SoccerLens Archives for January 2009

Transfer Rumors (29 July 09): Arsenal’s Toure signs for Man City, Tottenham’s Keane linked with Aston Villa move, Bayern want €94m for Ribery, and more

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Manchester City have been after a top Premier League-based defender all summer, and they've finally landed one. But one isn't going to be nearly enough, as they're stepping up their efforts to land another one in short order.

Meanwhile, Robbie Keane could see his return to Tottenham come to an end a lot quicker than he might have expected, which may make him further regret leaving for seemingly greener pastures around this time last summer.

Transfer Rumors (30 July 09): Liverpool’s Alonso submits transfer request, Vieira being lined up for Arsenal return, Tottenham stay hot on Huntelaar trail, an

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Often enough, asking nicely is the key to getting something that you want, and it looks like that might be the case with soon-to-be former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who could be on a flight to Madrid sometime in the next few days to complete his dream move to Real Madrid.

‘Good Touch For A Tall Guy’: What Else Does Peter Crouch Offer?

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Throughout Peter Crouch's career he has constantly been judged on his appearance more so than his on-pitch appearances. When Crouch is praised for his footballing abilities, it is usually the famous cliche that the media has tagged Crouchy with 'good touch for a tall guy', but is this all that the England International is good for?

Introducing MLS All-Stars 2009: Six To Watch

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Major League Soccer is treating itself this evening. At Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium, the league's finest play Premier League side Everton in the showpiece 2009 MLS All-Star game. Having defeated West Ham United this time last year, MLS will be looking to put in a top-class performance against superb opposition.

Transfer Rumors (28 July 09): AC Milan reject Chelsea’s Pirlo bid, Tottenham target Hull defender Turner, Bent’s Sunderland move in doubt, and more

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It's safe to say that Darren Bent is leaving Tottenham, but for who? It looked like Sunderland was a go for Bent, but until all of the i's have been dotted and all of the t's crossed, nothing is definite.

Along with late bids for Bent, this morning's roundup is packed chock full of Portsmouth tidbits, and we've also got the latest on Chelsea's pursuit of AC Milan's Andrea Pirlo, Hull's pursuit of new striker(s), and much more.

10 Reasons why Football is better than Cricket

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You might not know it as you zip up your coat to brave the rain and the wind, but summer is here in England. And that means one thing. Cricket. The Ashes are in full (reverse) swing at the moment, and the feelgood factor is pretty high following England's triumph at Lords.

I have to admit it, I like cricket, I enjoy playing it and watching it.

Transfer Rumors (27 July 09): Arsenal’s Toure set for Man City move, Pompey’s Crouch signs for Tottenham, Inter’s Ibrahmovic seals Barca move, and more

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So, now that John Terry's staying at Chelsea, surely there's nothing to fill up the transfer pages, right?

Far from it, as Monday saw plenty of money change hands (or get ready to). We've got a few big-money deals to add to the latest updates to our summer transfer lists, and there are a few more that are not too far behind, according to this morning's roundup of transfer tidbits.

Inter sweeps AC Milan for third place in World Football Challenge

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Tied for third place in the inaugural World Football Challenge tournament, Inter and AC Milan fought for pride at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Jose Mourinho's Inter kept their dignity with a 2-0 win over hometown rival AC Milan. Chelsea won the tournament July 26 by shutting out second place Club America 2-0.

Media and Cynics Biggest Winners in Terry Transfer Saga

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The biggest ‘non-story' of this season's transfer window finally seems to be at an end, on the Chelsea Football Club official website today John Terry released a statement regarding his future at the club and a proposed move to Manchester City.

Whilst it cannot be denied that the players head had been turned by the offer of a seemingly endless pot of cash few have ever truly believed that the man dubbed ‘Mr Chelsea' would head to Eastlands in search of a bigger salary.

Hope, Money and Sven - Tales From a Pre-Season Game Where the Result Mattered

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The oldest league club in world languishing in the bottom division of the football league is taken over by a foreign consortium who hire one of the most recognisable names in the game to oversee operations promising to overhaul the team and the facilities of the club as a whole.

Sounds like a pretty farfetched movie pitch but in fact it was the pretence to an always feisty if not necessarily newsworthy friendly between Notts County and Nottingham Forest clubs straddling opposite banks of the River Trent separated by just 300 metres.

Transfer Rumors (26 July 09): Terry remains at Chelsea, Man United rekindle interest in Valencia’s Silva, Arsenal eye Roma’s Vucinic and Chelsea’s Kalou,

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It should come as a shock to few, if any, but John Terry has finally come out and said that he's...(drumroll, please)...staying at Chelsea.

Not only is Mr. Chelsea staying at Chelsea, but apparently leaving for Manchester City was never a possibility. I'm not the only one wondering why, if it wasn't ever a possibility, he waited until all sorts of rumors had come out (even a few this morning, as it happens), but maybe he just has a sick sense of humor.

Terry commits to Chelsea, Fergie slaps City around as Gerrard and Eriksson brighten a slow week

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Sir Alex Ferguson had had a quiet couple of weeks, all things considered. The furore over the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo & Carlos Tévez had long since died down, the modest signings of Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen & Gabriel Obertan had been completed with minimal fuss, and United's tour of Asia was underway.

Zlatan Should Thank Perez For Barca Move

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If it wasn't for Florentino Perez and his early transfer window ‘shock and awe' superstar shopping spree, a shopping spree which has seen the triple trophy winning exploits of Joan Laporta's men at the Camp Nou quickly forgotten by anyone not from Catalunya, then what must be regarded as the summer's most ludicrous deal to date would surely never have come to fruition.

Wembley winners all round

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Every pre-season tournament feels that their event is that bit special, no-one likes to think that their prestigious event is simply a glorified training session interrupted by masses of substitutions to take away from the little meaning that the games actually carry.

Getting the balance and mix right for your event is no easy task with a multitude of glamour friendlies going on in throughout the football world each hoping that theirs has some sort of competitive edge.

Transfer Rumors (24 July 09): Arsenal in for Huntelaar, Liverpool in shock move for old boy Crouch, Sunderland capture Marseille star Cana, and more

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We've got quite a lot of tidbits from yesterday and today to go over in today's roundup from around the Premier League, Serie A, and several more top leagues, so if you've missed any of the latest transfer news and rumors, we're here to catch you up.

And as always, you can stay updated with all of the latest transfer signings from all England's league clubs and several top European leagues thanks to our summer transfer lists.

Born Again: How the Deep-Lying Midfielder Position is Reviving Careers

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In football, as it's played today, central midfielders have become the most important players on the pitch. Due to the growing importance of the transition game, the roving role of a post-to-post player demands competence in both defense and attack.

Finding the right player, however, is difficult.

United pull an Arsenal, Gerrard case shines light on Liverpool fans and lots more

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As we amble through the 'most amazing transfer season ever', drunk on the memories of the 'closest title race ever' from last season and looking forward to what surely must be 'the most exciting Premier League season ever', it's easy to miss the trees for the forest - or the blinding neon light that is 24/7/365 football.

Pressure mounts on Red Bulls boss Osorio

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An international glare briefly dwelled on Major League Soccer in Week 18. Former England captain David Beckham made his LA Galaxy return against New York Red Bulls and the Galaxy raced into a 3-0 lead sparked by stunning strikes by Alecko Eskandarian and Landon Donovan, Beckham's most high-profile critic.

Transfer Rumors (23 July 09): Real up bid for Liverpool’s Alonso, Man City eye Aston Villa’s Young, Sunderland back in for Tottenham’s Bent, and more

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If you've checked out the summer transfer lists lately, you'll notice that we've got a couple of new additions in League One and League Two, so if you're a fan of one of England's lower league clubs, you can now find their latest transfers here.


Liverpool Close To Crumbling On Alonso?

There’s something fishy at Milan

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AC Milan are one of the world's most prestigious and successful teams of all time. They have won the Serie A 17 times, been runners-up 14 times, won the Supercoppa Italiana a record 5 times, 7 Champions League titles and another record 3 intercontinental titles. In contrast to this they finished 3rd and 5th in the last two Serie A seasons and were not at all challenging in any competition either.

Football at the Top: It’s a Dog’s Life

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At first glance man's best friend has little relevance to football. I mean let's face it, if you're sitting on the psychiatrists couch and he/she is doing that word association thing and comes up with the word dog are you likely to answer football (or vice versa)?

I didn't .. err.. I mean.

John Terry on Manchester City move: “I promise that I will let you know in a couple of days”

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Despite heavy security, great access was provided to the media for the Manager press conference and for the player mixing area outside of locker rooms.

Inter manager Jose Mourinho appeared very angry as he left the field and did not show up at the press-conference. In his place was Assistant Manager Daniele Bernazzini who spoke to the media with his Italian translator.

Transfer Rumors (22 July 09): Liverpool eye Roma’s Aquilani, Huntelaar holds out for Premier League move, Tottenham bid for Real Madrid’s Negredo, and more

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So, John Terry is apparently going to stay at Chelsea. That shouldn't exactly come as a surprise to anyone, though a few Chelsea fans might have worried themselves into a frenzy over the last several days about the possibility of losing their beloved captain to Manchester City.

Now that that situation looks to be resolved (possibly, maybe, I think.

Sven checks in at Meadow Lane

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Stereotypes are often harsh, but always fun. Especially in sport. And Sven-Göran Eriksson has experienced more than most the effects of such stereotypic nonsense.

Whether it was as a cheque book manager, an untrustworthy one, a clever one, or a deviant one, Eriksson has always had his niche in the media.

Can Manchester City oust Arsenal from the Big Four?

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Here comes the second 'Blue Revolution'. Manchester City's new found riches have seen them overtake the rest of the Premier League in terms of financial clout, with a few optimistic punters also believing they may overtake the rest on the pitch come next season.

While the thinking may be premature at best, City have certainly given the traditional 'Big Four' something else to think about, given the £80 million outlay by Mark Hughes already this summer which includes buying Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and nabbing Carlos Tevez from the other half of Manchester.

Stirling Ablion FC reject takeover bid from fans

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Fans of Stirling Albion FC (a Scotland Second Division club) have had a substantial bid to buy the club rejected by the current owner.

The offer, from the Stirling Albion Supporters' Trust, which met the sale price (thought to be £300k) placed on the club by current owner Peter McKenzie, has been rejected.

Bittersweet Chelsea Re-union in Pasadena

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Soccerlens was at the Chelsea-Inter World Football Challenge game in California tonight - what follows is a live blog from that game.

Chelsea take on and humble their previous manager Jose Mourniho at the hirstoric Rose Bowl stadium on a sunny California night.

A very festive atmosphere out here at the Rose Bowl as mostly Chelsea fans continue to pour in to fill the stadium close to capacity.

The perils of becoming part of a ‘football project’

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It's not often you feel sorry for footballers. After all, their heartache is pretty minimal when you hold it up against the light of the real world.

Three weeks till payday and not a penny in the bank account? Well Carlos here never got a single text off Sir Alex in all the time he played for Manchester United!

Transfer Rumors (21 July 09): Sunderland end Crouch pursuit, Aston Villa target Tottenham’s Jenas, Everton close on Swedish starlet Elm, and more

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The biggest transfer-related news of the day might actually be something that's not related to an actual transfer.

With Arsenal star Samir Nasri being ruled out for an extended period of time due to a broken leg suffered in training today, we could see Arsenal become a lot more active in the market in the coming weeks before the season gets underway.

Sulaiman Al Fahim to complete Portsmouth FC takeover

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Sulaiman Al Fahim is set to complete his takeover of Portsmouth FC after the club confirmed that a deal had been reached with the UAE businessman, who has also passed the Premier League's moneybags fit and proper person test.

The delay in the takeover had been due to the financial due diligence being conducted by Al Fahim's people, which was also completed last week.

Transfer Rumors (20 July 09): Chelsea’s Terry to address Man City rumors, Arsenal after Toulouse’s Gignac, and more

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It's a relatively slow day on the transfer news and rumors front, but since it's a Monday, that may be something to be expected.

Nonetheless, there's still a little something from here and a little something from there to give you your transfer gossip fix today.


Terry To Address Rumors?

The transfer window heats up - can Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham strengthen their squads in time?

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Another week, another set of additions to the Manchester City strikeforce. This week it was Carlos Tévez & Emmanuel Adebayor who made the move to Eastlands, swapping Big Four unhappiness for Big Four hopefulness for a combined fee of around £50m.

Tévez has a knack of endearing himself to fans of just about every club he plays for (and he is onto his fifth now, at the age of 25), and he wasted no time in firing a broadside at his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, rubbishing the Manchester United manager's claims that he had done his utmost to keep the Argentinean at Old Trafford, and criticising his communication methods.

What Can and Cannot be Gained From Pre-Season Friendlies

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After a summer of discussion, controversy and the dominance of Manchester City and Real Madrid in the transfer market, club football has finally returned to our lives albeit in a non-competitive format.

Obviously after the seemingly endless summer break it is great to see your team back in action.

“Perry Boys Abroad” by Ian Hough

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People always say that, to understand how far we've come, you need to look in the past. Whilst that sentence probably sounds a bit cliché, it could surely be used in discussions regarding the evolution of the common Premier League football supporter over the last 30-40 years.

If you'll recall, the Premier League has only turned into a global league in the last 10 or so years.

Transfer Rumors (19 July 09): Adebayor signs for Man City, Arsenal target Martins and Ba, Tottenham bid for Crouch, and more

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It's not the busiest of Sundays in regards to transfer gossip, but there's a number of juicy tidbits to discuss in today's transfer roundup.

And after you check out today's roundup, make sure to keep up with all of the latest confirmed signings with the updated summer transfer lists.

How this Liverpool legend can help the A-League

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Jacob Timpano, Alex Brosque, Brandon Santalab, Michael Zullo, do those names ring a bell? No? What about Robbie Fowler? Thought you knew that name.

Fowler is the newest marquee player in the A-League and he is playing for the North Queensland Fury. I am sure everybody knows Robbie Fowler, a man with 230 goals in all competitions next to his name, a member of the PFA Team of the Year and twice PFA Young player of the year.

Panthers and Shadows at Birmingham City

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Not since Agustin Delgado and Kleber Chala were at Southampton has a Premiership side had two Ecuadorians within their ranks. Birmingham's recent signings of Christian Benitez and Giovanny Espinoza have struck keen interest amongst blues supporters.

Delgado and Chala didn't leave much of a legacy at Southampton.

Transfer Rumors (17 July 09): Man United sign Senegal U-21 striker Diouf, Chelsea plot 20m bid for Roma’s Vucinic, Arsenal ponder swap move for Fulham’s Han

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It looks like a summer of surprises for Manchester United thus far, doesn't it? After swooping for Michael Owen and signing a little-known young French winger in Gabriel Obertan, United have pulled another rabbit out of the transfer hat with their latest signing.

They've been busy this summer, but not nearly as busy as their city rivals, who appear to be meeting a little frustration with at least one of their current targets.

Transfer Rumors (16 July 09): Aston Villa sign Boro’s Downing, Man City swoop for Lescott and Bentley, Portsmouth’s Crouch to decide on Fulham or Sunderland

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The latest transfer news gives Aston Villa supporters something to finally be excited about after a summer that has seen the club part with one of their stars in Gareth Barry.

Manchester City's summer spending started with their signing of Barry, and they're looking to continue flashing and splashing their cash by moving for a couple more Englishmen, according to recent reports.

Why David Beckham will be good for Major League Soccer

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David Beckham is back, and fans of Major League Soccer are preparing for their next ride on the Goldenballs Rollercoaster. To spice up the moment, a book hit the shelves on Tuesday which has ignited interest in his return and will go down in US soccer history as a must-read.

The Beckham Experiment, by Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl, got another boost from the USA's Confederations Cup campaign in which Beckham's colleague Landon Donovan played himself not only into the affections of football observers worldwide, but back into those of the American fans who feel they've never seen the best from a man who should've been a superstar.

Transfer Rumors (17 July 09): Aston Villa sign Boro’s Downing, Man City swoop for Lescott and Bentley, Portsmouth’s Crouch to decide on Fulham or Sunderland

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The latest transfer news gives Aston Villa supporters something to finally be excited about after a summer that has seen the club part with one of their stars in Gareth Barry.

Manchester City's summer spending started with their signing of Barry, and they're looking to continue flashing and splashing their cash by moving for a couple more Englishmen, according to recent reports.

Manchester City are buying up all the real men

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Because you know, it's not about the money but the ambition of playing for the richest owners in the game.

"Manchester City are buying up all the real men" was originally published at - Football News.

Rewind to 1981: when Real Sociedad won the Spanish title

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Throughout football's long and patterned history there has always been drama, excitement, heartbreak and jubilation. The Uefa Cup Final in 1995 when Nayim ridiculously scored from the half-way line past a disbelieving David Seaman; the 1999 Champions League Final where Ole Gunnar Solskjær's right foot will forever be etched into the memory of Manchester United fans.

Former Celtic Reserves Boss ready for Europa League

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Former Celtic reserve boss Willie McStay couldn't have asked for a tougher start to his new job as manager of Ujpest Dozsa than a Europa League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest.

After less than a month in the job McStay, and his assistant Joe McBride, travel to the Romanian capital hoping to cause a shock that would certainly be noticed around Europe.

Transfer Rumors (15 July 09): Adebayor’s Man City move stalls over demands, Aston Villa close on Boro’s Downing, Rangers’ Ferguson set for Birmingham move

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It looked like it was going to be easy breezy for Emmanuel Adebayor's move from Arsenal to Manchester City, but alas, a smooth, quick resolution does not appear to be in the offing, for one reason or another.

It might take a little longer than expected to add him to our summer transfer lists, but it does look like another transfer gossip favorite will be on the move soon, with Stewart Downing finally set to end his time at Middlesbrough in favor of a quick return to the Premier League and a taste of Europe.

When Bulgaria (almost) ruled the world

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The Parc des Princes, November 1993. France are seconds away from securing qualification for the 1994 World Cup, albeit nervously. Tied at 1-1 with Group rivals Bulgaria, they know a point is enough to send them to America the following summer.

In possession is David Ginola, as enigmatic, stylish and confident then as he would prove to be later on in his career, when English fans got to see him up close.

The Five Reasons Why Manchester United Will Be Okay

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This summer has been full of football's most dramatic elements: transfers, rumors, and money. With silly season in full flight, one of the most debated topics in the world of football has been the future of Manchester United. Yes, the same Manchester United that is coming off three straight Premiership crowns.

Transfer Rumors (14 July 09): Man City sign Tevez, Arsenal to replace City-bound Adebayor with Chamakh, Portsmouth accept Sunderland’s £12m Crouch bid, and m

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Before I get into today's roundup, I'd like to give a big thanks to all those, and especially to Shahryar Noon, who make my job all the easier by helping out with keeping the summer transfer lists updated and accurate. It's not easy tracking down every transfer out there, so all of the help is much appreciated, to say the least.

To the death, Mr Cook

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The crowd are tense. The home team are losing one nil, and are pushing forward in search of an equaliser. Wave after wave of attack is repelled. Eventually the striker snaps off a shot that goes agonisingly wide. The crowd groan, then, in defiance of their position, launch into a chorus of City Til I Die.

Where’s Willer? A Brazilian in the East

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Summer in the east. After a short break in June which felt almost as long as the frozen abyss of winter, football across eastern Europe is underway once more on green fields and under blue skies, half a continent and a whole world away from the frenzied din of a Bernabéu unveiling. And yet something is missing.

Porto keep selling their star players

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Lyon have finalised a €24 million deal for the FC Porto forward Lisandro Lopez. The record breaking deal is the largest in club history, and will see the Portuguese striker at STADE MUNICIPAL DE GERLAND for a five year contract.

"Lisandro Lopez today signed a professional contract with Lyon for a duration of five years, having passed the traditional medical necessary for the completion of the transfer," read a statement from the Lyon official club website.

No more signings at Manchester United as Ronaldo money goes to accoutants

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Something in me was truly hoping this doesn't happen... The state of Manchester United debt is known to all fans, but the scale of the catastrophe that is losing Ronaldo, blinded us from that fact. The quest to replace our stolen idol had consumed us, and made us fathom about all sorts of saviors that might become our next "It Boy".

Liverpool and Manchester United rivalry to heat up this season

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Liverpool have not won a league title in 19 years and up until last season they didn't come close to even challenging for the title, with Chelsea emerging as the premier rivals to the trophy which Man Utd have won 11 times in 17 years. The domination of United had taken the sting out of one of the oldest rivalries in football but the occurrences of the last season have certainly heated up matters between the two clubs.

Transfer Rumors (13 July 09): Manchester City sign Tevez, want Arsenal’s Adebayor, Manchester United to stop spending, Chelsea close on AC Milan’s Pirlo and

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Update: Manchester City have signed Carlos Tevez on a 5-year deal.

It looks to be a busy week ahead in the transfers world. A lot of money could be set to change hands in the Premier League and across Europe, though if Sir Alex Ferguson is to be believed, none of that business will be taking place at Old Trafford.

John Hartson: Get well soon

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News today that makes you realise there's more to life than just football. Former Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic striker John Hartson will undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with brain cancer, according to reports in today's papers.

The striker, was scored 89 goals for Celtic and was named Scottish Player's Player and Football Writers Player of the year in 2005, was diagnosed at the weekend after undergoing tests.

The Greatest Brazilian Players of All Time - 70s & 80s

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In part two of this series looking at the best Brazilian players of all time, I will be taking a look at the finest Brazilian talents of the 1970s and 80s.

From the remarkable team of 1970 through to the abundantly gifted yet ultimately unsuccessful squads of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, there are some truly extraordinary footballers to choose from.

The Greatest Brazilian Players of All Time - 90s & 00s

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In this third and final part of my look at some of the finest players to have ever been produced by football's most successful nation, I focus on players who reached their peak during the 1990s and 2000s.

Brazilian successes in both the 1994 and 2002 World Cups have ensured that this era is rich with talent from which to add to this select list.

The Greatest Brazilian Players of All Time - 50s and 60s

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In this series I will be looking at some of the greatest Brazilian players to have graced the game of football over the last sixty years, using the 1950s, the decade in which Brazil marched to their first World Cup triumph, as a starting point.

In part one, I take a look at the finest footballers to have pulled on the yellow and green jersey of the Selecao during the 1950s and 60s.

Transfer Rumors (12 July 09): Sunderland land Man United’s Campbell, Bordeaux after Arsenal’s Silvestre, Everton target M’Bia set for Marseille switch, an

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It's not exactly a lazy Sunday on the transfer front, as there's a nice amount of transfer news and rumors to report on from around Europe.

We've also got a few new signings to add to our summer transfer lists, so after you check out today's roundup, make sure you check out all of the latest signings.

Peace Cup 2009

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Can Kaka, Ronaldo and Benzema co-exist on the same football pitch?

The Peace Cup returns to the summer football schedule with the fourth edition of the event hosted by Spain. The first three Peace Cup's were played in South Korea, and the event is usually played every other year.

This year's marquee story will of course be the addition of Real Madrid to the Peace Cup.

Jermaine Pennant and the British in Spain

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So Jermaine Pennant, the forgotten man of Merseyside, has jumped ship for sunnier and warmer shores, namely, Real Zaragoza. Perhaps this move will come as a bit of a shock to some of you?

Well he was linked with Real Madrid pre-Galacticos II era, so his move to the Mediterranean is not as much of a surprise as first thought.

World Football Challenge 2009

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It's been a while (the 2004 US Tour, to be exact) since the United States last tasted a summer football event quite like World Football Challenge. This summer's event will bring some of the biggest names in football together for one week in the States, thereby giving some starved football fans the chance to watch their favourite club go head-to-head with some of the most storied names in the sport.

Transfer Rumors (10 July 09): Man United to swap Berbatov for Aguero, no Liverpool move for Bayern’s Ribery, Man City give up on Barcelona’s Eto’o, and mo

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It's a busy time in Manchester, as the red side and the blue side are both busy trying to bolster their squads ahead of next season.

But they're not the only clubs being linked with big-money purchases in this morning's transfer news roundup, though the other club mentioned is having nothing to do with said big-money move.

Interview with Tom Boyd - former Celtic captain and Scotland international

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At the recent Masters event at Braehead I had the good fortune to catch up with Tom Boyd who was in good form after scoring against Rangers.

In the video interview he enjoys a joke or two about his scoring record, what life is like as a former Celtic player and his hopes of a championship winning new season with the side managed by two of his former team-mates Tony Mowbray and Peter Grant.

MLS Supporters’ Shield: the real glory?

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From the outside, the football world looks upon Major League Soccer with a degree of suspicion and mistrust. Traditional American sporting models, we claim, don't apply to football. Central ownership and the draft system are entirely foreign concepts. Pundits criticise salary capping in MLS one minute and bemoan the overpaid prima-donnas of Europe the next.

Transfer Rumors (9 July 09): Chelsea target Boro’s Johnson, Arsenal close on Matuidi, Juve seal deal for Arsenal target Melo, and more

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Every transfer window, there are at least a few moves that completely catch you by surprise, which is surprising in itself, considering that there are so many deals that are public news well before they're actually completed.

We've got a few of those tidbits in this morning's roundup, and we've also got several new signings to report and to add to the summer transfer lists.

Diary of a starved football fan

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Walking to the paper shop a couple of weeks ago, I had that ‘forgot something' feeling. I tapped my pockets to make sure I had my usual essentials in tow; wallet, phone, keys. All there, but something still wasn't right. I knew I hadn't left the oven on, largely because I don't use it.

Then it hit me (not the oven) - the hollow sensation I was experiencing emanated from the fact that it was the start of the weekend and the football season had finished.

Foreigners and English Football

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Looking forward to next season's title race, my Arsenal-fan cousin swears that his team are in with a shout. I take his claims like I do my chips, with a pinch of salt. "They need a big man in the middle. They mess about with it too much. Almunia's hair is rubbish," are my usual responses.

Athletic Bilbao and ‘Cantera’

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Chances are that if you're in the pub with your friends and the inevitable topic of football is discussed, and perhaps less inevitably Spanish football is mentioned (unless it's a dig at Real Madrid), then Athletic Club Bilbao will not be high on the list of subjects.

But perhaps it should be.

Transfer Rumors (8 July 09): Man United sign Obertan, Man City to bid again for Chelsea’s Terry, Juventus to land Arsenal target Melo, and more

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Just when Arsenal fans may have been getting excited about a potential big-money signing, it appears that a not-so-nice Old Lady has yanked the rug out from under them. However, some recent developments could yet see some light at the end of the tunnel, but that's where cautious optimism comes in.

Southampton sold to Markus Liebherr

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Southampon FC has been sold to DMWSL613 Limited (owned by Swiss national Markus Liebherr) for an undisclosed sum (reportedly £12.5m). Markus Liebherr also owns and controls the Swiss-based Mali Group, which consists of five companies engaged in technologically advanced engineering.

Joint Administrator Mark Fry commented:

"The sale of the Saints to Markus Liebherr is a fantastic opportunity to rebuild the Club.

Transfer Rumors (7 July 09): Man United to bid for Real’s Huntelaar, AC Milan sign USA defender Onyewu, Bordeaux move for Arsenal’s Senderos, and more

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If you have a thing against strikers (whether you're a former/current defender or you love 0-0 draws), then you may want to skip today's roundup, since it's an especially striker-centric one.

Manchester United have just signed one striker, but they may well not be done bringing new goal-getters to Old Trafford.

Barcelona have no need to go “crazy” like Real Madrid

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"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." (Newton's Third Law)

Flashback to the summer of 2000 and in the wake of Florentino Perez's first dramatic ascension to Real Madrid's presidency, Barcelona was prized away from the heart and soul of their post-Cruyff side, Luis Figo.

Transfer Rumors (6 July 09): Chelsea sign Zhirkov, Man United to sign French starlet Obertan, Man City to trump Inter for Bayern’s Lucio, and more

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In the midst of looking up all of the latest transfer news and rumors on footballers big and small, I often come across a talented unknown or little-known being linked with a certain club.

Are they going to be the next [insert legend past or present here]? Some do, some don't, it's just the hit or miss nature of the game.

Celtic search for salvation and a league to play in

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What is it with teams from Leeds overstretching themselves in pursuit of glory? First there was Leeds United, the club that was one of the biggest teams in England in the 70s and Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 2001. Their fall was as swift as it was painful and the team narrowly avoided going completely out of business before getting stuck in League One.

The Odd Couple: Will it work out for Manchester United and Michael Owen?

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Four weeks ago, I was playing Football Manager. I was managing Manchester United and was faced with the dilemma of how to replace Tevez and Ronaldo. With 80 million quid in the bank, money wasn't an issue; however the question of bringing in the "right" player involves more than just money.

Browsing through my shortlist, the expected names appeared: Benzema, Ribery and Ibrahimovic.

Love and football. It hurts.

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Del Amitri and football are not something that usually mix. Certainly not with any success, anyway (see this example of World Cup pessimism for details). But whilst musing over Michael Owen's "Eastenders-end-scene" switch to Manchester United this weekend, it was hard to ignore one of Justin Currie's lyrics.

Transfer Rumors (5 July 09): Eto’o would drop demands for Man United move, Liverpool target Inter Milan’s Cambiasso, Chelsea to bid for Real Madrid’s Snei

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A new week stands to bring many more signings as the summer transfer window merrily rolls along, and according to the latest transfer news and rumors, we may expect to see a few big names make moves sometime this week.

Until they actually move, we can't add their names to our summer transfer lists, but this morning's roundup gives us at least one new name to add to the lists, with tidbits on several more who could be very, very soon.

Terry to swap Chelsea for Manchester City? Stranger things have happened.

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Mark Hughes was talking again this morning. Talking big as well. According to Hughes, Manchester City's financial muscle is starting to cause ripples amongst the previously-complacent "Big Four", and his side are in a position to upset the proverbial apple cart.

"United are taking our situation more seriously in terms of what we can do - and it's not just them realising that," said Hughes, "Bizarrely, what is happening here can help United through us being capable of taking points off other top-four clubs - but we want to take points off United, too.

Transfer Rumors (4 July 09): Manchester City to offer Chelsea’s Terry £200k per week, Everton after Man United’s Scholes, Tottenham in talks for Liverpool

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Saturday may have been a holiday for me in the U.S., but no matter what day it is, I've got an attentive eye on the latest in transfer news and rumors.

Ahmed already covered the latest news on the Felipe Melo to Arsenal front, and in this morning's roundup, I have several more tidbits from Saturday and early today to tide you over until next time, including another potential swap deal involving Arsenal and a top Serie A club.

OFC (Oceania Football Confederation)

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The Oceania Football Confederation is the federation for the pacific islands located around Australia, though since 2006 it no longer contains the Aussies. Without them, the OFC is positively miniscule by comparison with the other federations.

The federation was formed in 1966 by the FAs of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, however it wasn't until 30 years later, in 1996, that it was confirmed as a fully-fledged confederation of FIFA and given a seat on it's committee.

CONMEBOL (Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol)

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CONMEBOL is the South American Football Confederation (officially known as the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol) which covers the majority of the continent of South America. It is the oldest of FIFA's confederations, originally forming in 1916, almost a century ago. The federation's formation was begun by Héctor Rivadavia Gómez who had a grand plan for a federation for South American football.

CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football)

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CONCACAF stands for (take a deep breath) the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football and is the body that governs the national and club football of North America, Central America, the Caribbean islands and also includes 3 South American nations; Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

CAF (Confederation of African Football)

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The Confederation of African Football (or Confédération Africaine de Football as it's known to it's mom) covers the giant continent of Africa and is the federation that follows it's geographical continent the closest. It has the most member nations (55), even more so than UEFA (53), and the only place in Africa omitted is the territory of Western Sahara, on the northern section of the West Coast.

UEFA (Union of European Football Associations)

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UEFA is the governing body of European football and is by far the most lucrative and most watched of all the 6 confederations of FIFA. UEFA's influence over the world of football is unprecedented and in the last 20 years its success has magnified beyond all expectations. The UEFA Champions League is universally regarded to be the ultimate competition in club football and generates money of unimaginable proportions.

AFC (Asian Football Confederation)

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) governs the footballing community of Asia and also now includes Australia, but it doesn't include a number of Asian (or part-Asian) countries, who are part of UEFA. The headquarters are located in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

The AFC was formed in 1954 (believe it or not on the sidelines of a game), by Afghanistan, Burma, Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore & Vietnam.

FIFA (International Federation of Association Football)

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The first thing you'll notice about FIFA is that the name should be IFAF. Well fear not, the governing body of world football isn't dyslexic, it's just that the name in the title is the English translation, it's proper name is Federation Internationale de Football Association. The name's origin came over a century ago at FIFA's very beginnings in Paris, way back in the summer of 1904, when the world was still black and white and the internet was a long way from being invented (apparently there once was a time when people got through life without relying on the world wide web!

Fiorentina want Arsenal’s Eboue plus cash for 21m rated Felipe Melo

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Fiorentina have asked for Emmanuel Eboue plus cash for Arsenal to bring Confederations Cup winner Felipe Melo to the Emirates.

Felipe Melo recently signed a one-year contract extension at Fiorentina - the main purpose of which now seems to be the addition of a £21m release clause to help La Viola as much money as possible for the Brazilian midfielder.

Transfer Rumors (3 July 09): Michael Owen signs for Manchester United, Sunderland eye Arsenal target Chamakh, Bayern Munich still interested in Chelsea’s Bosi

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What may have otherwise been a quiet day in transfer news and rumors was made just a little bit livelier by the news that Michael Owen was on his way to Manchester United.

Along with looking over the official word in today's roundup and seeing him among the new additions to our summer transfer lists, you can catch Ahmed's reaction on the Owen signing, and the SL forum has a spirited Owen-centric discussion going.

Ligue 1 Transfer Roundup: Nistelrooy to Lyon, Vierra to PSG, Bangoura to Rennes and more

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Here's a look at the latest transfer rumours surrounding Ligue 1:

Where do Lyon go from here?

With the recent departures of Juninho, Karim Benzema and Abdul Kader Keita,the club has left many wondering where the 10 time Champion de France cup winners are headed from here?

Could this be Arsene Wenger’s Last Season at Arsenal?

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Arsene Wenger may be one fifth place finish away from the end of his reign as Arsenal manager.

This time last year such a statement would have been laughed at, but is it really inconceivable that the Arsenal fan's faith in Wenger would be permanently fractured should his young squad who he has for so long talked up fail to claim a Champions League spot?

Michael Owen and Manchester United - the good, the bad and the insane

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The whole world is talking about it, and barring a dramatic setback on the doctor's table (he's too short on all accounts, gaffer), Michael Owen should sign for Manchester United on a free transfer in the next few days.

The purported move brings with it ridicule, surprise, anger and more ridicule disguised as laughter - surely United are not left to scrape the bottom of the barrel with an over-the-hill striker no one wants?

Deschamps Making Moves At Marseille

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In his debut season as the club's manager Didier Deschamps is already making moves to ensure success in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League.

On June 29, 2009 the first year manager made his first move in this year's summer transfer window by acquiring Argentinian Lucho (Luis) Gonzalez for a club record $25 million from the Portugeuse champions FC Porto.

Transfer Rumors (2 July 09): Michael Owen close to shock Man United move, Manchester City fail in £30m bid for Chelsea’s Terry, Tottenham must go to £12m fo

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Talk about being handed a career lifeline. Instead of getting one last go in the Premier League with Everton, Aston Villa, or Hull City, former Liverpool star Michael Owen is reportedly getting the golden opportunity of golden opportunities to get his last hurrah at the top.

The Future is Bright, The Future is Azzurrini

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As the Azzurri floundered and failed in South Africa, it was left to the Azzurrini to provide the Italian nation with something at cheer about or at the very least restore some national pride, which they managed to do, and even more so if it weren't for the great German machine.

Heading to the European U21 Championships in Sweden, the Italy U21 side were the favourites, along with England and Spain U21's.

United rookies rock the capital

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Football supporters love a home-grown hero. In a time when it's impossible to bump into our idols on the Tube or in the pub after a match, it's becoming more and more difficult for fans to relate to players. They earn huge amounts (in Europe, at least) and have impossibly attractive wives, girlfriends and cars.

The Gold Rush in football - is 80m too much? 200m? When (and how) will this end?

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Earlier this week, Planet Football opened its doors to the circus that is the transfer window.

From now until the end of August, the ring master, in the guise of Manchester City and Real Madrid, will be orchestrating the greatest show of them all.

There is no price is too dear for the big boys to pay anymore, while back in the real world, regular people face the threat of redundancy and trying to work out where the next pay cheque is coming from.

Brazil’s awesome record in the last 15 years

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Brazil's third Confederations Cup title was their ninth major competition victory in a streak which began with their 1994 World Cup win. In that 15 year period, Brazil have won four Copa Américas, three Confederations Cups and two World Cups.

In addition to the nine major titles, Brazil have also lost three finals in the last 15 years; Copa América (1995), World Cup (1998) and Confederations Cup (1999).

Official Cristiano Ronaldo Tribute from Manchester United / MUTV

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Cristiano Ronaldo has polarised opinions like few others before him - as a global icon his popularity is matched by few other footballers (David Beckham comes to mind) and on the pitch he dazzles and frustrates in equal measures. Unrealistic expectations? Unfulfilled ability?

What's certain is that he has been, over the last 3 years, the best player at Manchester United and his impact in his 6 years at the Old Trafford is unquestionable.

Dry-humping goal celebration - wrong or just funny?

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My only question is - is this a yellow card offense or is this OK because there's no skin showing?

WPvideo 1.10 Download! "Dry-humping goal celebration - wrong or just funny?" was originally published at - Football News.

Transfer Rumors (1 July 09): Real Madrid sign Lyon’s Benzema, Barcelona in 25m bid for Liverpool’s Mascherano, Manchester United after Gignac and Kacar, and

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Well how's that for starting July with a bang? The start of a new month and the official first day of the summer transfer window brought another big-money signing for Real Madrid.

Real have been the biggest spenders by far this summer, and they'll likely come out on top in that list when all's said and done, but they aren't the only club out there spending big or trying to spend big.

Real Madrid seal £30m Benzema signing

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During yesterday's unveiling of Kaka, Real Madrid sporting director, Jorge Valdano, was questioned about the possibility of the Madrid club splurging for another big name this summer, after being linked with Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, amongst others.

"We do not discard the possibility that in the next few hours, something could happen," Valdano stated to a packed press room.

The 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup

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The United States managed to turn some heads at the Confederations Cup in South Africa with convincing wins over Spain and Egypt to make it to the their first FIFA final before bowing out to Brazil in a hotly contested final. Whilst the United States didn't get the trophy they were looking for, they did manage to gain some new found respect.

Guess who’s back, back again, Freddy’s back, Newcastle to get f***** again?

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The soap opera saga of Newcastle United has taken yet another turn as it has emerged that former Chairman Freddy Shephard has made a £60 million bid to regain control of Newcastle United from Mike Ashley.

Shephard is said to be fronting a consortium to regain control of the club he left two years ago and is trying to negotiate a knockdown price with the now desperate Ashley.

This July on Soccerlens…

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Modern football is a relentless beast - it's literally on 365 days an year, there's no break even during the summer (thank you transfer window, pre-season tournaments and weird international football schedules) and there's always the sideshow attractions - the obligatory footballer orgy or someone finding new ways to stick it to the Premier League.

Football Federations Around The Globe - A Look At The World Of Football

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The world of football is made up of 6 main football federations; UEFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, AFC, CAF & OFC. These governing bodies look after different areas of world football, roughly along the lines of the geographical continents of the world.

Each federation runs its own competition for both its national sides and its clubs, as well as entering its national sides into the FIFA World Cup and its club competition winners into the FIFA World Club Championship, the two competitions to determine the best national and club team, respectively, in the world.