World Cup Buzz Archives for January 2016

German govt slams racist slur on football star Boateng

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Augsburg (Germany) (AFP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman on Monday condemned the claim by a right-wing politician that most Germans would not want footballer Jerome Boateng, whose father is Ghanaian, as their neighbour.

"This sentence, which has come out, is vile and sad," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press briefing in Berlin.

Mourinho makes peace with Charlton on United visit

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho made peace with Bobby Charlton as Manchester United's new manager met the Old Trafford icon at the club's Carrington training ground on Monday.

Charlton has previously been a harsh critic of Mourinho and was understood to have objected to his potential appointment when United were looking for a successor to Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Payet helps Euro hosts France past Cameroon

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Nantes (France) (AFP) West Ham's Dimitri Payet scored a last-gasp wonder free-kick to help Euro 2016 hosts France snatch a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cameroon on Monday.

The attacking midfielder stepped up on the stroke of regulation time to curl a magnificent free-kick past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.

Sweden lack fire without ‘Ibra’ in Slovenia stalemate

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Malmö (Sweden) (AFP) Sweden were sorely missing star striker and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Monday as they lacked fire in a lacklustre 0-0 draw in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Slovenia in Malmo.

Many of the 17,000 crowd had come to see local star Ibrahimovic in action, but instead saw a pedestrian display against a team who did not qualify for Euro 2016.

Porto release coach Peseiro

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Lisbon (AFP) Porto, without a title in three years, have released coach Jose Peseiro after a string of poor results, the Portuguese club said Monday.

Peseiro arrived in Porto in January from Egyptian outfit Al-Ahly to take over from Spaniard Julen Lopetegui.

But the 56-year-old Portuguese coach was unable to turn around a season that saw Porto eliminated by Chelsea in the Champions League before a third-place league finish behind Lisbon-based rivals Benfica and Sporting.

Keane faces Euro fitness race after injury blow

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London (AFP) Robbie Keane faces a nervous wait to see if he will make the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2017 squad after being ruled out of their final warm-up game through injury.

Republic captain Keane damaged a calf muscle on Saturday and could only watch his team-mates from the sidelines as they trained on Monday ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Belarus in Cork.

Lewandowski leads Poland squad for Euro 2016

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Warsaw (AFP) Poland coach Adam Nawalka on Monday unveiled his 23-man squad for Euro 2016 led by Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Nawalka rewarded players who proved themselves during qualifying where Poland scored 33 goals, finishing just behind Germany, who they beat for the first time 2-0 in Warsaw.

Belgium hit by withdrawals of Lombaerts, Boyata fir Euro 2016

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Brussels (AFP) Belgium's Euro 2016 hopes were hit Monday with news that defenders Nicolas Lombaerts and Dedryck Boyata had been ruled out through injury, coach Marc Wilmots said Monday.

Wilmots called up uncapped Genk defender Christian Kabasel for a backline already starved of the presence of Vincent Kompany and Bjorn Engels.

Paris star Aurier detained after police fight

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Paris (AFP) French police detained Paris Saint-Germain star Serge Aurier on Monday after he hit an officer outside a nightclub, police sources said.

Police said the player could spend the night in custody, with the possibility of extending his detention to 48 hours on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international, who has regularly been in trouble with his club, is alleged to have "insulted and hit a police officer", one source told AFP.

Mexico footballer Alan Pulido freed after fighting kidnapper

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Mexico City (AFP) Mexican football player Alan Pulido was rescued after he fought one of his kidnappers and took away his phone to call police hours after his abduction, authorities said Monday.

Pulido, 25, cut his right wrist when he punched a glass pane on a door as he tried to flee before police saved him in a home in his northeastern hometown of Ciudad Victoria late Sunday, Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla said.

No Senderos in Swiss squad for Euros

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Lausanne (AFP) There was no place for experienced defender Philippe Senderos in the 23-man Swiss squad coach Vladimir Petkovic named Monday for the European championships that begin on June 10.

Senderos, 31, is no longer a shoe-in as a starter for Switzerland, now plying his trade for Grasshopper Zurich after many seasons spent with Arsenal and AC Milan.

France faces strike chaos ahead of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) Looming air and train strikes are threatening to bring chaos to France less than two weeks before Euro 2016 kicks off, with unions standing firm Monday in demanding that controversial labour reforms are scrapped.

As the head of France's bosses' federation accused unions of behaving like "terrorists", the fresh industrial unrest was set to hit transport just days before fans begin arriving for the start of the football championships on June 10.

Ex-Croatian international Boban becomes FIFA official

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA on Monday named former Croatian international Zvonimir Boban as a deputy secretary general as part of its reform process to redeem its tainted image.

Boban, who played 48 times for Yugoslavia and Croatia, will take charge of football affairs as the world body divides up its administration into business and sporting divisions.

Phoenix club Wimbledon reach third tier

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London (AFP) AFC Wimbledon continued their fairytale rise up the English league system after beating Plymouth Argyle 2-0 in Monday's League Two play-off final at Wembley to reach the third tier.

The south London club was formed by supporters in 2002 after the old Wimbledon relocated to Milton Keynes, 56 miles (90kilometres) to the north, and was re-branded as Milton Keynes Dons.

German FA hit Wolfsburg with record fine

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Berlin (AFP) The German FA (DFB) on Monday fined VfL Wolfsburg a club record 90,000 euros ($100,210; £68,494) after a flare fired by one of their fans hit the Hanover bench during a Bundesliga match in March.

The firework was one of several fired by visiting Wolfsburg fans from the away section at Hanover's HDI Arena on March 1 when the visitors romped to a 4-0 victory.

Mexican police rescue kidnapped footballer Alan Pulido

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Mexico City (AFP) Mexican footballer Alan Pulido was rescued hours after he was kidnapped in his hometown after the striker managed to call police while his captors were distracted, authorities said Monday.

Pulido, who plays for Greek giants Olympiakos, had a bandage on his right hand when he appeared briefly at a news conference in the early hours of Monday in the crime-plagued northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

Guardiola news hurt Man City: Pellegrini

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London (AFP) The announcement of Pep Guardiola's appointment by Manchester City had a negative impact on the team's performances, outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini said in an interview published on Monday.

City were second in the Premier League when Pellegrini revealed on February 1 that Bayern Munich coach Guardiola would be succeeding him, but finished fourth after winning only six of their last 15 games.

Injured Carvajal set to miss Euro 2016

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal is likely to miss out on Spain's Euro 2016 campaign with the hamstring injury that forced him off in Saturday's Champions League final.

Carvajal was substituted in tears early in the second half of Saturday's game against Atletico Madrid in Milan, which Real won 5-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Germany’s Hummels faces Euro 2016 race against time

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Berlin (AFP) Germany's Mats Hummels admits he is facing a race against time to be fit for the World Cup winners' first game of Euro 2016 in little over a fortnight.

Germany open their European campaign against Ukraine in Lille on June 12, but centre-back Hummels is struggling with a torn calf muscle he suffered in the German Cup final on May 21 and has not trained since.

Rashford signs new Man United contract

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London (AFP) Teenage breakthrough star Marcus Rashford has signed a new contract committing him to Manchester United until 2020 with an option for a further year, the club announced on Monday.

In the first major squad announcement since Jose Mourinho was appointed manager last week, Rashford and fellow academy graduate Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have both committed their futures to the club.

Copa America Group A preview: EuroCopa Soccer Podcast

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Welcome to the first episode of the EuroCopa Soccer Podcast, the daily digital download focused on Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016.

In this episode, the EuroCopa Podcast host Nipun Chopra is joined by Kartik Krishnaiyer, Gabe Smith and Kristan Heneage to preview the teams in Copa America Group A —Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay and the United States.

‘Gabigol’ off mark as Brazil down Panama

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Los Angeles (AFP) Rising teenage star Gabriel scored on his international debut as Brazil warmed up for the Copa America Centenario with a 2-0 victory over Panama.

Gabriel affectionately known as "Gabigol" underscored his precocious talent by calmly finishing Brazil's second goal on 73 minutes soon after replacing veteran striker Jonas as a second-half substitute.

Friends reunited as Eriksson’s SIPG end Evergrande run

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Shanghai (AFP) Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG ended Guangzhou Evergrande's run of nine straight Chinese Super League victories to cut their lead at the top of the table.

The ex-England manager, who warmly greeted old sparring partner Luiz Felipe Scolari before the game, oversaw a 1-1 draw Evergrande's first dropped points since March.

Mexican authorities rescue kidnapped football star Alan Pulido

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Mexico City (AFP) Mexican security forces have rescued football star Alan Pulido hours after he was kidnapped in his crime-plagued home state of Tamaulipas, authorities said early Monday.

Pulido, a former national team forward who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, was "safe and sound" following his rescue by state and federal forces before midnight on Sunday, the Tamaulipas government said in a statement, without providing details about the operation.

PSG star Aurier detained after police fight

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Paris (AFP) French police detained Paris Saint-Germain star Serge Aurier on Monday after he hit an officer outside a nightclub, police sources said.

The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international, who has been regularly in trouble with his club, is alleged to have "insulted and hit a police officer," one source told AFP.

Mexican authorities rescue kidnapped footballer Alan Pulido

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Mexico City (AFP) Mexican authorities have rescued football star Alan Pulido following his kidnapping in his crime-plagued home state of Tamaulipas, with the player declaring early Monday he was "very well" despite the ordeal.

Pulido, a former national team forward who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, had a bandage on his right hand as he appeared alongside Governor Egidio Torre Cantu at a brief news conference, several hours after his abduction following a party.

‘I don’t know what I sign’, Messi tells judge in fraud case: report

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Barcelona (AFP) Argentina star Lionel Messi, who is due to go on trial in Barcelona for alleged tax fraud, told a judge that he never looks at the contracts he signs, the El Periodico daily said Monday.

The newspaper got access to Messi's September 2013 statement to a judge and published extracts just a day before the five-time World Player of the Year and his father stand trial.

Neustadter gets Russian passport ahead of Euro

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Moscow (AFP) Twice-capped Germany international Roman Neustadter has received a Russian passport allowing the defender to play for the country at the Euro, a post on the national team's Twitter site announced on Monday.

The Twitter site posted a picture of the 28-year-old Schalke player holding up his new Russian passport at Russia's Consulate in Bonn.

Daniel Sturridge returns to England training

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge made a timely return to England training on Monday, the day before manager Roy Hodgson submits his final 23-man squad for Euro 2016.

Sturridge missed England's 2-1 win over Australia in Sunderland on Friday after sustaining a calf strain during Liverpool's Europa League final defeat by Sevilla.

Ronaldo rests to show the ‘jealous’ who’s best

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal's pre-European Championship friendly against England on Thursday as he rests from his third Champions League triumph but he insists those who doubt his talents are "jealous".

The 31-year-old, who looked jaded in Real Madrid's win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday even though he scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out, believes he is still "number one" and has nothing to prove.

Mexico rescues kidnapped footballer Alan Pulido

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Mexico City (AFP) Mexican authorities have rescued football star Alan Pulido following his kidnapping in his crime-plagued home state of Tamaulipas, with the player declaring early Monday he was "very well" despite the ordeal.

Pulido, a former national team forward who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, had a bandage on his right hand as he appeared alongside Governor Egidio Torre Cantu at a brief news conference, several hours after his abduction following a party.

French transport to be hit ahead of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France braced Monday for severe disruption to trains and flights less than two weeks before Euro 2016, as unions called fresh strikes in their battle to have labour reforms scrapped.

The fresh industrial unrest which caused petrol shortages and travel delays across the country last week was set to hit transport just days before fans begin arriving for the start of the football championships on June 10.

Victorious Real get hero’s welcome in Spanish capital

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Madrid (AFP) Thousands of Real Madrid fans pilled into the streets of the Spanish capital and filled the club's 80,000 capacity Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday to welcome home their heroes after an historic 11th European Cup win.

An open top bus emblazoned with the word "Campeones" (Champions) carried the team, who showed off the trophy to fans, just after sunrise on their return from beating local rivals Atletico Madrid in a penalty shootout in Milan.

Terry backs Mourinho to be United success

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London (AFP) Chelsea captain John Terry believes his former manager Jose Mourinho will lead Manchester United back to the top.

Mourinho was appointed United manager earlier this week after Dutchman Louis van Gaal was sacked two days after leading the Red Devils to an FA Cup victory.

And Terry, who won the Premier League three times as Chelsea captain with Mourinho as manager, believes the Portuguese is the right man to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

Pelle strikes as pale Azzurri beat Scots

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Ta' Qali (Malta) (AFP) Southampton striker Graziano Pelle hit a second-half winner as an injury-depleted Italy beat Scotland 1-0 in a disjointed Euro 2016 friendly in Malta on Sunday.

With his midfield decimated through injuries to Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti, and Thiago Motta and Riccardo Montolivo resting due to calf problems, Italy coach Antonio Conte gave Roma's Daniele De Rossi a chance to impress before announcing his 23-man Euro 2016 squad on Tuesday.

Relegated Zurich win Swiss Cup

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Zurich (AFP) Newly relegated FC Zurich will play in the Europa League next season after winning the Swiss Cup for the ninth time on Sunday.

And there was a hint of revenge in the air as Zurich beat Lugano 1-0 in the final the team that finished immediately above them in the Swiss League, which ended on Wednesday with FC Basel as champions.

Footballer Alan Pulido kidnapped in Mexican hometown: police

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Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) (AFP) Mexican footballer Alan Pulido, a striker on Greece's Olympiakos team, was kidnapped Sunday in his home state of Tamaulipas, law enforcement officials here said.

Family members told authorities that Pulido was snatched at around dawn in his birth city of Ciudad Victoria.

Slovakia stun green Germany in storm-hit friendly

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Berlin (AFP) An inexperienced Germany team suffered a self-confidence sapping 3-1 defeat to Slovakia in Sunday's storm-affected friendly ahead of Euro 2016 as the world champions looked out of sorts.

Slovakia, who will make their European championships debut in Group B alongside Wales, England and Russia next month, deserved their win in Augsburg as Germany coach Joachim Loew fielded four uncapped players.

Nolito makes Spain Euros case with double

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Madrid (AFP) Celta Vigo forward Nolito strengthened his case for inclusion in Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's squad for Euro 2016 with his first two international goals in a 3-1 friendly win over BosniaandHerzegovina in Saint Gallen, Switzerland, on Sunday.

Del Bosque named an experimental side with no players from Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid or those sides involved in domestic Cup finals last weekend, including Barcelona and Bayern Munich, other than out of favour Barca defender Marc Bartra.

No late France Euro call-up for Sakho

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Nantes (France) (AFP) France head coach Dider Deschamps confirmed on Sunday that he will not add Mamadou Sakho to his Euro-2016 squad, even if the centre-back is allowed to return to action after serving a provisional drugs ban.

Sakho has been a key player for Euro hosts France at the heart of their defence in the last couple of years, but he was given a 30-day suspension after failing a drugs test while playing in the Europa League for Liverpool.

Captain Wanyama salvages draw for Kenya

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Johannesburg (AFP) Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama converted a penalty to earn Kenya a 1-1 home draw with Tanzania on Sunday in a warm-up match ahead of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

A crude tackle just inside the box led to the spot-kick and although the Tanzanian goalkeeper correctly guessed the direction of the penalty, it was too hard and high for him to stop.

Casemiro is Real Madrid’s new Claude Makelele

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When Claude Makelele was sold to Chelsea from Real Madrid, there was backlash. How could the Real Madrid president not understand the defensive midfielder's worth? Teammates spoke about the influence and importance of the player, but it was lost on the suit wearing, non-playing personnel.

Makelele went on to have five successful seasons in the English Premier League with Chelsea.

Bayern will fight to keep Real-target Lewandowski

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Berlin (AFP) Real Madrid have held talks with Poland's star striker Robert Lewandowski, his agent has confirmed, while Bayern Munich insist they will pay whatever it takes to keep him.

"Real Madrid approached us a few weeks ago, we have listened to everything and informed Bayern that we have held talks," Lewandowski's agent Cezary Kucharski told the latest edition of German Magazine Der Spiegel.

Analyzing Arsenal’s 3 best transfer target options for center back

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Arsenal are seemingly taking more of a proactive approach to this summer's transfer window than they did during 2015. While goalkeeper Petr Cech was the only first team player to be signed last summer, the Gunners have already added £30 million central midfielder Granit Xhaka, and it's not even June yet.

Leicester to sign German World Cup ‘keeper Zieler

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Berlin (AFP) English champions Leicester City are set to strengthen their squad for next season by signing World Cup winner goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler from relegated Hanover 96, the German club announced on Sunday.

The 27-year-old 'keeper is set to travel to England on Monday to complete the medical with his transfer to cost a reported 3.

Ibrahimovic to sit out Slovenia friendly

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Stockholm (AFP) Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will sit out Sweden's friendly against Slovenia in order to rest a sore calf, coach Erik Hamren said Sunday.

"We'll save it until the Wales match" on June 5, Hamren told Swedish news agency TT ahead of Monday's match against Slovenia in Malmo.

Spanish press laud Real’s 11th European crown

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Madrid (AFP) The big-game experience of a side littered with galacticos helped ensure an 11th European title for Real Madrid, Spanish press reported Sunday.

Real beat city rivals Atletico 5-3 on penalties after Saturday's final in Milan finished 1-1 after extra-time.

Real "shone in the first quarter of an hour, but then lost its way in the game", said Marca, the most-read sports newspaper in Spain.

Zidane hails Real deal as Simeone ponders future

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Milan (AFP) Zinedine Zidane hailed Real Madrid as the "club of my life" after a dramatic Champions League penalty shoot-out victory over Atletico Madrid that left Diego Simeone pondering his future.

Former France and Real Madrid forward Zidane scored the winning goal when Real they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to lift the title in Glasgow in 2002.

Bruce eyes Premier League survival blueprint

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce believes Hull can copy the blueprint of the Premier League's overachievers as they look to survive in the top-flight.

Bruce's side secured an immediate return to the big time following last year's relegation thanks to Mohamed Diame's sublime strike in the Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday.

Ronaldo strikes shoot-out winner as Real crowned kings of Europe

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Milan (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo added the finishing touches as Real Madrid were crowned kings of Europe for an 11th time with a 5-3 penalties victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final.

Two years after reviving Real's bid for a 10th title, captain Sergio Ramos struck the opener after just 15 minutes at a packed San Siro.

Messi due to go on trial in Spain for tax fraud

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Barcelona (AFP) Argentina star Lionel Messi, one of the world's highest-paid athletes, goes on trial in Barcelona on Tuesday for allegedly defrauding Spain of over four million euros in unpaid taxes.

After winning a league and Cup double with Barcelona, the five-time World Player of the Year and his father will confront in court the accusations that have dogged him since June 2013.

Ramos hails team-maker Zidane

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Milan (AFP) Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane's inspirational qualities after the Spanish giants were crowned kings of Europe for the 11th time.

Real claimed their second Champions League trophy in three years thanks to a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Atletico Madrid at Milan's San Siro after the match had finished 1-1 after extra-time.

Teen star Pulisic on target as US rout Bolivia

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Los Angeles (AFP) Rising teenage star Christian Pulisic scored his first international goal as the United States warmed up for the Copa America Centenario on Saturday with a 4-0 thrashing of Bolivia.

Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Pulisic, 17, grabbed a coolly taken strike on 69 minutes at the Sporting Park Stadium in Kansas City as Jurgen Klinsmann's team scored its first-ever win over Bolivia.

Drogba strikes as Montreal sink Galaxy

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Montreal (AFP) Didier Drogba scored an injury-time winner as the Montreal Impact downed the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 to maintain their place near the top of Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference standings.

Drogba's goal in the fourth minute of injury time came after a terrible blunder by Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who allowed the former Chelsea striker's long-range freekick to squirt from his grasp and into the net.

Real fans celebrate 11th European crown in divided Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid fans descended into the streets of the Spanish capital in the early hours of Sunday morning to celebrate a historic 11th European Cup win after beating local rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties.

"The 11th is here," fans chanted with many expected to wait for their heroes to return from Milan with the trophy at the Plaza de Cibeles a traditional meeting point for Real's trophy celebrations in the heart of the city well after sunrise.

11th European crown caps rollercoaster Real season

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Madrid (AFP) A season that promised so little when Zinedine Zidane took charge of a beleaguered Real Madrid less than five months ago ended beyond even the richest club in the world's wildest dreams with an 11th European Cup win in Milan.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck the winning penalty in a shootout to cap a remarkable turnaround in Real's fortunes as for the second time in three years they edged a tense final against local rivals Atletico Madrid.

Victorious Real Madrid get heroes welcome in Spanish capital

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Madrid (AFP) Thousands of Real Madrid fans chanted and waved supporter scarves under a rain of confetti on Sunday in the Spanish capital as the team returned home after an historic 11th European Cup win.

An open top bus emblazoned with the word "Campeones" (Champions) carried the team, who showed off the trophy to fans who had spent hours awaiting their heroes in the heart of the city.

German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks

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Frankfurt (AFP) A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

AfD's deputy chief Alexander Gauland told the Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Germans would not like to have Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father and was born and brought up in Berlin, as a neighbour.

Benzema, Ben Arfa omission a missed opportunity for France, says Cantona

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Paris (AFP) The omission of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa from the France squad for next month's European Championships is a missed opportunity to unite the country in the face of extremism and division, according to ex-international Eric Cantona.

Cantona stirred up a hornet's nest last week when he claimed that France coach Didier Deschamps was guilty of racial discrimination in his selection, comments that French football chief Noel Le Graet on Saturday dubbed as "stupid" and "pathetic".

Simeone devastated at Champions League heartbreak

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Milan (AFP) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone lamented that losing a second Champions League final in three years was a "failure", after seeing his side fall short against Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out in Milan on Saturday.

The 46-year-old Argentine also appeared to hint at a possible exit from the Vicente Calderon in the aftermath of the match, which Real won 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Ronaldo strikes shoot-out winner as Real Madrid crowned kings of Europe

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Milan (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo added the finishing touches as Real Madrid were crowned kings of Europe for an 11th time with a 5-3 penalties victory over Atletico Madrid, after a 1-1 draw in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Two years after reviving Real's bid for a 10th title, captain Sergio Ramos struck the opener after just 15 minutes at a packed San Siro.

Zidane seventh into player and coach Champions League heaven

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Madrid (AFP) French football legend Zinedine Zidane became just the seventh man to win the Champions League as a player and a coach after Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on penalties on Saturday.

Zidane masterminded a huge turnaround in Real's fortunes just five months into his first senior managerial role as he led the Spanish giants to their 11th European Cup after replacing the sacked Rafael Benitez in January.

Penalties are a lottery, says match-winner Ronaldo

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Milan (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo said penalties are just a game of chance after scoring the winning spot-kick to give Real Madrid an 11th Champions League crown on Saturday.

"The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what's going to happen, but we showed that our team had more experience and we showed that we scored all penalties it was unbelievable, a fantastic night," Ronaldo told BT Sport after the shootout triumph.

Champions League final to be decided by penalties

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Milan (AFP) The 2016 Champions League final will be decided by penalties at the San Siro stadium in Milan after Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid ended 1-1 following extra-time.

A late equaliser by Atletico Madrid's Yannick Carrasco pushed the Champions League final into extra time on Saturday after Sergio Ramos opened the scoring for ten-time champions Real Madrid on 15 minutes.

Messi feeling better after injury scare – doctor

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Lionel Messi's condition had improved Saturday after the Barcelona superstar suffered a back injury in Argentina's 1-0 friendly victory over Honduras, reports citing team medical officials said.

Team doctor Daniel Martinez told La Nacion newspaper that Messi felt less pain in his lower back a day after being left writhing in agony after a heavy collision with a Honduran opponent in the far western city of San Juan.

Real Madrid beat city rivals Atletico on penalties to win Champions League

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Milan (AFP) Real Madrid beat city rivals Atletico for the second time in three years to win the Champions League for the 11th time on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive penalty in a 5-3 shoot-out victory after the final finished 1-1 following extra-time.

Atletico's Yannick Carrasco had scored a late equaliser in regulation time after Sergio Ramos opened the scoring for Real on 15 minutes.

Five key moments from the Champions League final

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Milan (AFP) Five key moments from Real Madrid's penalty shootout victory over Atletico Madrid in Saturday's Champions League final:

Ramos strikes

Sergio Ramos fired Real Madrid into a 15th-minute lead to cap a bright start from Zinedine Zidane's side. After breaking Atletico hearts with a stoppage-time equaliser in an eventual 4-1 extra-time victory when the two sides met in the 2014 final in Lisbon, Spain international Ramos delivered another painful blow to Real's city rivals.

Real 1 Atletico 1 after 90 mins – extra-time in Champions League final

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Milan (AFP) A late equaliser by Atletico Madrid's Yannick Carrasco pushed the Champions League final into extra time on Saturday after Sergio Ramos opened the scoring for ten-time champions Real Madrid on 15 minutes.

With the game poised at 1-1 after 90 minutes, another 30 minutes of extra-time will now be played at Milan's San Siro stadium.

Hull City manager Bruce hails Wembley hero Diame

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce saluted Wembley hero Mohamed Diame as the Senegal midfielder's sublime winner sent Hull back to the Premier League on Saturday.

Bruce's side were bidding to make an immediate return to the top flight following last season's painful relegation and Diame ensured the Tigers achieved their goal with a memorable 1-0 victory.

Zidane, Simeone stick to Champions League script

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Milan (AFP) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone kept to the script with no real surprises in their respective line-ups for the Champions League final at Milan's San Siro on Saturday.

French striker Karim Benzema will spearhead the hosts' attack flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo and Welshman Gareth Bale, in front of a three-man midfield composed of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos.

Diame stunner sends Hull City back into Premier League

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London (AFP) Hull City hit the promotion jackpot as Mohamed Diame's stunning strike sent them back to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off final on Saturday.

Exactly 370 days after being relegated from the Premier League, Steve Bruce's side sealed their third promotion to the top-flight in nine seasons thanks to Senegal midfielder Diame's moment of magic at Wembley.

Lukaku, De Bruyne score as Belgium beat Switzerland

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Paris (AFP) Belgium continued their build-up to Euro 2016 with a 2-1 friendly victory over hosts Switzerland in Geneva on Saturday.

Blerim Dzemaili fired Switzerland into a 31st-minute lead at the Stade de Geneve, but Romelu Lukaku levelled shortly afterwards with Kevin De Bruyne scoring an 84th-minute winner for Belgium.

Midfielder Payet happy to stay at West Ham United

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) Attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet played down reports of a possible move away from West Ham United on Saturday, saying that he is likely to stay in east London.

"Journalists have been announcing me everywhere, but I've had no contact for now and I signed a long contract with West Ham.

CAS orders Diarra to pay 10 million euro Lokomotiv fine

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Paris (AFP) France international Lassana Diarra confirmed Saturday that he has been ordered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to pay a 10 million euro ($11 million) fine to former club Lokomotiv Moscow.

The 31-year-old midfielder arrived in Russia to join Anzhi Makhachkala from Real Madrid in August 2012 but moved to Lokomotiv Moscow in 2013 on a four-year deal, before quitting the club a year later notably because of a salary cut.

Cristiano Ronaldo: the skinny kid who brought fame to Funchal

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Funchal (Portugal) (AFP) A car park with a spectacular view of Funchal bay now stands on the site of the house where Cristiano Ronaldo grew up and became a football genius.

The superstar's name now brings tourists to the island of Madeira and the main town will again fall silent each time Ronaldo plays for Portugal at Euro 2016.

Euro 2016 captains for each of the 24 teams

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Here is a look at the 24 captains who will lead their teams at Euro 2016.

Group A

Hugo Lloris, France

When he took charge of the national team four years ago, Didier Deschamps explored handing the armband to a field player – but it didn't take the manager long to realize that he couldn't do any better with the France captaincy than goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham to play European matches at Wembley

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur will play their European fixtures at Wembley Stadium next season, the club and the Football Association announced Saturday.

The 2016/17 season will be the last Spurs spend at their White Hart Lane home in London, with work on a new purpose built £400 million ($585 million, 526 million euros) home close to their existing ground having already started.

Milan readies for glitzy, all-Spanish Champions League final

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Milan (AFP) Milan's San Siro stadium is preparing for a glitzy all-Spanish final of the Champions League on Saturday as fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid packed the city in glorious summer sunshine.

Record ten-time champions Real, who won the inaugural trophy in 1956, are gunning for their 11th title from European football's premier club event two years after a stunning comeback victory over Atletico in Lisbon secured 'La Decima'.

FFF boss slams Cantona attack on Deschamps as ‘stupid, pathetic’

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Paris (AFP) French football chief Noel Le Graet on Saturday slammed claims by former international Eric Cantona that France coach Didier Deschamps was guilty of racial discrimination in his Euro 2016 selection as "stupid" and "pathetic".

Cantona told British daily The Guardian on Thursday that Deschamps had snubbed Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their "north African origins".

Germany turn to youth in Slovakia Euro tune-up

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Berlin (AFP) World champions Germany are set to blood a crop of rising stars in Sunday's friendly at home to Slovakia as head coach Joachim Loew fine-tunes his Euro 2016 squad.

Loew purposefully chose Slovakia, who will make their debut at a European championships in France, as they are expected to play in a similar style to Germany's Group C opponents Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland.

Rashford’s rise no surprise for England boss Hodgson

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) Roy Hodgson insisted Marcus Rashford's dream debut for England came as no surprise after the Manchester United sensation staked his claim for a Euro 2016 place with a record-breaking strike in a 2-1 win over Australia.

England manager Hodgson had claimed the world would be watching to see if Rashford could cope with the pressure of what amounted to a one-game audition for a place in his final 23-man squad for the Euros.

Third-time lucky with winner Mourinho for United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United will be expecting to make it third time lucky in their attempt to replace Alex Ferguson with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as the club's new manager.

Ferguson's retirement in 2013 was always going to leave an enormous void to fill at Old Trafford after the legendary Scot bowed out as a Premier League winner, taking his tally to 25 major honours in his 27-year reign as manager.

Messi scare as Argentina down Honduras

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San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) Lionel Messi was taken to hospital after suffering an injury scare on Friday as Argentina defeated Honduras 1-0 in their only warm-up game before next month's Copa America Centenario in the United States.

A first-half goal from in-form Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain settled a low-key encounter in San Juan, with two-time world champions Argentina dominating possession and shots.

Where to find the Real Madrid-Atletico Madrid Champions League final on TV

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final, you've come to the right place.

All eyes turn to Milan, Italy, on Saturday, May 28, as the fashion capital prepares to host the UEFA Champions League Final, airing live on FOX broadcast network, beginning at 2:00 PM ET.

USA Men’s National Team vs. Bolivia preview

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Two friendlies down, one to go for the US Men's National Team before the Copa America kicks off. With a pair of lackluster wins under its belt, the US looks like it might finally be moving in a positive direction going into the Copa America. To keep that momentum, the US needs to play better than it has in its last two games and win the final warmup game against Bolivia.

Ireland keep momentum in Euro 2016 build-up draw

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Dublin (AFP) Ireland maintained their Euro 2016 momentum with a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road in Dublin on Saturday night.

Martin O'Neill's side were ahead at half time thanks to Shane Long's 16th international goal, and looked set for victory only for substitute Luuk de Jong to head home a late equaliser.

Pitch a worry as Keys adds glitz to Champions League final

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Milan (AFP) "Hey you, get off the grass!" screams Simone Di Piano, a San Siro stadium official where Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid will fight to be crowned kings of Europe on Saturday.

It's an understandable request, given the turf has undergone remedial work recently and will host the Champions League final between the Spanish giants.

Rashford’s dream debut boosts Euro bid

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) Marcus Rashford made a bold claim for a place at Euro 2016 as the Manchester United sensation took just 135 seconds to became the youngest player to score on his England debut in Friday's 2-1 win against Australia.

Rashford's meteoric rise hit new heights when the teenage striker opened the scoring in the Euro 2016 warm-up with a clinical volley at the Stadium of Light.

Former Nigeria captain Yobo bows out with testimonial

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Abuja (AFP) Former Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo quit an illustrious playing career in Port Harcourt with a testimonial played in his honour on Friday.

Team Nigeria beat Team World 5-4 in an entertaining hour-long match played in front of over 10,000 fans.

Emmanuel Emenike snatched a hat-trick for Team Nigeria, who lined up Vincent Enyeama, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Ahmed Musa and Efe Ambrose.

Rashford becomes England’s third youngest goalscorer

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) Marcus Rashford became England's third youngest goalscorer as the teenage Manchester United striker netted after 135 seconds of his international debut against Australia on Friday.

Rashford's meteoric rise hit new heights at the Stadium of Light when he opened the scoring in the Euro 2016 warm-up with a cool volley from Raheem Sterling's deflected cross in the third minute.

Ronaldo to ‘transcend’ final, says Zidane

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Milan (AFP) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he expects Cristiano Ronaldo to "transcend" the Champions League final on Saturday and lead them to victory over Atletico Madrid.

Real striker Ronaldo gave fans a scare when he limped out of training on Tuesday.

But not only is the Portuguese superstar fully fit and in a position to beat his own Champions League record of 17 goals in a season, Zidane believes he will feed off the intensity of the final to give fans a treat.

Hazard says he’s back to 100% for Euros

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Lausanne (AFP) Belgium star Eden Hazard insisted on Friday he is back on top form after a frustrating season for Chelsea in the Premier League.

Hazard will captain Belgium at Euro 2016, which starts in two weeks, as Manchester City centre-back Vincent Kompany misses the tournament due to a groin injury.

Zidane brushes off Materazzi well-wishes

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Milan (AFP) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane swept aside references to his dramatic 2006 World Cup final sending-off and underlined his "belief" his side can beat Atletico Madrid to the Champions League trophy on Saturday.

Former France star Zidane was sensationally sent off in the 2006 final after headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi, an incident many feel led to France's defeat and the Azzurri's fourth World Cup victory.

Kaka joins Brazil for Copa America Centenario

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Los Angeles (AFP) Former world footballer of the year Kaka has been added to the Brazilian roster for next month's Copa America Centenario as an injury replacement for Bayern Munich midfielder Douglas Costa.

Brazil coach Dunga made the move for the 34-year-old striker of Orlando City after Costa was forced off the squad due to a left thigh injury, the team said late on Thursday.

Cech breaks Czech cap record

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Prague (AFP) Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech set a new record for Czech caps on Friday in a Euro 2016 friendly against Malta in Austria.

The 34-year-old former Chelsea stopper won his 119th cap, surpassing the previous mark of 118 he shared with former Manchester United winger Karel Poborsky, who retired in 2006.

Saviour Galca released by Espanyol

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Madrid (AFP) Espanyol escaped relegation from La Liga this season but have decided against prolonging the contract of Constantin Galca, the interim coach that saved them, the Spanish club said on Friday.

Galca took over from Sergio Gonzalez last December with the club mired in a relegation struggle, and eventually lifted them to a 13th place finish, five points above relegation.

World Soccer Talk to launch daily EuroCopa Podcast for Copa America and Euro 2016 coverage

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World Soccer Talk is proud to announce the launch of the EuroCopa Soccer Podcast, a one-of-a-kind daily digital audio download that will analyze, preview and review all of the teams and games from both the Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016 tournaments.

Since 2010, World Soccer Talk has produced a daily podcast for major soccer tournaments including World Cup 2010, Euro 2012, World Cup 2014 and now this summer's combination of Copa America and Euro 2016.

Deschamps to sue Cantona over racial discrimination slur

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps will sue Eric Cantona for slander after the Manchester United legend accused his former international and club teammate of racial discrimination in his choice of players for Euro 2016, his lawyer said on Friday.

Cantona told British daily The Guardian on Thursday that Deschamps had snubbed Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their "north African origins".

Manchester United fans give Mourinho cautious welcome

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United fans welcomed Jose Mourinho's appointment as the club's new manager on Friday but said the pressure was now on to deliver quick results for a team whose recent form has been lacklustre.

"I think the new manager will bring a bit more flair into United," said Peter Davy, standing outside the club's Old Trafford ground as three hawkers stood selling scarves bearing the Portuguese coach's image.

Manchester United anoint ‘supercoach’ Mourinho

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London (AFP) Manchester United on Friday anointed Jose Mourinho as their third new manager in less than three years in their bid to reinstate the club as a title-winning force in England and Europe.

After three days of talks, Mourinho agreed a three-year contract on a bumper salary reportedly worth more than $20 million (19.

Manchester United anoint supercoach Mourinho

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London (AFP) Manchester United on Friday anointed Jose Mourinho as their third new manager in less than three years in their bid to reinstate the club as a title-winning force in England and Europe.

After three days of talks, Mourinho agreed a three-year contract on a bumper salary reportedly worth more than $20 million (19.

Torres ready to eclipse Chelsea title feat

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Milan (AFP) Fernando Torres is dreaming of eclipsing his Champions League triumph with Chelsea and making history for the second time in the competition by leading Atletico Madrid to victory over Real Madrid on Saturday.

Torres won the elite European title with the London side in 2012 when they beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to add their name to the trophy for the first time.

Rashford faces Euro 2016 audition in Australia friendly

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson has challenged Marcus Rashford to make his life difficult when the Manchester United sensation auditions for a Euro 2016 place in Friday's friendly against Australia.

Rashford has emerged as a late contender for a seat on the flight to France after a fine breakthrough season with United, but the 18-year-old has only one chance to convince Hodgson he is worthy of being included in the final 23-man squad.

Real Madrid midfielder Modric toughened by Croatia’s war

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Zadar (Croatia) (AFP) Bombs fell on the Croatian town of Zadar as Luka Modric refined his football skills in the corridors of a refugee hotel and in cratered car parks.

Modric, 30, is now Real Madrid's midfield general, plotting attacks for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

Modric was "a vivid child who liked to socialise," recalled Miodrag Paunovic, one of Modric's trainers when he made his football debut with NK Zadar nearly 25 years ago.

Atletico’s Simeone eyes history in Champions League final

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Milan (AFP) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is ready to shoulder "113 years of history" ahead of a Champions League final with Real Madrid that striker Fernando Torres has labelled the "game of my life".

Record 10-time champions Real are the opposition at the San Siro stadium in Milan on Saturday, when Atletico will seek to avenge their stunning defeat to their bitter city rivals in a pulsating 2014 final in Lisbon.

ESPN Deportes will air 9 hours of UEFA Champions League Final coverage

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This Saturday, ESPN Deportes will televise the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. The network has the Spanish-language rights to the game, with the kick-off scheduled for 2:45pm ET.

As both teams compete for the most prestigious title in club soccer, Real Madrid seeks its eleventh win while Atlético Madrid looks for its first UEFA Champions League trophy.

Ched Evans faces retrial for alleged rape in October

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London (AFP) British footballer Ched Evans will face a retrial starting on October 4 for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman, a court ruled on Friday.

Judge Nicola Davies also said the retrial for the former Wales international would be held in Cardiff.

Evans was released from prison in October 2014 after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping the woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales in May 2011.

Mourinho set to take control at United

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho was expected to become Manchester United's new manager on Friday after reportedly agreeing a deal to take charge at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has been in negotiations with United since Louis van Gaal's sacking on Monday and British media reports on Thursday claimed an agreement is now in place for the former Chelsea manager to fulfil his long-held ambition to manage the Premier League club.

Eyes on 11th Champions League crown, insists Ronaldo

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Milan (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo insists personal goals will be put to one side as Real Madrid seek to embellish their incredible European record with victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Ronaldo, a three-time world player of the year, has never scored a goal at the San Siro but has the chance to match and surpass his own record of scoring 17 Champions League goals in a season.

Bale finally at home with Real Madrid stardom

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Madrid (AFP) On the eve of his second Champions League final since joining Real Madrid, Welsh star Gareth Bale admitted he is more at home with the fame and demands at the world's richest club.

Bale's time in the Spanish capital has been marked by severe highs and lows.

He instantly made himself a hero in his debut season with goals in the Champions League and Copa del Rey finals as Real beat their bitterest rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

Promotion about pride not cash says Bruce

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce insists Hull City will be motivated by glory rather than greed when they face Sheffield Wednesday for the lucrative prize of promotion to the Premier League in Saturday's Championship play-off final.

With television revenue for Premier League clubs due to increase next season, the winner of the second-tier showdown at Wembley will land a record cash windfall to go along with their place in the top flight.

Mourinho takes a risk on the ‘mystique’ of Manchester

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho talks bluntly, wins big and then everything seems to go wrong.

Taking on what he called the "mystique" and "romance" of Manchester United adds to one of the most most stellar CVs in football.

But the 53-year-old Portuguese who has won eight league titles in four countries with Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea as well as two Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan knows he is taking on a new risk.

Mourinho and Man Utd go in search of Midas touch

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) In accepting the challenge of attempting to drag Manchester United out of the doldrums, Jose Mourinho will also seek to restore gloss to his own tainted reputation.

The brash 53-year-old Portuguese is a serial winner, having notably won eight league titles and two Champions Leagues, but Chelsea's spectacular collapse over the first half of this season resurrected old doubts about his ability to deliver long-term success.

Supercoach Mourinho anointed at Man United

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London (AFP) Manchester United on Friday anointed Jose Mourinho as their third new manager in less than three years in their bid to reinstate the club as a title-winning force in England and Europe.

After three days of talks, Mourinho agreed a three-year contract on a bumper salary reportedly worth more than $20 million (19.

Supercoach Mourinho anointed at Manchester United

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London (AFP) Manchester United on Friday anointed Jose Mourinho as their third new manager in less than three years in their bid to reinstate the club as a title-winning force in England and Europe.

After three days of talks, Mourinho agreed a three-year contract on a bumper salary reportedly worth more than $20 million (19.

Big clubs need big managers, boasts Man Utd boss Mourinho

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho boasted that giant clubs needed the best managers as he took over at Manchester United on Friday.

Mourinho said he wanted to bury the past three years at Old Trafford, which saw David Moyes and then his own mentor Louis van Gaal struggle to emulate the title-studded success achieved by legendary manager Alex Ferguson.

Man Utd boss Mourinho boasts ‘big clubs need big managers’

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho boasted that giant clubs needed the best managers as he took over at Manchester United on Friday.

Mourinho said he wanted to bury the past three years at Old Trafford, which saw David Moyes and then his own mentor Louis van Gaal struggle to emulate the title-studded success achieved by legendary manager Alex Ferguson.

Mourinho agrees to become Man United manager — reports

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has agreed to become the new manager of Manchester United, according to British media reports on Thursday.

Mourinho has been in negotiations with United since Louis van Gaal's sacking on Monday and it is understood an agreement is now in place for the former Chelsea manager to take charge at Old Trafford.

FA Cup quarter-final replays scrapped

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London (AFP) FA Cup quarter-final replays will be scrapped from next season, the Football Association announced on Thursday.

The last-eight stage of the cup competition will revert to a sudden-death format over one weekend in a bid to ease English football's congested fixture list.

"The Emirates FA Cup remains at the heart of English football and this change adds to the excitement of the competition and will benefit the wider game in general," FA chief executive Martin Glenn said.

Delph set to miss Euros after groin injury

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London (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson revealed Thursday that Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph is set to miss Euro 2016 after suffering a groin injury.

Delph did not travel with the squad to Sunderland as England prepare for Friday's friendly with Australia at the Stadium of Light.

‘Special One’ Mourinho lets success and controversy do the talking

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho talks bluntly, wins big and then everything seems to go wrong.

His reported signing Thursday for Manchester United has bolstered one of the most most stellar CVs in football.

The 53-year-old Portuguese has won eight league titles in four countries with Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea as well as two Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.

US lawmakers back equal pay for women players

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Washington (AFP) US lawmakers joined calls for the United States women's soccer team to receive equal pay on Thursday, adopting a resolution demanding an end to the gender wages gap.

The Senate passed a non-binding resolution from Democratic Senator Patty Murray urging the US Soccer Federation (USSF) ensure the World Cup-winning women's team was fairly compensated.

Messi to give tax fraud testimony on June 2

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi will give evidence along with his fatherfor allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of over four million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes on June 2, a court source confirmed on Thursday.

The trial, which is expected to last four days, will start on May 31, but Messi is not obliged to attend the full hearing as Spanish prosecutors are seeking a jail sentence of less than two years.

Jedinak wants to take out FA Cup frustrations on England

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London (AFP) Australia captain Mile Jedinak plans to take out his FA Cup final frustrations on England in Friday's friendly at the Stadium of Light.

Jedinak was given an extra day off before linking up with his Socceroos team-mates as he recovered from Crystal Palace's 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Wembley last weekend.

Sparks to fly as Mourinho joins nemesis Guardiola in Manchester

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) As Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez will testify, Jose Mourinho has had more than his fair share of public confrontations with opposing managers during his career.

None of them, though, have been as bitter or keenly-felt as Portuguese Mourinho's long-running rivalry with Spaniard Pep Guardiola.

Palestinian football counting on its Israeli Arab stars

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Hebron (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) For the first time in 30 years, Shebab Hebron football club has won the occupied West Bank's championship, thanks in large part to five new players all Israeli Arabs.

Holding Israeli citizenship, they are eligible to play for the country's professional clubs, which have facilities superior to those of the Palestinians.

MLS fails to make positive impression on TV ratings during big soccer weekend

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This past weekend, Major League Soccerand its TV partners pulled out all of the stops to try to boost its fledglingTV ratings. Unfortunately despite the much hyped MLS Rivalry Week, the results yet again failed to move the needle.

First, FOX hadits first-ever MLS game that airednationally on FOX broadcast television.

US lawmakers back equal pay for women players

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Washington (AFP) US lawmakers joined calls for the United States women's soccer team to receive equal pay on Thursday, adopting a resolution demanding an end to the gender wages gap.

The Senate passed a non-binding resolution from Democratic Senator Patty Murray urging the US Soccer Federation (USSF) ensure the World Cup-winning women's team was fairly compensated.

FOX’s Man United-Crystal Palace FA Cup Final scores best-ever viewing audience

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The 2016 FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace scored the best viewing audience ever for a game onthe over-the-air FOX network.

The match, which was televised live on FOX from 12:30-3:10pm ET, had a viewing audience average of 1,018,000 people. The number is the highest for the final since it began airing on FOX in 2013.

Lyon seal third women’s Champions League title

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Reggio Emilia (Italy) (AFP) Lyon claimed their third women's Champions League title on Thursday with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Wolfsburg after the final finished 1-1 in Reggio Emilia.

Norwegian Ada Hederberg gave the French side a 12th-minute lead, but OL failed to put the game to bed and Germany international striker Alexandra Popp pounced to equalise with just two minutes left of the regular 90.

Palestinian football counting on its Israeli Arab stars

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Hebron (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) For the first time in 30 years, Shebab Hebron football club has won the occupied West Bank's championship, thanks in large part to five new players all Israeli Arabs.

Holding Israeli citizenship, they are eligible to play for the country's professional clubs, which have facilities superior to those of the Palestinians.

Lyon seal third women’s Champions League title

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Reggio Emilia (Italy) (AFP) Lyon claimed their third women's Champions League title on Thursday with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Wolfsburg after the final finished 1-1 in Reggio Emilia.

Norwegian Ada Hederberg gave the French side a 12th-minute lead, but OL failed to put the game to bed and Germany international striker Alexandra Popp pounced to equalise with just two minutes left of the regular 90.

FA Cup quarter-final replays scrapped

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London (AFP) FA Cup quarter-final replays will be scrapped from next season, the Football Association announced on Thursday.

The last-eight stage of the cup competition will revert to a sudden-death format over one weekend in a bid to ease English football's congested fixture list.

"The Emirates FA Cup remains at the heart of English football and this change adds to the excitement of the competition and will benefit the wider game in general," FA chief executive Martin Glenn said.

‘Special One’ Mourinho lets success and controversy do the talking

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho talks bluntly, wins big and then everything seems to go wrong.

His reported signing Thursday for Manchester United has bolstered one of the most most stellar CVs in football.

The 53-year-old Portuguese has won eight league titles in four countries with Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea as well as two Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.

Mourinho agrees to become Man United manager — reports

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has agreed to become the new manager of Manchester United, according to British media reports on Thursday.

Mourinho has been in negotiations with United since Louis van Gaal's sacking on Monday and it is understood an agreement is now in place for the former Chelsea manager to take charge at Old Trafford.

Keys adds to unprecedented glitz and glamour of San Siro final

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Milan (AFP) American R&B star Alicia Keys will make history by becoming the first artist to sing live at a Champions League final opening ceremony that promises unprecedented glitz and glamour on Saturday.

Record ten-time champions Real Madrid host city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, commonly known as the San Siro, looking for an 11th victory in Europe's premier club competition.

Former NBA executive hired as CONCACAF chief

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Miami (AFP) Former NBA executive Philippe Moggio has been appointed as the new general secretary of CONCACAF, it was announced Thursday, in the latest move designed to help improve the scandal-tainted organization's image.

Moggio, the NBA's former senior vice president and managing director for Latin America, will also serve as CONCACAF's chief executive when he starts work on June 13, a statement said.

Mourinho and Man Utd go in search of Midas touch

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) In accepting the challenge of attempting to drag Manchester United out of the doldrums, Jose Mourinho will also seek to restore gloss to his own tainted reputation.

The brash 53-year-old Portuguese is a serial winner, having notably won eight league titles and two Champions Leagues, but Chelsea's spectacular collapse over the first half of this season resurrected old doubts about his ability to deliver long-term success.

Sparks to fly as Mourinho joins nemesis Guardiola in Manchester

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) As Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez will testify, Jose Mourinho has had more than his fair share of public confrontations with opposing managers during his career.

None of them, though, have been as bitter or keenly-felt as Portuguese Mourinho's long-running rivalry with Spaniard Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho agrees to become Man United manager — reports

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has agreed to become the new manager of Manchester United, according to British media reports on Thursday.

Mourinho has been in negotiations with United since Louis van Gaal's sacking on Monday and it is understood an agreement is now in place for the former Chelsea manager to take charge at Old Trafford.

MLS’s first game on FOX broadcast TV breaks 500k barrier for New York derby

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Major League Soccer's first game to air nationally on FOX broadcast television was viewed by 595,000 people. The match featured New York City against New York Red Bulls, which was shown live from 3:30-5:30pm.

FOX's live coverage of New York City versus New York Red Bulls was a first in a number of ways.

Mourinho agrees to become Manchester United manager — reports

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has agreed to become the new manager of Manchester United, according to British media reports on Thursday.

Mourinho has been in negotiations with United since Louis van Gaal's sacking on Monday and it is understood an agreement is now in place for the former Chelsea manager to take charge at Old Trafford.

Delph set to miss Euros after groin injury

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London (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson revealed Thursday that Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph is set to miss Euro 2016 after suffering a groin injury.

Delph did not travel with the squad to Sunderland as England prepare for Friday's friendly with Australia at the Stadium of Light.

Messi to give tax fraud testimony on June 2

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi will give evidence along with his fatherfor allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of over four million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes on June 2, a court source confirmed on Thursday.

The trial, which is expected to last four days, will start on May 31, but Messi is not obliged to attend the full hearing as Spanish prosecutors are seeking a jail sentence of less than two years.

Jedinak wants to take out FA Cup frustrations on England

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London (AFP) Australia captain Mile Jedinak plans to take out his FA Cup final frustrations on England in Friday's friendly at the Stadium of Light.

Jedinak was given an extra day off before linking up with his Socceroos team-mates as he recovered from Crystal Palace's 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Wembley last weekend.

Andrea Bocelli and Alicia Keys to sing before Champions League final

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Paris (AFP) Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and American soul diva Alicia Keys will both sing at a revamped Champions League final opening ceremony in Milan on Saturday.

UEFA are introducing a longer curtain-raiser in a nod to the money-spinning advertising extravaganza which American Football's Superbowl half-time show galvanises.

O’Neill ready for Euro decision time

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Dublin (AFP) Martin O'Neill says 90 percent of his Republic of Ireland squad will know their Euro 2016 fate after Friday's penultimate warm-up clash against the Netherlands in Dublin.

O'Neill was speaking at the FAI National Training Centre ahead of the meeting with a Dutch side that has not qualified for France, during which the Republic manager hopes to move a step closer to finalising his 23-man group.

Cantona accuses Deschamps of racial discrimination in Euro 2016 squad

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London (AFP) Former France international Eric Cantona on Thursday accused coach Didier Deschamps of racial discrimination in his choice of players for Euro 2016, claiming he snubbed Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their "north African origins".

"One thing is for sure – Benzema and Ben Arfa are two of the best players in France and will not play the European Championship.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic dodges Man U speculation

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Solna (Sweden) (AFP) Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday refused to comment on speculation he is set to join Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho is on the verge of becoming the new manager.

Ibrahimovic, 34, said he knew where he would be playing football next season having left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season, but would not say where that will be.

Mourinho’s Man Utd link boosts mega-transfer hopes

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The prospect of Jose Mourinho becoming Manchester United's next boss has unleashed hopes across Europe of a mega-spending spree by the English giants to get back into the elite.

While talks with Mourinho's representatives dragged on Thursday, media reports have spoken of the Portuguese coach getting between 200 and 300 million pounds ($295-$440 million/263-395 million euros) to spend before the new season starts.

Rashford faces Euro audition as decision time looms

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Photo credit: AFP

Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson has challenged Marcus Rashford to make his life difficult when the Manchester United sensation auditions for a Euro 2016 place in Friday's friendly against Australia.

Rashford has emerged as a late contender for a seat on the flight to France after a fine breakthrough season with United, but the 18-year-old has only one chance to convince Hodgson he is worthy of being included in the final 23-man squad.

Australian footballer Cahill set to stay in China – agent

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Sydney (AFP) Australia's veteran top goalscorer Tim Cahill is set to stay in China next season with three clubs chasing the former Everton midfielder, according to his agent.

The 36-year-old signed a short-term deal with Hangzhou Greentown in February just days after his contract was terminated by rival Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua.

Atletico seek final step to rewrite Madrid derby history

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Madrid (AFP) In the dying moments of Diego Simeone's second Madrid derby as Atletico Madrid coach, a banner was lowered behind the goal his side was defending to display a stinging message: "Wanted: A dignified rival for a decent derby".

Real Madrid's fans have since got far more than they bargained for as Simeone has transformed Atletico from a self-destructing shambles into a European powerhouse in the past four years.

Nagbe nets first US goal to defeat Ecuador

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Washington (AFP) Liberian-born striker Darlington Nagbe scored in the 90th minute to give the United States a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in a warm-up match for the Copa America Centenario.

Nagbe, a 25-year-old midfielder for the reigning Major League Soccer champion Portland Timbers, netted his first goal for the American squad in dramatic fashion after becoming a US citizen last September and making his American debut last November.

Lukaku eyes move away from Everton to ‘win titles’

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London (AFP) Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku said he is considering a move away from Everton to increase his chances of winning trophies.

Speaking to Britain's Daily Star newspaper, Lukaku did not rule out remaining with the Toffees but said "I want to win titles" in a hint that he sees his future away from Goodison Park.

Mourinho contract talks hinge on image rights

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho's contract negotiations to become the next manager of Manchester United appear to hinge on the rights to the use of his image on merchandise, British media reported on Thursday.

The rights are owned by his former club Chelsea and, while they are not expected to stop his hiring, they have drawn out the talks with Manchester United this week, the reports cited club sources as saying.

Giovinco’s omission could hurt MLS’s player recruitment

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Sebastian Giovinco has been left out of the Italy squad ahead of the 2016 European tournament. Of course, most US soccer fans know this since Major League Soccer has been up in arms over his omission, or at least Antonio Conte's comments.

Giovinco played a small role, if any, in Italy's qualification for this summer's finals.

Bradley-Nagbe partnership could reap rewards in Copa America

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For all of the discussion about the age and makeup of Jurgen Klinsmann's Copa America squad, and the tactical changes he made in the second half against Ecuador indicate what the future may be like for this team. After the 1-0 win against Ecuador, this also may indicate that the future is closer to the present than previously thought, and that is a welcome sign.

Manchester United hold day two of Mourinho talks

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London (AFP) Manchester United were locked in a second day of talks with Jose Mourinho's agents on Wednesday, hammering out a deal to sweep the controversial Portuguese boss into Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has agreed personal terms on a three-year deal with a likely annual salary of at least £10 million ($15 million, 13 million euros) but issues remain over image rights, Sky News television reported.

Manchester United hold day two of Mourinho talks

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London (AFP) Manchester United were locked in a second day of talks with Jose Mourinho's agents on Wednesday, hammering out a deal to sweep the controversial Portuguese boss into Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has agreed personal terms on a three-year deal with a likely annual salary of at least £10 million ($15 million, 13 million euros) but issues remain over image rights, Sky News television reported.

Real Madrid and Manchester United top KPMG rich list

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Paris (AFP) Real Madrid and Manchester United are the richest clubs in Europe, according to a study by Dutch auditors KPMG.

Both clubs have been valued at 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion) according to KPMG, which looked at 32 major European clubs.

Barcelona were next in the list at 2.

Goal-line technology to be used at Copa America

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Chicago (AFP) Goal-line technology will be used in next month's Copa America Centenario, organizers announced Wednesday, selecting Hawk-Eye as the supplier for the camera replay system.

Five of the 10 top-ranked national teams in the world will take the field for the 100th anniversary edition of the South American tournament, a special event hosted by the United States starting June 3.

Ukraine add Seleznyov, Butko to Euro 2016 squad

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Kiev (AFP) Striker Yevgen Seleznyov and defender Bogdan Butko have been added to Ukraine's provisional squad for Euro 2016, the Football Federation of Ukraine announced Wednesday.

Seleznyov, who terminated his contract with Russia's Kuban Krasnodar earlier this month to join Shakhtar Donetsk, had been left out of an initial squad named by coach Mykhaylo Fomenko last week.

Serbian football coach Mihajlovic takes Torino helm

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Rome (AFP) Serbia's Sinisa Mihajlovic is back in a Serie A dugout again after signing a two-year deal with Torino, the Italian club said on Wednesday.

Torino will be the sixth Italian club Mihajlovic, known as a free-kick specialist in his playing career, has coached after Bologna, Catania, Fiorentina, Sampadoria and AC Milan.

Seoul back from the brink, Jaish, Al Ain advance to AFC Champions League quarters

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Seoul (AFP) FC Seoul came back from the brink to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out on Wednesday as Hao Junmin's last-minute thunderbolt also put Shandong Luneng into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

In a breathless night of action, Go Yo-Han struck in the dying seconds of extra time against Urawa Red Diamonds the fourth goal of the extra periods to force the shoot-out, which Seoul won 7-6.

Benfica extend contract of goalkeeper Julio Cesar

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Lisbon (AFP) Portuguese champions Benfica have secured the services of Brazilian international goalkeeper Julio Cesar for a further two seasons, the club said on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old stopper joined Benfica in 2014 in the wake of a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation at the hands of eventual champions Germany.

Benitez stays to lead Newcastle’s promotion bid

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) Rafael Benitez confirmed Wednesday he would stay on as Newcastle United manager in a bid to lead the north-east club's bid for promotion back to the Premier League.

The 56-year-old Spaniard has agreed a new three-year deal after opting against exercising a release clause open to him in the event of relegation that was in his initial contract signed in March.

Portuguese defender Figueiras joins Olympiakos from Sevilla

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Piraeus (Greece) (AFP) Portuguese defender Diogo Figueiras has joined Greek champions Olympiakos, the Piraeus team announced Wednesday.

"Olympiakos announces the acquisition of Diogo Figueiras from Sevilla," said a brief statement from the club.

Greek media reported that the 24-year-old has signed a three-year contract with an annual wage of 500,000 euros ($558,000).

Deschamps keeping French Euro 2016 expectations high

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps accepted on Wednesday that Raphael Varane's injury is a blow to his side's Euro 2016 hopes, but called on his men to overcome their defensive absences.

The injury to Real Madrid centre-back Varane comes after his first-choice international partner Mamadou Sakho was also ruled out of the tournament following a failed drugs test while playing for club team Liverpool.

Manchester United hold day two of Mourinho talks

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London (AFP) Manchester United were locked in a second day of talks with Jose Mourinho's agents on Wednesday, hammering out a deal to sweep the controversial Portuguese boss into Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has agreed personal terms on a three-year deal with a likely annual salary of at least £10 million ($15 million, 13 million euros) but issues remain over image rights, Sky News television reported.

Ronaldo wants extended Real Madrid stay

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Madrid (AFP) Three-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has stressed his desire to remain at Spanish giants Real Madrid beyond the end of his current contract in 2018.

"It is clear I want to stay here, I want to continue here," he told Spanish television station La Sexta on Wednesday.

France to deploy 90,000 security for Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France said Wednesday it will deploy more than 90,000 police and security guards for Euro 2016, vowing to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" during the football tournament that starts next month.

The announcement followed chaos on Saturday at the Stade de France national stadium when smoke bombs were set off during the national cup final, sparking panic.

Pirlo and Giovinco’s exclusions from Italy squad are not an indictment on MLS

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MLS fans and American soccer fans in general often take umbrage with every perceived slight against their leagues and how the sport is perceived on these shores. Take yesterday's comments from Antonio Conte about his decision to leave out Sebastian Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo from his Euro 2016 preliminary squad.

Seoul, Shandong reach AFC Champions League quarters

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Seoul (AFP) FC Seoul came back from the brink to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out on Wednesday as Hao Junmin's last-minute thunderbolt also put Shandong Luneng into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

In a breathless night of action, Go Yo-Han struck in the dying seconds of extra time against Urawa Red Diamonds the fourth goal of the extra periods to force the shoot-out, which Seoul won 7-6.

Should Arsenal gamble £38 million on striker Alvaro Morata?

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Recent reports have claimed that Real Madrid will exercise their buy-back clause for former player Alvaro Morata. Morata departed Madrid for Juventus just two years ago and the cost to bring the 23-year-old back to his former club would be £22million. Los Blancos, however, do not have any intention of actually keeping Morata with the club if they trigger the buy-back clause.

Ronaldo trains ahead of Champions League final

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo alleviated concerns over his fitness ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid as the three-time World Player of the Year returned to training on Wednesday.

Ronaldo limped off towards the end of training on Tuesday after suffering a knock on a persistent left thigh problem.

Shandong into AFC Champions League quarters after last-gasp win

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Sydney (AFP) Substitute Hao Junmin's last-minute rocket broke Sydney FC hearts and put China's Shandong Luneng into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals after a sensational last-16 second leg on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic's late penalty save after he also stopped a spot-kick in the first leg seemed to have earned 10-man Sydney their first appearance in Asia's last eight.

Schweinsteiger expects to be fit for Euros

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Ascona (Switzerland) (AFP) Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Wednesday he would recover from a knee injury in time to captain Germany at the European Championship, even though it remained unclear when he would return to the pitch.

"I'm doing well, I am very confident," he told journalists at a press conference in the Swiss town of Ascona, where the German national squad has set up its training camp ahead of the tournament in France.

Yankee Stadium is killing New York City FC

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There are no two ways about it. New York City FC's meltdown on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls was one of the most embarrassing and least forgivable performances in MLS history.

That NYCFC got blanked 7-0 at home in a derby is shocking enough, but the manner of the team's capitulation only served to compound horrors.

Love him or hate him, Mourinho set for United

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho will be faced with a litany of problems once the polarising Portuguese manager finally starts his Manchester United reign later this week.

Mourinho could be confirmed as United's new boss as early as Wednesday after his agent Jorge Mendes met the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for talks in London on Tuesday.

Can Jose Mourinho win over the Manchester United faithful?

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Although it hasn't been officially announced yet, Jose Mourinho is basically guaranteed to be the next manager of Manchester United following Louis Van Gaal's official departure this week. Despite winning the FA cup this season, Van Gaal's time at United was tumultuous. He created a solid defense, took United back into the Champions League for one season, and promoted several promising youth players.

Real Madrid stars thriving under Zidane’s free reign

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Madrid (AFP) Just five months into his first senior managerial role, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is already living up to the unenviable task of matching his credentials as one of the finest players of his generation.

Fourteen years on from the sumptuous volley that rippled a rain-soaked net at Hampden Park in Glasgow to hand Real their ninth European Cup over Bayer Leverkusen, he can become just the seventh man to win the Champions League as a player and a coach with victory over Atletico Madrid at Milan's San Siro on Saturday.

France to deploy 90,000 security for Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France said Wednesday it will deploy more than 90,000 police and security guards for Euro 2016, vowing to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" during the football tournament that starts next month.

The announcement followed chaos on Saturday at the Stade de France national stadium when smoke bombs were set off during the national cup final, sparking panic.

USA Men’s National Team vs. Ecuador preview

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Copa America preparation rolls on. With a 3-1 friendly win over Puerto Rico under itsbelt, the USA Men's National Team can really start to gel as the full 23-man roster convenes in Dallas. The next friendly in line before the Copa America starts is against a much sterner test in Ecuador.

The 23-man US roster for the Copa America was announced on Saturday at halftime of the 7-0Hudson River Beatdown (that's New York Red Bulls vs.

Arsenal confirm Xhaka deal agreed

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London (AFP) Arsenal announced the signing of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday.

The Premier League side said the deal has yet to be officially ratified, but terms have been agreed with the 23-year-old.

"Arsenal have reached an agreement with Granit Xhaka to join the club on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee," said a statement from the North Londoners.

Man Utd hold day two of Mourinho talks

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London (AFP) Manchester United were locked in a second day of talks with Jose Mourinho's agents on Wednesday, hammering out a deal to sweep the controversial Portuguese boss into Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has agreed personal terms on a three-year deal with a likely annual salary of at least £10 million ($15 million, 13 million euros) but issues remain over image rights, Sky News television reported.

Cord cutter’s guide to watching Copa America Centenario

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This summer, every single game of the Copa America Centenario will be shown live on TV networks around the world, including the United States. But not everyone has a cable or satellite TV subscription. If that includes you, we've created a postfor you entitled the cord cutter's guide to watching Copa America Centenario, which features several helpful tips to help you cut the cord and watch Copa America Centenario legally and uninterrupted.

Bosz appointed Ajax football coach

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The Hague (AFP) Ajax have appointed Dutchman Peter Bosz as their new coach in place of Frank de Boer, the Amsterdam club confirmed on Tuesday.

Bosz, 52, leaves his coaching position with Maccabi Tel Aviv to join the Dutch club on a three-year contract until June 2019.

"It's a good time for me as a coach," said Bosz who lead Maccabi to second place in the Israeli league.

Euro Super League still on agenda says sports exec

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London (AFP) A breakaway European Super League is still being discussed in football's corridors of power, according to the sports executive involved when talks took place earlier this year.

Charlie Stillitano of the International Champions Cup (ICC) held discussions with Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool amid reports Europe's leading clubs wanted a potential competition in which they would be guaranteed to feature regardless of on-pitch results.

France blow as Varane ruled out of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's Euro 2016 preparations took a knock on Tuesday with key defender Raphael Varane ruled out injured of next month's tournament on home soil with his place taken by Adil Rami.

Coach Didier Deschamps had feared the worst after Real Madrid announced Sunday that the 23-year-old Varane, capped 29 time for France, had suffered a serious left thigh injury.

France blow as Varane ruled out of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France defender Raphael Varane has been ruled out of Euro 2016 with a left thigh injury and will be replaced by Adil Rami, the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Tuesday.

The FFF said in a statement that scans had confirmed the initial diagnosis of Real Madrid team doctors who estimated their player would be out of action for up to three weeks.

Football coach Gracia to leave Malaga

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Madrid (AFP) Malaga coach Javier Gracia will not continue in charge of the Andalusians next season despite two impressive campaigns in charge, the club announced on Tuesday.

"Javier Gracia Carlos will not continue next season at Malaga and leaves the club after two seasons in charge of the first team," Malaga said in a statement.

AFP

France’s Varane ruled out of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has been ruled out of Euro 2016 because of a left thigh injury and will be replaced by Adil Rami, the French Football Federation (FFF) announced on Tuesday.

The FFF said in a statement that scans had confirmed the initial diagnosis of Real Madrid team doctors who estimated the player would be out of action for up to three weeks.

Cantona sideswipe as Mourinho closes in on Manchester United

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho is expected to be named as Manchester United's new manager despite club great Eric Cantona saying incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would have been a better choice.

Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in London on Tuesday after Louis van Gaal's troubled two-year reign at Old Trafford ended with his sacking a day earlier.

Wu’s late winner puts Shanghai through to AFC Champions League quarters

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Shanghai (AFP) Wu Lei's dramatic injury-time winner put Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals against a dumbfounded FC Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Japanese visitors were seconds away from Asia's last eight until Wu struck in the 91st minute for a 1-0 win, sparking chaotic celebrations among the SIPG players and fans.

Ticketless fans expected to swarm France for Euro 2016, warn British police

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London (AFP) Around 250,000 British fans will travel to France for Euro 2016 without tickets for matches, British police warned on Tuesday.

Security at the European Championships was already being ramped up after the recent terrorist attacks in France and the prospect of supporters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland swarming into the country without access to the games creates more potential for trouble.

Ronaldo confident of Champions League glory despite injury scare

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo played down fears over his fitness ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday after the three-time World Player of the Year limped off towards the end of training on Tuesday.

"I am fine. I had a little problem in training, a dead leg as they say here, but tomorrow or the next day I will be fine," he said.

Wu’s late winner puts Shanghai through to AFC Champions League quarters

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Shanghai (AFP) Wu Lei's dramatic injury-time winner put Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals against a dumbfounded FC Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Japanese visitors were seconds away from Asia's last eight until Wu struck in the 91st minute for a 1-0 win, sparking chaotic celebrations among the SIPG players and fans.

Liverpool sign Mainz goalkeeper Karius

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London (AFP) Liverpool signed Germany Under-21 goalkeeper Loris Karius from Mainz on Tuesday for a fee reported to be £4.7 million ($6.8 million, 6.1 million euros).

Karius agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League club and is expected to provide strong competition for Liverpool's current first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Veteran Lucescu appointed Zenit football coach

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) Zenit Saint Petersburg have entrusted veteran Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu with the task of getting them back into Champions League football after a disappointing campaign, the Russian club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 70-year-old, who won 22 trophies including eight Ukrainian league titles and the 2009 UEFA Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk, signed a two-year deal with the option of a third on Tuesday to take over from Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas.

Favre takes over at Nice after Puel resigns

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Nice (France) (AFP) Switzerland's Lucien Favre was named coach of Ligue 1 outfit Nice on Tuesday after the resignation of the highly-respected Claude Puel.

Favre, 58, has been out of work since being sacked by Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach in September, but was set to sign a three-year contract with Nice, according to sources.

Manchester United sack managers the hard way

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) There is no easy way to sack a Premier League manager and Manchester United have found that out the hard way with their dismissal of Louis Van Gaal.

Some are calling the manner of the Dutchman's departure from United a "public relations disaster" for England's most famous club as it prepares to name Jose Mourinho.

Champions League final goal like losing virginity – Ramos

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Madrid (AFP) Hero of Real Madrid's Champions League triumph two years ago, defender Sergio Ramos compared his first final experience to losing his virginity ahead Saturday's clash with Atletico Madrid in a rematch of the 2014 final.

Ramos broke Atletico's hearts with his stoppage time equaliser to deny Diego Simeone's men a first ever European Cup before a rampant Real ran out 4-1 winners after extra-time.

Wu strike puts Shanghai through to AFC Champions League quarters

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Shanghai (AFP) Wu Lei's dramatic injury-time winneragainst a dumbfounded FC Tokyo put Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The Japanese visitors were seconds away from Asia's last eight until Wu struck in the 91st minute for a 1-0 win, sparking chaotic celebrations among the SIPG players and fans.

Cantona sideswipe as Jose Mourinho closes in on Man Utd job

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho was closing in on becoming Manchester United's new manager on Tuesday despite club great Eric Cantona saying incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would have been a better pick.

Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, British media reported, less than 24 hours after Louis van Gaal's troubled two-year reign came to a sour end.

Euro 2016 terror threat worries Desailly

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) France's World Cup winner Marcel Desailly is worried about security for Euro 2016 after the deadly attacks on Paris last November.

"Of course, there is a little fear," the 1998 World Cup winner and Euro 2000 champion told AFP.

"Because of the level of security, we hope nothing will happen, but it's a very difficult thing to be able to check everyone.

Ronaldo confident of Champions League glory despite injury scare

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo played down fears over his fitness ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday after the three-time World Player of the Year limped off towards the end of training on Tuesday.

"I am fine. I had a little problem in training, a dead leg as they say here, but tomorrow or the next day I will be fine," he said.

Mourinho set to fulfil United dream after Van Gaal exit

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho is on the verge of fulfilling his dream of managing Manchester United after Louis van Gaal's troubled two-year reign at Old Trafford came to a bitter end.

Van Gaal said he was "very disappointed" to be sacked on Monday just 48 hours after leading United to victory in the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

Red Star Belgrade triumph — Yugoslav glory and requiem

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Belgrade (AFP) Dragan Dzajic hid his eyes before the last shot in Red Star Belgrade's European Cup final 25 years ago and opened them to joyous celebrations, but the triumph would soon turn sour.

Darko Pancev scored a fifth penalty to secure the Yugoslav side a 5-3 shootout win over Olympique Marseille of France.

Ronaldo limps out of training days before Champions League final

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Madrid (AFP) Doubts over Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness for Real Madrid's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday intensified after the three-time World Player of the Year limped off towards the end of training on Tuesday.

Ronaldo has been dogged by a persistent thigh injury which forced him to miss three games last month.

Mourinho set to fulfil Man Utd dream

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho was on the verge of fulfilling his dream of managing Manchester United on Tuesday after Louis van Gaal's troubled two-year reign came to a bitter end.

The path was clear for the former Chelsea manager to be confirmed as the new United boss after Van Gaal was sacked Monday the price of failing to get one of the world's biggest clubs into the Champions League.

England manager Hodgson says Vardy may have to wing it

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson defended his decision to deploy Jamie Vardy in a wide role after the Leicester City striker struck the winner in a 2-1 success against Turkey.

Vardy scored 24 goals from a central role to fire Leicester to Premier League glory this season, only to find himself lining up on the left flank in a 4-3-3 formation in Sunday's Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Seferovic’s strike keeps Eintracht in Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic threw down a marker for Euro 2016 on Monday by scoring the crucial goal in Eintracht Frankfurt's 1-0 play-off win at Nuremberg to keep them in the German league.

After last Thursday's relegation play-off first-leg in Frankfurt finished in a 1-1 draw, Seferovic netted at Nuremberg's sold-out Grundig Stadium to the delight of the travelling fans in the 50,000 crowd.

FIFA sack top official over bonuses worth millions

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA on Monday sacked deputy general secretary Markus Kattner for financial 'breaches' involving secret bonuses worth millions of dollars, according to sources close to an inquiry by the world body.

Kattner's downfall topples another member of ex-president Sepp Blatter's inner circle at football's world body.

Seferovic’s strike keeps Eintracht in Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic threw down a marker for Euro 2016 on Monday at Nuremberg to keep them in the German league.

After last Thursday's relegation play-off first-leg in Frankfurt finished in a 1-1 draw, Seferovic netted at Nuremberg's sold-out Grundig Stadium to the delight of the travelling fans in the 50,000 crowd.

Van Gaal axed by Manchester United as Mourinho waits in wings

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London (AFP) Louis van Gaal's sacking as Manchester United manager was finally confirmed on Monday as Jose Mourinho prepared to take charge at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal had appeared certain to lose his job since reports leaked out after United's FA Cup final victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday that former Chelsea boss Mourinho was being lined up to replace him.

‘Iron Tulip’ Van Gaal wilts in Man Utd spotlight

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London (AFP) The realisation that Louis van Gaal was not the manager Manchester United had hoped for seemed to dawn on him at roughly the same time as it did the club's supporters.

Defending his record after a 2-1 home defeat by Norwich City back in December that exposed him to the full venom of Old Trafford, he said: "I am or maybe I have to say now, was a very successful manager.

Van Gaal axed by United

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London (AFP) Louis van Gaal's sacking as Manchester United manager was finally confirmed on Monday, as the Premier League club announced the Dutchman had left with immediate effect.

Van Gaal had appeared certain to lose his job since reports leaked out after United's FA Cup final victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was being lined up to replace him.

Van Gaal axed by Manchester United

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London (AFP) Louis van Gaal's sacking as Manchester United manager was finally confirmed on Monday, as the Premier League club announced the Dutchman had left with immediate effect.

Van Gaal had appeared certain to lose his job since reports leaked out after United's FA Cup final victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was being lined up to replace him.

Hummels finally signs five-year Bayern deal

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Berlin (AFP) Germany defender Mats Hummels has formally completed his transfer back to Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund by signing a five-year contract for the Bavarian giants on Monday.

The 27-year-old Borussia Dortmund captain finally put pen to paper and his transfer has reportedly cost Bayern 38 million euros ($42.

Houllier set to rejoin Lyon as general manager

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Lyon (AFP) Former Lyon coach Gerard Houllier is set to rejoin the French Ligue 1 runners-up as general manager, club president Jean-Michel Aulas said on Monday.

The return of the 68-year-old Houllier, who coached the Rhone club to two Ligue 1 titles during his previous spell from 2005-07, depends on him passing a medical.

FIFA sack top official over ‘breaches’ worth millions

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA on Monday sacked deputy general secretary Markus Kattner for financial 'breaches' involving millions of dollars, according to sources close to an inquiry by the world body.

Kattner's downfall topples another member of ex-president Sepp Blatter's inner circle at football's world body.

Atletico buy French second division side Lens

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Lens (France) (AFP) Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid on Monday completed the takeover of bankrupt French second division side Lens through a Luxembourg company.

"We hope to bring in Atletico's expertise," said Ignacio Aguillo, a member of the Spanish side's board, told a press conference after a French commercial court approved the takeover.

Portugal begin Euro 2016 training without Ronaldo

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Lisbon (AFP) Portugal on Monday began preparations for Euro 2016 in Lisbon without talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid forward and club teammate Pepe will join the squad after the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Milan on Saturday.

Fifteen of the 23 players named in Fernando Santos' squad were present at their first training session, with those who played for their club sides at the weekend due to arrive during the week.

Marseille, PSG face action over Stade de France disturbances

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Paris (AFP) The French Football Federation (FFF) opened disciplinary proceedings against both Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain on Monday, after crowd disturbances in the French Cup final at the Stade de France at the weekend raised further concerns about security just weeks before Euro 2016.

"The body condemns the unacceptable behaviour of some supporters of Marseille and Paris, inside and outside the Stade de France," the FFF said in a statement.

SFA to probe Scottish Cup final violence

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Glasgow (AFP) The Scottish Football Association announced on Monday it will set up an Independent Commission to investigate crowd trouble that marred Hibernian's Scottish Cup final win over Rangers.

Thousands of Hibernian fans flooded onto the Hampden Park pitch to celebrate their side's dramatic 3-2 victory, but the party atmosphere quickly turned ugly.

FIFA sack deputy general secretary general Kattner

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA on Monday sacked deputy general secretary Markus Kattner for financial 'breaches' linked to his job.

Kattner had been acting general secretary after previous general secretary Jerome Valcke was also dismissed for irregularities.

"Kattner has been dismissed from his position effective immediately," the world body said in a statement.

Rodgers ranks Celtic among world’s biggest clubs

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers claimed he has joined one of the world's biggest clubs after being officially unveiled by the Scottish champions on Monday.

Rodgers' appointment on a 12-month rolling contract was announced last week and the former Liverpool boss got his first taste of the size of the Glasgow club when he was presented to the media before meeting Celtic supporters at Parkhead.

Van Gaal sacked by Manchester United — reports

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London (AFP) Louis Van Gaal's time as manager of Manchester United appeared to be nearing its end on Monday, amid reports that agreement on a severance package was all that stood in the way of his exit from Old Trafford.

Both Van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United's Carrington training ground on Monday following reports that former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was poised to replace the Dutchman.

Champions Spain kick off Euro 2016 preparations

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Madrid (AFP) Two-time defending champions Spain kicked off preparations for Euro 2016 on Monday with a first gathering which included just eight of the 25 players called up by coach Vicente del Bosque for next month's tournament, with the others still tied by club commitments.

Among those attending the session at the Spanish federation's Las Rozas sports complex near Madrid were Chelsea players Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta, Athletic Bilbao's Aritz Aduriz and Mikel San Jose, Manchester City's David Silva, Villarreal's Bruno Soriano and Celta Vigo's Nolito.

Van Gaal ‘on his way out of Man Utd’

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London (AFP) Louis Van Gaal's time as manager of Manchester United appeared to be nearing its end on Monday, amid reports that agreement on a severance package was all that stood in the way of his exit from Old Trafford.

Both Van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United's Carrington training ground early on Monday following reports that former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was poised to replace the Dutchman.

France pledges to fix security ‘failures’ before Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's interior minister promised Monday that security "failures" at the Stade de France would be put right before Euro 2016, following problems at this weekend's national cup final.

"Failures have been noted," Bernard Cazeneuve said after chaotic scenes before Saturday's match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, which was effectively a test run for the security arrangements for the European championships.

Wales boss Coleman signs new two-year deal

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London (AFP) Wales manager Chris Coleman has signed a two-year contract extension, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) announced Monday.

Coleman, who has guided Wales to next month's European Championship in France, had been linked with jobs at Aston Villa and Swansea City in recent weeks.

Hamstring injury for Suarez, who will go to Copa: Barcelona

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will join up with his Uruguay team for the Copa America on June 1 despite doctors diagnosing that he had suffered a hamstring injury, the Catalan club announced Monday.

Suarez hobbled off in tears midway through the Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla Sunday after sustaining the injury to a muscle in the back of his thigh.

Conte fine-tunes Italy’s Euro 2016 squad

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Milan (AFP) Italy coach Antonio Conte cut several Euro 2016 hopefuls from a preliminary squad on Monday as he unveiled a 30-man group for the Azzurri's second pre-competition training camp.

Italy will head to the June 10-July 10 tournament in France looking to reach a second successive final, but are facing a formidable challenge after failing to get past the first round at the past two editions of the World Cup.

France pledges to fix security ‘failures’ before Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's interior minister promised Monday that security "failures" at the Stade de France would be put right before Euro 2016, following problems at this weekend's national cup final.

"Failures have been noted," Bernard Cazeneuve said after chaotic scenes before Saturday's match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, which was effectively a test run for the security arrangements for the European championships.

Guardiola deserved more credit at Bayern: Hoeness

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola has not been given the credit he deserves for his time at Bayern Munich, despite winning seven titles in three seasons, according to ex-club president Uli Hoeness.

Guardiola signed off his Munich sojourn on Saturday when Bayern won the German Cup by beating Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out in Berlin to seal the German league and cup double.

Wales boss Coleman signs new two-year deal

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London (AFP) Wales manager Chris Coleman has signed a two-year contract extension, the Football Association of Wales announced Monday.

There had been uncertainty over the future of Coleman, who has guided Wales to next month's European Championships in France.

But he has now signed a new deal that will include the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

Van Gaal ‘on his way out of Man Utd’

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London (AFP) Louis Van Gaal's time as manager of Manchester United appeared to be nearing its end on Monday, amid reports that agreement on a severance package was all that stood in the way of his exit from Old Trafford.

Both Van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United's Carrington training ground early on Monday following reports that former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was poised to replace the Dutchman.

Arsenal unveil new home jersey for 2016/17 season

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The new Arsenal home jersey for the 2016/17 season was revealed today with a striking new look. Drawing inspiration from the Gunners throughout the 1990's, this modern interpretation of a classic merges innovative technology with design features that give a nod to Arsenal's past.

Designed in the classic Arsenal home red, PUMA has created the new 2016/17 home jersey based on the traditional and iconic home shirt treasured by fans.

Conte fine-tunes Italy’s Euro 2016 squad

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Milan (AFP) Italy coach Antonio Conte cut several Euro 2016 hopefuls from a preliminary squad on Monday as he unveiled a 30-man squad for the Azzurri's second pre-competition training camp.

Italy will head to the June 10-July 10 tournament in France looking to reach a second successive final but facing a formidable challenge after failing to get past the first round at the past two editions of the World Cup.

San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy draw in ‘California Clasico’

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Los Angeles (AFP) Fatai Alashe headed a late equalizer as the San Jose Earthquakes snatched a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer's "California Clasico".

Alashe glanced in a Chad Barrett cross on 87 minutes to give San Jose a share of the points at the StubHub Center in Carson just four minutes after the Galaxy had taken the lead through a Marvell Wynne own goal.

Tearful Suarez a doubt for Copa America

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is a doubt for next month's Copa America after hobbling off in tears midway through the Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla with a muscle injury.

The Uruguayan departed just before the hour mark of a bad-tempered final which saw three players sent off as goals in extra-time from Jordi Alba and Neymar handed Barca a 2-0 win and a 28th cup triumph.

They think it’s Gaal over at United – Mourinho waits in wings

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho was widely reported to be close to joining Manchester United on Monday as The Times said his agent was due in England for talks on replacing embattled manager Louis van Gaal.

British media have been awash with reports of van Gaal's demise, after a leak from an unknown source spread as Manchester United lifted the FA Cup on Saturday.

Beijing Guoan sack coach Zaccheroni but still struggle

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Shanghai (AFP) Struggling Beijing Guoan sacked their coach Alberto Zaccheroni but saw no immediate improvement as a labouring 1-1 draw at unfashionable Shijiazhuang left them just two points above the Chinese Super League relegation zone.

The Italian former Juventus and Japan coach was shown the door after winning just two of nine matches during an acrimonious spell in charge at the capital city powerhouse that saw fan protests and criticism from Chinese media.

England’s Vardy misses Euro 2016 warm-up to get married

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London (AFP) Jamie Vardy is to skip England's final friendly before manager Roy Hodgson puts the finishing touches to his Euro 2016 squad in order to get married.

The 29-year-old striker, who enjoyed a remarkable campaign for Leicester City, inspiring their run to the Premier League title, was on the mark for his country for the third straight game in Sunday's 2-1 friendly win over Turkey.

Van Gaal at Man Utd training ground amid Mourinho talk

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London (AFP) Louis van Gaal was seen arriving at Manchester United's training ground on Monday, amid intense speculation he was about to be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho.

British media have been awash with reports of van Gaal's demise, after a leak from an unknown source spread as Manchester United lifted the FA Cup on Saturday.

Manchester United ‘sack Van Gaal’

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London (AFP) Louis van Gaal has been sacked as manager of Manchester United, several British media outlets reported Monday, amid speculation he will be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Both van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United's Carrington training ground at around 8:45 am local time (0745 GMT) on Monday.

Stade de France security ‘failures’ will be fixed before Euros: minister

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Paris (AFP) France's interior minister promised Monday that security "failures" at the Stade de France in Paris would be put right before Euro 2016 after problems at the national Cup final at the weekend.

Bernard Cazeneuve said "the movement of spectators" would be improved and searches would be increased after police were overwhelmed by a surging crowd on Saturday as fans tried to pass through a new stadium security fence during the French Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille.

Barcelona edge out Sevilla in bad-tempered Cup final

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Madrid (AFP) Jordi Alba and Neymar struck in extra-time as Barcelona completed a league and Cup double by lifting the Copa del Rey for a 28th time after a 2-0 win over Sevilla in a fiery game that saw three red cards on Sunday.

Javier Mascherano's dismissal just before half-time for pulling down Kevin Gameiro put Barca on the back foot and they were further depleted when 59-goal top scorer Luis Suarez limped off early in the second period.

Barcelona win Copa del Rey for 28th time

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Madrid (AFP) Jordi Alba and Neymar struck in extra-time as Barcelona completed a league and Cup double by lifting the Copa del Rey for a 28th time after a 2-0 win over Sevilla in a fiery game that saw three red cards on Sunday.

Javier Mascherano's dismissal just before half-time for pulling down Kevin Gameiro put Barca on the backfoot and they were further depleted when 59-goal top scorer Luis Suarez limped off early in the second period.

Barca, Sevilla stalemate goes to extra-time

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Madrid (AFP) The Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Sevilla went to extra-time on Sunday as neither side could score a goal in 90 minutes despite both teams being reduced to 10 men.

Barca's Javier Mascherano was first to see red for bringing down Kevin Gameiro nine minutes before half-time.

Tearful Suarez forced off in Copa del Rey final

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona striker Luis Suarez left the pitch in tears as he pulled up with a muscle injury just short of an hour into the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on Sunday.

Suarez is now a major doubt for Uruguay's Copa America campaign in the United States next month.

The former Liverpool striker scored 59 goals for Barca this season to lead them to the La Liga title, but couldn't break the deadlock before being replaced by Rafinha with the score at 0-0 and Barca down to 10 men following Javier Mascherano's first-half red card.

Vardy atones for Kane miss as England edge Turkey

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jamie Vardy spared Harry Kane's blushes with a late winner as England edged Turkey 2-1 in their first Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Kane opened the scoring in the third minute, but then clipped the post with a 72nd-minute penalty, won by Vardy, after Hakan Calhanoglu had equalised to score Turkey's first goal against England in the teams' 11th meeting.

Braga win Portuguese Cup on penalties

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Lisbon (AFP) Braga won the Portuguese Cup for the second time in the club's history on Sunday after beating Porto 4-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in Lisbon.

Braga capitalised on defensive errors from Porto to take a two-goal lead courtesy of Rui Fonte and Josue, but Andre Silva scored twice including a 91st-minute equaliser to force extra-time.

Rangers slam lack of condemnation for Hibs fans

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Glasgow (AFP) Rangers on Sunday slammed the Scottish FA and Hibernian for failing to condemn the fans whose violent behaviour overshadowed the Scottish Cup final.

Several Rangers players were assaulted as thousands of Hibernian supporters flooded onto the pitch following the Edinburgh club's dramatic 3-2 triumph at Hampden Park in Saturday.

Barcelona fans whistle Spanish anthem amidst flag row

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Madrid (AFP) Sections of supporters of Catalan giants Barcelona whistled the Spanish national anthem at the Copa del Rey final in Madrid on Sunday, just days after authorities tried to ban Catalan seperatist flags from the match.

An initial ban on the "Estelada" flag was lifted on appeal after a judge concluded it could not be proven to "incite violence, racism, xenophobia or any other form of discrimination" as had been claimed by Community of Madrid authorities.

USA beat Puerto Rico in Copa America warm-up

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Miami (AFP) Bobby Wood, Tim Ream and Paul Arriola scored to give the United States a 3-1 victory at Puerto Rico in an international friendly on Sunday.

In their opening tune-up for next month's Copa America Centenario, the Americans dominated their first-ever match against a team trying to make inroads against the more popular baseball and basketball on the Caribbean island.

Vardy atones for Kane miss as England edge Turkey

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jamie Vardy spared Harry Kane's blushes with a late winner as England edged Turkey 2-1 in their first Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Kane opened the scoring in the third minute, but then clipped the post with a 72nd-minute penalty, won by Vardy, after Hakan Calhanoglu had equalised to score Turkey's first goal against England in the teams' 11th meeting.

Vardy atones for Kane miss as England edge Turkey

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jamie Vardy spared Harry Kane's blushes with a late winner as England edged Turkey 2-1 in their first Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Kane opened the scoring in the third minute, but then clipped the post with a 72nd-minute penalty, won by Vardy, after Hakan Calhanoglu had equalised to score Turkey's first goal against England in the teams' 11th meeting.

‘MSN’ lead Barca quest for league and Cup double

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona coach Luis Enrique named the same side that won La Liga last weekend at Granada as the Catalans aim to add the Copa del Rey to their trophy haul this season against Sevilla on Sunday.

Luis Suarez is looking for his 60th goal of an incredible season as the Uruguayan is again paired with Lionel Messi and Neymar up front.

21 titles in seven years isn’t bad, says Guardiola

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola says winning his 21st title as a coach was not a bad way to sign off at Bayern Munich after his tearful farewell in the German Cup final.

Bayern won Guardiola's final game in charge on Saturday night at Berlin's Olympic Stadium by beating Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on penalties after neither side could score in 120 minutes.

Myanmar fans get fleeting glimpse of Leicester City

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Yangon (AFP) Myanmar football fans flocked Sunday to see newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City as they made a whirlwind visit to Yangon and took in the city's stunning Shwedagon Pagoda.

The Foxes, who have spent a week soaking up the adulation of a growing Thai fanbase, were greeted with a cascade of selfies at Yangon airport before they were whisked away for a brief tour of the Shwedagon, which contains relics from the Buddha.

Myanmar fans get fleeting glimpse of Foxes

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Yangon (Myanmar) (AFP) Myanmar football fans flocked Sunday to see newly-crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City as they made a whirlwind visit to Yangon and took in the city's stunning Shwedagon Pagoda.

The Foxes, who have spent a week soaking up the adulation of a growing Thai fanbase, were greeted with a cascade of selfies at Yangon airport before they were whisked away for a brief tour of the Shwedagon, which contains relics from the Buddha.

Hibs ‘regret’ Scottish Cup final violence

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Glasgow (AFP) Hibernian expressed "regret" Sunday at the crowd trouble that marred their Scottish Cup final win.

Soon after the Edinburgh club had beaten Rangers 3-2 to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years, several thousand Hibs fans ran onto the pitch at Glasgow's Hampden Park on Saturday.

Raphael Varane an injury doubt for all-Madrid final, Euros

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane is a serious doubt for next weekend's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid and the start of France's Euro 2016 campaign after suffering a hamstring injury, Real confirmed on Sunday.

"After tests carried out todayRaphaël Varane has been diagnosed with a grade two injury in his left hamstring," Madrid said in a statement.

Brocchi at risk as Milan miss out on Europe

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Milan (AFP) AC Milan coach Cristian Brocchi admits his job is on the line after an Italian Cup final defeat by Juventus ended the Serie A giants' hopes of European football next season.

An inspired Milan dominated the Stadio Olimpico clash in Rome but fell to an extra-time winner by late substitute Alvaro Morata, who beat 'keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma from 10 yards from Juan Cuadrado's chipped pass to secure a 1-0 victory.

As Mourinho looms, Rooney admits United fall short

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London (AFP) Wayne Rooney admitted Manchester United have fallen short of expectations despite winning the FA Cup as rumours swirled that Louis van Gaal is set to be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

United manager van Gaal was in defiant mood on Saturday as he celebrated United's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace by parading the FA Cup in front of the media while refusing to discuss the growing possibility he will be sacked in the next few days.

Phil Neville tips Mourinho to make quick success of United job

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho may not last long as Manchester United manager but will bring trophies to Old Trafford, according to former Reds defender Phil Neville.

United may have won Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace but within minutes of lifting the trophy at Wembley there were reports that manager Louis van Gaal was about to be sacked and replaced by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

21 titles in seven years isn’t bad, says Guardiola

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola says his 21st title as a coach is not a bad way to sign off at Bayern Munich after his tearful farewell in the German Cup final.

Bayern won Guardiola's final game in charge on Saturday night at Berlin's Olympic Stadium by beating Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on penalties after neither side could score in 120 minutes.

‘It’s over’ says Van Gaal amid Mourinho reports

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal left the squad's hotel on Sunday saying "it's over" amid reports he was about to be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Dutch boss van Gaal was greeted by waiting Red Devils fans following United's FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace at Wembley on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic lifts French Cup in PSG swansong

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain defeated bitter rivals Marseille 4-2 to clinch a 10th French Cup title on Saturday in the Swede's final game with the club.

Blaise Matuidi struck PSG's opening goal inside two minutes at the Stade de France, but Marseille hit back just 10 minutes later through on-loan Newcastle midfielder Florian Thauvin.

Morata strikes as Juve retain Cup, keep Milan out of Europe

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Milan (AFP) An extra-time winner from late substitute Alvaro Morata saw Juventus to their 11th Italian Cup with a 1-0 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday.

It means Juventus become the first Italian team to win successive league and Cup doubles, a year after ending a 20-year wait to achieve the feat.

Van Gaal, Mourinho keep mum over Man Utd reports

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal refused to discuss his future on Saturday amid reports that Jose Mourinho is on the brink of being appointed as his successor.

Van Gaal saw United come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, giving him his first trophy at the club, but within minutes of the final whistle, media organisations including the BBC and Sky were reporting that his days at Old Trafford are numbered.

Ibrahimovic lifts French Cup in PSG swansong

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain defeated bitter rivals Marseille 4-2 to clinch a 10th French Cup title on Saturday in the Swede's final game with the club.

Blaise Matuidi struck PSG's opening goal inside two minutes at the Stade de France, but Marseille hit back just 10 minutes later through on-loan Newcastle midfielder Florian Thauvin.

Morata strikes as Juve retain Cup, keep Milan out of Europe

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Milan (AFP) An extra-time winner from late substitute Alvaro Morata saw Juventus to their 11th Italian Cup with a 1-0 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday.

It means Juventus become the first Italian team to win successive league and Cup doubles, a year after ending a 20-year wait to achieve the feat.

Klinsmann looks to experience for Copa squad

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Los Angeles (AFP) United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a 23-man squad for the Copa America Centenario on Saturday, drawing heavily on players who starred at the 2014 World Cup while adding a sprinkling of emerging talent.

Klinsmann, under pressure after a disappointing series of results last year, has chosen 15 veterans of the Brazil campaign two years ago, where the Americans emerged from the "Group of Death" to reach the knockout stages.

Morata strikes as Juventus retain Italian Cup

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Rome (AFP) An extra-time winner from late substitute Alvaro Morata saw Juventus to their 11th Italian Cup with a 1-0 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday.

It means Juventus become the first Italian team to win successive league and Cup doubles, a year after ending a 20-year wait to achieve the feat.

Bayern clinch German Cup on Guardiola farewell

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola celebrated a dramatic final victory as Bayern Munich coach on Saturday, as his side beat Borussia Dortmund on penalties to win the German Cup final.

Neither side was able to find the net in 120 minutes of football, but Dortmund missed two penalties in the shootout to give Bayern victory in and provide Guardiola with a seventh and final title in Germany before he heads to Manchester City.

Bayern Munich win German Cup

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich won the German Cup in a penalty shoot-out against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday to complete the domestic double and give coach Pep Guardiola a winning farewell.

The final had ended 0-0 after extra-time but Bayern edged Dortmund 4-3 in the penalties.

Guardiola, who will take over at Manchester City next season, was in tears at the end of the game.

PSG beat Marseille to win French Cup

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain defeated bitter rivals Marseille 4-2 to clinch a 10th French Cup title on Saturday in the Swede's final game with the club.

Blaise Matuidi fired PSG into an early lead at the Stade de France, but Marseille hit back just 10 minutes later through on-loan Newcastle midfielder Florian Thauvin.

Bayern clinch German Cup on Guardiola farewell

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola celebrated a dramatic final victory as Bayern Munich coach on Saturday, as his side beat Borussia Dortmund on penalties to win the German Cup final.

Neither side was able to find the net in 120 minutes of football, but Dortmund missed two penalties in the shootout to give Bayern victory in and provide Guardiola with a sixth and final title in Germany before he heads to Manchester City.

Van Gaal holds tongue amid Mourinho reports

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal refused to discuss his future on Saturday amid reports that Jose Mourinho is on the brink of being appointed as his successor.

Van Gaal saw United come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, giving him his first trophy at the club, but within minutes of the final whistle, media organisations including the BBC and Sky were reporting that his days at Old Trafford are numbered.

Puerto Rico vs. USA Men’s National Team preview

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Summer is almost upon us, which means that it's almost time for the Copa America Centenario, the biggest soccer tournament to be played in the United States since the 1994 World Cup. But before it kicks off, the US will play a series of warmup games to get into shape for a tough group of Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

Van Gaal thrilled to add to trophy collection

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal highlighted his record of having won trophies in four countries after his side beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Palace took a 78th-minute lead through Jason Puncheon, but Juan Mata equalised within three minutes before substitute Jesse Lingard slammed home a memorable extra-time winner to give United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup.

Lingard rocket ends Man United’s 12-year FA Cup wait

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London (AFP) Jesse Lingard's extra-time thunderbolt earned Manchester United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup as Louis van Gaal's side came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday's final at Wembley.

In a rematch of the 1990 final, which United won after a replay, underdogs Palace took the lead in the 78th minute when Jason Puncheon slammed home, only for Juan Mata to equalise less than three minutes later.

Rooney joy after United’s ‘special’ Cup triumph

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London (AFP) Wayne Rooney hailed 10-man Manchester United's dramatic 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final as a special moment in his career as the England star ended his long wait to win the competition.

Rooney had been on the losing side in both of his previous FA Cup final appearances for United, but he erased the painful memories of those defeats to Arsenal in 2005 and Chelsea in 2007 with a dominant display in his new role as a midfield playmaker.

Lingard rocket ends Man Utd’s 12-year FA Cup wait

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London (AFP) Jesse Lingard's extra-time thunderbolt earned Manchester United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup as Louis van Gaal's side came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday's final at Wembley.

In a rematch of the 1990 final, which United won after a replay, underdogs Palace took the lead in the 78th minute when Jason Puncheon slammed home, only for Juan Mata to equalise less than three minutes later.

Lingard rocket brings Man United FA Cup cheer

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London (AFP) Jesse Lingard's extra-time thunderbolt earned Manchester United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup as Louis van Gaal's side came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday's final at Wembley.

In a rematch of the 1990 final, which United won after a replay, underdogs Palace took the lead in the 78th minute when Jason Puncheon slammed home, only for Juan Mata to equalise less than three minutes later.

Ten-man Manchester United win FA Cup

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London (AFP) Ten-man Manchester United came back from a goal down to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 and win the FA Cup on Saturday.

Jason Puncheon gave Palace a 78th-minute lead at Wembley Stadium which was cancelled out three minutes later by Juan Mata.

United defender Chris Smalling was red-carded in the first period of extra time.

Palace, Man Utd go to extra time in FA Cup final

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London (AFP) The FA Cup final between Crystal Palace and Manchester United went to extra time after the match finished 1-1 following normal time at Wembley on Saturday.

Substitute Jason Puncheon gave underdogs Palace a 78th-minute lead by slamming a shot past David de Gea at the near post, but United equalised within three minutes as Marouane Fellaini chested down Wayne Rooney's right-sided cross for Juan Mata to volley home.

Hibs end 114-year wait for Scottish Cup

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Glasgow (AFP) Hibernian ended their 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup as David Gray's dramatic stoppage time header handed them a 3-2 win over Rangers which was marred by ugly scenes at the end.

The Easter Road side had taken a third minute lead through Anthony Stokes but Rangers went into the break level following Kenny Miller's 27th minute headed equaliser.

Violence mars Hibs’ first Scottish Cup in 114 years

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Glasgow (AFP) Hibernian ended their 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup with a last-minute 3-2 win over Rangers on Saturday but the final was marred as rival fans fought on the Hampden Park pitch.

Rangers claimed their players and staff were assaulted and they were so fearful for their safety that they were unable to collect their losers medals at the presentation.

Season comes full circle as Barca, Sevilla seek doubles

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Madrid (AFP) Newly-crowned Spanish champions Barcelona face Sevilla, fresh from winning their third consecutive Europa League, as both seek more glory in the Spanish Cup final on Sunday.

Another successful campaign for both sides will end as it began after Barca edged Sevilla 5-4 after extra-time in a thrilling season-opening European Super Cup final.

England’s Kane and Vardy hope for Turkey chance

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane hopes to get an opportunity to partner Jamie Vardy when England tackle Turkey on Sunday in the first of their three Euro 2016 warm-up matches.

Kane's 25 Premier League goals earned him the Golden Boot, with Vardy finishing the campaign one goal behind after inspiring Leicester City to their fairytale title triumph.

Union grab MLS East lead with stoppage-time win

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Washington (AFP) Richie Marquez scored on a volley in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to give the Philadelphia Union a 1-0 Major League Soccer victory over DC United.

A perfect cross from the right side by French forward Sebastien Le Toux set up the right-footed shot by Marquez that produced the 23-year-old US defender's first goal in 31 MLS contests.

Barcelona agree reported record Nike deal

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona agreed a "long-term" contract extension with American sportswear giants Nike on Saturday, which will reportedly see the Catalan club surpass Manchester United with the most lucrative kit-sponsorship deal in the world.

Barca said the details of the deal will be revealed and ratified at the club's next general assembly.

Watford appoint Mazzarri as new head coach

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London (AFP) Watford have named former Inter Milan coach Walter Mazzarri as their new head coach, the Hornets announced on Saturday.

The Italian takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores, who left Vicarage Road after just one year in charge, on a three-year deal.

Spaniard Flores led the side to a 13th-placed finish in their first season back in the Premier League since 2007 and also reached the FA Cup semi-finals, where they lost to Crystal Palace.

Griezmann one of the world’s top three – Simeone

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hailed star forward Antoine Griezmann as "one of the best three players in the world" as Atletico prepare to face local rivals Real Madrid in next Saturday's Champions League final.

Griezmann has enjoyed his best ever goal-scoring season with 32 goals in all competitions.

Echoes of 1990 as Manchester United face Crystal Palace in FA Cup final

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London (AFP) Manchester United will attempt to salvage something from their tumultuous season and potentially keep manager Louis van Gaal in a job in Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

After failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three years, the Wembley showpiece represents United's last chance to make good on a campaign of stagnant football and simmering fan dissent.

Griezmann one of the world’s top three – Simeone

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hailed star forward Antoine Griezmann as "one of the best three players in the world" as Atletico prepare to face local rivals Real Madrid in next Saturday's Champions League final.

Griezmann has enjoyed his best ever goal-scoring season with 32 goals in all competitions.

Five classic FA Cup finals

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London (AFP) Ahead of Crystal Palace's meeting with Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, AFP Sport selects five of the best finals from the world's oldest domestic cup tournament:

Blackpool 4 Bolton Wanderers 3, 1953

Even with his team-mate Stan Mortensen grabbing a hat-trick, the performance of Blackpool's Stanley Matthews stole the show in a thrilling match that has gone down in history as 'The Matthews Final'.

Echoes of 1990 as Manchester United face Crystal Palace in FA Cup final

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London (AFP) Manchester United will attempt to salvage something from their tumultuous season and potentially keep manager Louis van Gaal in a job in Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

After failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three years, the Wembley showpiece represents United's last chance to make good on a campaign of stagnant football and simmering fan dissent.

Argentina call on Messi, Aguero for Copa but Tevez snubbed

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Argentina coach Gerardo Martino named his 23-man squad for the Copa America on Friday, pinning his hopes on Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero but ignoring Carlos Tevez.

Idolised by his Boca Juniors club and popular throughout Argentina, Tevez was overlooked in favour of Gonzalo Higuain who smashed a record 36 goals in Serie A this season with Napoli.

Benfica clinch double with Portuguese League Cup win

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Lisbon (AFP) Benfica beat Maritimo 6-2 in the Portuguese League Cup final in Coimbra on Friday, less than a week after also sealing a third straight league title.

It was also the Lisbon outfit's third consecutive League Cup win, and the match itself was a repeat of last year's final.

The season culminates Sunday with the Portuguese Cup final between Porto and Sporting Braga.

Spanish judge allows Catalan separatist flags at Madrid cup final

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Madrid (AFP) A Spanish judge on Friday overturned a controversial ban on Barcelona fans flying Catalan separatist flags at Sunday's Copa del Rey final against Sevilla in Madrid.

The Madrid authorities had told Barcelona on Wednesday that the Estelada independence flags could not be flown at the Vicente Calderon stadium, the home of Atletico Madrid because they contravened a 2007 law.

Totti staying at Roma, club director says

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Rome (AFP) Iconic Roma captain Francesco Totti will stay at the capital outfit for a 24th season, the club's general manager Mauro Baldissoni said in a television interview on Friday.

A one-club player with 600 league appearances, the veteran playmaker has had a tense relationship with coach Luciano Spalletti in recent times and speculation had been rife the player would be forced out.

Spanish judge allows Catalan flags at Madrid cup final

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Madrid (AFP) A Spanish judge on Friday overturned a controversial ban on Barcelona fans flying Catalan flags at Sunday's Copa del Rey final against Sevilla in Madrid.

The Madrid authorities had told Barcelona on Wednesday that the Estelada independence flags could not be flown at the Vicente Calderon stadium, the home of Atletico Madrid because they contravened a 2007 law.

Poland lose Wszolek from Euros with broken hand

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Warsaw (AFP) Polish international midfielder Pawel Wszolek suffered a broken left hand in training and will miss Euro 2016, the country's football association (PZPN) said Friday.

"During training with the national team at Jastarnia, Pawel Wszolek accidentally fell on his left hand," said the PZPN.

Czechs make first Euro 2016 football squad cull

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Prague (AFP) Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba cut his Euro 2016 finals squad down to 25 players on Friday and will trim two more from their number before the May 31 deadline.

Sparta Prague defender Ondrej Zahustel, midfielder Jan Kovarik of Viktoria Plzen and Reading utility striker Matej Vydra were the three unfortunate players who did not make the cut.

Rodgers targets European success as new Celtic boss

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Glasgow (AFP) Scottish champions Celtic on Friday named former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers as their new manager with the target of translating their domestic success into solid European progress.

Rodgers, 43, replaces Ronny Deila who stepped down at the end of a two-year spell which brought in two league titles and a League Cup crown but just frustration on the continent.

Celtic name Brendan Rodgers as new manager

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Glasgow (AFP) Scottish champions Celtic on Friday named former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers as their new manager on a 12-month rolling contract.

Rodgers, 43, replaces Ronny Deila who stepped down at the end of a two-year spell which brought in two league titles and a League Cup crown but just frustration in Europe.

Review of FOX’s coverage of the Bundesliga in its 2015/16 debut season

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FOX Sports coverage of soccer can be measured two ways.

1- Against previous poor FOX Sports and FOX Soccer efforts, or

2- Against the superior coverage provided by NBC or ESPN for similar competitions.

In this analysis, we'll attempt to weigh both sides of this equation.

Manchester United to hold AGM in Philadelphia

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London (AFP) English football giants Manchester United will stage their 2016 annual general meeting in Philadelphia on June 23, the club announced Friday.

The Premier League side are owned by the US-based Glazer family.

United face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday as they bid to end a season that has seen them fail to qualify for the Champions League with a trophy.

Ex-France winger Ginola improving after quadruple heart bypass

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Monaco (AFP) Former French international star David Ginola was described as "awake and improving" after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass on Friday, Professor Gilles Dreyfus, who carried out the operation, told AFP.

The 49-year-old ex-PSG and Newcastle star suffered a suspected heart attack on Thursday while playing football before a celebrity golf tournament in the afternoon heat at Mandelieu, west of Cannes in southern France, and was airlifted to hospital in Monaco.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend

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The final selection of games this season is arguably the very best of the lot, as the domestic cup finals across Europe bring the curtain down on the campaign.

In England, Germany, Italy and Spain we'll see two teams going all out looking to add a late silver lining to 2015-16. It's a chance for underperforming outfits to salvage something after a difficult term or for those who have already enjoyed success to add some gloss to their efforts.

Ex-France star Ginola improving after quadruple heart bypass

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Monaco (AFP) Former French international star David Ginola was described as "awake and improving" after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass on Friday, Professor Gilles Dreyfus, who carried out the operation, told AFP.

The 49-year-old ex-PSG and Newcastle star suffered a suspected heart attack on Thursday while playing golf in the afternoon heat at Mandelieu, west of Cannes in southern France, and was airlifted to hospital in Monaco.

Dortmund out to ruin Pep’s final Bayern game

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund aim to ruin Bayern Munich's plans to farewell Pep Guardiola with a seventh title in three years when Germany's top teams meet in Saturday's crunch German Cup final.

Victory over their main rivals at Berlin's Olympic Stadium would give Bayern the league and cup double before Guardiola leaves for Manchester City next season.

Cup glory won’t top promotion, says Rangers boss

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Glasgow (AFP) Rangers manager Mark Warburton says winning the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian on Saturday wouldn't compare to the euphoria of securing promotion back to the top flight.

Warburton's side clinched the Championship title to claim a place in the Scottish Premiership for the first time since they were forced to start life again in the country's bottom tier following liquidation in June 2012.

Departing Ibrahimovic hoping to sign off with French Cup

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic will aim to lift one final trophy as the curtain comes down on his record-shattering Paris Saint-Germain career in Saturday's French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille.

Ibrahimovic, who obliterated Pauleta's club goals record earlier this season and now stands on 154 from 179 games, announced he will leave Paris when his contract expires at the end of June after a trophy-laden four years in France.

Milan woes ahead of must-win Juve Cup final

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Milan (AFP) Uncertainty over the future of AC Milan hovers over the stricken Italian giants as they look to avoid the ignominy of a season without European football by wresting the Italian Cup from Juventus on Saturday.

"It would be a huge victory for the team but also in terms of sealing direct entry to the Europa League," club owner and president Silvio Berlusconi told the players at their training ground earlier this week.

Valencia’s Asian boss admits cultural differences

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Singapore (AFP) Asian ownership of European football clubs can be tough because of cultural differences, Valencia's Singaporean president said on Friday after a turbulent period at the Mestalla Stadium.

Chan Lay Hoon, who was brought in by Valencia's billionaire owner Peter Lim, said she had had a tough first season at the club marked by the ill-fated reign of Gary Neville.

Palace history weighs heavily on Pardew ahead of FA Cup final

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London (AFP) Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew says he feels the "weight of history" on his shoulders as he tries to lead the south London side to the first major trophy in their 111-year existence.

Palace have the chance to claim that long-awaited piece of silverware when they face Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.

FIFA seeks two-year ban for Niersbach over Germany’s 2006 bid

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA's ethics committee on Friday recommended a two-year ban from all football activities for Wolfgang Niersbach, former president of the German Football Association (DFB), over an alleged corruption scandal around the right to host the 2006 World Cup.

FIFA's adjudicatory chamber said they had received a final report from world football governing body's ethics committee investigatory chamber and decided to proceed with formal proceedings against Niersbach.

Echoes of 1990 as Man Utd face Palace in FA Cup final

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London (AFP) Manchester United will attempt to salvage something from their tumultuous season and potentially keep manager Louis van Gaal in a job in Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

After failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three years, the Wembley showpiece represents United's last chance to make good on a campaign of stagnant football and simmering fan dissent.

Mocked Martial becomes Manchester United’s FA Cup charm

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London (AFP) He started the season derided as an expensive panic buy, but Anthony Martial goes into Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace as the potential saviour of Manchester United's season.

The French forward's deadline-day move from Monaco, at an initial cost of £36 million ($52.

Family ties make Wembley return special for Bolasie

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London (AFP) While the FA Cup final will always inspire a degree of reverence, Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie will have more reason than most to feel emotional at Wembley on Saturday.

Bolasie grew up just a few miles from Wembley and could see the famous stadium glimmering in the distance from his parents' house in Hillingdon Borough.

Eintracht’s Russ nets own-goal after tumour diagnosis

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Berlin (AFP) Eintracht Frankfurt's Marco Russ capped a traumatic 24 hours by scoring an own-goal in Thursday's 1-1 Bundesliga play-off, first-leg draw against Nuremberg, a day after discovering he has a tumour.

The 30-year-old centre-back only found out he had a tumour on Wednesday after abnormal levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG showed up in a routine drugs test.

Villa owner Xia promises Premier League return

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London (AFP) Aston Villa's Chinese owner Tony Xia has pledged to restore the relegated Premier League club to their former glory as soon as possible.

Xia, whose Chinese name is Xia Jiantong, purchased Villa on Wednesday for a reported $87 million and is looking to hire a new manager quickly before bringing in a host of players in a bid to transform the troubled club's fortunes.

Most-watched live soccer games on US TV for week of May 13-18, 2016

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During the past week, Liga MX and the English Premier League have been monopolizing the headlines with their record TV ratings as can be evidenced below.

Elsewhere, the English Championship had their best numbers of the season with several of the playoffs producing decent viewing figures. The anticipation is now building for the Championship Playoff Final on May 28 between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday to see which of these Yorkshire clubs will be promoted to the Premier League next season.

Kaka highest earning player in MLS

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Los Angeles (AFP) Brazilian star Kaka is the highest paid player in Major League Soccer, topping the earnings rankings ahead of Italy international Sebastian Giovinco and United States captain Michael Bradley, figures showed Thursday.

Former world footballer of the year Kaka, who plays for Florida club Orlando City, led the earnings with a guaranteed salary of $7,167,500 (6,336,070 euros), just ahead of Toronto FC's Giovinco, second with $7,115,556.

Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka key in Ukraine Euro 2016 squad

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Kiev (AFP) Ukraine coach Mykhaylo Fomenko on Thursday announced a provisional 28-man squad for Euro 2016, led by Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevgen Konoplyanka who starred in Sevilla's Europa League triumph.

The 67-year-old coach will have to trim his squad to 23 players by the end of the month.

Ex-French football star Ginola suffers heart attack – report

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Nice (France) (AFP) Former French international star David Ginola suffered a suspected heart attack on Thursday and was airlifted to hospital, the Nice-Matin newspaper reported.

However, the 49-year-old ex-PSG and Newcastle star later blamed his illness on playing football in the searing afternoon heat.

Football League plans ‘fifth division’ in radical revamp

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London (AFP) English football could be set for its biggest revamp in decades after the Football League proposed a plan to introduce a fifth division into the professional game.

Football League chiefs want to have four divisions of 20 teams below the Premier League by the 2019-20 campaign as they seek a solution to fixture congestion.

Judge FIFA on actions, not speculation, says Infantino

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA's new president Gianni Infantino appealed Thursday for the public to judge the scandal-plagued world football body on its actions and not on hasty conclusions and speculation.

"Given the events of the last few years I can understand that the public view FIFA with scepticism," Infantino said in an opinion piece published in German daily Neuen Zurcher Zeitung (NZZ).

Ex-French football star Ginola suffers heart attack – report

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Nice (France) (AFP) Former French international star David Ginola suffered a suspected heart attack on Thursday and was airlifted to hospital, the Nice-Matin newspaper reported.

However, the 49-year-old ex-PSG and Newcastle star later blamed his illness on playing football in the searing afternoon heat.

France to guarantee security at Euro 2016: minister

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Brussels (AFP) French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault vowed Thursday that France will provide security at this summer's Euro 2016 football tournament "with all our strength".

Ayrault spoke in a response to a question about the EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo that crashed inexplicably carrying 66 people.

Wembley win would lift United, says van Gaal

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Louis van Gaal claims victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday would restore Manchester United's pride after a turbulent season.

United have struggled to live up to their potential under van Gaal and failed to qualify for next season's Champions League after finishing fifth in the Premier League.

Football fans to get smartphone vote to substitute player

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Doha (AFP) An English Premier League club wants to allow supporters to vote via smartphone for the player they want substituted during a match, a data analyst has told a Doha football conference.

Fans would cast their votes via an app on their phones after being given real-time performance data for every player on the pitch, said Mark Sear, chief technology officer with data and analytics company EMC.

CAF probe Merrikh violence against football referee

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Johannesburg (AFP) African football body CAF are probing violent behaviour by footballers and officials of Sudanese club Al Merrikh toward a referee during a Confederation Cup play-off in Morocco.

Gabonese Eric Otogo-Castane had to retreat from the six-yard box to the centre circle late Wednesday as he was repeatedly pushed by players furious at the harsh awarding of a penalty.

France to guarantee security at Euro 2016

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Brussels (AFP) French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would provide security at this summer's Euro 2016 football tournament "with all our strength".

"We are committed with all our strength ... to provide security for those who live and will come to France, notably for the Euro 2016," Ayrault told reporters on the sidelines of NATO talks in Brussels.

8 domestic cup finals to be shown live across US TV this weekend

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With all of the major European domestic soccer leagues finishing their seasons until they start again inAugust, and before the Champions League final next Saturday, the attention turns this weekend to domestic cup finals across the continent.And thanks to the coverage from ESPN, GolTV, beIN SPORTS and FOX Sports, all of the games will be shown live on television and streaming.

Football fans to get smartphone vote to substitute player

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Doha (AFP) An English Premier League club wants to allow supporters to vote via smartphone for the player they want substituted during a match, a data analyst has told a Doha football conference.

Fans would cast their votes via an app on their phones after being given real-time performance data for every player on the pitch, said Mark Sear, chief technology officer with data and analytics company, EMC.

France extends post-attacks state of emergency to cover Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's parliament approved Thursday a two-month extension of the state of emergency, in place since November's jihadist attacks, to cover the Euro 2016 football tournament and Tour de France.

Already backed by a large majority in the upper house Senate last week, the lower house National Assembly confirmed the measure on Thursday by 46 votes to 20.

Palace and parade for Leicester City on Thai tour

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Bangkok (AFP) Newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City received a royal seal of approval Thursday at Bangkok's Grand Palace, with the Thai-owned team presenting its trophy to a portrait of the king before a bus parade through the capital.

The East Midlands team is currently visiting the football-mad Southeast Asian nation as part of a publicity blitz after its fairytale title triumph.

NBC Sports breaks record for most successful season of Premier League coverage

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NBC Sports has announced that the 2015/16 season of its coverage of the Premier League was its most successful yet.

NBC Sports Group's coverage of the 2015-16 Premier League season reached more than 36 million viewers, a record and an increase of 26% over last season (28.7 million). For the third consecutive year, NBC Sports Group set a record for average viewership.

Sevilla steamroller highlights Spain’s weight in Europe

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Madrid (AFP) Sevilla's rout of Liverpool in the Europa League final is a new sign of which country rules the continent's football and a powerful warning to Barcelona ahead of their kings of Spain clash.

Coke's double in the 3-1 win in Basel highlighted the value of the Spanish system of turning home talent into title winners.

New York City moves to MLS top with Toronto draw

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New York (AFP) New York City FC moved to the top of Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference standings on Wednesday after extending their unbeaten run to five matches with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Toronto FC.

City, fresh from a 2-1 victory over champions Portland on Sunday, took the lead through Ghanaian international Kwadwo Poku, the midfielder curling a finish past Clint Irwin on 16 minutes.

Reds fall to better technique, says Sevilla defender

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Superior technique honed by playing in the "best league in the world" was key to Sevilla's record-setting Europa League triumph over Liverpool on Wednesday, said the club's French central defender Timothee Kolodziejczak.

Five-time European champions Liverpool travelled to St Jakob-Park in Basel confident of a first Europa League trophy since 2001.

Leicester owners shoot for Thai World Cup entry

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Bangkok (AFP) Leicester City's billionaire owners say they hope to use the Premier League winners to nurture young football talent with the aim of Thailand qualifying for the World Cup within a decade.

The newly crowned English champions are on a celebratory post-season tour of Thailand, home of publicity-shy billionaireVichaiSrivaddhanaprabha and his son Aiyawatt better known as 'Top'.

Leicester seek royal blessing on Thai tour

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Bangkok (AFP) Newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City received a royal seal of approval at Bangkok's Grand Palace Thursday, with the team kneeling en masse in front of a portrait of the king alongside their new trophy.

The Thai-owned East Midlands team is currently visiting the football-mad Southeast Asian nation as part of a publicity blitz following their fairytale title triumph.

Villa to be ‘most famous club in China’ after $87m swoop

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London (AFP) Aston Villa revealed ambitions to become the most popular team in China after Harvard-educated businessman Tony Jiantong Xia snapped up the relegated club for a reported $87 million.

The "Villains" crashed out of England's Premier League after winning only three times this season, but they will have their fingers crossed for better times ahead under their new ownership.

Basel loss will hit Klopp’s Liverpool recruitment: McManaman

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London (AFP) Liverpool's failure to qualify for the Champions League will make it harder for manager Jurgen Klopp to attract leading players to the club, according to former Anfield favourite Steve McManaman.

Liverpool could have secured a return to Europe's top competition by beating Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final in Basel, but despite going ahead through Daniel Sturridge, Klopp's side lost 3-1.

France extends post-attacks state of emergency to cover Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) France's parliament confirmed Thursday a two-month extension of the state of emergency that has been in place since November's jihadist attacks to cover the Euro 2016 football tournament and Tour de France.

Already approved by a large majority in the upper house Senate last week, the lower house National Assembly confirmed the measure on Thursday by 46 votes to 20.

Questions over Villa’s Chinese buyer

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Shanghai (AFP) The new Chinese owner of English football club Aston Villa appears to be a highly educated, politically well-connected businessman but questions have been raised over Tony Xia's academic credentials and background.

Xia, whose Chinese name is Xia Jiantong, and his private conglomerate Recon Group were largely unknown to the outside world before buying the newly relegated Birmingham club for a reported $87 million on Wednesday.

Univision to feature 6 hours of Liga MX games every Saturday night beginning in July

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Beginning this July, Univision will feature 6 hours of live Liga MX games every Saturday night in primetime. The three back-to-back-to-back matches will beshown live on television. The first game every Saturday night will be on Univision Deportes, while the other two will be shown on Univision network.

Spain can see Spain on TV at Euros

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish football fans breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday when Mediaset Espana announced they had reached agreement to broadcast matches at Euro 2016 which gets underway in France on June 10.

"Mediaset Espana concluded an agreement with CAA Eleven Marketing for the acquisition of rights to broadcast Euro 2016," said the group in a statement.

Last FIFA suspect pleads not guilty in US

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New York (AFP) Ex-FIFA official Julio Rocha pleaded not guilty in New York to corruption allegations Wednesday, the last suspect extradited from Switzerland in connection with the massive scandal rocking world soccer.

The former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation entered his plea to a raft of corruption offenses before a judge in Brooklyn shortly after he arrived in the United States from Zurich.

Last FIFA suspect pleads not guilty in US

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New York (AFP) Ex-FIFA official Julio Rocha pleaded not guilty in New York to corruption allegations Wednesday, the last suspect extradited from Switzerland in connection with the massive scandal rocking world soccer.

The former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation entered his plea to a raft of corruption offenses before a judge in Brooklyn shortly after he arrived in the United States from Zurich.

Turan, Calhanoglu spearhead Turkey’s Euro challenge

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Istanbul (AFP) Turkey coach Fatih Terim on Wednesday announced his squad for the Euro 2016 finals spearheaded by foreign-based star midfielders Arda Turan and Hakan Calhanoglu, saying the team was aiming for the highest possible outcome.

Announcing the squad on state-run TRT Sport television, Terim said he was expecting great things from his side despite being drawn in a challenging Group D.

More final misery for Klopp

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he will give it "everything I have" to reach another final after collecting his fifth successive losers medal following a 3-1 defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Liverpool had been hoping to end their 15-year wait for Europa League glory having last won the competition, as the UEFA Cup, in a nine-goal thriller against Deportivo Alaves in 2001.

More final misery for Klopp

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp collected his fifth successive losers medal after the Reds' 3-1 defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Liverpool had been hoping to end their 15-year wait for Europa League glory having last won the competition, as the UEFA Cup, in a nine-goal thriller against Deportivo Alaves in 2001.

Coke breaks Liverpool hearts in Europa League triumph

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Sevilla midfielder Coke broke Liverpool hearts with a second-half brace in a controversy-filled 3-1 victory that secured a record third consecutive Europa League title on Wednesday.

Liverpool travelled to St Jakob-Park confident in their chances of a first Europa League trophy since 2001 after an impressive campaign in Europe's second tier competition.

Coke breaks Liverpool hearts in Europa League triumph

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Sevilla right-back Coke broke Liverpool hearts with a second-half brace in a controversy-filled 3-1 victory that secured a record third consecutive Europa League title on Wednesday.

Liverpool travelled to St Jakob-Park with an army of fans and confident in their chances of a first Europa League trophy since 2001 after an impressive campaign in Europe's second tier competition.

Turan, Calhanoglu spearhead Turkey’s Euro challenge

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Istanbul (AFP) Turkey coach Fatih Terim on Wednesday announced his squad for the Euro 2016 finals spearheaded by foreign-based star midfielders Arda Turan and Hakan Calhanoglu, saying the team was aiming for the highest possible outcome.

Announcing the squad on state-run TRT Sport television, Terim said he was expecting great things from his side despite being drawn in a challenging Group D.

Sevilla beat Liverpool to retain Europa League title

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Sevilla won their third consecutive Europa League title on Wednesday as Coke scored two second-half goals to fire the Spaniards to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Basel.

Daniel Sturridgehanded Liverpool a 35th-minute lead at St-Jakob Park, but Kevin Gameiro struck an equaliser immediately after half-time.

Barcelona blast Catalan flag cup final ban

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona blasted a Madrid-imposed ban on Catalan flags being flown at Sunday's Copa del Rey final as an attack on freedom of expression on Wednesday.

The final against Sevilla is being played at the Vicente Calderon, the home of Atletico Madrid, in the Spanish capital.

But the Community of Madrid authorities have told Barcelona that the Estelada independence flags cannot be flown.

Chinese investor buys Aston Villa for reported $86 million

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London (AFP) Aston Villa have been sold to a Chinese group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia, the Championship club announced on Wednesday, in a deal worth a reported $86 million.

Villa crashed out of the Premier League after a miserable season that saw the Midlands team win just three of their 38 matches, but that hasn't stopped Dr Xia making his move.

Strikers U19 team to compete against several of the best clubs in the world

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This summer, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers' under-19 team will compete in a tournament in China against several of the best clubs in the world.

The U19 tournament, namedthe2016 Weifang Cup, will be contestedbetween:

• Real Madrid (Spain)
• Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexico)
• S.

Fears raised over Champions League final pitch at San Siro

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Doha (AFP) A senior UEFA executive on Wednesday raised concerns about the quality of the Champions League final pitch just 10 days ahead of Europe's biggest club match of the season.

Keith Dalton, senior match operations manager with UEFA, said organisers face "a lot of challenges" in getting the surface ready at Milan's San Siro stadium for the game on May 28 between Spanish rivals Real and Atletico Madrid.

Fan violence breaks out at Europa League final

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Fighting between rival sets of Liverpool and Sevilla supporters broke out minutes before the start of the Europa League final on Wednesday.

The incidents, at St Jakob-Park, the home of FC Basel, occurred behind the Liverpool goal as the teams warmed up before the 1845 GMT final.

Freak goal gives Reds the edge over Seoul

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Doha (AFP) Tomoya Ugajin's freak goal gave Urawa Red Diamonds a 1-0 win over FC Seoul and boosted their chances of reaching the AFC Champions League quarter-finals in their Round of 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Ugajin was alone on the edge of the box when he received Ryota Moriwaki's raking cross, and he looked as surprised as anyone when his hopeful volley looped unstoppably into the far corner.

UEFA to vote for new president in September

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) UEFA will hold an election for a new president on September 14 in Athens after Michel Platini quit over an ethics scandal with the world body.

Dutch FA president Michael Van Praag became the first official candidate but others could follow.

Angel Maria Villar of Spain, UEFA's senior vice president who will present the European Championship trophy on July 10, and Slovenian football chief Aleksander Ceferin are also considered probable contenders.

Sessegnon, Anichebe to leave West Brom

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London (AFP) Benin winger Stephane Sessegnon and Nigeria striker Victor Anichebe will leave West Bromwich Albion after the Premier League club decided not to offer the duo new contracts.

Sessegnon made 92 appearances and scored eight goals for Albion after signing from Sunderland in 2013, but he was unable to convince boss Tony Pulis he was worthy of a contract extension.

Henderson on bench for Europa League final

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was named among the substitutes for Wednesday's Europa League final against Sevilla at St-Jakob Park in Basel.

Henderson made his return from a knee injury at the weekend, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp decided to take no risks with the midfielder and kept faith with the same team that started the second leg of their semi-final against Villarreal.

Gladbach confirm offer for Arsenal target Xhaka

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Moenchengladbach have confirmed receiving an offer for Swiss international midfielder Granit Xhaka, who has been heavily tipped to join Arsenal.

Gladbach's sports director Max Eberl told the Rheinischen Post that an offer has been received, but not revealed from which club, for their 23-year-old captain, Xhaka, who has said he can imagine playing for the Gunners.

Platini wants to “formally resign” at September 14 UEFA congress

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Paris (AFP) Michel Platini, currently serving a four-year ban from all football, wants to "formally resign" as UEFA president at the organisation's elective congress on September 14 when his successor will be named, the Frenchman said Wednesday.

The former French national team skipper quit his post on May 9 after his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his ban failed.

O’Neill names Northern Ireland squad for Belarus friendly

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Belfast (AFP) Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has urged his Euro 2016 hopefuls to prove they deserve a place on the plane to France after naming his squad for a friendly against Belarus.

O'Neill's team are looking forward to their first appearance at a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup and there are still a few spots in the squad up for grabs.

Review of Tottenham’s 2015/16 season: A stepping stone to greater heights

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Waiting on the dust to settle from the disaster at St. James Park will take some time for Tottenham Hotspur supporters, but when it does, the 2015-16 season will be looked back on as one that could be a stepping stone to a new era for a club that has found itself too often playing from behind in the crowded Premier League.

West Ham snub ladies to keep United clash as Upton Park finale

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London (AFP) West Ham have cancelled a fixture involving their women's team to ensure the club's Premier League victory over Manchester United will remain the last fixture ever played at Upton Park.

The east London outfit had agreed to allow West Ham Ladies to play against an "All-Star" team on June 5, but decided to call off the match after being criticised by a section of the club's supporters.

Fears raised over Champions League final pitch at San Siro

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Doha (AFP) A senior UEFA executive on Wednesday raised concerns about the quality of the Champions League final pitch just 10 days ahead of Europe's biggest club match of the season.

Keith Dalton, senior match operations manager with UEFA, said organisers face "a lot of challenges" in getting the surface ready at Milan's San Siro stadium for the game on May 28 between Spanish rivals Real and Atletico Madrid.

Review of Arsenal’s 2015/16 season: A rollercoaster ride that could herald a title next year

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The 2015/16 season for the Gunners was a roller coaster ride to say the least. Arsenal began their Premier League campaign with a loss at home to West Ham, as well as failing to grab a single point during their first two Champions League group stage matches (against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos).

Freak goal gives Reds the edge over Seoul

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) Tomoya Ugajin's freak goal gave Urawa Red Diamonds a 1-0 win over FC Seoul and boosted their chances of reaching the AFC Champions League quarter-finals in their Round of 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Ugajin was alone on the edge of the box when he received Ryota Moriwaki's raking cross, and he looked as surprised as anyone when his hopeful volley looped unstoppably into the far corner.

Leicester City mobbed in Thailand on Premier League victory tour

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Bangkok (AFP) Thai fans mobbed newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City Wednesday as they began a global publicity blitz after their fairytale title triumph.

They also hoped to banish the memory of a sex tape scandal that marred a visit a year ago to the homeland of their billionaire owner.

Van Praag to run for UEFA presidency

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The Hague (AFP) Dutch football chief Michael van Praag announced Wednesday he will run as a candidate to replace disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini, the first to officially throw his hat into the ring to take over the helm of European football.

"He wants to finish the remainder of Platini's two-and-half year term and then step down to make space for a new, broadly supported chairman," the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement from its headquarters in central Netherlands.

Freak goal gives Reds edge over Seoul in AFC Champions League tie

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) Tomoya Ugajin's freak goal gave Urawa Red Diamonds a 1-0 win over FC Seoul and a great chance of reaching the AFC Champions League quarter-finals in their round of 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Ugajin was alone on the edge of the box when he received Ryota Moriwaki's raking cross, and he looked as surprised as anyone when his hopeful volley looped unstoppably into the far corner.

Platini facing Euro 2016 rebuff as UEFA seek new chief

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) French football legend Michel Platini could be barred from attending Euro 2016 in an official capacity following his spectacular fall from grace as president of European football's ruling body.

Platini, whose successor as head of UEFA will be elected in Athens on September 14, would have awarded the trophy to the tournament winners in his native France on July 10.

Simon Mignolet believes Liverpool has a real chance to win Europa League

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Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes that Liverpool has a real chance to win the Europa League final against Sevilla.

In an exclusive interview with World Soccer Talk, Mignolet said, "It's always nice to help the team out when needed. That's part of being a keeper help the team out in critical moments.

Man City’s Demichelis fined over betting charge

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London (AFP) Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis has been fined £22,058 ($32,088, 28,473 euros) and warned about his future conduct after accepting a Football Association charge in relation to betting on matches.

Argentina international Demichelis placed 29 bets on football matches between January 22 and February 15 earlier this year.

Van Praag to run for UEFA presidency

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The Hague (AFP) Dutch football chief Michael van Praag announced Wednesday he will run as a candidate to replace disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini, and take the helm of European football.

"He wants to finish the remainder of Platini's two-and-half year term and then step down to make space for a new, broadly supported chairman," the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement from its headquarters in central Netherlands.

In-form Chicharito headlines Mexico’s Copa America squad

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Mexico City (AFP) Bayer Leverkusen forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez headlines Mexico's 23-man squad named Tuesday to compete in next month's Copa America Centenario.

PSV midfielder Andres Guardado and Porto fullback Miguel Layun are the other prominent picks, but coach Juan Carlos Osorio left former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela out of the lineup.

Garlands and crowds greet Foxes in Thailand

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Bangkok (AFP) Thai fans mobbed newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City as they arrived on Wednesday for a publicity blitz after their fairytale title triumph.

They also hoped to banish the memory of a sex tape scandal that marred a visit a year ago to the homeland of their billionaire owner.

Forget pizza, now it’s lobster for Leicester City stars

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Bangkok (AFP) Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri on Wednesday joked that it was time for him to boost the culinary incentives from pizza to lobster for his players to keep clean sheets.

The genial Italian, 64, has said he rewarded each match without conceding a goal during the Foxes' stunning English Premier League title win with pizza for the whole team paid out off his own pocket.

Aston Villa ‘close to Chinese takeover’

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London (AFP) Relegated Aston Villa could be sold to a Chinese consortium by the end of the week, according to British media reports on Wednesday.

Villa crashed out of the Premier League after a miserable season that saw the Midlands club win just three of their 38 matches.

US-based owner Randy Lerner has been trying to sell Villa without success for two years, but it appears a deal is finally close to completion after he lowered his asking price.

Rooney happy to find new role with Man Utd

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London (AFP) Wayne Rooney insists he is willing to permanently give up his role as the spearhead of Manchester United's forward line to move into a midfield berth.

Rooney won the man-of-the-match award for his influential display in midfield during United's 3-1 win against Bournemouth on Tuesday and is keen to keep that role in the future.

Why Britain’s 3pm TV blackout for soccer needs to be eradicated

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The last day of the Premier League season sees all 10 games played at 10am ET / 3pm UK time. This is so that no team knows what's happening at any other ground – which is useful for close title fights and relegation scraps, a fine idea, even if this season all that was decided weeks ago.

Luckily these games are on a Sunday, for if they were on a Saturday nobody would be able to watch any of it on British television.

John Terry signs new Chelsea deal to end exit talk

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London (AFP) Chelsea captain John Terry signed a new one-year contract with the Premier League club on Wednesday to end speculation he would be forced out of Stamford Bridge.

Terry sparked fears he was on the verge of leaving Chelsea against his will when he claimed in January he hadn't been offered an extension to his contract, which was due to expire in June.

UEFA to vote in new president on September 14

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) UEFA will vote to elect a new president to replace disgraced Frenchman Michel Platini on September 14, European football's governing body announced Wednesday.

UEFA has been without a president since Platini was forced to resign after a sports tribunal rejected his final appeal against his ban from football over a suspect $2.

Leicester City mobbed in Thailand on Premier League victory tour

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Bangkok (AFP) Thai fans mobbed newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City Wednesday as they began a global publicity blitz after their fairytale title triumph.

They also hoped to banish the memory of a sex tape scandal that marred a visit a year ago to the homeland of their billionaire owner.

Spanish FA chief Villar to fill in for Platini at Euro

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Spanish football federation president Angel Maria Villar will award the Euro 2016 trophy to the tournament winners in the absence of Michel Platini, UEFA anounced Wednesday.

The move follows the resignation of UEFA president Platini after a sports tribunal rejected his final appeal against his ban from football over a suspect $2.

Probe opened into suspect Serie A-related betting

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Rome (AFP) The Italian football federation and national Olympic committee have opened an enquiry into suspicious bets that surfaced around the sending off of a Frosinone player against Napoli on the weekend, Italian media reported Wednesday.

Shortly before Saturday's Serie A match, which Napoli won 4-0, three bookmakers stopped taking bets on a Frosinone player being sent off after noticing unusual betting behaviour, the Corriere dello Sport said.

Cardiff hire Trollope as new head coach

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London (AFP) Championship club Cardiff City appointed former Wales international Paul Trollope as their new head coach on Wednesday.

Trollope was hired as successor to Russell Slade, who was removed as manager at the end of the season and has taken up a new role as the club's head of football.

Van Gaal upbeat on future despite Man Utd boos

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal expressed confidence that he will still be at Old Trafford next season despite his team crawling to an underwhelming fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

United beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their final fixture on Tuesday a game held over from Sunday due to a bomb scare but it was not enough to take them into the Champions League places as they finished below fourth-place Manchester City on goal difference.

Newcastle will be a powerful force in Championship if Mike Ashley gives Rafa Benitez control

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Multiple sources have reported that Rafa Benitez is likely to stay at Newcastle United after club owner Mike Ashley has agreed to give the former Liverpool, Napoli and Real Madrid manager full control of transfers, scouting, the academy, and even medical staff. Why would Rafa stay? Maybe it's because of the statue.

Euro 2016: Guide to the 24 managers leading their nation this summer

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Photo credit: AFP.

With the European Championships less than a month away, managers participating in the competition have plenty to grapple with – squad selection, the new tournament's format, and the unrivaled pressure of a major international tournament. Here is a look at the 24 men that will lead their countries at Euro 2016.

Van Gaal booed as Man Utd sign off in fifth

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Louis van Gaal was booed by his club's own fans after Manchester United ended their Premier League campaign by beating Bournemouth 3-1 in Tuesday's re-arranged Old Trafford fixture.

In a game carried over from Sunday following a postponement caused by the discovery of a fake bomb accidentally left behind during a terror training exercise, United needed a 19-goal victory in order to steal past Manchester City into the fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth.

Hull survive Derby fightback to reach play-off final

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London (AFP) Hull City survived to reach the Championship play-off final on Tuesday despite losing 2-0 at home to Derby County in their semi-final second leg.

Hull's 3-0 win in the first leg at the weekend left Derby with too much to do in the return at the KC Stadium as Steve Bruce's side set up a final against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley later this month.

Rashford on mark as Manchester United sign off in fifth

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Teenage striker Marcus Rashford celebrated his England call-up with a goal as Manchester United ended their Premier League campaign by beating Bournemouth 3-1 in Tuesday's re-arranged Old Trafford fixture.

In a game carried over from Sunday following a postponement caused by the discovery of a fake bomb accidentally left behind during a terror training exercise, United needed a 19-goal victory in order to steal past Manchester City into the fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth.

Mizunuma brace leaves Shanghai SIPG seeing double

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Doha (AFP) A superb brace by Kota Mizunuma rocked Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG as they lost 2-1 to FC Tokyo in the AFC Champions League round of 16 first leg on Tuesday.

Mizunuma's cheeky free-kick routine put the hosts ahead just before half-time and he volleyed a stunning winner on 65 minutes, after Wu Lei had briefly put SIPG level.

Sanches included in Portugal Euro squad

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Lisbon (AFP) Bayern Munich-bound starlet Renato Sanches was included in the 23-man Portugal squad for Euro 2016 named by coach Fernando Santos on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old Sanches will move to Bayern this summer for an initial 35 million euros ($39.6m, £27.4m) from Benfica after an outstanding breakthrough season with the Portuguese champions and he has been rewarded for his form with a place in the national squad.

Football fans express anger on return to Old Trafford

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Supporters spoke of their anger and terror over Manchester United's abandoned match against Bournemouth as they reconvened at a subdued Old Trafford for Tuesday's rescheduled fixture.

Sunday's game was called off at the last minute following the discovery of a suspicious package in a toilet in the stadium's northwest quadrant, which prompted a hasty evacuation.

AEK upset Olympiakos in Greek Cup final

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Athens (AFP) AEK Athens surprised Olympiakos 2-1 to win the Greek Cup final on Tuesday at an empty Athens Olympic Stadium.

Goals by captain Petros Mantalos in the 38th minute and by Algerian forward Rafik Djebbour in the 51st minute lifted AEK to their 15th Greek Cup.

Argentine midfielder Alejandro Dominguez pulled one back for Olympiakos six minutes from time.

Youthful France capable of beating anyone – Varane

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane is confident Les Bleus have the right mixture of youth and experience to lead them to victory on home soil at Euro 2016.

Varane, 23, is one of a number of talented younger players including Juventus' Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial of Manchester United and Atletico Madrid rival Antoine Griezmann who will carry French hopes of replicating their success of winning the Euros and World Cup at home in 1984 and 1998 respectively.

Hawk-Eye set for UEFA debut in Europa League final

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Hawk-Eye goal-line technology (GLT) will be used by UEFA for the first time in Wednesday's Europa League final between Sevilla and Liverpool in Basel.

Although already used in the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A, GLT has never been used in UEFA-affiliated matches before.

Football fans express anger on return to Old Trafford

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Supporters spoke of their anger and terror over Manchester United's abandoned match against Bournemouth as they reconvened at a subdued Old Trafford for Tuesday's rescheduled fixture.

Sunday's game was called off at the last minute following the discovery of a suspicious package in a toilet in the stadium's northwest quadrant, which prompted a hasty evacuation.

Klopp confident ahead of Europa League final

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident the Reds can end a difficult season on a high noteand claim their first European trophy in 11 years by beating Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Sevilla arrive in the Swiss city of Basel aiming for a hat-trick of victories in the competition.

Mitroglou makes Benfica move permanent

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Lisbon (AFP) Greek international striker Kostas Mitroglou has completed a permanent transfer to Benfica from English second-tier side Fulham, the Portuguese champions announced on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Mitroglou, who has spent this season on loan at Benfica, has signed a four-year deal through to 2020 with Portuguese press reports putting the transfer fee at seven million euros ($7.

Girard keeping expectations in check at Nantes

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Nantes (France) (AFP) New Nantes coach Rene Girard said on Tuesday that his target at the club is just to bring them consistent top-10 finishes in Ligue 1, after taking over from Michel Der Zakarian.

The Canaries finished down in 14th place under Armenian-born Der Zakarian after a 4-0 thrashing at champions Paris Saint-Germain in their final match of the season on Saturday.

Dutt joins Stuttgart exodus, Luhukay takes charge

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Berlin (AFP) Jos Luhukay has been named as the new coach of VfB Stuttgart after their relegation to the German second tier, while Robin Dutt became the third senior figure to leave the club on Tuesday.

Director of sport Dutt became the latest victim of Stuttgart's first relegation for more than 40 years when he was dismissed after ex-coach Jurgen Kramny was sacked on Sunday, the same day president Bernd Wahler resigned.

FOX Sports teams up with National Geographic to enhance World Cup 2018 TV coverage

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FOX Sports has teamed up with National Geographic to complement its coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be shown on US television.

National Geographic Channel, which is owned by 21st Century FOX, will collaborate with FOX Sports to help create features, vignettes and bumpers that will try to capture Russia's diversity, culture and scenery.

Alaba wants to bid farewell to Guardiola with seventh title

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Berlin (AFP) David Alaba says that Bayern Munich are determined to give Pep Guardiola a winning send-off and a seventh title in three years in Saturday's German Cup final.

Bayern face Borussia Dortmund at Berlin's Olympic Stadium in what will be Guardiola's final game in charge before taking over at Manchester City next season.

Uncapped trio make Germany’s Euro 2016 squad

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Berlin (AFP) Uncapped midfielders Joshua Kimmich, Julian Brandt and Julian Weigl were on Tuesday included in Germany's provisional 27-man squad for next month's European championships in France.

Defensive midfielder Kimmich, 21, caps a meteoric rise having only broken into Bayern Munich's first team earlier this season and has been now promoted from Germany's Under-21 team, as has 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.

Uncapped trio make Germany’s Euro 2016 squad

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Berlin (AFP) Uncapped midfielders Joshua Kimmich, Julian Brandt and Julian Weigl were on Tuesday included in Germany's provisional 27-man squad for Euro 2016 in France.

Defensive midfielder Kimmich, 21, caps a meteoric rise having only broken into Bayern Munich's first team earlier this season and has been now promoted from Germany's Under-21 team, as has 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.

Mizunuma brace leaves Sven seeing double in AFC Champions League

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Tokyo (AFP) A superb brace by Kota Mizunuma rocked Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG as they lost 2-1 to FC Tokyo in the AFC Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday.

Mizunuma's cheeky free kick routine put the hosts ahead just before half-time and he volleyed a stunning winner on 65 minutes, after Wu Lei had briefly put SIPG level.

Costa, Torres omitted from Spain Euro 2016 squad

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Las Rozas de Madrid (Spain) (AFP) Chelsea striker Diego Costa was left out of Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2016 on Tuesday.

The naturalized Brazilian missed Chelsea's last two games of the season due to a persistent hamstring injury and has struggled at international level with just one goal in 10 games since declaring to play for Spain in 2013.

ESPN announce streaming and digital details for Euro 2016

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This summer, ESPN will present exclusive programming and comprehensive coverage from EURO 2016 across digital platforms worldwide. This multi-platform approach will share resources and complement coverage between WatchESPN, ESPN3, ESPNFC.com, ESPNDeportes.

Uncapped Kimmich, Brandt make Germany’s Euro 2016 squad

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Berlin (AFP) Uncapped midfielders Joshua Kimmich and Julian Brandt were on Tuesday included in Germany's provisional 27-man squad for next month's European championships in France.

Defensive midfielder Kimmich, 21, caps a meteoric rise having only broken into Bayern Munich's first team earlier this season and has been now promoted from Germany's Under-21 team, as has 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.

Scandinavian players slam Qatar 2022 labour conditions

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Copenhagen (AFP) Danish and Norwegian players on Tuesday criticised the "cruel" working conditions of labourers at Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums in a video published by world football players' union, FIFPro.

"Working conditions in Qatar are, unfortunately, cruel," Norway's Tom Hogli, who currently plays for Danish side FC Copenhagen, said in a video clip, where he slammed Qatar's treatment of labourers on World Cup sites as "modern day slavery".

Cahill back for Australia’s Greek test

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Sydney (AFP) Veteran Tim Cahill was included Tuesday in Australia's squad for a double-header against Greece, one of 10 changes from the Socceroos line-up unveiled last week to play England.

The Australians face the Greeks on June 4 in Sydney and three days later in Melbourne.

The games follow a clash with Roy Hodgson's England at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on May 27, which falls outside the FIFA international window, meaning those playing in Asia were unavailable.

Liverpool stand between Sevilla and Europa League treble

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Liverpool midfielder Emre Can believes the Reds' legendary battling qualities can help end their 11-year wait for a continental trophy against treble-chasing Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final.

In their first European final since defeat by AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League, Liverpool are bidding to scupper the Spanish side's bid for an unprecedented third straight Europa League title at Basel's St.

Leicester City boss Ranieri named England’s Manager of the Year

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London (AFP) Leicester City's inspirational manager Claudio Ranieri has picked up another piece of silverware after being elected Manager of the Year by England's League Managers Association (LMA).

The 64-year-old Italian, who led Leicester to a 5,000-1 Premier League title triumph, becomes only the second non-Briton to win the award after Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger, who was honoured in 2002 and 2004.

Ex-FA executive leaves Aston Villa role

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London (AFP) Former Football Association executive Adrian Bevington has left his advisory post at Aston Villa, the relegated Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

Bevington joined Villa in March to review and evaluate the managerial position and playing staff at the ailing Midlands club, who finished the season at the foot of the table with just 17 points.

France set to kick off Euro 2016 preparations in Biarritz

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Biarritz (France) (AFP) Euro 2016 hosts France kick off preparations for next month's tournament with a first training camp from Tuesday in Biarritz on the southwestern French coast.

Coach Didier Deschamps, who comes from nearby Bayonne, opted to bring his squad here for five days and four training sessions at the Stade Aguilera, which is home to local rugby team Biarritz Olympique.

Diego Costa omitted from Spain Euro 2016 squad

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Las Rozas de Madrid (Spain) (AFP) Chelsea striker Diego Costa was left out of Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2016 on Tuesday.

The nationalised Brazilian missed Chelsea's last two games of the season due to a persistent hamstring injury and has struggled at international level with just one goal in 10 games since declaring to play for Spain in 2013.

Uncapped Kimmich, Brandt make Germany’s Euro 2016 squad

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Berlin (AFP) Uncapped midfielders Joshua Kimmich and Julian Brandt were on Tuesday included in Germany's provisional 27-man squad for next month's European championships in France.

Defensive midfielder Kimmich, 21, caps a meteoric rise having only broken into Bayern Munich's first team earlier this season and has been now promoted from Germany's Under-21 team, as has 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.

Overnight TV ratings for Championship Sunday increase 10% compared to last year

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NBC Sports has announced that the overnight TV ratings for its 2016 edition of Championship Sunday increased by 10% compared to last season's number for the final day of the Premier League season.

Sunday's schedule featured live Premier League matches on 10 different NBCUniversal television networks, as well as one match apiece on Spanish-language networks TELEMUNDO and NBC UNIVERSO.

Five reasons why Spanish clubs dominate Europe

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Madrid (AFP) Sevilla look to continue the reign of Spain in European competition when they face Liverpool in the Europa League final on Wednesday aiming to win the competition for a third consecutive season.

An all-Madrid Champions League final for the second time in three years between Real and Atletico Madrid on May 28 will ensure a Spanish winner of Europe's premier club competition for a third straight year.

Chivas-America Súper Clásico is most-viewed club soccer match in cable history

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The first leg of the Liga MX playoff between Chivas and Club América last Thursday was the most-viewed club soccer match in US cable history.

The match was televised live on Univision Deportes to an audience of 1.4 million total viewers. The 0-0 draw was also delivered the most streams and minutes watched of any Liga MX game in Univision history, for the regular season or playoffs.

Hodgson tells Rashford to grab England chance

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London (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson said Marcus Rashford could follow the example of Dele Alli after naming the 18-year-old Manchester United striker in his provisional Euro 2016 squad on Monday.

Rashford only made his senior United debut in February, but having scored seven goals in his first 16 appearances, he now has an outside chance of making Hodgson's final squad for the tournament in France.

US squad for Puerto Rico friendly

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Chicago (AFP) Jurgen Klinsmann named a 22-man United States squad on Monday for an upcoming friendly against Puerto Rico ahead of next month's Copa America Centenario.

The squad, made up entirely of US players based in Europe and Mexico, will form the basis of the roster for next month's June 3-26 tournament.

Altidore out of Copa America with injury

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Los Angeles (AFP) United States striker Jozy Altidore was ruled out of the upcoming Copa America Centenario on Monday with a hamstring injury, his club said.

Toronto FC said in a statement Altidore faced up to eight weeks out after suffering the injury while taking a penalty during Saturday's Major League Soccer clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Sheffield Wednesday sail through to play-off final

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London (AFP) Sheffield Wednesday cruised through to the Championship play-off final after drawing 1-1 at Brighton on Monday to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Carlos Carvalhal's side are one step away from a lucrative place in the Premier League thanks to a combative display in the semi-final second leg at the Amex Stadium.

Gilberto Silva joins Panathinaikos as technical director

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Athens (AFP) Former Brazilian defender Gilberto Silva has been named technical director of Panathinaikos, the Greek Super League team announced Monday.

The Athens outfit said the 39-year-old former Panathinaikos player had signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

"Panathinaikos welcomes Gilberto Silva back to the family," the team said in a statement.

Where to find the Toulon Tournament 2016 on US TV and streaming

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The Toulon Tournament is an annual tournament of invited under-20 squads from around the world that's played in and around the southern French city of Toulon.

This year's tournament will feature France, Mexico, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Mali in Group A;whileEngland, Portugal, Paraguay, Japan and Guinea will be in Group B.

Thousands turn out as Leicester parade trophy

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester City's incredible Premier League fairytale reached a joyous crescendo as thousands of fans turned the city blue while revelling in the club's title parade on Monday.

For two weeks since Claudio Ranieri's side were crowned one of the most unlikely champions in English football history, the city of Leicester hasn't stop celebrating and the party climaxed beneath sunny skies 24 hours after the Foxes finished their campaign with a draw at Chelsea.

No Pirlo, as Conte names provisional pre-Euro 2016 squad

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Milan (AFP) Italy veteran Andrea Pirlo was among the absentees as coach Antonio Conte named a provisional 28-man squad on Monday for a pre-Euro 2016 training camp with several stars absent with Cup finals to play.

Conte, who earlier Monday was cleared of sporting fraud charges relating to a match-fixing affair while he was coach of Serie B team Siena in 2011, can now fully focus on the Azzurri although questions remain over his final 23-man squad.

End of ‘nightmare’ for future Chelsea manager Conte

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Milan (AFP) Italy coach and future Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on Monday welcomed the end of "a nightmare" after being acquitted of sporting fraud charges.

"Four years ago when they came to search my house at five o'clock in the morning it was the start of a nightmare period that seemed never to end," Conte said in a statement on his Facebook page after the decision by a tribunal in Cremona.

Thousands turn out as Leicester parade trophy

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester City's incredible Premier League fairytale reached a joyous crescendo as thousands of fans turned the city blue while revelling in the club's title parade on Monday.

For two weeks since Claudio Ranieri's side were crowned one of the most unlikely champions in English football history, the city of Leicester hasn't stop celebrating and the party climaxed beneath sunny skies 24 hours after the Foxes finished their campaign with a draw at Chelsea.

Sanchez, Vidal head strong Chile Copa squad

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Santiago (AFP) Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal were named in a strong 23-man Chile squad on Monday for next month's Copa America Centenario.

Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi will rely heavily on the core of the side which lifted last year's Copa America when the South American showpiece kicks off in the United States on June 3.

FC Copenhagen clinch 11th Danish title

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Copenhagen (AFP) FC Copenhagen wrapped up an 11th Danish league title on Monday with three matches still remaining, by beating Nordsjaelland 2-0 in the capital.

A brace for Paraguayan forward Federico Santander gave FC Copenhagen a fourth consecutive victory, and took them an unassailable ten points clear, meaning that they succeed last season's shock winners Midtjylland as champions.

Security firm boss takes blame for Manchester United bomb scare

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The head of a security firm on Monday accepted "full responsiblity" for accidentally leaving behind a dummy bomb that caused Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium to be evacuated.

Chris Reid, managing director of Security Search Management and Solutions, said he was "devastated" by the blunder, which left United facing a multi-million-pound bill.

End of ‘nightmare’ for future Chelsea manager Conte

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Milan (AFP) Italy coach and future Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on Monday welcomed the end of "a nightmare" after being acquitted of sporting fraud charges that left him at risk of a prision sentence.

"Four years ago when they came to search my house at five o'clock in the morning it was the start of a nightmare period that seemed never to end," Conte said in a statement on his Facebook page after the decision by a tribunal in Cremona.

Manchester United blame contractor for fake bomb ‘fiasco’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United blamed a security contractor on Monday over a dummy bomb that caused the abandonment of Sunday's final Premier League game against Bournemouth and left the club facing a multi-million-pound bill.

The incident at Old Trafford triggered angry calls for action, with Tony Lloyd, Manchester's mayor and police and crime commissioner, branding it "outrageous" and a "fiasco".

Chelsea, Tottenham fined combined £600,000 over clashes

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London (AFP) Chelsea and Tottenham have been fined £375,000 ($540,000, 476,000 euros) and £225,000 ($324,000, 286 euros) respectively for failing to control their players during a feisty 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

The tempestuous London derby boiled over as Chelsea came from two goals down to secure the point that ended Tottenham's hopes of winning the Premier League.

Chelsea, Tottenham fined combined £600,000 over clashes

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London (AFP) Chelsea and Tottenham have been fined £375,000 ($540,000, 476,000 euros) and £225,000 respectively for failing to control their players during a feisty 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

The tempestuous London derby boiled over as Chelsea came from two goals down to secure the point that ended Tottenham's hopes of winning the Premier League.

Federation chief hails Conte after match-fixing acquittal

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Milan (AFP) Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio on Monday saluted Azzurri coach Antonio Conte, after he escaped a prison term by being acquitted of sporting fraud in a match-fixing affair.

Prosecutor Roberto di Martino had requested a six-month sentence for Italy coach Conte and a fine of 8,000 euros ($9,063), as well as similar sanctions for his former assistant at Siena, Angelo Alessio, following accusations they failed to report episodes of match-fixing while Conte was in charge at Serie B side Siena in 2011.

Sunderland want to sign DeAndre Yedlin on a permanent deal

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Sunderland want to sign right backDeAndre Yedlin in a £2 million transfer deal, according to reports out of England today.

The potential move could be a big positive for both Sunderland and the American international.Finding a right back with 30 plus international caps under his belt at the age of 22 is rare.

Review of NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2015/16 Premier League season

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Nervousness surrounded American soccer fandom in late August of last year. After two years of outstanding coverage of the Premier League in the United States, it was thought in many quarters that NBC Sports was going to lose the rights to the league to FOX Sports or ESPN. Instead, relief enveloped the soccer community when it was announced NBC had not only won the rights renewal, but had received an extended package length of six years through to 2022.

Federation chief hails Conte after match-fixing acquittal

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Milan (AFP) Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio on Monday saluted Azzurri coach Antonio Conte, after he escaped a prison term by being acquitted of sporting fraud in a match-fixing affair.

Prosecutor Roberto di Martino had requested a six-month sentence for Italy coach Conte and a fine of 8,000 euros ($9,063), as well as similar sanctions for his former assistant at Siena, Angelo Alessio, following accusations they failed to report episodes of match-fixing while Conte was in charge at Serie B side Siena in 2011.

Bournemouth pay for fans’ rescheduled Man Utd trip

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London (AFP) Bournemouth announced on Monday that they have offered free coach travel to supporters travelling to Old Trafford for Tuesday's rearranged final Premier League game against Manchester United.

The match was called off on Sunday following the discovery of a suspect device, which turned out to be a fake bomb left in the stadium by mistake after a terror training exercise.

Rashford, Townsend in 26-man England squad ahead of Euro 2016

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London (AFP) Manchester United's teenage sensation Marcus Rashford and Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend were named in a provisional 26-man England squad for Euro 2016 on Monday.

The uncapped Rashford, 18, has burst onto the scene with United this season, scoring seven goals in 16 games, while Townsend, who won the last of his 10 England caps in October, has impressed since joining Newcastle from Tottenham Hotspur in January.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 11 of the 2016 season

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Here are the ten things we learned from Week 11 of the 2016 MLS season.

1. Columbus Acts, Trades Kei Kamara

Thanks in part to a well-placed transfer deadline, it took just four days for the Columbus Crew to ship Kei Kamara out of town after his incredible tirade against Federico Higuain a week last Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium.

Celtic’s future is bright, says departing boss Deila

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Glasgow (AFP) Departing Celtic manager Ronny Deila says the club's youngsters can play a big part for the Glasgow giants next season after several of them starred in a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell on the final day of the season.

Scotland's young player of the year Kieran Tierney started the scoring with his first goal for the Hoops before Australian international Tom Rogic and Mikael Lustig made it 3-0 at the break.

Premier League 2015-16 — the five best goals

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London (AFP) Following the conclusion of the 2015-16 Premier League season, AFP Sport selects the five most memorable goals from the campaign:

Christian Benteke (Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool)

Belgium striker Benteke endured a dismal debut season at Liverpool following his 32.5 million pounds ($46.

Premier League 2015-16 — the five best games

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London (AFP) With another dramatic Premier League season at an end, AFP Sport looks back at the five best matches of the 2015-16 campaign:

Manchester City 1 Leicester City 3

Rarely can a goal from Sergio Aguero have been greeted with such apathy, but the sound of the Manchester City star's irrelevant late strike barely being acknowledged by the chastened home support told the story of a defining day in the title race.

Ronaldo enters last chance saloon for Euro glory

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Lisbon (AFP) For a player that has won almost everything on an individual and collective level, the one honour that agonisingly evades Cristiano Ronaldo is an international trophy with Portugal.

Euro 2016 will be Ronaldo's fourth and at 31 possibly last European Championship finals.

The previous three have all promised much only to end in varying degrees of disappointment for the three-time World Player of the Year.

‘Icelandic Beckham’ Sigurdsson propels Euro debutants

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Reykjavik (AFP) With his status as the star player of his country's golden generation and his prowess from a dead ball, it is no surprise that Gylfi Sigurdsson has been labelled the Icelandic David Beckham.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder with a fierce right foot shot admits that he loved watching England stars Beckham and Frank Lampard when he was growing up.

All-round Alaba helps Austria take flight in Euro 2016

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Vienna (AFP) Born to a Nigerian father and a Filipino mother, DavidAlabais an unlikely poster boy for an Austrian national team soaring unprecedented heights.

Raised in Vienna, Alaba left his hometown just after turning 16 to join Bayern Munich's youth academy.

As a youngster he idolised Patrick Vieira and dreamed of playing for Arsenal, but Bayern's persistence lured him to Germany where Alaba has blossomed into a world-class talent.

Mayor slams ‘outrageous’ Manchester United abandonment

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Greater Manchester's mayor slammed the abandonment of Manchester United's game with Bournemouth over what turned out to be a fake bomb as "outrageous", and called for a full inquiry.

Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion of a suspicious package which was later revealed to be a dummy left behind by a private security company following a training exercise.

New York City FC revival gathers pace as Timbers felled

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Los Angeles (AFP) New York City FC defeated MLS Cup champions the Portland Timbers 2-1 as Patrick Vieira's resurgent side marched towards the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Goals from former Spain international David Villa and American midfielder Tommy McNamara secured a third consecutive victory for City after Portland's Fanendo Adi had equalized.

Becks effect behind Hong Kong’s first lady of football

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Hong Kong (AFP) Hong Kong trailblazer Chan Yuen-ting became the first woman coach to take a men's football team to a top-flight title thanks to the toughness that earned her the nickname "beefball" and a teenage crush on David Beckham.

Chan, 27, led Eastern Sports Club to win Hong Kong's Premier League in April for the first time in 21 years.

Beijing Guoan’s first home win eases pressure on Zaccheroni

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Shanghai (AFP) Beijing Guoan eased the pressure on their under-fire coach Alberto Zaccheroni with a 2-1 victory over Sven-Goran Eriksson's Shanghai SIPG their first home win of the season.

The former Juventus and Japan coach has endured a tough start to life in the Chinese Super League, with fans mounting a mass protest at Beijing's Workers' Stadium after a poor start to the season.

Rashford, Townsend in 26-man England squad ahead of Euro 2016

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London (AFP) Manchester United's teenage sensation Marcus Rashford and Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend were named in a provisional 26-man England squad for Euro 2016 on Monday.

The uncapped Rashford, 18, has burst onto the scene with United this season, scoring seven goals in 16 games, while Townsend, who won the last of his 10 England caps in October, has impressed since joining Newcastle from Tottenham Hotspur in January.

Hodgson reassured by Man Utd bomb scare

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London (AFP) England manager Roy Hodgson felt reassured by the prompt reaction of the police and emergency services during Sunday's bomb scare at Old Trafford, he said on Monday.

Old Trafford was evacuated following the discovery of a suspicious device in a toilet in the stadium's northwest quadrant shortly before kick-off in the Premier League game between Manchester United and Bournemouth, which was subsequently postponed.

Manchester United face multi-million bill for fake bomb ‘fiasco’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) A fake bomb inside Old Trafford that forced the abandonment of Manchester United's last Premier League game of the season triggered angry calls Monday for action as the club faced a multi-million pound bill for the "fiasco".

As inquiries started into the incident which led to bomb disposal experts blowing up a mobile phone attached to a gas pipe, United vowed to reimburse the tickets of 75,000 fans who were evacuated Sunday ahead of the game against Bournemouth.

Italy coach Conte acquitted of sporting fraud charges: media

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Rome (AFP) Italy coach Antonio Conte has been cleared of accusations of sporting fraud following a hearing in Cremona on Monday at which prosecutors had requested a six-month prison sentence, Italian media reports said.

Conte is now free to lead Italy at Euro 2016 before becoming Chelsea coach following the tournament's conclusion on July 10, according to reports on the website of sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

Arteta set to retire after ending Arsenal career

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London (AFP) Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, whose contract with Arsenal is due to expire, has announced his intention to retire from playing and move into coaching.

The 34-year-old said he was "99 percent" certain to hang up his boots after turning out for Arsenal for the last time in their 4-0 win over Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.

Wenger frustrated despite runners-up berth

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal endured a disappointing campaign despite securing the runners-up spot, behind champions Leicester, for the first time since 2005.

Arsenal's 4-0 victory over Aston Villa combined with Tottenham's disastrous 5-1 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday ensured Wenger's side finished above their local rivals, who had seemed certain to take second place for several weeks.

Ranieri braces Leicester for big team backlash

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London (AFP) Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has told his players to expect the full force of the Premier League's leading clubs when they attempt to defend their fairytale title next season.

Leicester concluded their astonishing campaign on Sunday with a 1-1 draw at deposed champions Chelsea, Ranieri's former club, which left the 5,000-1 outsiders 10 points clear at the top of the standings.

Sierra Leone fan’s Old Trafford heartache turns to Wembley joy

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) A Manchester United fan from Sierra Leone, whose hopes of watching his first game at Old Trafford were dashed on Sunday, saw his despair turn to elation after other supporters clubbed together for him to attend next weekend's FA Cup final at Wembley.

Army experts blew up a suspect device later revealed to be a dummy left from a training exercise after tens of thousands of fans were evacuated ahead of Manchester United's final English Premier League game of the season, against Bournemouth.

Pellegrini backs Guardiola to thrive at Manchester City

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manuel Pellegrini might be unsure about his own future but he is certain Pep Guardiola will be successful when he takes over as Manchester City manager.

Pellegrini's side ground out a 1-1 draw at Swansea City on Sunday to ensure they pipped neighbours Manchester United to the Premier League's fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth.

Dummy device behind Old Trafford ‘bomb’ scare ‘fiasco’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) A fake bomb left behind following a training exercise was responsible for the abandonment of Sunday's match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford, police said.

Amid a nerve-jangling scare with much of Europe on alert for militant attacks, the device was blown up by army bomb disposal experts after United's world-famous ground had been evacuated.

‘Training device’ led to Manchester United-Bournemouth abandonment

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The suspect package that saw Manchester United's Premier League game with Bournemouth at Old Trafford abandoned on Sunday was in fact a dummy device left behind following a training exercise held at the ground four days earlier, police announced.

Amid a nerve-jangling scare with much of Europe on alert for militant attacks, Greater Manchester Police confirmed late on Sunday that the controlled explosion that took place to neutralise the device was carried out on a dummy 'bomb' left in toilets in the Stretford End on Wednesday.

‘Training device’ led to Manchester United-Bournemouth abandonment

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The suspect package that saw Manchester United's Premier League game with Bournemouth at Old Trafford abandoned on Sunday was in fact a dummy device left behind following a training exercise held at the ground four days earlier, police announced.

In a development that will prove hugely embarrassing to the club, Greater Manchester Police confirmed late on Sunday that the controlled explosion that took place to neutralise the device was carried out on a dummy 'bomb' left in toilets in the Stretford End on Wednesday.

Rampant Besiktas swoop to first Turkish title since 2009

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Istanbul (AFP) Besiktas clinched the Turkish Super Lig title with a game to spare on Sunday, topping the league for the first time since 2009 and claiming Turkey's sole automatic Champions League spot.

Driven on by over 40,000 fans inside their new stadium on the Bosphorus, Besiktas thrashed Osmanlispor of Ankara 3-1 to gain an unassailable advantage over local Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce going into the coming week's final round of games.

‘Training device’ led to ManUtd-Bournemouth abandonment

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The security alert that caused Manchester United's Premier League game against Bournemouth to be abandoned at Old Trafford on Sunday and triggered a controlled explosion was caused by a "training device", Greater Manchester Police said.

The device was accidentally left behind by a private company after a practice exercise.

‘Training device’ led to Manchester United-Bournemouth abandonment

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) The security alert that caused Manchester United's Premier League game against Bournemouth to be abandoned at Old Trafford on Sunday and triggered a controlled explosion was caused by a "training device", Greater Manchester Police said.

The device was accidentally left behind by a private company after a practice exercise.

Palermo secure Serie A safety with Verona victory

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Palermo (Italy) (AFP) Palermo secured their Serie A status for next season by beating bottom club Verona 3-2 in an action-packed encounter on Sunday, meaning that Carpi are relegated despite a 2-1 win at Udinese.

Palermo chairman Maurizio Zamparini has made eight managerial changes in a turbulent season, but second-half headers from Enzo Maresca and Alberto Gilardino at the Stadio Renzo Barbera were enough to complete an unlikely escape in Davide Ballardini's second spell as head coach this term.

Sierra Leone fan’s Old Trafford heartache turns to Wembley joy

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) A Manchester United fan from Sierra Leone who saw his hopes of watching his first game at Old Trafford dashed by Sunday's dramatic abandonment, saw his despair turn to elation after other supporters clubbed together for him to attend next weekend's FA Cup final at Wembley.

Rampant Besiktas swoop to first Turkish title since 2009

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Istanbul (AFP) Besiktas clinched the Turkish Super Lig title with a game to spare on Sunday, topping the league for the first time since 2009 and claiming Turkey's sole automatic Champions League spot.

Driven on by over 40,000 fans inside their new stadium on the Bosphorus, Besiktas thrashed Osmanlispor of Ankara 3-1 to gain an unassailable advantage over local Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce going into the coming week's final round of games.

Sporting Gijon win relegates Getafe, Rayo Vallecano

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Madrid (AFP) Madrid's representation in La Liga was reduced from four to two teams for next season as Getafe and Rayo Vallecano were relegated, while Sporting Gijon saved themselves with a 2-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday.

Getafe were the only side with matters in their own hands but succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Real Betis to end their 12-year stay in the top flight.

Funeral held for tragic Ekeng

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Yaoundé (AFP) The funeral of Cameroon international Patrick Ekeng, who died earlier this month playing for his club Dinamo Bucharest, was held in Yaounde on Sunday.

Several hundred people, including Cameroon's minister for sport and physical education, Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mpatt, attended the service at the player's family home in Yaounde.

Rampant Besiktas swoop to first Turkish title since 2009

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Istanbul (AFP) Istanbul side Besiktas on Sunday clinched the Turkish Super Lig title with a game to spare, topping the league for the first time since 2009 and claiming Turkey's sole automatic Champions League spot.

Driven on by over 40,000 fans inside their new stadium on the Bosphorus, Besiktas thrashed Osmanlispor of Ankara 3-1 to gain an unassailable advantage over local rivals Fenerbahce going into the coming week's final round of games.

Benfica retain Portuguese title

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Lisbon (AFP) Benfica held off the challenge of bitter rivals Sporting to win a third straight Portuguese title by beating Nacional 4-1 on the final day of the season on Sunday.

Captain Nico Gaitan scored twice with top scorer Jonas, with his 32nd league goal of the season, and Pizzi also on target for Rui Vitoria's side before Salvador Agra got one back at the death.

Southampton soar into Europe with Palace win

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) Southampton booked their place in next season's Europa League by finishing their Premier League campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Goals from Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle, Ryan Bertrand and Steven Davis set up an emphatic win for the hosts, with Jason Puncheon pulling a goal back for Palace at St Mary's.

Flores ends Watford tenure with Sunderland draw

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) Watford failed to send off departing manager Quique Sanchez Flores with a victory as Sunderland left Vicarage Road with a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

Fresh from securing their Premier League future in midweek with a 3-0 rout of Everton, Sunderland twice took the lead through Jack Rodwell and Jeremain Lens, but each time the Hornets hit back with Sebastian Proedl and Troy Deeney finding the net.

West Ham face Euro woe after Stoke setback

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Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) Stoke City staged a stirring fightback to beat West Ham United 2-1 on Sunday and leave the visitors facing the possibility of missing out on a Europa League place.

Slaven Bilic's side went ahead at the Britannia Stadium through Michail Antonio's 23rd-minute goal.

‘I want to stay’ at Chelsea, says emotional Terry

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London (AFP) Captain John Terry told Chelsea's fans he wanted to stay at the club during an emotional address following their 1-1 draw with Premier League champions Leicester City on Sunday.

Terry, 35, announced in January that he would be leaving at the end of the season due to the club's failure to offer him a new contract.

Suspect device blown up at Old Trafford as Manchester United finale abandoned

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Army experts blew up a suspect package at Old Trafford on Sunday after tens of thousands of fans were evacuated from the stadium ahead of Manchester United's final English Premier League game of the season, police said.

The emergency was signalled just 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the game in the 75,600 capacity stadium.

Drinkwater spares Leicester from closing defeat at Chelsea

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London (AFP) Danny Drinkwater struck a stunning late equaliser as Leicester City concluded their fairytale Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against outgoing champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Cesc Fabregas's penalty put Chelsea ahead, but Drinkwater crowned his return from suspension by levelling with a dipping 25-yard effort in the 82nd minute to ensure that manager Claudio Ranieri did not taste defeat on his return to his former club.

Wijnaldum leads Newcastle humiliation of Spurs

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur surrendered a second-place Premier League finish as theysuffered a humiliating 5-1 final day defeatat relegated Newcastle United on Sunday.

Georginio Wijnaldumled the way with two goals either side of one byAleksandar Mitrovic, who was later sent off,before lateefforts from substitute Rolando Aarons and defender Daryl Janmaatsaw Spurs comprehensively beaten as they failed to earn the point they needed to seal their best top-flight campaign since 1963.

Giroud treble sinks Villa, lifts Arsenal above Spurs

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London (AFP) Olivier Giroud's hat-trick inspired Arsenal to a 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa on Sunday that, combined with Tottenham's defeat at Newcastle, ensured they finished the season as Premier League runners-up.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has endured protests from supporters convinced it is time for a change throughout much of a difficult campaign.

Pellegrini bows out with City taking Euro prize

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manuel Pellegrini's reign as Manchester City manager ended with a 1-1 draw at Swansea on Sunday that was enough to effectively ensure his successor Pep Guardiola will be able to lead the club into the Champions League next season.

Pellegrini, whose three-year spell at Eastlands has seen the club win the Premier League title once and two League Cups, saw City live dangerously at times before he was able to sign off with the point needed to almost certainly beat Manchester United to the Premier League's fourth Champions League qualifying spot.

Ibe makes point for second-string Liverpool

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jordon Ibe's superb goal gave a much-changed Liverpool side a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday's final day of the Premier League season.

Three days before the Reds face Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel, their manager Jurgen Klopp made 11 changes for their final domestic outing of the campaign.

Everton begin post-Martinez era by beating Norwich

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Liverpool (AFP) Everton claimed a rare home win as they beat relegated Norwich City 3-0 on the final day of the Premier League season in their first match since Roberto Martinez was sacked as manager.

Caretaker coaches Joe Royle and David Unsworth named an experimental side, and James McCarthy lashed them into the lead after good work by Keiran Dowell.

Suspect device blown up at Old Trafford as Man United finale abandoned

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Army experts blew up a suspect package at Old Trafford on Sunday after tens of thousands of fans were evacuated from the stadium ahead of Manchester United's final English Premier League game of the season, police said.

The emergency was signalled just 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the game in the 75,600 capacity stadium.

‘Controlled explosion’ at Old Trafford: police

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Army experts staged a controlled explosion at Old Trafford on Sunday after a suspect package was found at the Manchester United stadium ahead of their final game of the season, police said Sunday.

Tens of thousands of fans were ordered from the 75,600 capacity stadium when the alert was sounded about 20 minutes before the scheduled 1400 GMT kickoff of the Premier League game against Bournemouth.

Ribery not interested in France return

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Berlin (AFP) Franck Ribery has said he has no intention of playing for France again, according to an interview he gave to Sport Bild.

"I have no desire whatsoever to play for France any more," said the 33-year-old Bayern Munich winger.

"I closed this chapter with the announcement of my retirement in 2014.

Celtic celebrate title with 7-0 win against Motherwell

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Glasgow (AFP) Champions Celtic capped off their season in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell at Parkhead before they were presented with the Scottish Premiership trophy.

Kieran Tierney grabbed his first goal for Celtic with a superb strike in the 21st minute before Australian international Tom Rogic tapped in a second just five minutes later.

Man Utd game abandoned over ‘suspect package’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Police ordered Manchester United to abandon their final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday after a suspicious package was discovered at Old Trafford.

Tens of thousands of fans were ordered from the 75,600 capacity stadium when the alert was sounded about 20 minutes before the scheduled 1400 GMT kickoff.

Man Utd game abandoned over ‘suspect package’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Police ordered Manchester United to abandon their final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday after a suspicious package was discovered at Old Trafford.

Tens of thousands of fans were ordered from the 75,600 capacity stadium when the alert was sounded about 20 minutes before the scheduled 1400 GMT kickoff.

Bruges win first Belgian title for 11 years

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Brussels (AFP) Belgian giants FC Bruges ended 11 years of frustration on Sunday by winning their domestic title thanks to a 4-0 thumping of Anderlecht, the only side that could have denied them the crown.

A first-half brace from Malian Abdoulaye Diaby followed by goals from Belgians Hans Vanaken and Timmy Simons in the second period gave Bruges their first title since 2005 and 14th overall.

Higuain feels Napoli love but doubts over future persist

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Rome (AFP) History-making Gonzalo Higuain has declared his love for Napoli but left doubts hanging over his future as rumours persist of a possible move to the Premier League.

Higuain hit a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 win over relegated Frosinone on Saturday to take his league tally for the season to 36 in 35 games, in the process breaking a 66-year-old Serie A record.

Man Utd game abandoned over suspicious package

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Police ordered Manchester United to abandon their final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday after a suspicious package was discovered at Old Trafford.

The game "has been abandoned, fans are leaving the ground. Please avoid the area if possible," Manchester police said on their Twitter account.

Man Utd stadium stands evacuated due to suspicious package

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Half of the stands at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground were evacuated Sunday because of a suspicious package just ahead of their final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth.

Tens of thousands of supporters were led from their seats approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled 3:00pm (1400 GMT) kick-off.

Ibrahimovic breaks PSG record in Nantes romp

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a minute from time to break Paris Saint-Germain's single season Ligue 1 scoring record in a 4-0 rout of Nantes late Saturday.

With the title long wrapped up and a French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille to come a week later, the night was all about Ibrahimovic and his quest to break the 37-goal single season PSG record at the Parc des Princes.

Man Utd game abandoned over suspicious package

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Police ordered Manchester United to abandon their final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday after a suspicious package was discovered at their Old Trafford stadium.

The game "has been abandoned, fans are leaving the ground. Please avoid the area if possible," Manchester police said on their Twitter account.

Ibrahimovic breaks PSG record in Nantes romp

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a minute from time to break Paris Saint-Germain's single season Ligue 1 scoring record in a 4-0 rout of Nantes.

With the title long wrapped up and a French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille to come a week later, the night was all about Ibrahimovic and his quest to break the 37-goal single season PSG record at the Parc des Princes.

Higuain feels Napoli love but doubts on future persist

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Rome (AFP) History-making Gonzalo Higuain has declared his love for Napoli but left doubts hanging over his future as rumours persist of a possible move to the Premier League.

Higuain hit a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 win over relegated Frosinone on Saturday to take his league tally for the season to 36 in 35 games, in the process breaking a 66-year-old Serie A scoring record.

What Manchester United’s starting 11 should look like for the 2016/17 season

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The talk of the town these days in Manchester, at least in one half of the city, is about the next manager at Old Trafford. Will Van Gaal remain in the hot seat, or have Manchester United already agreed a deal with José Mourinho? Or, perhaps less likely, will they move for a third name— a Giggs, Pochettino, or Simeone?

Ibrahimovic breaks PSG record in Nantes romp

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a minute from time to break Paris Saint-Germain's single season Ligue 1 scoring record in a 4-0 rout of Nantes.

With the title long wrapped up and a French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille to come a week later, the night was all about Ibrahimovic and his quest to break the 37-goal single season PSG record at the Parc des Princes.

Drogba scores fourth goal of MLS season in Montreal draw

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Montreal (AFP) Former Chelsea standout Didier Drogba scored on a half-volley in the third minute and Eastern Conference leader Montreal played to a 1-1 Major League Soccer draw with visiting Philadelphia.

It was the fourth deadlock in a row for the Impact, with Ivory Coast star Drogba's fourth goal of the season being matched by the Union's CJ Sapong in the 21st minute.

Listen to the World Soccer Talk playlist on Spotify

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It's been four years since we last released a Spotify playlist featuring songs that we love that we hope you enjoy. A lot has changed since then, but to celebrate the relaunch of our website, we thought it'd be an apt time to celebrate and rock some tunes.

Here's our curated list of 28 of our favorite songs:

Some tracks will be familiar.

Adidas to continue sponsoring FIFA: company

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Frankfurt (AFP) German sportswear giant Adidas will continue sponsoring FIFA, despite the corruption allegations dogging the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup, the group's supervisory board chief said on Sunday.

"If you want to sell sporting goods, you have to have a good relationship with the people in the clubs and the associations.

US-Mexico joint World Cup bid is a terrible gamble for US Soccer

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FIFA has a moneyproblem. After years of scandals coming to the forefront of people's attentions and assets being seized in criminal investigations, the organization is finally being hit where it hurts. According to the Associated Press, FIFA's latest financials showed a loss of $122 million last year, and the organization now has had trouble finding new sponsors in the wake of seemingly repeated misappropriation of funds.

Suarez outguns Messi, Ronaldo to fire Barcelona to title

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Barcelona (AFP) In little under two years with Barcelona, Luis Suarez has won six trophies, silenced his critics with almost impeccable on-field behaviour and now, most remarkably of all, left Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in his shadow.

Suarez fittingly scored a hat-trick as Barca retained their La Liga title on Saturday with a 3-0 win at Granada to take his tally for the season to a remarkable 59 allied to 26 assists.

Ranieri reckons Conte will succeed at Chelsea

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London (AFP) Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes Chelsea will be a revitalised force under his fellow Italian boss Antonio Conte.

Former Chelsea manager Ranieri takes his current side to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester having dethroned the Stamford Bridge club as Premier League champions, having once been 5,000/1 colossal outsiders for the title.

Fatma Samoura: FIFA’s first woman secretary general is used to crises

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Paris (AFP) Fatma Samoura, FIFA's first-ever female secretary general, may be an outsider in the football world but she is hoping her two decades of experience as a UN diplomat will help her restore the sport's "tarnished image".

"My goal is to support the programme of president Gianni (Infantino) and to help football restore its tarnished image," the Senegalese UN diplomat, named Friday as the second-in-command of football's ruling body, told AFP.

Record-setting Higuain fires Napoli into Champions League

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Rome (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain expressed his "extreme joy" after a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 rout of Frosinone set a new all-time record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season and fired Napoli into the Champions League.

"I feel immense joy at overtaking this record," Higuain told Mediaset at the San Paolo stadium.

Ibrahimovic breaks PSG record in Nantes romp

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a minute from time to break Paris Saint-Germain's single season Ligue 1 scoring record in a 4-0 rout of Nantes on Saturday.

With the title long wrapped up and a French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille to come a week later, the night was all about Ibrahimovic and his quest to break the record at the Parc-des-Princes.

Record-setting Higuain fires Napoli into Champions League

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Rome (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain was in high spirits after a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 rout of Frosinone set a new all-time record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season and fired Napoli into the Champions League.

"I feel immense joy at overtaking this record," Higuain told Mediaset at the San Paolo stadium.

Ibrahimovic breaks PSG record in Nantes romp

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Paris (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a minute from time to break Paris Saint-Germain's single season Ligue 1 scoring record in a 4-0 rout of Nantes on Saturday.

With the title long wrapped up and a French Cup final against bitter rivals Marseille to come a week later, the night was all about Ibrahimovic and his quest to break the record at the Parc-des-Princes.

Record-setting Higuain fires Napoli into Champions League

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Rome (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain hit a hat-trick to set a new all-time record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season as Napoli secured second spot and Champions League football with a dramatic 4-0 rout of 10-man Frosinone.

Roma, despite a 3-1 win at AC Milan that has virtually ended the hosts' hopes of Europa League football, finished two points further adrift in third meaning they will enter the preliminary rounds of Europe's premier club competition.

Higuain hat-trick sets new Serie A goals record

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Rome (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain hit a hat-trick in Napoli's final game of the season to beat a 66-year-old record for the number of goals scored in a single Serie A season.

Argentina striker Higuain went into the final game against Frosinone two goals short of equalling Gunnar Nordahl's 1950 record of 35 goals in a 20-team, three-points-for-a-win Serie A campaign.

Suarez hat-trick fires Barca to La Liga title

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge.

Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals.

Barca had to win La Liga twice over – Pique

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona defender Gerard Pique hailed the winning mentality of what he described as a "unique generation" of players after the Catalans sealed a sixth La Liga title in eight years with a 3-0 win at Granada on Saturday.

Fittingly, Luis Suarez was the Barca hero with a hat-trick to take his tally for the season to 59, including 14 in his last five games, as Luis Enrique's men recovered from an alarming April slump to win their last five matches by a combined score of 24-0.

Dybala double as five-star Juve rout Sampdoria

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Rome (AFP) Paulo Dybala hit a brace and provided an assist as Italian champions Juventus capped their sterling Serie A season with a 5-0 rout of 10-man Sampdoria on Saturday.

Juventus secured a record-equalling fifth successive title without kicking a ball last month thanks to Roma's late 1-0 win at home to Napoli.

Suarez hat-trick fires Barca to La Liga title

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge.

Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals.

Dybala double as five-star Juve rout Sampdoria

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Rome (AFP) Paulo Dybala hit a brace and provided an assist as Italian champions Juventus capped their sterling Serie A season with a 5-0 rout of 10-man Sampdoria on Saturday.

Juventus secured a record-equalling fifth successive title without kicking a ball last month thanks to Roma's late 1-0 win at home to Napoli.

Five keys to Barcelona’s La Liga triumph

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona claimed their 24th La Liga title on Saturday with a 3-0 win at Granada.

Here, AFP Sports looks at five key reasons why Luis Enrique's men retained their title despite a thrilling chase from Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Survived Messi's injury absence

When five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi went down with knee ligament damage against Las Palmas in September ruling him out for two months, the time seemed ripe for Barca's title rivals to capitalise.

Suarez hat-trick fires Barca to La Liga title

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge.

Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals.

Guardiola signs off at Bayern with German league title

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola signed off his three years in the Bundesliga with a 'beer shower' on Saturday as Bayern Munich lifted a fourth straight German league title after Saturday's 3-1 win over bottom-side Hanover.

Bayern's 28th win in 34 league games triggered party scenes at the Allianz Arena as the Bavarians celebrated their 26th German league title.

Suarez hat-trick fires Barca to La Liga title

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge.

Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo la Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals.

Guardiola signs off at Bayern with German league title

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola signed off his three years in the Bundesliga on Saturday as Bayern Munich lifted a fourth straight German league title after Saturday's 3-1 win over bottom-side Hanover.

Bayern's 28th win in 34 league games triggered party scenes at the Allianz Arena as the Bavarians celebrated their 26th German league title.

Guardiola signs off at Bayern with German league title

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola signed off his three years in the Bundesliga on Saturday as Bayern Munich lifted a fourth straight German league title after Saturday's 3-1 win over bottom-side Hanover.

Poland hot-shot Robert Lewandowski finished as the Bundesliga's top scorer after claiming his 30th league goal of the season.

Four-star Lewandowski is Germany’s top-scorer

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Berlin (AFP) Robert Lewandowski netted his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season on Saturday to finish as the league's top-scorer for the second time having sent four records tumbling last September.

The Poland hot-shot reached the 30-goal landmark in giving Bayern Munich an early lead at the Allianz Arena as they beat relegated Hanover 3-1 on Pep Guardiola's swansong as head coach.

Barcelona win 24th La Liga title

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge.

Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win 2-0 at Deportivo la Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals.

Schalke and coach Breitenreiter part company

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Berlin (AFP) Schalke 04 and head coach Andre Breitenreiter will part company at the end of the season, both parties confirmed Saturday before their final match of the Bundesliga season at Hoffenheim.

"It's my final match on the bench with Schalke," Breitenreiter told Sky on Saturday after just a season in charge.

FIFA audit chief Scala quits over threat to reforms

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Mexico City (AFP) The head of FIFA's independent audit committee, Domenico Scala quit on Saturday in protest at what he called attacks on reforms of the scandal-tainted world football governing body by its leadership.

Scala is angry at a FIFA Council move to control the nomination of members of independent oversight bodies such as its ethics committee and audit and compliance committee.

Benitez says ‘good chance’ he’ll stay at Newcastle

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London (AFP) Rafael Benitez said Saturday there was a "good chance" he would remain as manager of Newcastle United despite the club's relegation from the Premier League.

The Spaniard added he had started talks with the north-east club's management, with a final decision expected within the next two weeks.

FIFA audit chief Scala quits over threat to reforms

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Mexico City (AFP) The head of FIFA's independent audit committee Domenico Scala quit Saturday in protest at what he called attacks on reforms of the scandal-tainted world football governing body by its leadership.

Scala is angry at a FIFA Council move to control the nomination of members of independent oversight bodies such as its ethics committee and audit and compliance committee.

FIFA audit chief Scala quits over threat to reforms

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Mexico City (AFP) The head of FIFA's independent audit committee Domenico Scala quit Saturday in protest at what he called attacks on reforms of the scandal-tainted world football governing body by its leadership.

Scala said he was "consternated" by a FIFA Council move to control the nomination of members of independent oversight bodies such as its ethics committee and audit and compliance committee.

New FIFA secretary general vows to improve game’s ‘tarnished image’

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Paris (AFP) FIFA's new secretary general Fatma Samoura on Saturday vowed "to help footballrestore its tarnished image" following a spate of scandals within the game's world governing body.

"My goal is to support the programme of president Gianni (Infantino) and to help football restore its tarnished image," the Senegalese UN diplomat, named Friday as FIFA's first ever female secretary general, told AFP.

Ranieri relishes triumphant return to Chelsea

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London (AFP) Claudio Ranieri's Premier League story comes full circle on Sunday as he returns in triumph to Chelsea for the final fixture of title-winners Leicester City's momentous and historic season.

Ranieri's sacking by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in May 2004 set in motion a succession of managerial posts at Valencia, Parma, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, Monaco and the Greek national team that seemed to confirm his reputation as one of football's eternal nearly men.

Departing Pellegrini eyes Euro berth

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manuel Pellegrini ends his reign as Manchester City manager on Sunday with a final opportunity to leave a legacy of Champions League football.

Pellegrini takes charge of City for the last time at Swansea before being replaced during the close-season by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola.

Arsenal struggles leave Wenger in spotlight

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger again found his future was the focus of attention ahead of Arsenal's final game of the season against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

At the Gunners' last home game, some supporters staged a protest urging Wenger to quit and two weeks on, the Arsenal manager's contract was again at issue, with the Frenchman insisting he would not consider extending his current deal until it is due to expire at the end of next season.

Benitez’s future up for grabs as Pochettino sticks with Spurs

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) While Rafael Benitez's future at Newcastle United remains uncertain, Mauricio Pochettino confirmed his commitment to Tottenham Hotspur this week by agreeing a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2021.

The two managers meet at St James' Park this weekend when Pochettino will attempt to cap a fine season by seeing his side confirmed as runners-up behind Premier League champions Leicester City, while Benitez's target is to ensure Newcastle restore at least some pride before dropping down into the Championship.

Van Gaal admits future uncertain after title flop

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Louis van Gaal claims it was unrealistic to expect Manchester United to win the Premier League and admits his job security is uncertain heading into the final game of the season.

United can still qualify for the Champions League with a top four finish, but only if fourth placed Manchester City fail to collect a point at Swansea and van Gaal's fifth placed team beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Albion trip plays second fiddle to Euro final

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jurgen Klopp has tried to say all the right things, but Liverpool's Premier League trip to West Bromwich Albion will be overshadowed by their looming Europa League final appearance.

Reds boss Klopp is likely to rotate significantly at the Hawthorns on Sunday in order to keep players fresh for the following Wednesday, when his side travel to Basel for the Europa League showpiece against holders Sevilla.

Indonesia applauds lifting of FIFA ban

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Jakarta (AFP) Indonesia on Saturday welcomed FIFA's decision to end the country's year-long ban from world football over government interference, saying it hoped for more transparency in the sport.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced Friday that Indonesia had been reinstated after Jakarta sent a letter notifying that it had lifted sanctions on national football body, the PSSI.

New FIFA secretary general vows to improve game’s ‘tarnished image’

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Paris (AFP) FIFA's new secretary general Fatma Samoura on Saturday vowed "to help footballrestore its tarnished image" following a spate of scandals within the game's world governing body.

"My goal is to support the programme of president Gianni (Infantino) and to help football restore its tarnished image," the Senegalese UN diplomat, named Friday as FIFA's first ever female secretary general, told AFP.

Qatar to play three European friendlies in 2016

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Doha (AFP) Qatar will play three European friendlies this year, the first against Albania, ahead of crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers, coach Jose Daniel Carreno announced Saturday.

The match against Albania will take place in Austria on May 29.

That is just 13 days before Albania play their first game at the European Championship in France.

FIFA audit chief Scala quits over threat to reforms

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Mexico City (AFP) The head of FIFA's independent audit committee Domenico Scala quit Saturday in protest at what he called attacks on reforms of the scandal-tainted world football governing body by its leadership.

Scala said he was "consternated" by a FIFA Council move to control the nomination of members of independent oversight bodies such as its ethics committee and audit and compliance committee.

Manchester rivals fight for Europe as curtain falls on champs

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London (AFP) Manuel Pellegrini has warned his Manchester City stars to keep their eyes on the prize as they aim to secure a Champions League place at the expense of Manchester United, while champions Leicester will bring down the curtain on their astonishing season at Chelsea on Sunday.

With a memorable Premier League campaign coming to a conclusion with the final round of fixtures this weekend, the focus is split between the Manchester rivals' battle for the last spot in Europe's elite club competition and a fitting finale for Leicester as the fairytale champions bow out at the home of last year's winners.

FIFA names woman as secretary general for first time

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Mexico City (AFP) FIFA named a Senegalese UN diplomat as its first ever female secretary general on Friday, a historic move announced at a congress that sought to relegate world football's corruption crisis to the past.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino made the surprise announcement in Mexico City that he had chosen 54-year-old Fatma Samoura, an outsider unknown to the football world, to be his deputy at the male-dominated organization.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC, Gameweek 38

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NBCUniversal presents Premier League "Championship Sunday," with all 10 matches presented live simultaneously on 10 different NBCUniversal television networks this Sunday, May 15, at 10 a.m. ET. NBC and NBC UNIVERSO host coverage of Swansea City v. Manchester City, with Manchester United v. Bournemouth on NBCSN and TELEMUNDO.

FIFA admits Kosovo, Gibraltar ahead of World Cup

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Mexico City (AFP) FIFA admitted Kosovo and Gibraltar as new members on Friday, allowing them to play qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, but Serbia vowed to take legal action to reverse its former province's admission.

Kosovo and Gibraltar became the 210th and 211th members of the world football organization in votes taken at FIFA's annual congress in Mexico City.

FIFA admits Kosovo, Gibraltar ahead of World Cup

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Mexico City (AFP) FIFA admitted Kosovo and Gibraltar as new members on Friday, allowing them to play qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, but Serbia vowed to take legal action to reverse its former province's admission.

Kosovo and Gibraltar became the 210th and 211th members of the world football organization in votes taken at FIFA's annual congress in Mexico City.

Bolt still wants Manchester United job but not for Van Gaal

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George Town (Cayman Islands) (AFP) World's fastest man Usain Bolt says he still dreams of playing for Manchester United as long as Louis Van Gaal is not the manager.

Bolt, who owns the 100-meter world record at 9.58 seconds and the world 200m record of 19.19, spoke Friday on the eve of his opening race of the 2016 campaign in the Cayman Invitational.

FIFA names woman as secretary general for first time

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Mexico City (AFP) FIFA named a Senegalese UN diplomat as its first ever female secretary general on Friday, a historic move announced at a congress that sought to relegate world football's corruption crisis to the past.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino made the surprise announcement in Mexico City that he had chosen 54-year-old Fatma Samoura, an outsider unknown to the football world, to be his deputy at the male-dominated organization.

Most-watched live soccer games on US TV for weekend of May 6-11, 2016

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It was another huge weekend for European soccer on US television last weekend as many do-or-die matches were shown live across the country. Not surprisingly, there were big numbers for the Premier League and La Liga. But the Bundesliga also served up a decent number for a game shown live on the over-the-air FOX network, where the top German team won the title on live television.

Koeman set to see out Saints contract despite Everton talk

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