and although Stefan Mugosa equalised after the break, Lukasz Piszczek’s late winner secured his unbeaten side their fourth group win.

Montenegro still lie second.

  • Romania 0 – 0 Denmark

Denmark and Romania remain third and fourth, respectively, following their goalless draw in Cluj.

  • Armenia 2 – 0 Kazakhstan

Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored as Armenia beat 10-man Kazakhstan 2-0.

Mkhitaryan, who saw a first-half shot hit a post, broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute against 10-manKazakhstan- his 20th international goal – before Aras Ozbiliz secured a 2-0 Group E win.

Kazakhstan, who stayed bottom, are without a win and had defender Sergiy Maliy sent off in the 64th minute after his ill-timed tackle on Mkhitaryan earned him a second yellow card.

Group F

England 2 – 0 Lithuania

Malta 1 – 3 Slovakia

Scotland 1 – 0 Slovenia

  • England 2 – 0 Lithuania

England made it four wins out of five in World Cup 2018 qualifying as they beat Lithuania 2-0 at Wembley.

Jermain Defoe broke the deadlock for England inside 21 minute when he calmly slotted Raheem Sterling’s feed into the top-right corner.

John Stones was required to hook an effort off the line just before the break, although upon reflection the offside flag should have gone up long before.

It took England a while to seal the three points, the decisive blow eventually coming when substitute Jamie Vardy slotted home Adam Lallana’s clever feed.

Defoe returned with a bang as England overcame Lithuania, netting his first international goal in four years as Gareth Southgate’s men secured a predictably comfortable World Cup qualification win.

The striker’s 20th goal on his 56th cap – 1,227 days after his previous appearance – was made all the more special by the fact he led his country out with Bradley Lowery, the terminally-ill five-year-old who calls the Sunderland striker his “best mate”.

It was already an emotive evening as tribute was paid to former England manager Graham Taylor and those affected by the Westminster terror attack, with those at Wembley responding with a dignified display in stark contrast to those who sung offensive chants in Germany.

  • Scotland 1 – 0 Slovenia

Chris Martin scored late on as Scotland saw off Slovenia to keep their slim hopes of reaching the World Cup alive.

The home side produced an excellent first-half showing, with Leigh Griffiths hitting the bar then post.

The visitors improved after the break but substitute Martin’s left-foot finish with two minutes left won it.

Scotland, whose head coach Gordon Strachan had described this match  as a must-win, are now fourth in Group F, two points behind Slovakia in second.

  • Malta 1 – 3 Slovakia

Slovakia won 3-1 in Malta, whose Jean Paul Farrugia cancelled out Vladimir Weiss’ second-minute opener, but Slovakia regained the lead through Jan Gregus and Adam Nemec added a late third before he was shown a straight red card for his foul on Zach Muscat.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Real Madrid have opened talks with Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

  • Lionel Messi is attempting to block Barcelona from selling Jordi Alba to Manchester United.
  • Jose Mourinho says he didn’t go to watch Croatia’s match with Ukraine to scout players but to “visit friends and enjoy the weather”.
  • Monaco have put a £130m price tag on 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe. Manchester United are favourites to sign the French teenager, who has scored 19 goals in 32 games this season.
  • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is confident of signing Tottenham left-back Danny Rose, 26, for £50m this summer, with Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, 21, likely to replace him.
  • Yaya Toure is being lined up by BOTH Milan clubs as AC and Inter battle for the Manchester City giant’s signature.
  • Arsenal are interested in signing Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the summer.
  • Mesut Ozil says he will hold talks with Arsenal over his future and decide on a new contract “soon”.
  • Chelsea striker Diego Costa suffered an injury scare during a training session with Spain. Costa was forced out of the session with a leg and ankle injury and underwent X-rays at the Sanitas Clinic in La Moraleja, but was given the all clear, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said.
  • Manchester United are willing to spend £60m on 25-year-old Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez.

  • James Rodriguez has emerged as a target for Liverpool, should they qualify for next season’s Champions League.
  • Man City’s Jesus Navas is preparing for a summer move back to Sevilla. After four years in England and with first-team appearances becoming more and more scarce in Manchester, 31-year-old Navas feels it is the right time to return to La Liga.
  • Pep Guardiola will cool his interest in Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.
  • Arsenal outcast Wilshere is keen to sign for AC Milan this summer.
  • Inter and AC Milan are set to battle Crystal Palace for Tottenham flop Moussa Sissoko this summer.
  • Manchester United and Chelsea target Simon Kjaer is not interested in leaving Turkey.

  • Marseille are looking to bring former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas to Ligue 1.
  • Everton are set to make a £40m  double swoop for Burnley defender Michael Keane and Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
  • Everton manager Ronald Koeman will demand £100m to rebuild Everton if striker Romelu Lukaku, 23, and midfielder Ross Barkley, 23, leave the club this summer.
  • Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to battle for Everton’s £30m-rated midfielder Barkley.
  • Liverpool have no intention of selling 21-year-old forward Divock Origi this summer.
  • Juventus and Napoli are interested in signing Southampton’s 28-year-old attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic, who has a release clause of £13m.
  • Benfica are reportedly wanting to make a move for Manchester United youngster Joel Pereira who is unhappy with a lack of game time.
  • West Ham are targeting Reading boss Jaap Stam to replace Slaven Bilic as pressure grows on the Hammers manager.
  • Stoke and West Ham are leading the chase for Andrew Robertson and Josh Tymon.
  • RB Leipzig have joined Liverpool and Bayern Munich in the race for Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke.
  • Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah has urged more young English talent to take the plunge and play abroad like he did.

  • Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is planning to rescue Jermain Defoe from relegation with Sunderland – and keep his England dream alive.
  • Galatasaray are keen to sign Tottenham’s 22-year-old forward Vincent Janssen, who has scored just one goal from open play since joining Spurs last summer.
  • Fulham have put a £20m price tag on in-demand midfielder Tom Cairney.
  • Leicester face losing Demarai Gray for £12m this summer with Liverpool, Everton and Spurs all tracking the winger.
  • The Football Association is considering extending the punishment for an elbowing offence beyond the current three-match suspension for violent conduct.
  • Some of the Premier League’s leading clubs want a review of parachute payments given to relegated sides as they believe some owners are not using the system properly.
  • Napoli and Belgium forward Dries Mertens was shown a yellow card for pinching a Greece defender’s nose – twice – in their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
  • Hoffenheim’s 21-year-old Germany international defender Niklas Sule says he was asked to play for Turkey’s youth teams, because he had a Turkish-sounding name. He explains his surname is actually Hungarian.

Blind sacked by Netherlands 

Danny Blind has been sacked as Netherlands head coach, after just two years, following their World Cup Qualifier defeat to Bulgaria.
Fred Grim, the Netherlands Under-21 coach, will take over as interim coach for the game against Italy in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
The Dutch FA confirmed the decision had been made in a meeting on Sunday afternoon between Blind, professional football director Jean Paul Decossaux and technical director Hans van Breukelen.
Blind, 55, took over as coach from Guus Hiddink in 2015, but his side failed to qualify for the European Championships in France last summer.

The Dutch FA said recent results left the team “with difficulty qualifying for the World Cup in Russia”.
A disappointing start to World Cup qualifying, which has included a home defeat to France alongside the Bulgaria loss, has left the Dutch in real danger of missing out on a second straight major championship.

Blind was informed of the decision to sack him at a meeting with KNVB football director Jean Paul Decossaux and technical director Hans van Breukelen on Sunday.
Blind said it was “a pity” his stint in charge of the national team had come to such a sorry end.

World Cup Qualification: UEFA  – France win but Netherlands lose; Ronaldo bags brace but  Switzerland win to top group; Lukaku  scores as Belgium draw with Greece


Sweden 4 – 0 Belarus

Bulgaria 2 – 0 Netherlands

Luxembourg 1 – 3 France

  • Bulgaria 20 Netherlands

Bulgaria stayed on course to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998 after Spas Delev gave them a 2-0 win over toothless Netherlands in a Group A Qualifier on Saturday with his first international goals.

After the win at the Vasil Levski stadium, Petar Hubchevs men climbed to third in the group standings with nine points from five matches, one point behind Sweden and four behind leaders France. 

Netherlands are fourth on seven.

The lively Delev struck twice in quick succession in the first 20 minutes, pouncing on sloppy defending by 17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt, who became the youngest Netherlands player since 1931.

De Ligt, who has started in just two league games for his club Ajax Amsterdam, could not have made a worse international debut as he misjudged Simeon Slavchev’s long pass, allowing Delev to poke the ball beyond keeper Jeroen Zoet after five minutes.

Delev then punished yet more hesitant defending by De Ligt with a thunderous shot midway through the first half.

  • Luxembourg 13 France

France saw off a spirited challenge from Luxembourg to win 3-1 at Stade Josy Barthel and stay clear at the top of World Cup Qualifying Group A.

Les Bleus took the lead through a close-range finish from Olivier Giroud before both teams won penalties in the space of four first-half minutes.

Aurelien Joachim drew Luxembourg level from the spot in the 34th minute after Blaise Matuidi pushed over Daniel Da Mota.

Da Mota, though, then quickly gave away another penalty at the other end when he tripped Djibril Sidibe, and Antoine Griezmann put France back in front.

Giroud nodded in a late third to secure the victory which sees France move back above Sweden.

  • Sweden 40 Belarus

Sweden defeated Belarus 4-0 in Solna.

Emil Forsberg scored twice, the first from the penalty spot for Sweden, before goals from Marcus Berg and Isaac Kiese Thelin completed a comfortable win at the Friends Arena over Belarus.


Andorra 0 – 0 Faroe  Islands

Switzerland 1 – 0 Latvia

Portugal 3 – 0 Hungary

  • Portugal 3 – 0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Andre Silva added another as Portugal tightened their grip on second place in Group B with a 3-0 thrashing of Hungary.

Silva opened the scoring on 32 minutes. Ronaldo’s run through the middle found Raphael Guerreiro on the left of the box, whose cross found an unmarked Silva at the goal mouth to tap in.

Ronaldo then collected his first of the night four minutes later. The Real Madrid star pounced onto a back-heeled pass from Silva outside of the box and lashed an unstoppable left-footed shot past Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi from 20 yards out.

And he completed his brace five minutes after the hour mark, expertly curling a free kick around Gulacsi before skipping inside the far post from a difficult angle on the left.

The victory gives the Euro 2016 champions 12 points from five matches, three behind first-placed Switzerland.

  • Switzerland 1 – 0 Latvia

Switzerland earned a 1-0 win at home over Latvia to stay top of the group.

Josip Drmic scored the key goal in the 66th minute, heading home from five yards out following a cross from Admir Mehmedi.

  • Andorra 0 – 0 Faroe  Islands

Andorra earned their first point of the campaign by holding Faroe Islands to a goalless draw.

The result ended Andorra’s run of 58 competitive defeats stretching back more than 11 years.


Bosnia-Herzegovina 5 – 0 Gibraltar

Cyprus 0 – 0 Estonia

Belgium 1 – 1 Greece

  • Belgium 1 – 1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku struck late to rescue a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw for depleted Belgium on Saturday against Greece, who were down to 10 men for the final 25 minutes and finished with nine.

Lukaku’s turn and shot in the 89th minute cancelled out the opener from Kostas Mitroglou, who scored just 18 seconds after half-time in the visitors’ first real attack of the game, to keep Belgium top of Group H.

Belgium, missing injured Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, took advantage of Panagiotis Tachtsidis’ dismissal in the 65th minute for a second yellow card as they subjected the Greek defence to a wave of attacks.

Giorgos Tzavellas was also sent off for a second yellow after a scuffle broke out deep into injury time.

Belgium had destroyed the other four group opponents, scoring 21 goals to just one against, while Greece came into the match undefeated.

The hosts were playing only for the second time since 2012 without both Hazard and De Bruyne, their two most creative forces.

With right-back Thomas Meunier also absent, Roberto Martinez had called the match the biggest test of his near eight-month stint as national coach.

Greek cheers and hugs at the end showed their delight with a point away against the group favourites. Belgium lead with 13 points, two more than Greece, with Bosnia on 10.

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina 5 – 0 Gibraltar

Bosnia and Herzegovina moved to within three points of the top with a 5-0 win over minnows Gibraltar thanks to a Vedad Ibisevic brace.

The hosts were in front within four minutes after Ibisevic controlled a long pass from Miralem Pjanic, then added a second before the break when Ibisevic headed in Edin Visca’s short cross from point-blank range.

Avdija Vrsajevic added a third seven minutes into the second half, Visca got a goal of his own from a half-volley four minutes later, and Ermin Bicakcic wrapped up the points in stoppage time.

  • Cyprus 0 – 0 Estonia

Cyprus were held to a goalless draw by Estonia in a result that leaves both nations on four points, above only Gibraltar.

Gerrard stars as Liverpool legends defeat Real Madrid legends 

​Liverpool legends  4 – 3 Real Madrid legends 

Steven Gerrard was the familiar hero as a star-studded Liverpool Legends side edged their Real Madrid counterparts 4-3 at a packed Anfield.

The former Reds captain set up goals for Michael Owen (24) and John Aldridge (49), as well as winning a penalty that Robbie Fowler converted (66), before striking the winner in front of the Kop to settle the sold-out charity fixture.

Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos and Clarence Seedorf featured for the visitors but despite a late fightback that saw three goals in the final 10 minutes, Gerrard’s 78th-minute half-volley proved decisive.

Fans and former stars alike had paid tribute before the match to another club legend  Ronnie Moran, who died  this earlier in the week at 83, and Gerrard dedicated the win to his memory.

Anfield’s famous No 8 had seemed in the mood from the off, cheered with every touch and then roared as he drove goalwards and teed up Owen to head past Pedro Contreras.

Owen returned the favour moments later, Gerrard’s effort well saved, but Reds goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was the busier in the opening period, denying Michel Salgado and Amavisca as well as Figo and Seedorf.

Both sides made substitutions at the break, with player-boss Ian Rush sending on Aldridge, Jason McAteer, Phil Babb and Sander Westerveld, as well as Dudek and Steve McManaman switching sides to play for Madrid.

But Gerrard’s influence endured and just four minutes after the restart, his low ball across goal was tapped in at the far post by Aldridge.

Fowler struck the crossbar after deftly taking down a Gerrard delivery before the main seized control again, racing into the box and drawing a rash challenge from Dudek that Fowler punished from the spot.

Gerrard struck the crossbar from 25 yards out but his goal finally arrived 12 minutes from the time, the former England captain controlling a lofted pass with his first touch before smashing past Carlos Sanchez.

But the fixture – in aid of the LFC Foundation – delivered plenty more drama as Real’s stars rallied.

Edwin Congo pulled one back from close range (80) and former Liverpool man Fernando Morientes struck just a minute later.
Ruben de la Red then made it 4-3 in the 90th minute but Gerrard’s men held on, avenging a 4-2 defeat at the Bernabeu two years ago and thrilling the Anfield hordes in the Merseyside sunshine.

FC Barcelona to name training stadium after Cruff 

Barcelona will honour former player and manager Johan Cruyff with a statue of him at their Nou Camp stadium.

The club will also name the new stadium they are building for their B team after the former Dutch international.

Barcelona made the announcement a day after the first year anniversary of Cruyff’s death at the age of 68.

Cruyff won 13 trophies during his time managing and playing for the club, including their first European Cup in 1992.

His son Jordi also said the family will donate a number nine Barcelona shirt worn by his father and the Ballon d’Or trophy from 1974 to a new Johan Cruyff exhibition at the Spanish club’s museum.

“It is an agreement by which my father will always be present at the club that he loved,” Jordi Cruyff said.

Barcelona, who are scheduled to start major redevelopment work at the Nou Camp in 2018, will also ask the city’s council to name a street or space in the vicinity of their stadium after Johan Cruyff.

“It is an honour for me to say the name of the stadium we are building at the training ground will no longer be the Miniestadi, but from now on will be the Johan Cruyff stadium,” club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

“Cruyff broke down barriers, he was the man who made us lift our heads up and see that nothing is impossible.”
Johan Cruyff honours

Ajax (as a player): European Cup x 3, European Super Cup x 2, Dutch league title x 8, Dutch Cup x 5, Intercontinental Cup x 1, Super Cup x 1.

Ajax (as a manager):European Cup Winners’ Cup x 1, Dutch Cup x 2.

Barcelona (as a player):Spanish league title x 1, Spanish Cup x 1.

Barcelona (as a manager):European Cup x 1, European Cup Winners’ Cup x 1, European Super Cup x 1, Spanish league title x 4, Spanish Cup x 1, Spanish Super Cup x 3.

Feyenoord (as a player):Dutch league title x 1, Dutch Cup x 1.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Chelsea are ready to go head to head with Manchester United over the signing of Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.

  • Barcelona are preparing to sign Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, 23, this summer as a replacement for Neymar, who is a target for Paris St-Germain, Manchester United and Chelsea.

  • Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino held a meeting with Barcelona  president Josep Maria Bartomeu this  week.

  • Jose Mourinho is in Croatia to watch Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, 28, and midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, 24.

  • Barcelona have stepped up their interest in Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho by opening talks with his Brazilian-based agent.
  • Philippe Coutinho, 24, can replace 32-year-old Spain international Andres Iniesta at Barcelona, says ex-Barca and Reds forward Luis Garcia.
  • The Spanish champions have been fined over the  ecstatic celebrations at the end of  their incredible Champions League  comeback victory over PSG.
  • Romelu Lukaku has reaffirmed his decision to snub a new Everton deal.
  • Manchester City are sweating on the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne ahead of their crucial matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
  • City midfielder Yaya Toure has told manager Pep Guardiola he wants to stay at the club, but the Spaniard says there will be no talks on the 33-year-old’s future until the end of the season.

  • Chelsea are planning to hand Eden Hazard a new contract in an effort to fend off interest from Real Madrid.
  • Radja Nainggolan admits to holding  transfer talks with Chelsea and has  opened the door to a summer move  to the Premier League.
  • Manchester United have moved a step closer to signing 16-year-old forward Daishawn Redan after Ajax confirmed the Netherlands youth international will be leaving this summer.
  • United’s neighbours Manchester City and Premier League leaders Chelsea also want Redan, who has chosen not to sign a professional contract with Ajax.
  • Real Madrid midfielder Isco, 24, has hit out at rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona.
  • AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi says Manchester City and Manchester United can forget about signing Gianluigi Donnarumma because he is “completely off the market”.
  • Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham have all expressed an interest in Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson. The 24-year-old, who has been drafted into the senior England squad in place of injured Chris Smalling.

  • Liverpool could be aided in their pursuit of Gibson by former Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate, who is now a scout for the Anfield club.
  • Sead Kolasinac is not held talks with  Manchester City over a possible  summer free transfer from Schalke,  the player’s agent has confirmed.
  • Tottenham are ready to sell Vincent Janssen in the summer despite not having paid the full extent of the striker’s original fee.
  • Erik Lamela’s future at Spurs is also in doubt after a row over the 25-year-old Argentina winger’s treatment for a hip injury.

  • Arsene Wenger claims Luis Suarez had verbally agreed to move from Liverpool to Arsenal in 2013, after the club bid £40,000,001 for the 30-year-old forward, who joined Barcelona for £75m a year later.
  • Arsenal’s Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka, 24, says critics have unfairly painted him as a “brainless idiot” because of his disciplinary problems this season.
  • Preston will try to sign on loan winger Aiden McGeady if Everton pay off the final year of his contract.
  • West Ham are keeping close tabs on former Arsenal man Johan Djourou, who is set to become a free agent when his Hamburg contract runs out at the end of the season.
  • Crystal Palace are said to have tried to negotiate a deal for the 30-year-old Swiss defender in January but were unable to push through a deal due to HSV being embroiled in a relegation battle.
  • Former West Brom boss Alan Irvine, 58, will remain as interim manager at Norwich City for the game at Aston Villa on 1 April as the Canaries continue their search for a permanent successor for Alex Neil, who was sacked on 10 March.
  • West Bromwich Albion are interested in signing Nigeria winger Moses Simon, 21, who plays for Gent in Belgium.
  • Former Arsenal forward Robert Pires says manager Arsene Wenger signing a new deal with the Gunners is more important than extending the contracts of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil, both 28.

  • Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is destined to become the manager at Anfield in the future, says ex-Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso.
  • Republic of Ireland skipper Seamus Coleman has surgery following his horrific double leg fracture in Friday’s goalless draw against Wales.
  • Brighton & Hove Albion will not go on a “crazy spending spree” if they reach the Premier League for the first time. The Seagulls have a six-point automatic promotion safety cushion in the Championship table with eight games to go.
  • Leeds have announced a net loss of  £8.9million for the financial year  2015/16.
  • Fans in San Diego have been asked to vote to name the city’s new Major League Soccer team… and Footy McFooty Face is winning.
  • The Football Association could be fined over the behaviour of some England fans during Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat in Germany. Sections of the away support booed the German national anthem and sang about World War Two.

World Cup Qualification: CONCACAF – Dempsey bags hat-trick as US demolish Honduras; Chicharito scores in Mexico win to equal most goals record

​Trinidad and Tobago 1 – 0 Panama

Mexico 2 – 0 Costa Rica

USA 6 – 0 Honduras

  • USA 6 – 0 Honduras

Clint Dempsey came back from an irregular heartbeat at age 34 to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic’s shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic’s perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal. Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a feed from Pulisic in the 49th minute, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th.

With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved to within two of Landon Donovan’s American record.

  • Mexico 2 – 0 Costa Rica

Mexico stormed to a 2-0 win against Costa Rica in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Mexico City on Friday night.

Javier Hernandez got the hosts off to a perfect start in the seventh minute, chipping Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas from a pinpoint through ball from Carlos Vela to put Mexico ahead and draw level with Jared Borgetti as the national team’s all-time leading scorer with 46 goals.

Navas was called into action in the 17th minute, when Carlos Vela smashed a shot from distance that was on goal, only for the Real Madrid goalkeeper to parry the ball over the crossbar.

Mexico doubled its lead just before half-time, with Vela again the provider. The Real Sociedad winger’s corner found Nestor Araujo at the back post and he rose over his defender to head home.

The win sees Mexico leapfrog Costa Rica into first place in the qualifying standings on seven points ahead of its next CONCACAF match against Trinidad and Tobago on March 28.

  • ​Trinidad and Tobago 1 – 0 Panama

Kevin Molino’s goal was enough to earn Trinidad and Tobago a 1-0 win against Panama in Port of Spain.

The Minnesota United FC forward unleashed a powerful right-footed shot from outside the box from an Alvin Jones assist to beat Jaime Penedo.

It was the hosts’ first win in the region’s six-team qualifying phase for Russia 2018, after losing to both Costa Rica and Honduras last November.

World Cup Qualifiers: UEFA – Spain stroll to victory;  Coleman suffers broken leg as Wales draw with Ireland

​Group D

Georgia 1 – 3 Serbia

Austria 2 – 0 Moldova

Ireland 0 – 0 Wales

  • Ireland 0 – 0 Wales

Wales’ hopes of World Cup qualification look increasingly remote following a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland, whose captain Seamus Coleman suffered a broken leg after a wild tackle that led to Neil Taylor being sent off.

The hosts seemed content to play for a draw as their deep-lying and stubborn defence shackled Wales – and the visitors’ lack of creativity and incision contributed to an underwhelming encounter.

Gareth Bale twice went close for Wales, but their task became a daunting one after 69 minutes as Taylor was shown a straight red card for his lunge on Coleman, who was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

That incident lit the fuse for a tempestuous atmosphere that appeared to inspire the Republic, but despite their push for a late winner, Martin O’Neill’s side had to settle for a point and second place in Group D.

  • Georgia 1 – 3 Serbia

Serbia erased an early deficit to move top of Group D on goal difference with a 3-1 win away to Georgia.

Georgia’s Nika Katcharava pounced on a terrible back pass from Aleksandar Kolarov in the sixth minute.

But Serbia equalised on the stroke of half-time through a penalty from Dusan Tadic, who then provided assists for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Mijat Gacinovic to score in the second half.

  • Austria 2 – 0 Moldova

Marcel Sabitzer scored the opening goal before Martin Harnik’s late second as Austria edged Moldova 2-0 in Vienna.

The win puts the Austrians level on points with Wales, though they have an inferior goal difference.


Italy 2 – 0 Albania

Liechtenstein 0 – 3 FYR Macedonia

Spain 4 – 1 Israel

  • Italy 2 – 0 Albania

Gianluigi Buffon kept a clean sheet in his 1,000th professional appearance for club and country as Italy beat Albania 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Buffon had little to do in his 168th cap for Italy, making only one save as the Italians controlled the action in Palermo.

The opening goal came in the 12th minute after Migjen Basha hauled down Andrea Belotti in the box during a set piece, and Daniele De Rossi converted the penalty.

Visiting Albania fans threw flares on the pitch before the spot-kick, and in the second half the game was halted for nine minutes after large amounts of smoke were set off from the stands.

Ciro Immobile made sure of the points for Italy in the 71st minute, heading home following a set piece.

Italy remained level on points with Spain atop Group G, though La Roja hold first place on goal difference following a 4-1 win at home over Israel.

  • Spain 4 – 1 Israel

Diego Costa was among the scorers as Spain strolled to a 4-1 win at home to Israel in a World Cup Qualifier on Friday to stay top of their group.

Manchester City playmaker David Silva put Spain ahead in the 15th minute with a low shot through the legs of goalkeeper Ofir Marciano while Vitolo doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time just after Israel had squandered a chance to level.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa scored a fourth international goal in four games to put Spain 3-0 up early in the second half with a header from a corner although Israel striker Lior Rafaelov made amends for an earlier miss by pulling one back in the 76th minute.

Isco then restored Spain’s three-goal advantage in the 88th minute, rolling the ball into the near corner to complete a sweeping counter began by a burst forward from Costa from the halfway line.

Spain top Group G with 13 points from five games, ahead of Italy on goal difference. Israel are third on nine points and Albania are fourth on six.

The eventual winners will qualify directly for the 2018 World Cup in Russia while the second placed side will enter a two-leg play-off.

  • Liechtenstein 0 – 3 FYR Macedonia

Boban Nikolov scored before a Ilija Nestorovski brace gave Macedonia a 3-0 win at Liechtenstein in a battle of teams who had failed to earn a single point from their first four games.


Turkey 2 – 0 Finland

Croatia 1 – 0 Ukraine

Kosovo 1 – 2 Iceland

  • Croatia 1 – 0 Ukraine

Nikola Kalinic scored as Croatia held off Ukraine 1-0 to stay on top of Group I.

The only goal came in the 38th minute as Ivan Rakitic back-heeled a pass into the box for Kalinic, who turned and fired into the back of the net.

Croatia maintained a three-point lead over Iceland.

  • Kosovo 1 – 2 Iceland

Iceland, who are second after a 2-1 win against UEFA newcomers Kosovo in Albania.

Bjorn Sigurdarson scored the opener for the visitors on 25 minutes, before Gylfi Sigurdsson doubled the lead from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.

And though Atdhe Nuhiu got a goal back for Kosovo just seven minutes after the break, Iceland held on to move past Ukraine into second place.

  • Turkey 2 – 0 Finland

Turkey defeated Finland 2-0 thanks to a four-minute brace from Cenk Tosun.

The Besiktas forward opened the scoring in the ninth minute, bundling home an Olcay Sahan flick-on from point-blank range.

Tosun then collected his second in the 13th — the Turkey No. 9 rising and placing his pinpoint header past Finland keeper Lukas Hradecky from a Selcuk Inan corner kick.

The win revived Turkey’s hopes of qualifying from Group I, pulling them level on points with Ukraine and two points back of Iceland in second.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Manchester United are close to signing Atletico Madrid’s France striker Antoine Griezmann, 26, with a potential transfer fee of £86m.

  • Chelsea have apparently agreed a £155.5 million mega deal to sign Barcelona star Neymar but Antonio Conte has blocked the transfer.
  • Real Madrid hope to sign Belgium forward Eden Hazard, 26, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 24, from Chelsea this summer.
  • Leicester and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez, 26, has held talks with Barcelona and wants to make a £35m move at the end of the season.
  • Barcelona forward Neymar says his Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho would “totally fit” in with the La Liga side’s style of play, as the Spanish champions step up their interest in the 24-year-old Liverpool midfielder.
  • Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has been banned for three European matches after being sent off against Gent at Wembley in the Europa League in February. Alli was dismissed for a challenge on Brecht Dejaegere in the 2-2 draw.
  • Manchester City have been fined £15,573 by Uefa for incidents in the home leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Monaco on 21 February.
  • Barcelona have held talks with out-of-favour Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Isco, 24, about a dramatic move this summer.

  • Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has asked France coach Didier Deschamps for an explanation on why he was not selected for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.
  • Ex-Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri will get a special award from the Italian Football Federation for leading Leicester City to a shock Premier League title last season.
  • The 65-year-old Italian was sacked in Februarywith the club in a relegation battle.
  • He will receive a Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench) award next week.

  • Claudio Ranieri is set to be offered a return to management with Serie A strugglers Palermo. Italian Ranieri would be Palermo’s fifth manager of the season if he replaces Diego Lopez.
  • Manchester United and Chelsea have both shown an interest in signing Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
  • Arsenal are set to battle Tottenham to sign Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka this summer. The 22-year-old has rejected a new deal at the Bundesliga outfit and Schalke are now ready to sell this summer.
  • Manchester City are eyeing a £40M move for Kingsley Coman with Pep Guardiola ready to spend £200m revamping his squad this summer.
  • West Ham will offer 28-year-old New Zealand centre-back Winston Reid a new contract worth about £70,000 a week at the end of the season.
  • The Hammers are weighing up a raid  for Bournemouth’s Josh King in the summer.
  • Recently recalled England striker Jermain Defoe, 34, wants to quit Sunderland to return to former side West Ham, according to Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

  • Manchester City will make a world record £130m bid for AC Milan’s 18-year-old Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
  • Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj says he does not know where he will be playing next season. The 22-year-old Belgium international is on loan at Sunderland.
  • Falkirk defender Tony Gallacher, 17, says that being linked with Barcelona has “messed with his head”.
  • Michy Batshuayi’s agent has refused to rule out the striker leaving Chelsea this summer.
  • An Arsenal fan is plotting a sensational crowdfunding campaign to raise £904m to buy the club from owner Stan Kroenke.
  • Bournemouth’s players and staff have made the most of the international break, taking each other on in a go-karting session as part of a warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
  • Stoke manager Mark Hughes wants to invest in youth this summer and that means Phil Bardsley, Glen Johnson and Charlie Adam could go.
  • Alex Neil, who was recently sacked by Norwich, says he has no interest in succeeding Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager.
  • Young British players are not being challenged enough or developed in the right way, says Belgium and former Everton boss Roberto Martinez.

World Cup Qualification: CONMEBOL – Paulinho’s hattrick destroy  Uruguay; Messi’s  penalty enough to beat Chile

​Colombia 1 – 0 Bolivia

Uruguay 1 – 4 Brazil

Paraguay 2 – 1 Ecuador

Argentina 1 – 0 Chile

Venezuela 2 – 2 Peru

  • Uruguay 1 – 4 Brazil

Paulinho hit a hat-trick as Brazil recorded a 4-1 victory over Uruguay in Montevideo to move seven points clear in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings.

Neymar was also on target with a delightful lob after Edinson Cavani had given Uruguay an early lead from the penalty spot.

It was an eighth straight win for the Selecao under Tite and leaves them on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup in Russia with five games remaining.

Neymar posed an early threat to the Uruguay defence and some nifty footwork down the right earned him some room in the third minute, but his dangerous cross evaded everyone in the box.

But it was the hosts who went ahead in the ninth minute from the penalty spot after Cavani was brought down by goalkeeper Alisson.

Cavani picked himself up to take the penalty himself and made no mistake in beating Alisson.

Uruguay then defended with discipline, but, as often is the case, Brazil found a way to create something and drew level in the 18th minute.

Paulinho scored the first of his goals to put Brazil level in the 19th minute — the Guangzhou Evergrande man rifling home from distance after picking up the ball unmarked.

Paulinho put Brazil in front after the break, pouncing onto a spilled save of a Roberto Firmino shot and punching home from close range for his third goal in as many games for his country.

Neymar then sealed the points in the 75th — the Barcelona superstar racing onto a lobbed through ball behind the defence and chipping over goalkeeper Martin Silva who’d come out of his net.

The win puts Brazil, now on 30 points from 13 matches, in a commanding lead ahead of the second-placed Uruguayans, who have 23.

  • Argentina 1 – 0 Chile

Lionel Messi converted a penalty as Argentina defeated defending Copa America champions Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires.

The Albiceleste rose to third in the CONMEBOL table with victory, and it was the Barcelona superstar who gave them the points.

Angel Di Maria went down in the box after minimal contact from Chile defender Jose Fuenzalida, setting the stage for Messi, who missed his penalty attempt in the 2016 Copa America final against the Chileans, who then sent Claudio Bravo the wrong way for the game’s only goal.

  • ​Colombia 1 – 0 Bolivia

Colombia needed a late James Rodriguez goal to beat a resolute Bolivia 1-0 in Baranquilla.

Colombia, who came into the day a point outside the qualifying zone, needed a victory against ninth-placed Bolivia to keep pace with the top-five teams.

And Jose Pekerman’s men picked up the points in the 83rd minute through captain Rodriguez. Juan Cuadrado won a penalty just inside the box and the Real Madrid star slotted home the rebound after his initial penalty was saved back into his path.

  • Paraguay 2 – 1 Ecuador

Paraguay defeated sliding Ecuador to keep their qualification hopes alive with a 2-1 win in Asuncion.

Bruno Valdez put the hosts in front in the 12th minute with a header from close range after a set piece. Junior Alonso then sealed the points just after the hour mark, firing home a rebound from close range after Esteban Dreer saved Cecilio Dominguez’s initial effort.

A Felipe Caicedo penalty in the 70th minute gave Ecuador some hope, but there would be no comeback on the night.

  • Venezuela 2 – 2 Peru

Peru salvaged a 2-2 draw against last-placed Venezuela in Monagas.

Mikel Villanueva put the home side up after 24 minutes, before Romulo Otero doubled their advantage on the night.

But second-half goals from Andre Carrillo (46th) and Paolo Guerrero (64th) earned the Peruvians a share of the points.

Latest Football News 

  • ​A friendly between Nigeria and Senegal at Barnet on Thursday could be watched by a crowd of just 1,400 despite a likely appearance from Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

  • Monaco have turned down a world-record £96 million (€110m) bid from a Premier League club for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.
  • Manchester United have become the first team to submit a formal offer for Kylian Mbappe.
  • Barcelona are set to step up their interest in Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez.
  • Barcelona forward Neymar, 25, says Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus, 19, is good enough to play for Barca.
  • Manchester City have opened talks with Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac.

  • Scouts from Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United watched Germany defender Antonio Rudiger against England on Wednesday.
  • Arsenal and Manchester City are among the clubs monitoring Flamengo teenager Vinicius Junior. The 16-year-old Brazil U17 forward has also been watched by Manchester United and Barcelona.
  • Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will be sold as part of a reinvention process that could see a huge overhaul of players at the Emirates this summer.
  • Barcelona are the only club to provide Chapecoense with financial help after the deadly plane crash that killed players and staff members of the Brazilian side in November, club president Plinio David de Nes Filho said.
  • Roma will target Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian in the summer.

  • Bayern Munich are considering a monster €80 million bid for Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva.
  • Real Madrid are considering a move for former Tottenham left-back Yuri Berchiche, 27, who did not play a single league game while at White Hart Lane from 2008-10. Berchiche was loaned out to Cheltenham Town while at Spurs.
  • Real are looking to sign 19-year-old midfielder Carles Alena from rivals Barcelona.
  • Arsenal are preparing a £25 million summer bid for Barcelona’s Arda Turan.
  • Gunners boss Arsene Wenger says fans need to get some “perspective” and remember what he has done for the club.
  • Arsenal may have to make an announcement on Wenger’s future imminently in order to comply with stock market rules.
  • Turkish giants Fenerbahce are sizing up summer move for Stoke star Bojan.
  • Chelsea and Manchester United are very interested in signing Genoa youngster Pietro Pellegri.
  • United are leading the race to sign Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez this summer.

  • Hamburg striker Bobby Wood is interesting several Premier League side.
  • Everton are plotting a £15million summer move for Leeds striker Chris Wood.
  • The Toffees are in talks with Nottingham Forest over a deal for teenage midfielder Brennan Johnson.
  • West Ham are lining up a shock swoop for Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu.
  • Manchester United will not be re-employing former under-23 boss Warren Joyce as they continue to search for a new reserve manager.
  • Tottenham are set to offload Moussa Sissoko this summer following the failure of his £30 million move to the club.
  • Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, 30, says his future at Tottenham is linked with that of manager Mauricio Pochettino, who he believes is the best coach in the world.
  • Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba is set to continue his playing career in the North American second division.
  • Chelsea and Manchester United could move for Paris St-Germain and Italy midfielder Marco Verratti. The 24-year-old’s agent claims the player is unhappy in France.
  • Liverpool are under investigation for allegedly tapping up and offering a forbidden incentive to sign a Stoke City schoolboy player.
  • Sunderland’s Swedish midfielder Sebastian Larsson, 31, says there will be no discussions about a new contract until the season ends. Larsson’s deal expires in the summer but the Black Cats are bottom of the Premier League table.
  • Watford’s Netherlands winger Steven Berghuis, 25, believes he will return to the Premier League club permanently once his loan with Feyenoord expires at the end of the season.
  • Wolves are keen on re-signing Crystal Palace winger Bakary Sako.
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers have a £1.5m deal in place to sign buy Austrian forward Andreas Weimann, 25, who has been on loan from Championship rivals Derby County.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he missed out on signing Italy legend Paolo Maldini during his time as Manchester United manager.
  • Everton have agreed a deal to acquire land on which to build a new £300m stadium in Liverpool. The Premier League club and landowners Peel Holdings have reached agreement on the Bramley Moore Dock site near the River Mersey. It was announced as the preferred site for the club’s proposed new stadiumin January.
  • Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal.
  • Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, 36, has not closed the door on his England career, says Potters boss Mark Hughes. Crouch, who has scored seven goals in 22 appearances this season, last played for the Three Lions in 2010.
  • Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has shrugged off calls for him to be sacked as he prepares to celebrate 25 years in management.
  • Premier League fans who live near Stoke City were the most likely to vote for Brexit according to new figures. People living close to Tottenham’s White Hart Lane were the most likely to vote remain.

Liverpool legend Ronnie Moran dies at 83

​Former Liverpool captain and coach Ronnie Moran has died at the age of 83.

Moran made 379 appearances for Liverpool between 1952 and 1966 and was the club’s longest-serving employee when he retired in 1998.

He joined the coaching staff in 1966 and twice filled in as caretaker manager – after Kenny Dalglish’s resignation in 1991 and following Graeme Souness’ heart surgery in 1992.

His son confirmed he had passed away on Wednesday after a short illness.

Moran worked under nine different managers during his time in the dugout.

He famously led Liverpool out at Wembley in the 1992 FA Cup Final while caretaker manager while Souness was recovering from surgery.

The Crosby-born defender won 44 trophies during nearly five decades with the club.

A left-back in his playing days, Moran signed for Liverpool as a schoolboy in 1949 before turning professional in 1952 and making his debut in November that year.

He won seven major honours as a player, including leading the club to the Football League First Division title in 1963-64 and 1965-66 and the FA Cup in 1964-65 as captain.

After being offered a role on the backroom staff by Bill Shankly in the pre-season of the 1966-67 season, Moran was involved as the Reds won 11 league titles and four European Cups.

Working under Shankly, Moran was known as one of the ‘Bootroom Boys’ alongside Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish and Reuben Bennett.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Lionel Messi has given Barcelona a short list of players he wishes the club to sign in the summer transfer window, including youngsters Ousmane Dembele (Dortmund), Kylian Mbappe (Monaco) and Bernardo Silva (Monaco).

  • Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to pay £70 million to land Monaco attacker Kylian Mbappe.
  • Barcelona are still keeping a close eye on Isco.

  • Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he will not accept Real Madrid attackers Isco or James Rodriguez as part of a trade for David De Gea.
  • Manchester Utd are keeping close tabs on Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba.
  • Manchester City continues to be linked with Milan goalkeeping sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.
  • Jose Mourinho, is reportedly planning to sign Chelsea winger, Willian, in the summer transfer window.

  • Manchester City have already made an approach for Benfica goalkeeper Ederson.
  • City have joined Real Madrid in the battle to land Espanyol defender Aaron Martin.
  • Juventus are set to receive bids from Real Madrid and Chelsea for full-back Alex Sandro.

  • Fenerbahce are plotting an ambitious summer move for Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.
  • Arsenal have made a contract offer  to Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne.
  • Arsenal and Liverpool have tabled offers for Schalke’s in-demand defender Sead Kolasinac.
  • Liverpool are set to make a move  for promising Borussia Dortmund  defender Matthias Ginter in an  attempt to solidify their defence.
  • Jurgen Klopp is targeting a £52million double Serie A swoop, with Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Roma’s Leandro Paredes the two targets.

  • Liverpool are in for Atletico Madrid left-back Theo Hernandez.
  • Wayne Rooney is set to snub West Ham to make a sensational return to boyhood club Everton on a free transfer.
  • West Ham are also interested in signing the England and Red Devils captain.
  • Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley is on the brink of signing for Watford on a permanent basis.
  • Lazio are set to challenge Everton for Genoa striker Giovanni Simeone.

  • Everton are considering a summer swoop for Chelsea attacker Bertrand Traore.
  • Juventus will go head to head with Chelsea to sign Fiorentina striker Federico Bernardeschi.
  • Turkish League giants Fenerbahce have surged ahead of Leicester and Arsenal in the race to sign Oghenekaro Etebo.
  • Real Madrid are interested in signing Chelsea’s 26-year-old left-back Marcos Alonso, but the Blues are not willing to sell.
  • Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin, 22, says reports of interest from Barcelona are “flattering”, but his loyalty lies with the Gunners.
  • Goalkeeper Jack Butland, 24, said “my only focus is playing for Stoke” when asked about reports linking him with a move to Arsenal.

  • Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel says he is not interested in taking over at Arsenal.
  • Barcelona have an option to buy back 23-year-old Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu, currently on loan at AC Milan, for £10m.
  • Chelsea have made a £32m offer for Monaco’s 22-year-old midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is also a target for Manchester United.
  • But Blues striker Diego Costa, 28, has told Spanish radio that he is refusing to rule out a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
  • Costa also claims he wanted to join Atletico Madrid last summer.
  • Manchester United are considering a summer move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.

  • The injury suffered by Manchester United defender Phil Jones in England training could rule the 25-year-old out of several games in April.
  • Southampton are the subject of a £190m bid from Chinese group Lander Sports Development.
  • West Ham are hopeful of re-signing Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, 34, on a free transfer this summer.
  • Sunderland hope to have striker Victor Anichebe, 28, and midfielder Lee Cattermole, 29, fit for their match with Watford after the international break.
  • Former Middlesbrough midfielder Paul Ince, out of management since 2014, is a contender to become Boro’s new boss.
  • Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is not “world class”, according to ex-Arsenal and Germany keeper Jens Lehmann. Hart, 29, is currently on loan at Torino.

  • Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks, 21, is on the verge of breaking into Gareth Southgate’s England team, despite having only started two league games.
  • Former Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, 32, and ex-Villa striker Luke Moore, 31, are training with Norwegian club Lillestrom.
  • West Brom winger James McClean, 27, will pay his respects to Derry City  captain Ryan McBride,who was found dead at his home on Sunday, by wearing the number five jersey for the Republic of Ireland against Wales on Friday.
  • Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno, 24, is fighting to save his Anfield career during a week-long warm weather training break in Tenerife, with manager Jurgen Klopp eyeing up other left-backs including Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac, 23.
  • Burnley midfielder Joey Barton is “sceptical” over how good Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante really is.
  • Former England manager Roy Hodgson says he turned down an offer to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.
  • Professional footballers are to be encouraged into a second career in refereeing by an initiative to be set up by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
  • Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, Burnley forward Andre Gray and Leicester City winger Demarai Gray are all on the Tottenham shortlist this summer.
  • West Ham will make a second attempt this summer to land Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.
  • Sampdoria defender Milan Skriniar could be heading to West Bromwich Albion this summer as Tony Pulis weighs up a bid for the Slovakia international.
  • Sunderland continue to be linked with a summer move for Hibernian striker Jason Cummings.
  • Sunderland have reached an agreement in principle with Benfica over the signing of Andreas Samaris.
  • Winnng the toss as a visiting team and making your hosts change ends is statistically advantageous in the Premier League this season.

Ghanaian referee Lamptey gets life ban from Fifa 

Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey has been banned for life by Fifa for what it calls “match manipulation”.

The ban results from a penalty he awarded to South Africa in a 2-1 winover Senegal in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in November.

He penalised Kalidou Koulibaly for handball, but replays showed the ball hit his knee.

Football’s world governing body  says it will give more details”once the decision becomes final and binding”.

Lamptey can now appeal to Fifa and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

One of his assistants, David Laryea, also from Ghana, had charges against him dismissed by Fifa’s disciplinary committee.

Latest Football News 

  • ​Arsene Wenger is to stay on as Arsenal boss and then bid to sign Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.

  • Wenger has moved to deny reports that Paris Saint-Germain have offered him a two-year contract to take over at Parc des Princes. 
  • “I formally deny it. It is not true.”
  • Alexandre Lacazette tops Arsenal’s striker shortlist ahead of a summer rebuild in north London.
  • Atletico Madrid are hoping to convince Antoine Griezmann to stay by making a grand gesture of signing Alexandre Lacazette to play with him instead of replacing the Frenchman.
  • Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has told France Football that a new-found maturity and control of his emotions has made him a better manager, and he no longer obsesses over results as he did earlier in his career.
  • Long nicknamed “The Special One,” Mourinho, when asked what he has become since taking over United, replied: “I would say, ‘The Calm One.’

  • Manchester United are interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
  • Arsenal are reportedly monitoring the situation of £15.6million Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka.
  • The race to sign Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie is well and truly on, with Chelsea and Manchester United showing interest.
  • Chelsea target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is about to commit his immediate future to Lazio.
  • Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko favours a move to Chelsea this summer.

  • Leicester striker Jamie Vardy says he has received death threats and his family have been targeted since Claudio Ranieri was sacked as manager.
  • Phil Jones has pulled out of the  England squad after picking up an  injury in training ahead of the trip to Germany.
  • Mesut Ozil has withdrawn from  Germany’s friendly against England  in Dortmund, alongside Julian  Draxler and Mario Gomez.
  • Barcelona want Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri to replace Luis Enrique when the Spaniard steps down at the end of the season.
  • Alternatively, Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde and Enrique’s assistant manager Juan Carlos Unzue are the club’s preferred options.
  • Manchester City are close to agreeing a partnership deal with a Uruguayan club.
  • Nicolas Otamendi could be bound for Real Madrid.

  • Manager Diego Simeone is free to leave Atletico Madrid this summer. Reports had suggested the Argentine had a €50 million release clause in his contract, but it has now been confirmed that is not the case were Inter or Arsenal to make their move.
  • Liverpool are the latest club to show an interest in signing Burnley defender Michael Keane.
  • Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is determined to seal a summer deal for Roma star Leandro Paredes,
  • Tottenham are leading the race to sign Ross Barkley from Everton.
  • Everton are about to step up their chase for Genoa striker Giovanni Simeone.
  • The Toffees are eyeing La Liga pair Cedric Bakambu and Willian Jose as potential replacements for Romelu Lukaku.
  • West Ham are interested in signing Wayne Rooney if Man Utd allow him to leave this summer.
  • The Football Association have rejected Hull City’s appeal over Tom Huddlestone’s red card against Everton. Huddlestone, who has featured in 27 of Hull’s 29 league matches this season will miss fixtures against West Ham, Middlesbrough and Manchester City.
  • Crystal Palace have their eyes on Napoli defender Ivan Strinic.
  • A Crystal Palace fan who tried to punch the Eagles’ 35-year-old defender Damien Delaney during a 4-0 home defeat by Sunderland has avoided a football banning order.
  • Manchester United will offer Marcos Rojo a 12-month contract extension. The 27-year-old defender’s deal expires in 2019.
  • Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is dismayed that Wales counterpart Chris Coleman did not call him before selecting 17-year-old winger Ben Woodburn.
  • Adam Lallana, 28, apologised to his team-mates in the Liverpool dressing room after failing to score what could have been a winning goal against Manchester City on Sunday.
  • Watford are closing in on a permanent move for Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley.
  • Newcastle United are set to launch another raid for Fulham talisman Tom Cairney in the summer.
  • Sunderland will make a move for Hibernian striker Jason Cummings in the summer.
  • Sunderland boss David Moyes says he started Jack Rodwell, 26, over Didier Ndong, 22, in midfield against Burnley on Saturday because he “felt the game suited more Britishness”.
  • The president of Udinese believes Napoli will make a decision on the future of forward Duvan Zapata, a West Brom target, in the summer.
  • West Brom boss Tony Pulis will be offered a new contract at the end of the season.
  • Roma’s 40-year-old captain Francesco Totti has been offered a role as director at the club.
  • Hull City’s Italian defender Andrea Ranocchia, who is on loan from Inter Milan, says he has yet to see the sun since he arrived at the end of January. “It rains practically every day. I really miss pasta, too,” he adds.
  • Nice striker Mario Balotelli missed the first two minutes of his side’s match with Nantes on Saturday because he had difficulty untying his laces.
  • Bradford’s co-owner says the club would sell tickets for £1 if they were to reach the Premier League.
  • Former Walt Disney Corporation chairman Michael Eisner is in negotiations to take over League Two club Portsmouth.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he regrets his squad selections for the 2008 and 2011 Champions League finals.

“My problem in the 2008 final, maybe I even regret it to this day, was I left Ji-sung Park out completely in the final.

“At Wembley, I did it to Dimitar Berbatov and he took it badly. He didn’t deserve it,” he said.