Jude Bellingham, Liverpool, Manchester United and the battle to sign Dortmund star

On the eve of Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Asia in July, Jurgen Klopp was asked about ongoing speculation linking Jude Bellingham with a move to Anfield.

“He’s not on the market, so that’s the first problem with that player. Actually, it’s the only problem with this player,” he smiled.

Klopp is a huge admirer of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder but signing Bellingham this summer was never a realistic proposition for Liverpool. Having already lost prolific striker Erling Haaland to Manchester City, the German Bundesliga club had no intention of selling another one of their prized assets.

The landscape will be different next summer, however. Bellingham will have two years remaining on his contract, as things stand, and if that is the case, Dortmund’s resolve to keep him is set to be severely tested.

Liverpool will certainly be in the mix but competition for English football’s most exciting young talent is set to be fierce. Real MadridManchester CityManchester United and Chelsea all retain a strong interest.

City boss Pep Guardiola, for example, described Bellingham as “exceptional” after he delivered a commanding performance in last week’s 2-1 Champions League win over Dortmund at the Etihad. On Saturday, he clocked up a century of appearances for Dortmund in their derby triumph over Schalke — a remarkable achievement in itself given he only turned 19 in June.

The battle for Bellingham is already underway.

What is Dortmund’s stance? Which of his suitors have the edge at the moment? And why is this teenager in such high demand anyway?

“Jude is very happy at the club, he is very committed to us,” Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl recently told UK broadcaster BT Sport. “Hopefully he can stay, next season and for a long time. We try to keep our best players. Jude is one of those and we try to keep them for as long as possible.

“But in the end, money is another aspect and England pays a lot more than Germany. We have to renew our philosophy every year.”

Senior sources at Dortmund have dismissed suggestions they are already resigned to losing Bellingham next summer. They insist there has been no contact with Liverpool — despite some reports suggesting talks between the clubs have already taken place.

Dortmund, who bought him from Championship side Birmingham City for an initial fee of £25million (now $28.5m), rising to £30million, in July 2020 intend to offer him improved terms in the hope he will sign a contract extension and continue his eye-catching development in Germany.

However, if Bellingham does push for a move, Dortmund are adamant he is valued at around €150million (£131.6m, $149.4m). That would make him the most expensive British footballer in history. Unlike Haaland’s transfer to City in June, there is no release clause involved. His family never gave an indication that they wanted one — confident in Bellingham’s ability to the point that interested teams would pay what was required when the time came for him to take the next step.

“The club (Dortmund) have done loads for me and made me feel very welcome since I first came and gave me the opportunities to develop even further. To look past that and into the future would be disrespectful,” Bellingham said, diplomatically, when questioned last week.

Liverpool’s interest in Bellingham dates back nearly a decade.

He was in the under-11s at Birmingham when he travelled up to Merseyside with parents Denise and Mark for a two-day stint at their Kirkby academy. During his stay he made a lasting impression on staff, not only with his ability but with his maturity as he took part in a training session and was given a tour of the facilities.

Liverpool were hoping to convince his family to relocate the two-hour drive north from the Midlands. If it had worked, they would have enrolled Bellingham in Rainhill High School. At that time, signing him would have cost around £9,000 in compensation.

Matt Newbury, now their head of senior academy recruitment, knew Bellingham’s rich potential well having previously worked for Birmingham before making the move to Liverpool in 2012. They made their pitch and waited patiently for an answer.

However, when it came there was disappointment. His parents had opted against uprooting the family and he stayed put at Birmingham. Around the same time, City and Chelsea also pursued him.

Liverpool respected their decision and continued to keep close tabs on his progress as he went on to become Birmingham’s youngest ever first-team player, at the age of 16 years and 38 days, in August 2019. Within a year, he was breaking records in the Bundesliga.

Birmingham retired their No 22 shirt when Bellingham, then 17, left. He had been given it because academy staff said he was a brilliant No 4, No 8 and No 10 so they added those numbers together.

He had stood out a mile from under-eights level onwards. By the age of 15, he was training with the first team.

Birmingham have always refused to go into the specifics of the deal they struck with Dortmund. However, they do have a sell-on clause guaranteeing them a share of any future transfer fee which club sources have said remains higher than five per cent.

bellingham-footballBellingham playing against Wayne Rooney during his time at Birmingham (Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)

Bellingham grew up idolising Anfield legend Steven Gerrard and has spoken of his pride at being named among the top five midfielders in the world by the now-Aston Villa head coach. He has also developed a close bond with current Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson during their time together on international duty.

“I like the way he plays. I like his personality, which is the most important thing. I like the way he conducts himself. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him. The sky is the limit for him, really,” says Henderson. The respect is mutual. Bellingham has described Henderson as the most professional player he has played with for England.

Liverpool’s recruitment staff view Bellingham as the complete box-to-box midfielder. He ticks all the boxes and it’s an area of Klopp’s squad that will be in need of a serious revamp after this season, with Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainNaby Keita and James Milner all set to be out of contract.

After Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni opted to join Real Madrid instead of them this summer, Liverpool didn’t pursue an alternative — at least, not until their injury crisis really cut deep late in the window. They ended up agreeing a season-long loan for Juventus’ Arthur Melo on deadline day. Part of the reluctance to commit funds in August was down to the fact that other targets they wanted, such as Bellingham, simply weren’t available.

There is a fear the price of any deal — both in terms of the fee and wages — could escalate significantly if he lights up the World Cup this November and December. However, there appears to be little prospect of being able to get an agreement in place with Dortmund before the tournament begins two months from yesterday.

Putting in the groundwork with Bellingham’s father, who continues to have a major influence on his son’s career, is currently viewed as a priority for his suitors.

Manchester United were the English club who came closest to landing him before he signed for Dortmund.

At the time, mum Denise headed out to Germany to live with him, while Mark, who had juggled his police career with being a prolific goalscorer in non-League football for clubs including Halesowen Town and Stourbridge, stayed in the Midlands with their younger son Jobe, now 16, who recently agreed his first professional deal — also with Birmingham. The move to Germany was sorted out with the help of sports lawyer Oliver Hunt from the firm Onside Law, as per Hunt’s own Twitter account.

The Bellinghams visited United’s training ground prior to a deal being agreed with Dortmund. Staff remember Mark being thorough and professional, asking questions about daily operations and the sustainability of managers.

United had watched Bellingham play 46 times at the various levels since the age of 12 and the message that kept coming back was that he was a player to be signed immediately. The reports, which had a strong focus on where he received the ball and how he moved with it, were glowing.

Football director John Murtough struck up a relationship with Mark that continues to this day. United tried to sign Bellingham when he was 15 but a package could not be agreed and the family had a loyalty to Birmingham.

By the time Bellingham broke into Birmingham’s first team, United already had huge amounts of information on him. Assistant manager Mike Phelan travelled to watch him play live in a home game against West Bromwich Albion. He sat with Birmingham’s owners that day, who were open to selling the youngster in order to ease the club’s financial problems.

Phelan told United’s then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Bellingham was a player of the potential of Gerrard and Paul Scholes.

For the family’s visit in March 2020, Solskjaer, who was desperate to land Bellingham, put together a committee in a bid to present a compelling case.

Technical chief scout Mick Court had an array of Bellingham youth-game footage overlaid on video of United first team in action, detailing how he might function in various formations — for example, at the foot of a midfield diamond or off the right. He prepared to explain to the family where United saw him fitting in and which facets of his game they would help him to improve.

Coach Michael Carrick, a former United and England midfielder, worked on the psychological factors of moving a family almost 100 miles north to Manchester from the Midlands. Going through Bellingham’s interviews, Carrick was struck by his football intelligence — he gave detailed, tactical answers rather than trot out cliches.

United wouldn’t include a guarantee of appearances in a contract offer as they felt that would have set a dangerous precedent. However, they put together a data-led presentation about the youngsters who had moved from their academy into the senior setup, such as Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, and how the minutes given to graduates at United was among the highest in Europe.

Ultimately though, not all of what was prepared was used. Murtough led the process and gave a tour of facilities. Industry sources feel United’s Carrington base is no longer enough by itself to lure top talents, especially when set against training grounds at other top Premier League clubs.

Sir Alex Ferguson was present to shake hands with the family but rather than an extended audience with United’s great manager, their meeting was only brief. Some at United felt Bellingham, despite being 17 years old, was worth more than the £30 million price Dortmund ultimately paid, and advocated for a bigger financial push to get an edge.

Former United captain and midfielder Bryan Robson, who is part of an advisory group at the club, said: “We thought we had him and he would have been a great signing for us. But he definitely has it in him to become a great player for England.”

Ultimately, agency sources believe Bellingham and his family had long earmarked a move to Germany as the perfect stepping stone for him. Fellow England youngster Jadon Sancho had blossomed at Dortmund after leaving Manchester City at the same age.

Dortmund’s presentation was also highly persuasive.

bellingham-footballBellingham celebrates scoring against Manchester City in the Champions League last week (Photo: Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)

They made Bellingham a promise before he signed and have proved true to their word. “They told me, ‘If you come here, we’ll develop you, you’ll get game time and you’ll be an international in two years’,” he said in an interview with the BBC.

He added: “Ideally you want to play for the club you support your whole life but you also want to reach the heights and fulfil your potential.”

Bellingham was only 17 when he made his senior England debut, against the Republic of Ireland, in November 2020 and he has so far collected 15 caps. Former Dortmund assistant manager Otto Addo summed up the speed of his development when he told The Athletic: “Jude’s incredibly mature for his age and quick to understand. He learns as much in one game as others do in six months. And he wants to learn, all the time.”

United feel his choice was not a negative towards them, but a pragmatic decision for his career, and that the recruitment department’s focus and dialogue with his family had at least put them in a two-horse race with Dortmund. They have continued to add to their Bellingham file and their admiration for him has grown during his two years in the Bundesliga.

The same goes for Chelsea, who were also heavily in for him before he signed for Dortmund. He certainly fits their new Todd Boehly model, in terms of both age and talent. Chelsea need a midfield succession plan with N’Golo Kante (31) and Jorginho (30) both out of contract next summer. Although they did address that to an extent this summer with the signings of youngsters Carney Chukwuemeka, 18, and 19-year-old Cesare Casadei.

Real Madrid arguably have less need for Bellingham, given the impressive impact of Tchouameni, who is 22, alongside 19-year-old Eduardo Camavinga. They also have Federico Valverde, who is 24. But Luka Modric, 37, can’t keep on defying the ageing process and the current European champions would certainly have the cash to compete with Premier League clubs for Bellingham.

One added consideration for them is Brexit, given that La Liga regulations only allow three non-EU players on the field. However, that situation was recently eased by Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior obtaining Spanish citizenship.

The biggest compliment you can pay to Bellingham is that he is not a specialist. In an age where we forensically examine a player’s profile to see what makes them stand out, he belies such categorisation into a single trait.

He is a generalist. An all-rounder. A versatile young player who can operate anywhere in midfield — and perform near enough any action on the pitch.

After making the move to Dortmund in that 2020-21 pre-season, people asked whether he could hold his own as a defensive midfielder in a double pivot. No problem. Left or right side of a midfield three? Of course. Able to push on further into an attacking midfield role? You bet.


It’s testament to how crucial Bellingham has become for Dortmund that no player clocked up more game time than he did across all competitions for them last season. A total of 3,787 minutes across 44 appearances — all of them starts — is evidence enough that he has developed into the crucial player in their team.

In case we need reminding once more, Bellingham is still just 19 and playing with a maturity beyond his years. No teenager has been trusted to play more minutes across Europe’s top five leagues since the start of last season, with him edging ahead of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, who turned 20 early last season.


Bellingham possesses plenty of intangible qualities that you simply cannot capture in the data. His maturity, composure, and leadership all stand out as traits required to perform at the top level, where he already has plenty of experience.

His display against City in the Champions League last week was his 18th appearance in the competition — the most by any English teenager. Defining Bellingham as a box-to-box midfielder might do him a disservice, suggesting he is simply able to shuttle up and down the pitch with continued energy.

For the record, he is able to do that, but there is more nuance to his game. Looking at his touch map below across European competitions last season, you can see he would get involved in Dortmund’s build-up within central areas in his own half, but in attacking phases of play he would drift into half spaces or wide areas to receive the ball and support his full-back — depending on his role within the game.


While Bellingham did contribute eight assists in the Bundesliga last season, it would be crass to appraise his direct attacking numbers in any way — given his role in the Dortmund team. Instead, we could work back to break down his overall contribution to his team’s attacking play via his shot-creating actions.

Using data from StatsBomb via FBref.com, the shot-creating actions metric includes the two offensive actions made prior to a shot being taken — whether that be passes, dribbles, shots, or drawing fouls.

While Bellingham did, as stated, play more minutes than any of his team-mates last season, it is interesting to see the spread of actions that contributed to Dortmund’s attacks.

Bellingham does not simply play the pass to his team-mate, he commits opposing players with his weaving dribbles in central areas, opening up space elsewhere for colleagues or drawing fouls to set up another attack. His 3.3 attempted dribbles per 90 minutes last season was among the top five per cent of all Bundesliga midfielders.


One trait that will be suited to the high-pressing style of the Premier League is Bellingham’s work off the ball. As you can see above, his defensive actions contribute well to his team’s attacking play, turning the ball over in dangerous areas high up the field. That will be music to the ears of a manager like Klopp.

Here is an example of this from early in last month’s season-opening league game against Bayer Leverkusen, whose centre-back Jonathan Tah recovers the ball in a congested area.

Bellingham is relentless in pressing that extra yard to get tight to Tah…


…before lunging in to nick to ball away, releasing team-mate Youssoufa Moukoko in the process.


As Moukoko turns, Bellingham has continued the press to push forward and provide a passing option — you can see him pointing to where Moukoko could drop the ball back to.


Instead, Moukoko flashes it across the box to Karim Adeyemi, whose shot is initially saved…


…before it is bundled in by Marco Reus for what turned out to be the winner.

And look there in the six-yard box. Who in a yellow shirt has put in the extra yards to follow up on this threatening situation? Bellingham.

It is a goal where he will accrue no direct credit to his attacking numbers, but his defensive intensity and off-ball running were integral to the scoring of it.


Data similarly cannot capture a player’s technique — their appreciation of space, the way they receive or strike the ball.

Even a quick look at a video would show that Bellingham has the technical quality that will keep him at the very top for the rest of his playing career. Put simply, he does the simple things very well.

At just 19 years old, it’s scary that we need no more convincing of his quality.

Bellingham’s family have previously set up two companies which are registered in the UK, Belloball and Bello & Bello Limited. This summer, the latter submitted an application to have ‘Jude Bellingham’ trademarked. It would cover everything from clothes to cosmetics and smartphone cases.

Part of them planning for his return to England? The commercial opportunities for such an articulate young player with such remarkable ability are certainly vast. He’s ambitious, he wants to win the biggest prizes and he is surely destined to grace the Premier League at some stage.

The when and the where are yet to be determined.

It will take deep pockets and a project as compelling as the one that took him to Dortmund to come out on top.

ARTICLE LINK:https://theathletic.com/3611785/2022/09/21/jude-bellingham-transfer-battle-liverpool-united/

Headlines Today: Ronaldo set to continue career until after Euro 2024; Grealish doesn’t expect to stay at Man City after next season

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Wednesday’s national newspapers…

Ronaldo is eager to play in the World Cup, but also wants to continue playing in Euro 2024

When attending the Gala Quinas de Ouro 2022 ceremony held by the Portuguese Football Federation, Ronaldo said he was eager to play in the Qatar World Cup and also hoped to continue playing in the Euro 2024.

Ronaldo, 37, is Portugal’s all-time leading scorer and this winter’s World Cup in Qatar will be his fifth World Cup appearance.

There are claims that the Qatar World Cup may become the 37-year-old Ronaldo’s last tournament, to which Ronaldo said at the award ceremony, “I hope to play in the Qatar World Cup, but also eager to continue to play in the 2024 Euro.”

In this ceremony, Ronaldo got a special award for being the player who scored the most goals at the national team level in world football. When he took to the stage to receive the award, Ronaldo said, “I am proud to receive this award, I never thought I would be able to achieve this one day, I thank all the people who have helped me in my career, it has been a long road, but I would like to say that the road is not over, I will continue to take more responsibility and face more pressure.”

“I’m grateful to the Portuguese Football Federation and look at the teams we have today, futsal, youth teams, women’s football are all great. I hope to continue playing for the national team for a longer period of time, I’m still motivated and my ambition is still high. There are a lot of good young players in the team today and I want to be part of the World Cup and the Euros and I feel happy. Many of the people present at the awards today are players I have played with and some who are playing with, and I am proud to be part of the changing times. Wakata even joked with me that ‘you have played with just about everyone until you have been until you are old'”.

Ronaldo has played 189 matches for Portugal, scoring 117 goals.

Grealish not expected to extend his contract with Manchester City next season

Jack Grealish has told those around him that he doesn’t expect to stay at Manchester City beyond next summer and has already asked his agent to search for potential new clubs.

Manchester City’s $100 million man Jack Grealish had a successful season under Pep Guardiola as he and City won the Premier League title, which is an impressive feat for any player.

However, many saw his numbers and fans still felt a bit of a loss considering the $100 million City spent.

Last season, he played only 26 games in the Premier League, scoring three goals and earning three assists.

In other games, he made 13 appearances, scored twice and got one assist, so he didn’t contribute much to the team.

Atletico Madrid fan insults Vinicius after holding up monkey doll in Madrid street

An Atletico Madrid fan posted a video on social media saying that he was beaten up on the streets of Madrid, but the incident started when he insulted Real Madrid winger Vinicius by raising a monkey doll in public.

Vinicius was racially insulted by Atletico fans before the start of the Madrid derby last weekend, and the Brazilian star responded by dancing with his teammates to celebrate his goal during the match.

An Atletico fan recently insulted Vinicius, who recently suffered a racist attack, by taking out a monkey doll in the streets of Madrid and dressing it in a white t-shirt representing Real Madrid and tying it with a Real Madrid scarf, but the fan was then beaten up and posted his experience on social media.

World newspaper broke the news that Messi 20-year contract renewal requirements

10 million euros renewal bonus, can leave the team at any time

Western media “World” broke the news of Messi’s requirements when renewing Barcelona’s contract in 2020, including the requirements of three years of contract years, 10 million euros of signing bonus.

In 2020 Messi was once eager to leave Barca for other teams, but eventually in the efforts of the then Barca president Bartomeu, Messi finally stayed in the summer of 2020. But Messi, who was eager to renew his contract with Barca a year later, did not stay as Laporta promised and eventually had to leave for Paris due to Barca’s poor financial reasons.

Le Monde exclusively revealed the various demands made by Messi when he renewed his 20-year contract.

  1. A new contract of at least three years, expiring in 2023.
  2. 10 million euros in renewal bonuses.
  3. a special private box for his family at the Camp Nou, as well as Suarez.
  4. Lionel Messi still retains the right to leave at any time, with a breach of contract clause of only a symbolic 10,000 euros
  5. Compensation for Messi’s sacrifice of salary reduction during the epidemic, which has a 3% interest rate
  6. A private jet for the whole family to use during Christmas.
  7. If there is a tax increase in the new contract, the club will be responsible.

It is reported that Barca basically agreed to all the requests from Messi’s side, except for two conditions, that is, the leave anytime clause (reduced breach of contract requirement) and the renewal bonus of 10 million euros. This is why Messi did not agree on a contract extension with Barca in 20 years at that time.

After Laporta became Barca’s president, the new board executives likewise rejected the conditions on Messi’s part. El Mundo said that Messi’s team then probably changed their conditions and in fact the two sides had agreed on a contract extension, but the inability of La Liga to pass Messi’s new contract (financial factors) eventually led to Messi leaving Barca.

Reese James dyes his hair pink

Recently, Reece James took to social media to post a photo of himself training with England and can be seen dyeing his hair a new color.

In the photo, James dyed a strand of his hair pink, which looks very conspicuous. He followed the photo with the caption “Be yourself” and a “heart” emoji.

England’s next match will be away to Italy.

Mbappe took part in the marketing photo shoot of the French team

Mbappe, who caused an uproar over his portrait rights, reportedly took part in a marketing campaign for the French team.

Mbappe said on Tuesday he refused to participate in any marketing activities for the French team, after he attended a seminar organized by the French Football Federation, which had previously promised to revise the national team’s portrait rights agreement.

This is not only a matter of the team’s portrait rights, but also of its marketing obligations. Based on the discussions between the president of the French Football Federation, Le Graet, and some executives, the French Football Federation finally promised to “revise as soon as possible the original agreement governing the portrait rights of its national team players”. The meeting was organized after Mbappe announced in a statement that he does not intend to participate in Tuesday’s marketing campaign, said a source from the newspaper L’Equipe.

The issue is crucial for the French Football Federation, as Tuesday’s group photo is a necessary shot to allow the French team’s sponsors to prepare the ads to be shown during the World Cup. Mbappe participated in the event as normal as any other player and completed all the necessary filming. Mbappe’s boycott on the issue of the national team’s portrait rights, launched since March, highlights his opposition to the agreement signed by the French Football Federation in 2010 on the subject: he demands that players be allowed to have the right of censorship over the federation’s partners and that their portrait rights be used more fairly.

The 23rd new addition!

Nottingham Forest signs 22-year-old goalkeeper Kanuric

Nottingham Forest officially announced that 22-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Adnan Kanuric has officially joined the team.

Nottingham Forest released an announcement on the team’s official website: The team confirmed the signing of young goalkeeper Adnan Kanuric, let’s welcome him to the team!

The 22-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper, born on August 8, 2000, already has experience playing in England after two years with Stoke City before moving to Slovakian side Cered in 2020. He arrived from Bosnia-Herzegovina side Sarajevo on a free transfer and made two appearances in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers at the beginning of the 2021/22 season.

The young goalkeeper was born in Austria, but eventually chose to play for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. The player will play for Nottingham Forest U21, but will always train with the first team.

Welcome to Nottingham Forest, Adnan! (End of announcement)

This is Nottingham Forest’s 23rd new recruit this summer. Nottingham Forest is currently 19th in the table with 4 points from 1 win, 1 draw and 5 losses after 7 games in the EPL this season.

Mourinho banned for one match, no chance to lead team to Inter

It’s official, Roma manager Jose Mourinho has been banned for one match and will not participate in the next round of Serie A against Inter Milan.

The Italian Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced that Mourinho has been banned for one game for entering the field of play in the 7th round of Serie A at home against Atalanta by means of a red card for violating the rules by abusing the opposing players.

This means Mourinho will not be on the sidelines in the 8th round of Serie A, which will be played against his old team Inter Milan.

Di Maria banned for two games, no match against Bologna and Milan

It’s official, Di Maria, who was sent off in Juventus’ match against Monza, has been banned for two matches.

In the 7th round of Serie A away to Monza, Di Maria was red carded for elbowing an opponent, an act that was deemed violent by the Italian Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Di Maria was banned for two matches as a result.

In this case, Di Maria will not play against Bologna in the 8th round of Serie A and Milan in the 9th round.

Lewandowski is honored to wear the captain’s armband in the colors of the Ukrainian flag for the World Cup

Lewandowski took a photo with Shevchenko and said he was honored to wear the captain’s armband in the colors of the Ukrainian flag for the World Cup.

Today Ukrainian star Shevchenko handed the captain’s armband in the colors of the Ukrainian flag to Polish captain Lewandowski and asked him to take it to the World Cup. This is a token of appreciation for the Polish captain’s support to Ukraine after the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

On his personal social media, Lewandowski posted a photo with Shevchenko and posted: “Thank you Shevchenko. It’s great to see you! I’m honored to carry this captain’s armband in the colors of the Ukrainian flag to the World Cup.”

Russia will not participate in the Euro 2024 qualifying draw due to UEFA ban

It’s official, the Russian national team will not participate in the group draw for the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The Russian Football Federation said this was due to UEFA’s decision in February to suspend the Russian national team and clubs from competitions under the UEFA umbrella, by default “until further notice”.

The suspension follows a joint ban by UEFA and FIFA over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

FIFA: Honduran player Quaye doped in World Cup qualifier, banned for 18 months

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) issued an official announcement that Honduran player Quaye will be banned for 18 months for violating FIFA anti-doping regulations during the World Cup qualifying tournament.

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has released an official announcement on its website: 24-year-old Quaye from Honduras tested positive for clostebol after a FIFA 2022 World Cup™ qualifier in Qatar on February 2, 2022. It is also a prohibited substance under the FIFA Anti-Doping Code.

The sanction was imposed after the player admitted the violation and an agreement was reached between the player, FIFA and WADA. As such, the sanction is final and binding.

As Quaye’s suspension prior to the issuance of the decision has been counted towards the 18-month suspension period mentioned above, the player’s suspension will last until August 1, 2023.


Chelsea have sacked their commercial director Damian Willoughby over a series of “inappropriate messages” sent to football finance agent Catalina Kim that put a proposed multi-million pound investment project at risk.

Chelsea will re-open talks with candidates for the club’s sporting director role this week with Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten and Leeds United’s Victor Orta understood to have been discussed.

The number of venues in England competing to host games at Euro 2028 has been cut to 10 with the likes of Arsenal, Leeds United and Leicester City already ruled out.


Bayern Munich and France defender Benjamin Pavard has hinted he could be interested in a move to the Premier League where Chelsea and Manchester United are both keen.

Sven Botman has withdrawn from the Netherlands U21 squad because he wants to focus on securing a regular place in the Newcastle line-up.

Newcastle's Sven Botman tries to tackle Benfica's Rafa Silva, left, in pre-season
Image:Newcastle’s Sven Botman has pulled out of the Netherlands U21 squad

A football manager at the heart of a stunning blackmail case is being investigated by the Football Association after the trial collapsed last week when he refused to give evidence against those he had accused.

Aminata Diallo is alleged to have searched online for “how to break a kneecap” and “dangerous drug cocktail” before an attack was made against her former PSG team-mate Kheira Hamraoui.

Football supporters at the World Cup in Qatar will only be able to purchase non-alcoholic beer during and at half-time in matches during the winter tournament.

Brazil great Roberto Carlos has revealed he agreed to a move to Chelsea in 2007 and only had to sign the contract before the deal collapsed.

Former Chelsea youngster Miro Muheim has revealed he was dumped from the Hamburg team in comical fashion after spending too long on the toilet and arriving late for a training session.

James Rodriguez could be set for a tricky third reunion with Rafa Benitez who is being linked with a role at his new club Olympiakos.


A leading sports official has spoken of an endemic culture of bribery and corruption in the Olympic movement, claiming he was involved in paying bribes to IOC members to secure Taekwondo’s place in the Games.

Premier League clubs are embroiled in disputes over how much each team should contribute to extra cash destined for the EFL, with the big six wanting it split equally but smaller clubs wanting them to pay more because of their additional revenues from European competition.

Fifty LIV Golf players have written to the chairman of the Official World Golf Rankings asking for retrospective points and warning of a conflict of interests among the governors.


Former West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko has called on all sports governing bodies to follow football’s example and ban Russia from competing internationally.

Migrant labourers in Qatar continue to suffer living in poor conditions just two months before the World Cup kicks off.


ORLANDO, FL - JULY 23: Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic (10) during the game between Chelsea and Arsenal on July 23, 2022 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image:Christian Pulisic said he was let down by Thomas Tuchel during the Champions League final

Christian Pulisic has revealed he was let down by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel after being benched during the closing stages of their victorious Champions League campaign in 2020-21.


Mauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham and France captain Hugo Lloris to be his first signing if he is confirmed as the new manager of Nice.

Bruno Fernandes has revealed he was “really angry” when a potential move to Tottenham fell through months before his eventual transfer to Manchester United was completed.


Tottenham and England defender Eric Dier is so worried about fan behaviour in English football that he has banned his mother from attending away games.

Lisandro Martinez and Cristian Romero have been left stranded in the UK because of delays to their visas for entry to the United States caused by the closure of the US Embassy during mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.


Christian Eriksen has revealed he was disappointed to hear jeers from Brentford fans when he returned to the club with Manchester United earlier this season.

Former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez is tipping Fernando Torres to have a managerial career after impressing him during a recent coaching course.

Fabio Cannavaro is set to take on his first job in Italy after agreeing to become the next head coach of Serie B side Benevento.

Memphis Depay insists he is enjoying life at Barcelona after rejecting the chance to join Chelsea over the summer.

The government is being accused of aiding the asset-stripping of crisis club Worcester Warriors after Sport England approved the transfer of ownership of their stadium to a new company which retains its income.

Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill has been offered a route back into rugby league after being approached to represent his home county Cumbria when they face Jamaica in a World Cup warm-up next month.


Russia’s former F1 driver Nikita Mazepin says he has no interest in racing under a neutral flag.

The Revierderby: Smoke, fire, noise and a vivid symbol of life, love and loathing

The dressing rooms at Signal Iduna Park are buried deep in the stadium.

Fresh coats of emulsion aside, they haven’t been renovated properly since the ground’s opening in 1974.

Nothing that has happened to Borussia Dortmund since has left a mark down there. Not the great industrial decline in the Ruhr Valley in the 1980s and the mass unemployment that followed. Not their Icarus-like rise and fall of the 1990s, nor the rebirth under Hans-Joachim Watzke and climb back towards the top of the game.

There are no aphorisms or slogans stencilled on the wall, nor even a hint of black or yellow.

An unvarnished table sits in the middle of the floor with two or three feet of space either side, while iron hooks line the walls. The only clue as to what lies above comes from the tiny stickers with each player’s name and photo on, placed next to those hooks, telling you who changes where. Otherwise, this could be any dressing room at any level of the game in any part of the world.

And Dortmund want it that way.

The first-team players spend just a few days a month at Signal Iduna Park, so available funding has been better directed towards the club’s training facility, but it’s meant that as this temple of football has grown and been expanded — new parts were bolted on in the 1990s and then again before Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup — these dressing rooms have remained locked in time.

The dressing rooms sit deep beneath the stadium at Signal Iduna Park (Photo: Seb Stafford-Bloor)

What a privilege to be there.

It must be such a special place on a matchday. Football may have evolved, but the minutes waiting for the referee’s knocks are the same. Studs tapping on the floor, nervous hollering bouncing between the walls, the stands high above rumbling with anticipation. Imagine that. The surge of adrenaline, the heart rate.

What a place to be.

Especially ahead of a Rivierderby.

The Dortmund-Schalke rivalry simmers with a deep animosity that only geographical proximity can incubate.

In the minutes before kick-off, as yellow and blue clouds of pyro rise out of opposite stands and converge into a thick cordite fog over the pitch, that dressing room must be ready to break through its walls.

Carsten Cramer is one of Dortmund’s managing directors and has been at the club since 2010.

He’s forthright and precise when he talks, even in a second language. On the eve of the weekend’s game, in a suite high above the stadium on a dusky Friday, he’s holding up one of the club’s famous black and yellow shirts to a room of journalists.

“It’s a very simple message,” he says. “It’s no coincidence the club’s name is on the top (across the shoulders) and not the player’s name (which is printed further down, below the numbers). The club is the message.”

Cramer believes what he’s saying. In a sport dominated by the few and where the finest players now march to the wealthiest clubs at ever-earlier ages, finding affirmation in identity can seem like a necessary refuge. In the German Bundesliga, which offers atmosphere, affordability and fan experience as a counter-weight to Bayern Munich’s decade of domestic dominance, that’s probably even more true.

Cramer is a realist. He understands what’s happening elsewhere in the global game and how Dortmund’s place within it is challenged by the migration patterns and developing trends. But he’s defiant and convincing.

“We have been playing football for 113 years,” he says. “We did so with Erling Haaland and without Erling Haaland. We did it with Robert Lewandowski and without him, and the club is still able to attract 81,000 people. We are always sold out.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone arguing with Cramer.

He’s slender and dressed all in black and while he’s cordial and warm and happy to grant an audience, he punches out sentences in German-inflected English with absolute conviction. It’s compelling. Especially so with Signal Iduna Park looming through the window behind him.

The ground is a wonder. Inside, it’s like something that has been chiselled out of a coalface. It’s dark and heavy, and even with nobody else there it has a distinct gravity.

Die Gelbe Wand, the Yellow Wall, is its world-famous south stand, and walking on those steps feels more like an invasion than barging through the dressing-room door.

The capos’ platforms are there, alongside the crude, circular drum-holders. It’s the stadium’s engine room, its heartbeat; in less than 24 hours, it will be a valley of smoke and fire and noise, a vivid symbol of the city’s love and loathing.

When full, Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall is one of the most striking sights in European football (Photo: Seb Stafford-Bloor)

Jurgen Klopp should never have been allowed to coach in such a stadium. Combining his rhetoric and personality with Signal Iduna Park’s potency seems at best ludicrously unfair and at worst deeply irresponsible. On all sides, the roof slopes down over its sharp-banked tiers, meaning the noise that rises out of those stands is sent back down towards the pitch. The noise must be unholy.

After the game, I ask United States international Giovanni Reyna who the Dortmund leaders are during a derby. Who beats their chest? Who growls? I want him to tell me it’s Jude Bellingham, so that I can confirm what I think I’ve seen and mine a valuable little paragraph from the occasion. No chance. He doesn’t know. It was just too loud on the pitch to hear anything above that barrage of noise.

Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga, with five wins and two losses from seven games (Photo: Seb Stafford-Bloor)

And that’s how the 2022 Revierderby starts: loudly. When the players’ studs have clattered and that knock has come on the dressing-room doors, the two teams walk down the sloping tunnel, towards the light, and out into a furnace of colour, sound and seething local hatred.

What is the Bundesliga? Whatever it may be, its spirit dwells in those moments — those flourishes of spirit and expression. It has its challenges and its problems and its conundrums to solve, but it’s a league of matchdays in which context matters only so much as you allow it to.

Fundamentally, it’s a league that can really move you. There are experiences to be found within it that can stir the soul, and this is unquestionably one of them.

I’m new to it. I’ve only lived in Germany for a few years now and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

At first, I tried to learn the league. I read books and watched games and absorbed everything I possibly could, only to find that really — as is true everywhere — the country’s footballing culture is only discoverable in person. It’s at the end of a train line or outside a stadium. It’s in listening to someone tell you how they fell in love with a club or why fan ownership matters to them.

That process, I’ve learned, is going to take years, decades.

The other thing I’ve learned recently is that, yes, when they call you late at night, the police really do ask if you’re sitting down.

Most of my year has been spent in England.

In early February, a frantic 24 hours ended back in the hospital where I was born, with a doctor closing the door behind him and telling me my mother had two inoperable brain tumours and they were investigating a further mass in her right lung.

I knew something had been wrong. In late 2021, she had complained of pain in her shoulder. It was probably just a pulled muscle, she said, and for me not to worry. As autumn turned to winter she started to fall over, too. She’d phone and laugh in that self-deprecating way of hers, describing how she’d had to be scooped up by a stranger, but “don’t worry, you know the council doesn’t grit those roads when it’s icy”.

But in February our delusion fell apart. Doctors rarely tell you someone is going to die. Instead, they use words like ‘palliative’ and ‘symptom control’ which sound nicer but which somehow give you even less hope. I’m an only child and she was long-divorced, so I moved to England, lived out of a bedroom at my father’s house and held her hand as she walked towards the end.

I don’t know if I was a good carer. I learned to sort the drugs every day and I got better at the cleaning and cooking while we waited for the hospice workers to arrive. One month became two, two became three. What a strange existence.

I always thought football would be my sanctuary. In my mind, if something like that ever happened, I thought I would be one of those people to find solace in the game’s powerful meaninglessness. Perhaps I’d lose myself in the recesses of a new league. Maybe I’d affect a lilt in my voice when talking about Italian football or roll my Rs too much after a weekend of La Liga. Maybe I’d become insufferable and lose my remaining friends.

No, as it turns out. If there is a metaphor to employ, it’s probably that of living underground and between two rooms separated by a long, dimly lit corridor. In one room, you sleep, eat and try to complete your work at a reasonable hour, in the other you watch a disease tear through someone you love. In the long corridor, you actually care about nothing else at all.

At the beginning of May, hospice care relieved me and I went back to Hamburg. I was home to see Tottenham beat Arsenal in the north London derby and to feel quite connected again. The Monday following, like every other Spurs supporter, I was watching Arsenal’s game at St James’ Park. It was May 16 and an own goal had just put Newcastle in front. They were excellent. They spent that night banging away at Arsenal’s half-fit defence and anyone watching knew — just knew — how that game was going to finish and what its implications were going to be.

How wonderful. Not the result or experience, but just that sense of investment again. It’s actually a privilege to care deeply about football and I’d never realised. All of that adrenaline and tension, the way you shift and twitch in your stadium or sofa seat… that’s not guaranteed. But it was back and it was overwhelming.

And then the phone rang.

Truth be told, once the police ask if you’re sitting down, you don’t really hear much else. You don’t hear them tell you that they have very bad news or that your mother has died. I noticed Bruno Guimaraes scoring a second for Newcastle — I have no idea why I didn’t turn the television off — but I have little memory of anything else, other than the officer sounding young and nervous and full of compassion.

The days and weeks afterwards were the same. A lighter, easier experience, but a numbing, bureaucratic trudge through official procedure and organisational hoops. It has left me in standby mode.

I function outwardly as normal — at least I hope so — but my emotional responses are bizarre. To football, too, which has grown this new set of associations. Tottenham games remind me of my mum — not her laugh or her voice or the many things she did for me, but her death and the fact I wasn’t there when it happened.

It won’t last forever, at least not in the same way, but it is a strange place to be left in.

Being a neutral in a stadium is such a privilege. Being a neutral during a derby is especially so because you notice so much more.

Long after the south stand has settled down and the pyro fog has melted away, you can see it ripple in time with the action on the pitch. Not quite with the violence of those old terraces, which would jerk people back and forth, metres at a time, but enough to be a sonogram of the game itself.

When nothing is happening, little clouds of smoke puff rhythmically out of the stand, betraying a thousand crafty cigarettes.

Dortmund’s 1-0 win over Schalke boosted their prospects as they aim to win their first title since 2012 (Photo: Seb Stafford-Bloor)

Dortmund and Schalke hate each other. It’s not rivalry, it’s loathing. Dortmund against Bayern is a business rivalry. These games are part of an eternal feud. They are two flawed teams, too. Dortmund are fast but open, and in the first half they are disconnected in attack and vulnerable on the break. They also lose Marco Reus, whose ankle ligaments are damaged in a tangle with Florian Flick. The stadium sags with disappointment as the 33-year-old is carried from the pitch in tears, his last chance at a World Cup suddenly in jeopardy.

“Auf wiedersehen!” mock the Schalke fans in the corner, setting light to their bright red flares and stoking the feud. The rest of the ground seethes with fury, sending a noise that rises up across the pitch, high above the players and into the layer of cordite hanging in the air.

Signal Iduna Park was filled with smoke and fire on Saturday for one of Germany’s most hostile derbies (Photo: Seb Stafford-Bloor)

After half-time, word spreads that Augsburg are leading against Bayern and Dortmund’s search for a goal grows more tense.

Schalke revel in their role as spoiler. Won throw-ins become fist-pumping victories and a chiselled-out corner draws a mighty roar from the visiting fans. Every Dortmund attack that dies fortifies Schalke’s defence further and with just 12 minutes left, this seems likely to be another day when the gap shows — when Bayern either dig their way out of another hole or somehow find a way of winning even in defeat.

With 11 minutes left, that changes.

Youssoufa Moukoko escapes his marker to score at the foot of the Yellow Wall and draw an extraordinary noise from the stadium. It’s guttural and frenzied, the kind that straightens your back and hits you square in the heart.

The 17-year-old is almost overcome by what he’s done and runs to the corner, before spreading his arms, closing his eyes and roaring at the sky. He’s quickly lost under a pile of Dortmund players, but as they celebrate in a far corner, the beer continues to spray from every part of the ground. Above and below, to one side and the other, it’s as if Signal Iduna Park is weeping hysterically for joy.

Youssoufa MoukokoMoukoko, 17, earned Dortmund an important win as they adjust to life without Erling Haaland (Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Moukoko might be the game’s next great centre-forward. It’s possible. He’s also charming and has one of those warm, expressive faces. Sometimes players let you down with their flippancy. You watch what they do during a game and see what it appears to mean to them, but then the media training locks that all away. Not for him, though.

In the mixed zone afterwards, his eyes danced as he fielded questions. He knew exactly what that moment meant — to him, to them, to everyone in that tiny, spartan dressing room and beyond.

As he talks, Schalke staff haul containers of kit to their team bus and, at one point, a battalion of police even stomp through the stadium underpass with shields and batons in pursuit of distant sirens. When he finishes his interviews, Moukoko sits on the steps above the dressing room, texting while he waits for his car to appear and the supporters outside to melt away from the stadium into the bars and restaurants and then, finally, back into their lives.

It is the final act of a quintessential piece of Bundesliga theatre.

To some, this league is uncompetitive and short of the star power that drives a competition such as the Premier League. But to others, its games feel more like spectacles, part of something larger than what the final league table looks like each May. It has the capacity to reach people, regardless of where their loyalties lie, and that is something truly rare.

Derbies are always rich in those qualities, but that seems indicative of the tone of the German game as a whole. It’s comforting in its depth. It’s full of dedication and stories of sincerity. Nothing about the visible symbols of all that commitment — the flares, the noise, the fire, the cheap travel and tickets — are suggestive of this being just a distraction, either. It’s a place to actually be, not somewhere just to hide and recover while the weather changes, and perhaps the truth behind football’s enduring appeal is exactly that.

Recently, I read an article that compared grief and the process of recovery to the act of climbing down a mountain. That’s a simple but compelling metaphor and it makes enough sense: everyone has to find their own route, in their own way and in their own time.

If there is a flaw, perhaps it is in the implication that once down, somebody can just leave the mountain behind and walk away from their grief, never to see it again.

It might be better, for instance, to find ways of living with the inevitability of sickness and loss, and of challenging whatever it leaves behind. Whether that be sorrow, regret or anger — probably all three, all at the same time — the counter would seem to be something enlivening, something that blows the dust from your eyes.

And there are definitely places in football where you can do that.

ARTICLE LINK:https://theathletic.com/3607395/2022/09/20/revierderby-dortmund-schalke-bundesliga/

Headlines today: Mbappe wins the ‘battle’ against the French Football Federation; Barca want Piqué to retire

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Tuesday’s national newspapers…

Mbappe’s photoshoot protest leads French Federation to promise changes

Mbappe refused to attend the French national team’s group photo shoot due to portrait rights issues, according to AFP.

French media reported that the French national team will take a group photo this Tuesday, but Mbappe refused to attend the event, still due to the issue of portrait rights.

The report reveals that the French national team group photo involves several major sponsors, including Uber Eats, KFC, Coca-Cola and others.

In March, Mbappe and other players did not participate in training as well as sponsorship activities at the Clairefontaine Training Center due to player portrait rights issues, as a protest against the portrait rights agreement between the national team and the French Football Federation. The president of the French Football Federation had previously held a meeting with Mbappe and other French players, and Mbappe’s lawyer had said they would not give in on the issue

French Football Federation official: will soon revise the player portrait rights-related agreements

The French Football Federation officially announced that it will revise the agreement related to the portrait rights of players as soon as possible in order to protect the interests of all parties to maximize.

The official announcement of the French Football Federation

Following a successful discussion between the executives of the French Football Federation (FFF), the President, the national team coach and a marketing executive, the FFF has committed to revise the agreement on the portrait rights of its national team players as soon as possible.

The French Football Federation is pleased to be able to develop a framework for the agreement that protects its interests while taking into account the legitimate concerns and worries unanimously expressed by the players. (End of announcement)

Previously, Mbappe had made it clear that he refused to participate in the group photo of the national team due to portrait rights concerns.

Real Madrid will renew the contract with the Emirates, can earn 70 million euros a year

According to journalist Łukasz Bączek, Real Madrid will renew their contract with their chest advertising sponsor Emirates, which could amount to 70 million euros per year.

Łukasz Bączek, who belongs to Sportico, a media outlet that covers sports business, said that the new contract between Real Madrid and Emirates will be for three years, from the 23-24 season to the 25-26 season. The current 22-23 season is the same amount of sponsorship as the previous contract. The new contract can be considered as a 1+3 contract.

Meanwhile, the new sponsorship contract between Real Madrid and Emirates will be €70 million per year, with a bonus clause of €7 million if Real Madrid reaps the relevant title glory.

Emirates has been the sponsor of Real Madrid’s chest advertising since the 2013-14 season and has been since.

Piqué clashed with Xavi in the dressing room last week in the Champions League

According to the Daily Sport, Gerard Piqué clashed with Xavi in the locker room last week because he was unhappy with the lack of playing time.

The report said that last Tuesday during the Champions League away match with Bayern, Xavi and Piqué clashed in the locker room, Piqué complained that he had too little playing time: “I didn’t even have to participate in the rolling game” (jugar petanca: a rolling game, which Xavi would make the players play in training), Xavi When he heard that, he called him out in front of the whole team. Harvey’s response is said to have been, “You’re not going to do that either.” The relationship between the two sides remains strained, per body.

Currently, Barca has newly signed centerbacks Christensen and Conde, as well as two young centerbacks, Eric Garcia and Araujo, which puts Pique last in the starting lineup and makes him the top paid player on the team (per body note: according to professional portal Capology, Pique’s salary is 52 million euros per season), far more than De Jong and Busquets’ 37 million This means that Piqué has finally become the most popular player in the Barcelona game. This means that Piqué has finally become a problem for Barça.

FC Barcelona acknowledges the existence of this problem because it is not beneficial on a competitive level or on a financial level. Therefore, the feeling that exists in the Barça office is not surprising: “Let’s see if Pique keeps his word.” Barça hopes that Piqué will be consistent with the statement he made and take steps to end his Barça career as soon as possible. Even if it means willingly serving as a substitute to make way for fresh blood.

Piqué has said in 2021: “We have hit rock bottom. If I need to leave to get fresh blood, I’ll leave”, “If Koeman told me tomorrow I had to leave, I’d leave soccer”, “I won’t play for any team but Barca”, and “I will retire at Barca, but never as a substitute”.

Collins waited for 25 minutes in the tunnel after the match to apologize to Grealish in person

According to the Mirror, in order to apologize to Grealish in person, Wolves defender Collins went into the player’s tunnel and waited for 25 minutes after his team’s Premier League match with Manchester City.

As a result of the flying kick to Glalish, Collins was red carded in the first half of the match between Wolves and Manchester City, and Glalish was subsequently treated by the team doctor.

It is reported that after the match between Wolves and Manchester City ended and both teams showered and changed clothes, Collins waited for Glalish in the player’s tunnel, expressing his apologies, saying he didn’t mean to do it, while stressing that he was going to fight for the ball.

The Mirror said that Glalish accepted Collins’ apology, but the England attacker told his City teammates that Collins’ vicious scramble was actually the one that caused his leg the most pain.

Collins faces a three-match suspension for the violent act against Glalish.

Manchester United will try to bring in Griezmann in January

According to ESPN, Manchester United are considering bringing in Griezmann in the winter window.

Griezmann could move in January next year if Barcelona and Atletico Madrid can’t negotiate a buyout for Griezmann’s loan period. According to ESPN, if that’s the case, Manchester United will seize the opportunity to try again to bring in Griezmann, who they were interested in in the summer.

Griezmann only made 1 start for Atletico this season because Atletico didn’t want to pay Barca a 40 million euro buyout fee. Media reports say that Manchester United is one of the EPL teams that will be looking at Griezmann’s future.

Senegal international Keita Balde banned for two months

The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) learned today that its international player Keita Balde has been suspended for two months. He currently plays for Spartak Moscow, a Russian Premier League club.

The decision by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal comes after the player was suspected of violating doping control procedures while still playing for Serie A club Cagliari.

The Senegalese striker, who now plays for Spartak Moscow, is expected to serve a two-month suspension until Dec. 22, 2022.

Senegalese international Keita Balde has been banned by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal until December 5, 2022, following an alleged doping control violation while playing for Cagliari.

Under the current disciplinary code, any doping-related sanction requested by another national sports association or football federation is automatically accepted by FIFA and must be endorsed by all member associations.

No banned substances were found in the samples taken from the player Keita Balde on the same day.

The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF), which has already spoken with the player, is closely monitoring the development and will inform the follow-up in consultation with its medical team.

As a result, the FSF has announced that the player will miss the national team training session in Orléans on September 19, 2022.

Van Dijk: Won’t hold back at club for World Cup

The Netherlands will face Poland away in the UEFA Nations League, and captain Van Dijk said in an interview that he will not hold back at his club to play in the World Cup.

The center-back was unable to captain the Netherlands at Euro 2021 due to a knee injury, and despite his success on the club side, he has yet to play in a major tournament with the national team. He hopes to lead Van Gaal’s side in Qatar and the 31-year-old is keen to play in the World Cup.

Van Dijk said in an interview, “I would love to go to the World Cup, but being prepared is not focused on not getting injured. I want to be able to keep playing, stay healthy and have a good time.”

Liverpool’s form has been up and down recently and lost 4-1 to Napoli in the Champions League group stage. Liverpool managers said it was the worst season of results in seven years.

Meanwhile, Van Dijk refuted any suggestion that Liverpool’s poor start to the season was due to players thinking about playing in the World Cup: “We are not in that situation and I can assure you that is definitely not one of the reasons.”

Jorginho offered himself to join Barca

but Barca is not considering bringing him in at the moment

According to Marca, Barcelona is not currently considering bringing in Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.

Recently, some media said that Barcelona is considering to bring in Jorginho, Marca said that the fact is that Jorginho proposed himself to join Barcelona, but Barcelona is not considering to bring in this one player at the moment. Jorginho’s contract expires in the summer of 2023 and he will be a free agent at that time.

In addition, Marca said that if there is no accident Busquets will leave Barcelona next summer, Barca will look for a replacement, but not Jorginho.

Barca is considering bringing in Asensio

Barcelona are reportedly keeping a close eye on Real Madrid striker Asensio, considering bringing in the player.

One player Barca is considering signing in the future is Asensio. In addition to Asensio’s ability, there are other factors that have Barca keeping a close eye on Asensio, namely his contract with Real Madrid expires next summer. Asensio is also not a Real Madrid starter this season, and may not renew his contract with Real Madrid.

It is understood that Barcelona will consider bringing in Asensio, which is due to Asensio’s age, level and tactical adaptability. Asensio is currently 26 years old and Barca considers him a mature player while he still has a long career ahead of him. In addition, Asensio scored 12 goals last season to illustrate his strength.

In addition, there is another factor that should not be underestimated: the good relationship between the player’s current agent Mendes and Barça president Laporta

Arsenal wants to buy Locatelli

According to Italian media “Evening Mail”, Arsenal wants to bring in Juve midfielder Locatelli.

The Evening Post said that Locatelli is no longer a non-sale item for Juve. If the Italian international can’t regain his form and win back Allegri’s trust, he could be on the move at the end of the season.

Arsenal are interested in Locatelli and could take the Italian international if they can offer 40 million euros. This figure is considered to be the appropriate price.

Canavaro is close to reaching a coaching agreement with Serie B Benevento

According to Italian journalist Romano, former Guangzhou and Chinese men’s soccer team manager Fabio Cannavaro is close to taking over Serie B side Benevento.

Canavaro, 49, has been idle since he left the Guangzhou job last September, but according to Romano, the former Ballon d’Or winner is ready to start his coaching career in Italy, and talks with Benevento are going well and an agreement is close to being reached.

Benevento is currently 13th in the Serie B table with 2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses.


Manchester United are ready to make a January move for Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos, who was linked with Newcastle over the summer, and is also being tracked by Bayern Munich.

Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos
Image:Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos

Barcelona are plotting a rare raid on Real Madrid as they will look to sign forward Marco Asensio when his contract expires at the end of the season.


Leicester City’s board are considering Brendan Rodgers’ future at the club but compensation for him and a potential replacement could be an issue as they are also under pressure to reduce their cost base due to FFP regulations.

The CIES Football Observatory claims Manchester United have overspent by £209m on players since July 2012, ranking ahead of Juventus and PSG as the worst culprits in the transfer market.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to ban controversial high-strength painkiller tramadol following a series of harrowing stories about its addictive tendencies.


Premier League clubs will insist on FA Cup third and fourth round replays being scrapped as part of plans to increase financial support flowing down to the lower levels of English football.

Captain Luke Donald is plotting narrowed fairways and long rough for next year’s Ryder Cup in Italy to try and negate the United States’ big-hitters.


Paul Pogba has revealed he was held at gunpoint by two men who demanded £11m from him in a July incident which has now seen five suspects detained, including his brother Mathias.

Mike Tyson has revealed an ongoing battle with nerve issue sciatica after recent concerns over footage which emerged of him being forced to use a wheelchair, and also causes him to be unable to talk.


Russia has urged UEFA to ban the manager of Ukraine, Oleksandr Petrakov, for not remaining politically impartial after he said he would like to fight Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.


Kylian Mbappe has forced the French Football Federation into an embarrassing climbdown in their dispute over image rights, with his failure to appear at a photo-shoot followed hours later by the FFF saying work was ongoing over a new agreement.


Liverpool will make a further move for Real Madrid’s young star Fede Valverde, potentially in January according to reports in Spain.

Brazilian wonderkid Joao Gomes says he has the “greatest desire” to play for Liverpool as rumours continue to swirl about the midfielder leaving Flamengo for the Premier League.

Marcus Rashford is “hopeful” he will be back to full fitness in time for Manchester United’s derby clash with City on October 2.

Erik ten Hag embraces Marcus Rashford as he's substituted
Image:Erik ten Hag embraces Marcus Rashford as he’s substituted

Bruno Guimaraes has paid tribute to Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, claiming he has turned “water into wine” since his arrival at St James’ Park.

Udinese midfielder Tolgay Arslan’s house was robbed of £10,000 worth of items while he was scoring for his side in their Serie A win over Inter Milan.

Nyck de Vries has confirmed holding talks with Red Bull chief Helmut Marko over his future in F1.


Maccabi Tel Aviv owner Mitchell Goldhar has confessed young star Oscar Gloukh, a reported Celtic target, could be on his way out of the club in January after talks with the player’s camp.

Celtic loanee Vassilis Barkas has revealed he is loving life at FC Utrecht after getting a chance to reignite his international career with a recall to the Greece squad.

Ronaldo’s abs to Marta’s lipstick: The growing importance of image in football

“Maximo” was the word Roberto Firmino used when telling dentist Dr Robbie Hughes what shade of white he wanted his teeth to be. The Liverpool forward was in the market for a new smile and Hughes was the man to deliver it, leaving Firmino with a set of pearly whites that garnered as much attention as his goals.

“White is white but they’re over-white, man,” was the verdict of BT Sport pundit Ian Wright after watching Firmino celebrate scoring Liverpool’s fourth goal in a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.

That was October 2016, when Philippe Coutinho was pulling the strings for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’s own teeth were au naturel. A year later, the Liverpool manager also sported a new smile — a few shades down from maximo but noticeable enough for some fans to describe Klopp’s new teeth as “like a new signing”.

Jurgen KloppJurgen Klopp in September 2022 (Photo: ANP via Getty Images)

Fast forward to 2022 and the list of players who’ve had their teeth whitened/straightened/changed beyond all recognition has become almost as lengthy as those who’ve bleached their hair or turned limbs into art.

Why the focus on image? Well, it has always been a form of currency for some footballers. David Beckham’s haircuts made headlines. Cristiano Ronaldo’s abdominals sold products promising transformed physiques. Earlier this year, The Athletic revealed that Jack Grealish’s boyish good looks helped capture the attention of Italian fashion house Gucci, which made him a brand ambassador in a million-pound deal.

But just how important is image to footballers? Does it go beyond the surface level of simply wanting to look good? Can it actually help them perform on the pitch? And how much of a difference does it make to their earning potential beyond the sport?

“It’s very individual so there’s no one reason why people do it,” says former professional footballer Fraser Franks, who retired at the age of 28 due to a heart defect and now runs mentoring firm B5 Consultancy, working with clubs and players. “For me, whether it was the boots I wore, how I wore my socks or how my kit fitted, that to me, mentally more than anything, made me feel good.

“There is a phrase: look good, feel good. I think sometimes taking pride in your appearance might clear your mind a bit, whereas if you feel scruffy or haven’t looked after yourself, maybe you feel that your performance will be a bit like that.”

Gary Lineker was known for reacting to a bad run by getting his hair cut. “It makes no sense,” he told the High Performance Podcast. “Except it’s amazing how many times it worked. It probably kicks out the negative vibes that you’ve got in your head.”

Gary LinekerGary Lineker as a Barcelona player in 1986 (Photo: David Cannon /Allsport)

Perhaps that explains why many clubs will allow barbers into the training ground in the days before a match. And why one Premier League club came under pressure from players to secure a COVID-19 testing kit for their barber at a time when national lockdown restrictions were only just starting to ease.

While many might suspect this preoccupation is due to oversized egos, Franks believes it can be a sign of insecurity. “Particularly in the Premier League, there are so many cameras on these players, they’re in magazines, everyone’s appearance is up for comment. A lot of these are just young guys who are quite insecure.

“If you’re in a changing room — and I’ve seen this plenty of times — and someone has an insecurity, that is often picked on a bit. Someone’s hairline, their teeth possibly… Multiply that by millions of people watching you.”

Franks mentions Luke Chadwick, who told The Athletic about the impact that the very public ridiculing of his looks on a primetime BBC comedy panel show had on him as a young player. And Manchester United’s Phil Jones, who has been ridiculed for a face he has pulled while playing.

“He’s got memes and Twitter accounts, people commenting all the time,” says Franks. “Social media doesn’t help because everyone has an opinion and you can hide behind anonymity.

“You can say something really hurtful to someone but if it doesn’t come under the Twitter policy of what offence really is then there’s no real consequence to it. As much of a beautiful place as social media can be it’s also a very toxic place. So there’s more to it than being a bit flash or wanting to look a certain way.”

Feeling confident when walking out onto the pitch is crucial to performance. According to sports psychologist Dan Abrahams, a player lacking confidence will be inhibited: “Players not showing for the ball, players hiding, players a bit slower off the mark, not finding that bit of space, being a bit weaker in the challenge.”

Building that confidence can entail different things for different players. For Real Madrid’s Caroline Weir, at least part of it comes from her pre-match makeup routine. “Training will always come first in terms of making you the player that you are,” she said in an interview last year. “But I’m one of those players who likes a strong image. From my lashes to my nails — my makeup routine is different on a matchday to normal days. For me, that just makes me feel good and I think that helps me feel confident.”

Caroline WeirCaroline Weir playing for Real Madrid in August 2022 (Photo: Oscar J Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

She’s not alone. Before this summer’s Euros, England’s Ella Toone made sure she had her nails and false eyelashes done. By the time the Lionesses had battled their way to the final, neither had survived. Though Toone later said she was “gutted” not to have them in place for the big game, it had no noticeable effect on the Manchester United forward who scored England’s wondrous opening goal. But getting them re-done was top of her to-do list following that historic win at Wembley.

For Liverpool’s Shanice van de Sanden, applying her trademark lipstick is a crucial part of her matchday preparation. “I will never play any game without it,” she said during the 2019 World Cup. “It’s what makes me feel the most comfortable.” At the same tournament, Brazil legend Marta emerged for a game against Italy wearing bright red lipstick. When asked about it after the game she explained: “I always wear lipstick. Not that colour, but today I said, ‘I’m going to dare’. The colour is of blood because we had to leave blood on the pitch. Now I’m going to use it in every game.”

MartaMarta playing for Brazil in February 2022 (Photo: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps it’s as much about self-expression as it is about confidence, then? An innate desire for players to be understood for who they are as well as what they are?

“All of us, if we look good will probably feel good about ourselves,” says Gary Bloom, sports performance psychotherapist at Oxford United Football Club and author of Keep Your Head in the Game. “That includes being at the gym or whatever we need to do. There’s a famous philosopher called Jacques Lacan who reckoned that all of us have a desire to be understood by the world. And it’s an impossible thing — nobody can ever understand us. We can’t even understand ourselves.

“But that is a very strong desire: to be understood by the world, and hoping that somebody will understand how we feel by our appearance is a very strong thing.”

Johnny Gorman is a former professional footballer who played for Northern Ireland at the age of 17. When his playing career unravelled faster than anyone expected, he pursued a new path in psychology, completing his master’s degree this summer. “In every dressing room I’ve been in there’s always been a few players who have been obsessed with how they look,” he says. “And that’s right down to what socks they wear, what tape they put around their socks to what boots they wear, how large or small their shorts are, how their hair looks, if they put a wristband on or not.

“I’ve seen players sit in front of a mirror before they’re about to go out and play to get their appearance right. And there are some players who just do not care. They don’t care if their shin pads look like cricket pads. They’ll go out and perform and their image will not come into it at all. I think Paul Scholes once went and got a pair of boots from Sports Direct before a game for Manchester United. So I’m sure he didn’t give any consideration to how he looked when he was playing football.”

Paul Scholes, David BeckhamPaul Scholes and David Beckham had a different approach to their image (Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS via Getty Images)

Gorman says that perhaps in some cases the difference can come down to playing position, and by extension, personality type. “I was a winger — anywhere attacking — and for me the game was always about confidence. I know from people I’ve played with that if, as a kid, someone wanted to be an attacker and score goals and be a flair player, their personality type is maybe someone who’s more interested in standing out for other reasons, as well as for their footballing ability.

“You’re more likely to get a winger, attacking midfielder or flair player who is interested in expressing themselves because that’s just the way they are as a person. And if you’re in an environment where your manager and the club you play for are quite disciplined, one of the ways you can express yourself is through your image and how you look.”

Fraser Franks was part of the Chelsea academy setup as a young player and recalls the day he turned up to training in a pair of white boots. “I was a defender and not the most technically gifted. I remember a coach looking at my boots and going, ‘Cor, you’ve got to be some player to wear those’. I took them back to the shop the next day and got a black pair because I didn’t want to be seen as flash.

“But I think things have evolved. If you want a player to feel good on the pitch, you have to let them express themselves, whatever that looks like. If you want a creative player, let the person be creative — let them wear whatever colour boots they want or have their hair however they want.

“We’ve often labelled that as being a bit of a ‘fancy dan’ or ‘he cares too much about his image’, but I don’t see any real relevance in that. If you feel good, you’ll play better. If that means looking good, taking pride in your appearance, then I’d be all for it.”

Jack GrealishJack Grealish is filmed by fans after signing for Manchester City in 2021 (Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images)

For sports psychologist Jeremy Snape, the extreme level of scrutiny placed on players is part of the equation for those who place high importance on their image. “There are 30 cameras around the stadium and tens of millions of ‘reporters’ on their phones waiting to pass judgment, so the scrutiny feels greater than it’s ever been in sport or in life. The consequences of making a mistake can be viral and career-defining.

“So anything that a player can do to make themselves feel more comfortable, confident and prepared going out onto the pitch — whether that’s their hair being straight or their shirt being tucked in — is going to be important because they’re walking out into the spotlight.”

As well as being important for players mentally, it’s hard to ignore the fact that their image can also be important for them commercially. In Memphis Depay’s book Heart of a Lion, the Barcelona forward writes that in his PSV days, he’d do 200 abdominal exercises every day. “Based on the idea that it’s a double-sided sword: a strong body is essential at top-level football and looking good helps with winning commercial deals.”

“There’s no question there is,” says Steve Martin, global CEO of M&C Saatchi, when asked if there is a link between a player’s commercial earning potential and the way they look. “That’s been around for 50 years really. You hark back to when footballers started to look at their image and transcend the sport, to become more iconic figures rather than just footballers playing for a certain team in a more narrow market. You can go back to George Best on that, he was the trigger point for it.”

George BestGeorge Best and fiancee Eva Haraldsted outside his clothes shop in Manchester in 1969 (Photo: PA Images via Getty Images)

Martin spent the early part of his career working at Adidas, where he was involved in signing David Beckham to the brand — someone he says is probably the biggest example in recent times of a player whose image was carefully curated and planned with the specific aim of elevating him beyond football.

Not that it stopped Beckham from being himself.

It was April 2001 when he shaved his hair into a Mohican that made headlines around the world. Initially planned as a one-off for a cover shoot in The Face magazine, which would be shaved off the next day, Beckham decided he quite liked it. Brian Clough was among those to feel otherwise, claiming the Manchester United man looked “more like a bloody convict than an England captain”.

So, why did he do it? “This is me,” he told The Face. “I am not doing it to create attention. It’s just me.”

“At that time, he was prepared to take risks,” Martin tells The Athletic. “He didn’t care because he believed in fashion. He loved it. That wasn’t a forced conversation. There was a lot of other stuff planned out that was maybe a bit more contrived, but actually, it evolved pretty organically.”

Martin believes that image is measured differently these days, and that the emphasis on looks has lessened as a result. “Maybe in the old days, it was all about looks and a bit more cliched. Now, there’s much more depth to it. There’s always going to be that fashion, lifestyle and looks element, but it’s way more than that now. For any player, there needs to be a much greater social purpose aligned to how they go about their business which means they’re more commercially viable to a club. And as a result, the individual can benefit.”

The key, agrees Misha Sher, who is global head of sport, entertainment and culture at MediaCom, is for players to recognise that image has evolved beyond just aesthetics. “Ultimately, it’s about what that individual represents in popular culture,” he says. “Brands are interested in working with talent as a conduit to connecting with people. And the way you connect with people is through individuals who have cultural relevance.

“Because of the way society has evolved — social media, the way that talent can connect with audiences around interests — all of that has elevated the need to go beyond aesthetics. Being known, loved and admired for the types of things people can connect with is directly linked to talent’s ability to generate commercial revenue today.”

Looks are still important, says Sher, but while they were once a major factor behind commercial success, there are now many more elements that drive marketability.

Martin uses the example of Marcus Rashford as someone who has “changed the game significantly” with his campaigning to help fund free school meals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and his ongoing work to help tackle child poverty.

Marcus Rashford muralMarcus Rashford’s image transcends football (Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images)

“If I was advising a player now, I’d say to be very smart in how you create your image; make sure it’s managed, but also make sure it’s real and that it comes from the heart. That’s why Rashford’s was so good because it was so real. And that created an image around him that changed everything for him. In every commercial conversation that we were having around some of our big football partners, we were talking about him. We’d never have done that before.”

Rashford’s role in persuading the Government to reverse its decision not to extend its free school meals voucher scheme over the summer holidays was front-page news and ensured he was one of the most talked about individuals in the country. “He walks into a room and people want to be around that, want to hear his story,” says Martin. “Brands can get in behind that and project it.

“I know that there were a lot of players briefing agents after that to say, ‘I need to stand up for something. I want a cause I can get behind’, whether it’s a social cause, or whatever because they’ve seen the impact that can create. So it’s definitely changed the game. It’s not just about looking like a great clothes horse, there’s way more depth to it — four dimensions as opposed to one.”

Where Beckham succeeded was in having an image that has endured — even now, nine years into his retirement. “It can’t just be a flash in the pan,” says Martin. “In terms of commercial impact, if you were to have a plan and an ability to stand out and get behind something, it is going to make your commercial value better to your club, which allows you to negotiate better contracts etc. You also then put yourself in the shop window for brands.

“But image now is not just about how you look, it’s more about what you stand for, how you behave, how articulate you are, how organic and real you are, how transparent, and all those great values of why brands and clubs want to associate with you.”

Before everything else, though, comes performance on the pitch. And for some, new teeth, freshly cropped hair or false eyelashes are precisely what it takes to be their best.

ARTICLE LINK:https://theathletic.com/3601135/2022/09/18/importance-of-image-in-football/

Arsenal show Brentford they’re a different side now with superb team performance

The Gunners took the lead on 17 minutes as Bukayo Saka‘s corner was headed into the far corner off the post by defender William Saliba. Then the lead was doubled 11 minutes later as Granit Xhaka floated a cross into the box and Gabriel Jesus emphatically headed home the second.

Shortly after the break, Fabio Vieira, on his full Premier League debut, made it 3-0 with a dipping shot from 25 yards. Mikkel Damsgaard’s low shot was kept out by Aaron Ramsdale, but Brentford offered little else as Arsenal returned to the top of the table by a single point ahead of Man City and Tottenham.

1. Arsenal have a ‘stroll in the park’

It was the tweet that manager Mikel Arteta used as motivation from this fixture last season when the teams met most recently in February.

“Nice kickabout with the boys,” striker Ivan Toney tweeted after Brentford’s 2-0 win in August 2021, and the recent Amazon documentary showed Arteta using a screenshot of that comment in his prematch team talk seven months later, helping inspire a 2-1 victory at home.

Sunday’s 3-0 win at Gtech Community Stadium will arguably have given the Gunners more satisfaction, however, given they were utterly dominant from the outset, never looking in danger after William Saliba headed them into a 17th-minute lead.

All three goals were excellent in their construction and execution, Gabriel Jesus heading in Granit Xhaka’s cross 11 minutes later, before Fabio Vieira killed any prospect of a Brentford comeback with a dipping drive four minutes into the second half.

Toney, who was this week celebrating his maiden international call-up and becoming the first Brentford player to make an England squad since Les Smith in 1939, barely had a kick all afternoon. As the Arsenal fans sang late on: “Ivan Toney, a stroll in the park.”

2. Vieira steps up on full debut

This looked a tricky full Premier League debut on paper for Vieira. With Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe ruled out through injury, Arteta turned to his £34 million summer signing from FC Porto to play as a right-sided No. 8 in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 system.

Brentford’s fierce pressing and physicality seemed to be a tough challenge for Vieira, who is not the biggest in stature, and centre-back Ben Mee sought to given the Portugal U21 international an early taste of what was in store with a robust challenge that sent him crashing to the turf.

However, the 22-year-old grew into the contest, linking play well and helping Arsenal maintain a level of near-total control throughout. The highlight was a fine 25-yard strike which clipped Brentford goalkeeper David Raya’s left post on its way in to cap a promising individual display. Vieira is the first player to score on his Arsenal debut from outside the penalty area in the Premier League era.

3. Arsenal stay top into October

One of the question marks about this Arsenal side is their ability to recover from adversity. Losing at Manchester United last time out was their first defeat of the season, but this was an emphatic response, exhibiting a level of control which showed that chastening experience at Old Trafford is already a distant memory.

With Chelsea, Liverpool and United all not playing this weekend, Arsenal had a chance to create even more distance between themselves and their traditional top-four rivals. It is very early days — and those sides obviously have a game in hand — but it will do plenty for the confidence of a group often accused of fragility to see themselves eight points ahead of Chelsea and nine clear of Liverpool.

They were even comfortable enough to bring on Ethan Nwaneri — who at 15 years, 181 days old becomes Arsenal’s and the Premier League’s youngest-ever player. In fact, he was unable to change with the rest of his teammates because he is still a minor.

The international break means Arsenal will be top going into next month, but the first day back pitches Arsenal against third-placed north London rivals Tottenham. They can attack that huge task from a position of strength.

Player ratings

Brentford: Raya 7, Hickey 6, Ajer 6, Jansson 6, Mee 6, Henry 6, Dasilva 6, Janelt 5, Jensen 5, Mbeumo 5, Toney 5.

Subs: Onyeka 6, Damsgaard 6, Baptiste 6, Wissa 6.

Arsenal: Ramsdale 7, White 7, Saliba 8, Gabriel 7, Tierney 7, Partey 8, Xhaka 8, Saka 8, Vieira 8, Martinelli 7, Jesus 8.

Subs: Lokonga 6, Nketiah 6, White 6, Marquinhos 6, Nwaneri 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Granit Xhaka. Used the ball intelligently — exemplified by setting up Jesus for Arsenal’s second — and revelled in the greater attacking freedom afforded him in a slightly modified midfield role.

WORST: Mathias Jansen. Unable to help give Brentford a foothold in the game as Xhaka and Thomas Partey ran the show for the visitors in midfield

Highlights and notable moments

Nwaneri would go on to set a record on his debut.

After Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. was criticised for a dancing celebration last week, Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus showed solidarity with his Brazil teammate when he scored the second goal.

The Gunners were in complete control and Fabio Vieira’s stunning strike shortly after the break made it 3-0.

After the match: What the players/managers said

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, on playing Nwaneri: “It was a pure gut feeling. I met the boy (and) really liked what I saw. Per Mertesacker and the academy staff are giving me really good information, Edu as well. I met him, he’s trained a couple of times with us. Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin (Odegaard), and then I had that feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come that I was going to do it and I just done it. It’s another step, another experience. In your career all the steps are not going to be forward. After that maybe he needs three backwards to go another forward, but I think he deserved it. It sends a really strong message about who we are as a club as well.”

Xhaka told Sky Sports: “We have a different mentality this season. we kept going and are training like we play and have class with the players that can make a difference. You have the class in the front and they make the difference. More than happy we are in a good way but a long way to go.”

Jesus told Sky Sports: “From the start we showed what we want to do in the game, create chances and score. That is what I believe we did. He found me for the goal and I am so happy to play with him, he is an intelligent and quality player. The celebration was for my guy Vinicius Jr., it needs to stop and it was for him.”

Brentford boss Thomas Frank: “We lost 3-0, to the No. 1 in the Premier League. I said before they are a top side. I think we performed quite well, not 10/10 but if you want to win or get something out of the team flying, you cannot concede the first from a set piece and then the second one… We lost the game, I hate losing. They are top of the table so you cannot argue with that, they have done brilliant. Looking at the quality, they must be title contenders.”

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– Via Squawka: Arsenal’s previous 10 Premier League goals had come via the left foot, with Saliba’s header breaking the streak.

– Via Opta: Saka has been directly involved in 37 Premier League goals for Arsenal (18 goals, 19 assists), now the second-most of any player while aged 21 or younger for the club in the competition, overtaking Nicolas Anelka (35) and only behind Cesc Fabregas (63.)

– Mikkel Damsgaard had Brentford’s second shot on goal in the 72nd minute, with the first coming in the 5th minute.

– Brentford made all four substitutions by the 76th minute, with Arsenal not doing one until the 78th.

This was Arsenal’s 6th shutout win by a 3+ goal difference since 2020-21. That ties the team’s total such wins in the 7 seasons prior.

– It was the first time recording four wins in a five-game road span (all competitions) in one season since April-May 2021.

– Nwaneri, born on March 21, 2007 (a year after the Emirates stadium was built), became both Arsenal’s and the Premier League’s youngest-ever player at 15 years, five months and 23 days.

ARTICLE LINK:https://www.espn.com/soccer/english-premier-league/story/4748016/arsenal-show-brentford-theyre-a-different-side-now-with-superb-team-performance

Headlines today: Vinicius subject to racist abuse during Madrid derby; Juve considering Allegri’s position

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Monday’s national newspapers…

Vinicius updates social media to mock Atletico Madrid

And liked the message “Atletico Madrid lost the Champions League final in a row

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the Madrid derby and Vinicius mocked his opponent on social media after the match.

Real Madrid once again laughed at the Madrid derby and Vinicius posted after the match saying, “Everything is still the same.”

A fan wrote that Atletico lost back-to-back finals, and Vinicius posted, “It’s all about losing to us Real Madrid.”

Another fan replied to Vinicius: “They cried in Lisbon (Atletico lost the Champions League final in 2014) and they cried in Milan (Atletico lost the Champions League final in 2016).” Vinicius liked the dynamic.

Juve Considering Allegri’s Position

According to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Fabiana Della Valle, Juventus are currently considering Allegri for the managerial position, but they are unlikely to make a decision to change the manager right away.

Juve lost 0-1 away to Monza in the 7th round of Serie A. They have now suffered a 5-game winless streak in Serie A and the Champions League after not winning a single match at the bottom of the table.

According to Italian journalist Fabiana, never before have all parties within Juve been so estranged as they are now, with the players frustrated and Allegri confused about the team’s situation. After the game yesterday, Allegri arrived at the team bus only after being escorted by security personnel, and his face was very ugly at that time.

In addition this journalist reporter also said that the relationship between Allegri and Di Maria has also broken down, with the latter unhappy with the club’s handling of his physical injury.

Finally, Fabiana’s report still points out that Juve’s doubts about Allegri’s position are increasing and they are considering the Italian coach’s position, but they will more than likely wait until the end of the year during the World Cup to make a decision, Juve’s management wants to determine whether they can enter the knockout rounds of the Champions League first, and for now, a change of manager is unlikely to happen.

Inter are in talks with Chelsea to re-sign Romelu Lukaku on loan at the end of the season for another year for €8m.

Di Marzio sources say that Lukaku has no possibility of returning to Chelsea next summer, the player did his best this summer to ensure a return to Inter.

Di Marzio said, “At first I didn’t think Marina would let Lukaku return to Inter, I think they would have kept him or at least not let him return to Inter on loan, but the situation the club went through contributed to the deal.

“I really don’t think Lukaku will come back to Chelsea, how could he be back in a Chelsea shirt? He has done everything he can to ensure he returns to Inter. I think a solution will be found between the two clubs. The more likely point is to continue the loan. Inter have already paid 8 million euros for him and will probably support another 10 million euros next summer as a way to renew the loan. If they decide to buy out Lukaku, then the transfer fee will go down a lot.”

With 672 goals, Messi has scored more non-penalty goals than Ronaldo in his career, playing 145 fewer games

After scoring one goal against Lyon, Messi has scored 672 non-penalty goals in his career, surpassing Ronaldo.

So far, Messi has scored 775 goals in 985 career appearances, while Ronaldo has scored 816 goals in 1,130 appearances.

Messi has scored 103 penalty kicks, while Ronaldo has scored 145 penalty kicks, and Messi has scored 672 penalty kicks, while Ronaldo has scored 671.

Reinkele wrote: “Messi scored 672 non-penalty goals more than Ronaldo, but less than 150 games, the data of these two people is crazy.”

Reus will miss 3 weeks with ankle ligament injury, can make it to the World Cup

Dott’s sports director Kyle said that Reus, who was injured in the Ruhr derby, was diagnosed with an ankle ligament injury and will miss 3 to 4 weeks, but can make it to the World Cup.

In the previous Ruhr derby against Schalke 04, Reus injured his ankle during a confrontation in the first half and was later carried off the field on a stretcher.

Reus’ injury was updated today by Dott Sporting Director Kyle, who said, “At first this was a shock for all of us, but now I can clarify that the examination we did yesterday showed that Reus did not have a broken ankle.”

“After diagnosing Reus with a lateral ankle ligament injury, he will miss three to four weeks, but it will not affect his World Cup appearance.”

Dortmund’s next match will be against Cologne in 2 weeks at 21:30 on October 1, followed by 2 Champions League clashes with Sevilla on October 6 and October 12 respectively, while they will also play the German national derby against Bayern on October 9.

Manchester United suffered food poisoning after the UEFA Cup, 12 people felt sick

The entire Manchester United squad reportedly suffered food poisoning the day after their UEFA Cup match against Sheriff Tiraspol.

Exclusive information from The Sun says that United’s players and staff suffered suspected food poisoning after returning to England from Moldova. They beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 away last Thursday and returned on a private jet straight away that night, but the players began to feel ill on Friday. It is understood that up to 12 people in the United party were affected and the club is trying to investigate whether they ate anything in Chisinau or on the return flight.

A handful of players missed Friday’s training because of this, but they did participate on Saturday, while others simply missed Saturday’s training all together. Luckily, United’s match against Leeds United in the 8th round of the EPL was postponed, otherwise they would have been seriously affected by this situation.

Brighton official: De Zerbi replaces Porter as the new manager of the team

Brighton has officially announced that Italian coach De Zerbi has become the new manager of the team, replacing Porter who left for Chelsea.

De Zerbi is 43 years old and has coached Donetsk Miners, Sassuolo, Benevento and Palermo. He has signed a four-year contract with Brighton but is still waiting for the job formalities to be completed.

De Zerbi has arrived in England on Friday and watched a closed-door friendly match for Brighton.

Given that September 19 is the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Brighton will officially host a meet and greet for De Zerby on Tuesday local time.

At 15 years and 181 days, Arsenal youngster Nwaneri breaks the record for youngest appearance in Premier League history

Arsenal 15-year-old Nwaneri came on as a substitute in the match against Brentford, breaking the record for the youngest appearance in the history of the Premier League.

In the 92nd minute of the match, 15-year-old 181-day-old Nwaneri made his Premier League debut as a substitute, breaking the record for the youngest appearance in Premier League history held by Elliott (Fulham, 16 years and 30 days).

Bayern Munich in crisis, some players no longer support Nagelsmann

In this round of Bundesliga matches, Bayern Munich lost 0-1 away to Augsburg, and did not win in 4 consecutive rounds in the league. The German soccer media “kicker” news said that after this round of league defeat, Bayern Munich is in crisis, some players no longer support the manager Nagelsmann.

According to Kicker, Bayern is in a crisis, with some players no longer supporting manager Nagelsmann. The team is questioning Nagelsmann more and more. Nagelsmann has been criticized for his management and communication style and certain aspects of his behavior.

Lewan left this summer and reports say he was one of the players in the Bayern squad who had the biggest opinions of Nagelsmann. However with the departure of Lewan, Bayern now lacks a high center forward and this issue is now being discussed within the squad. Bayern hope to solve the problem of high center forward when the winter transfer window opens.

Arsenal 3-0 Brentford | Highlights

In the 8th round of the EPL, Arsenal faced Brentford on the road. In the first half, Saliba broke the deadlock by hitting the net with a header against the post, and Jesus also scored with a header after receiving a pass from Zaka; at the beginning of the second half, Vieira scored a world wave, which was also his first goal after joining, and both goalkeepers contributed wonderful saves, and 15-year-old youngster Nwaneri came on as a substitute, finally Arsenal won 3-0 away to Brentford.

Real Madrid 2-1 Atletico Madrid

The 6th round of La Liga ushered in the Madrid derby, Atletico Madrid was at home in the Civitas Metropolitan Stadium to face Real Madrid, the referee for this game was Munueira Montero. In the first half, Tchouameni’s delicate pick assisted Rodrygo to break the dance; then Vinicius stabbed the post from a small angle and Federico Valverde followed up to add a goal, scoring for the third consecutive match. In the second half, El Morso came on as a substitute and grabbed Courtois’ strike mistake to pull one back for Atletico Madrid before being sent off with two yellow cards in a row. In the end, Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 away from home, and won 9 consecutive matches in all competitions to start the season.

Udinese 3-1 Inter | Highlights

In the 7th round of Serie A, Inter Milan faced Udinese on the road. In the first half, Barrera opened the game with a free kick, Skriniar scored an own goal and Bastoni hit the post with a shot from inside the box. In the second half, Dzeko’s goal was blown, Deulofeu’s low shot hit the post, Bijol’s header reversed the score, and Arslan sealed the victory. Finally, Udinese 3-1 Inter Milan.

Juve 0-1 Monza | Highlights

In the 7th round of Serie A, Juventus faced Monza away from home. The referee of the match was Fabio Maresca. In the first half, Ciurria’s long-range shot missed, Sensi’s long-range shot was confiscated by the goalkeeper and Di Maria dyed red. In the second half, Caprari’s long-range shot was deflected and Gytkaer scored in front of the goal. In the end, Juve defeated Monza 0-1 for 3 rounds without winning in the league, and Monza won the first league match.

Napoli 2-1 Milan | Highlights

A big match in the 7th round of Serie A was played at San Siro, AC Milan played against Napoli, the referee on duty for the match was Mariani. In the first half, Giroud’s shot was parried by the goalkeeper before hitting the crossbar and bouncing out. Then, Krunic’s threatening header was parried. In the second half, Dest kicked down Kvaracshelia in the box and the referee awarded a penalty by watching VAR, which Politano hit. Giroud then equalized the score. Mario Rui assisted Simone to head the goal and Kalulu’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced out. At the end of the match, Napoli defeated AC Milan 2-1 away from home, winning 5 consecutive matches, giving Milan their first defeat in the new league season and topping the table.

PSG 1-0 Lyon | Highlights

In the 8th round of Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain faced Lyon away from home. The referee of the match was Letchshire. In the first half, Neymar assisted Messi to push through the goal, Fabian added a shot high, Lacazette attacked the top of the goal and Neymar’s long-range shot from outside was parried. In the second half, Messi’s shot was cleared by Lukeba’s goal line, Neymar pushed his shot from close range and Messi’s shot was punched out by the goalkeeper, finally, Paris 1-0 Lyon.

Roma 0-1 Atalanta | Highlights

In the 7th round of Serie A, Roma hosted Atalanta. During the pre-match warm-up, Dybala was injured and Matic came into the starting lineup. In the first half, Musso and Demiral collided with each other and got injured. Sportiello came on as a substitute, then Scalvini pushed the goal from the top of the box and Atalanta took the lead, then Abraham missed one chance after another. In the second half, Zaniolo and Okoli fell to the ground, the referee called an offensive foul, Mourinho argued with the referee to eat red, then Abraham key clearance, then Pellegrini, Abraham shot one after another to create danger, the game was close to the end of Xiao Murodov header slightly deflected, long shot slipped through the door. The match ended with Roma 0-1 Atalanta.


Chelsea are closing on an agreement with Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund to take up a similar role at Stamford Bridge under new boss Graham Potter.

Wolves defender Nathan Collins waited after Saturday’s red card for a horror tackle on Jack Grealish to apologise to the Manchester City and England star.


A total of 12 Manchester United players returned from the Europa League trip to face Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova with a reported case of food poisoning.

Leicester City could face a bill of up to £10m if they decide to sack Brendan Rodgers with Brentford’s Thomas Frank a likely candidate to replace him along with former Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Angel Di Maria issued an apology to Juventus fans after he was sent off during their shock defeat to Serie A minnows Monza on Sunday.

Marcos Rojo was handed an additional suspension for his red card during Boca Juniors’ clash with River Plate last week, with a one-match playing ban supplemented by authorities banning him from captaining his club for a month.

Barcelona are set to revert to a badge they used in the 1970s from next season.

Wayne Rooney has admitted life at DC United is “boring” without wife Coleen and his children being in Washington alongside him.

Wayne Rooney after debut DC Utd win against Orlando


Charlie Savage impressed Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag during a U21 game on Friday night and was asked to train with the first-team squad the following day.


Antoine Griezmann finally started for Atletico Madrid on Sunday night against rivals Real amid reports that a cut-price £22m deal with Barcelona had been agreed to bring an end to him having to come off the bench to avoid a £35m clause in his loan contract.

Furious Juventus fans called for Thomas Tuchel to become their new head coach after turning on Max Allegri during the surprise defeat by Monza.

Oliver Kahn has dismissed talk that Bayern Munich are considering removing Julian Nagelsmann as head coach after their winless run was extended to four games and led to talk that Thomas Tuchel might be approached to take over.

Arthur Melo has asked to play for Liverpool’s U21 side in a bid to get up to speed and secure more of a role in Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League line-up after the international break.

Nyck De Vries is close to being rewarded for his point-scoring Formula One debut but his first full-time drive could come with Alpha Tauri, not Williams.


England leg-spinners Archie Lenham and Rehan Ahmed have signed up to play in the Pakistan Junior League, the first Twenty20 franchise league for U19 players.

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid: Rodrygo and Valverde help Los Blancos Maintain 100% Start, Hermoso nets & Sees Red for the Hosts

Real Madrid maintained their one hundred percent record in La Liga this season, by overcoming rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday night.

It all took two sublime goals in the opening period from Brazilian international Rodrygo and Uruguayan Fede Valverde to gift the reigning champions all three points.

Atlético Madrid scored a consolation late on through substitute Mario Hermoso but he soon received his marching orders, following a 90th minute red card.

Victory lets Real Madrid regain top spot in La Liga, ahead of closest challengers FC Barcelona.

🔴 Live Blog:


90′ MIN: Mario Hermoso is sent off by the center referee.

RED CARD!!! To Atletico Madrid

83′ MIN: A header from Mario Hermoso reduces the deficit.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Atlético Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid (M. Hermoso)



36′ MIN: Fede Valverde doubles the advantage of Los Blancos.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Atlético Madrid 0-2 Real Madrid (F. Valverde)

18′ MIN: A lobbed ball into the area by Aurelien Tchouameni is expertly converted by Rodrygo.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Atlético Madrid 0-1 Real Madrid (Rodrygo)


As for Los Blancos, Vinicius Jr who has been the subject of discussion in the last couple of days over how he would celebrate if he scores, is in the starting line-up as well as Rodrygo and Federico Valverde.

The Rojiblancos will file out in a typical Diego Simeone style. Antoine Griezmann starts for the first time this season after having being used as a substitute after the 60th minute mark in previous games while Joao Felix will be the Frenchman’s partner upfront.

Brentford 0-3 Arsenal: Saliba & Jesus on Targets, Vieira nets maiden goal as Nwaneri sets PL Record

Arsenal returned to the summit of the Premier League standings, after defeating Brentford 3-0 in a London Derby clash at the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners settled in quickly into the tie and duly opened the scoring through defender William Saliba in the 17th minute, before Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus doubled their advantage via a header in the 28th minute as Arsenal led at the interval.

Portuguese international Fabio Vieira who was making his full Premier League start, found the back of the net with a shot from outside the area upon resumption of the second half as the Gunners pulled further away.

The result sees Mikel Arteta’s side soar above Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs into the top of the Premier League table after seven matches, as the international break looms.

🔴 Live Blog:

FULL-TIME: Brentford 0-3 Arsenal

49′ MIN: Sheer brilliance from Fabio Vieira on his full PL debut to make it three for the Gunners! His strike from outside the box curls into the back of the net.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Brentford 0-3 Arsenal (F. Vieira)

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY: Brentford 0-2 Arsenal

HALF-TIME: Brentford 0-2 Arsenal

28′ MIN: Arsenal are 2-0 up within the first half an hour! Gabriel Jesus expertly heads home from Granit Xhaka’s lofted ball.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Brentford 0-2 Arsenal (G. Jesus)

17′ MIN: William Saliba gives the visitors the lead! He converts Bukayo Saka’s corner with a brilliant header.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Brentford 0-1 Arsenal (W. Saliba)

KICK-OFF: Brentford 0-0 Arsenal

Mikel Arteta’s side have been plagued with injuries of recent, with Oleksandr Zinchenko and skipper Martin Odegaard both missing out. In comes Thomas Partey and Keiran Tierney, while Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus are in the Starting XI.

Ivan Toney will spearhead the attack for the Bees, as they go up against the Gunners.

Tottenham 6-2 Leicester: Heung-min Son nets sensational hat-trick off bench to end drought for unbeaten Spurs

Heung-min Son came off the bench to net a sensational hat-trick and end his goal drought in style as Tottenham beat Leicester 6-2 in north London.

The Foxes, who remain bottom and without a win, took the lead through Youri Tielemans’ penalty, but Spurs swiftly turned things around as Harry Kane and Eric Dier scored headers from corners.
James Maddison levelled things up just before the break, but Tottenham moved back in front two minutes into the second-half as Rodrigo Bentancur got off the mark for the club.

From then on, it was the Son show. He scored three goals in the space of 13 minutes, the first two absolutely wonderful finishes, to put an end to his slow start to the season and move Tottenham level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Spurs bounced back from their midweek Champions League disappointment against Sporting Lisbon and ensured they go into the international break on a high.

After his poor start to the season, Son was dropped to the bench by Antonio Conte, though the Spurs boss insisted it was just rotation. Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal joined him among the substitutes.
Leicester took the lead with less than six minutes on the clock in north London, as Davinson Sanchez needlessly dived in and brought James Justin down in the box. Hugo Lloris denied Youri Tielemans at first from the penalty spot, but he was off his line and the Foxes midfielder made no mistake at the second time of asking.

Spurs did not need long to get level, barely more than two minutes in fact. Dejan Kulusevski whipped in a superb cross to the back post from a short corner and Kane headed in his 18th league goal against Leicester.
The visitors’ vulnerabilities at defending set-pieces were once again on show as the home side moved in front for the first time, Dier getting across his man at the near post and flicking Ivan Perisic’s delivery into the far corner.

Despite those goals, Leicester were much the better side as Spurs produced another passive display. They got their reward before the break as Maddison guided a lovely finish past Lloris, and he could have had a second in first-half stoppage time but saw his effort saved.
Leicester were their own worst enemies as Tottenham restored their lead shortly after the break. Wilfried Ndidi was caught on the ball by Bentancur and he strolled through, passing it into the bottom corner with minimal fuss.

The Foxes remained on the front foot, Maddison heavily involved while Patson Daka had a header superbly saved.
For all those bright moments, Spurs’ clinical edge showed. Son got the goal he so badly wanted, driving at goal before finding the top corner with a brilliant effort from 20 yards out. His celebration was one of relief as much as jubilation.

His second came in similarly sublime fashion, this time with his left foot as he found with far corner with a curling effort that left Ward with absolutely no chance.
After he had a tame effort saved by the goalkeeper, Son then did have the ball in the net for a third time. The offside flag initially denied him, but VAR came to the rescue to give the Spurs forward his hat-trick in a truly remarkable cameo off the bench.