On the Manchester City training ground, many of the players and staff have already noticed something between Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola that makes them laugh. The manager generally refers to most of the squad by their first names, but that isn’t the case with the new megastar. Guardiola calls him “Haaland” in almost schoolmasterly style. The tone isn’t totally unlike Alex Ferguson berating Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs for having a party and referring to them by their squad numbers. “And you, five.”
When Erling Haaland and his camp were assessing where to move next, he watched a lot of Manchester City and Real Madrid matches to see how he might fit in. The discussion kept coming back to one main debate. La Liga’s comparative lack of intensity was appealing, because a few years in Spain at this age would be beneficial to Haaland’s ambitions of a 20-year top-level career.
Liverpool fans have been exonerated for the chaos at the Champions League final by a French senate report, which stated supporters were “unfairly blamed” by the minister of the interior in order to “divert attention from the inability of the state” to safely stage the event.
Liverpool FC fans have been exonerated for the chaos at the 2022 Champions League final by a French senate report, which stated that supporters were “unfairly blamed” by France’s interior minister in order to “divert attention from the inability of the state” to safely stage the event.
In Cristiano Ronaldo’s talks with Jorge Mendes, and the representative’s meetings with top clubs, a few points have been made abundantly clear. This is no game, nor is it an attempt to leverage Manchester United. Ronaldo just wants to have a chance of winning the Champions League again, and is even willing to take a significant pay cut to make it happen.
When Manchester United realised they were not going to get Darwin Nunez, they didn’t quite move on to the next striker target. They couldn’t. There are not many similar players available right now, so the current feeling is that it’s better to wait. Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku will be on the market next summer, and most of football is waiting to see what Reims’ Hugo Ekitike decides.
When Manchester United realised they were going to miss out on signing Darwin Nunez, they didn’t immediately move on to their next target. They couldn’t. There are not many similar players available right now, so the current feeling is that it’s better to wait. RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku will be on the market next summer, and most of football is waiting to see what Reims’ Hugo Ekitike decides.
Gareth Southgate says he plans to “prove people wrong” in the same way he has done “all my life”, as he confronted the intense personal and professional criticism he faced from England’s 4-0 defeat to Hungary, and insisted it will not be an issue for the team by September.
This can no longer be written off as meaningless. The Nations League has instead produced England’s worst ever home defeat to a side from outside the old “home nations”, and worst in all since 1928, as Hungary symbolically surpassed their own famous 6-3 of 1953.
Given the number of football people that are still obsessed with golf, many have naturally been messaging friends on the tour about the LIV controversy. The responses have been as varied as they have been predictable. Some are aghast at golf’s august institutions being ravaged, some think it’s fair enough to take the money. A core of the game’s officials fear something similar again for football, others are sensing more opportunity.
If it’s always open to debate whether the Champions League final actually decides the continent’s best team, there can be no doubt about the competition’s greatest club – or, more relevantly, what that very awareness does to Real Madrid.
In order to try and ensure everything is at its optimum for Sunday, Pep Guardiola decided to have his players… do nothing. The Manchester City manager started the final week of the season by giving his squad two days off. Guardiola had sensed some frazzled minds after the 2-2 draw at West Ham United, so felt a psychological refresh was required.
Jurgen Klopp wasn’t wearing the Parisian beret that some of his players were, but he was wearing his medal and a celebratory T-shirt. There was also a huge smile as he settled into his FA Cup post-match press conference at Wembley. Klopp was clearly in the mood to party.
There aren’t too many similarities between the football of 1953 and now, but there’s something about Saturday that means Chelsea and Liverpool players might feel the way Nat Lofthouse did ahead of that most famous of FA Cup finals.
There is a classic FA Cup final decision to be made as the competition celebrates its 150th anniversary. Those familiar with its lore might sense echoes of Manchester United’s Jim Leighton in 1990 or Leicester City’s top scorer Ken Leek in 1961.
The Manchester City players were barely speaking. If they had been “emotionally exhausted” after the first leg against Real Madrid, as many sources have it, the scene in the dressing room at the Bernabeu was one of utter devastation.
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