Category Archives: football

France football believes Ramos can become the best ever football ‘CENTRE-BACK’

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France Football are trying to put together their best-ever XI of the world’s greatest players, and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos finds himself in the mix as one of the best centre-backs of all time.


The Spaniard, who is the only active player in the list of centre-backs, is competing with Franco Baresi, Franz Beckenbauer, Fabio Cannavaro, Marcel Desailly, Ronald Koeman, Bobby Moore, Daniel Passarella, Matthias Sammer and Gaetano Scirea.

The winner will be decided through a vote on France Football’s website, as they look to finalise their Ballon d’Or Dream Team. The truth is that Ramos starts as the favourite in the centre-back position.

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France Football, following Ramos’ excellent display in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Clasico win at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon, have directly asked if the 34-year-old does not deserve this award.

In fact, they have put out a survey asking whether “Ramos should already be considered the best centre-back of all time”. At the moment, he is in the lead with 60 percent of the votes.

When discussing Ramos, France Football point to not just his qualities but also the way in which he impacts his teams (i.e. Real Madrid and Spain).

“The impression that comes to the fore is that a defender has never had a similar impact on the teams he plays for,” they wrote.

“And this is true in both areas, which perhaps makes him unique compared to his predecessors. The teams have two very different faces: one winning and competing when he is there, and the other less composed and ambitious when he is not.”

France Football have decided not to award this year’s Ballon d’Or as a result of the impact the coronavirus impact had on the 2019/20 campaign, but instead they will release an all-time best XI from the list of players that have already been put online.

The XI will be in a 3-4-3 formation and the winners will be chosen by 170 representatives in December, thus forming the best line-up in history.


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Breaking: Brazil and Barcelona Legend Ronaldinho tested positive for Corona Virus

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Brazil and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19.


Ronaldinho, who won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013, posted a video to his Instagram story revealing his diagnosis. The 40-year-old said he is asymptomatic and is self-isolating in Belo Horizonte, having arrived in the city on Saturday.

“I’ve been here in BH since yesterday, I came to participate in an event,” Ronaldinho said on Sunday.

“I took the test and tested positive for COVID. I’m fine, asymptomatic, but we’ll have to leave the event for later. Soon we will be there together. Big hug!”

Wishing him a speedy recovery!


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Happy Birthday King Pele

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Dondinho and Celeste named their first son Edson after Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history. His family nicknamed him ‘Dico’, but he received the moniker ‘Pele’ in school due to his mispronunciation of Brazilian goalkeeper, Bile.

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Dondinho was a lower-league footballer. “To this day I’m very proud that my father is the only player I know of who scored five headers in one game,” Pele told FIFA.


The promise
Dondinho and his friends, transfixed to a radio, were euphoric – Brazil had just gone 1-0 up in a decider against Uruguay they only needed to draw, at the Maracana in 1950, to win their first World Cup. A nine-year-old Pele therefore left home for a kickabout with friends.

“When I got back I was dumbfounded,” Pele recalled. “It was the first time I saw my father cry. He was devastated. I promised him, ‘One day I will win you the World Cup.’”

Pele, who had previously wanted to become a pilot, was now determined to become a footballer.

The explosion
Waldemar de Brito, the former Brazil striker, was coaching Bauru, now-defunct state minnows, when he discovered a boy wonder on their books. He took Pele for a trial at Santos, boldly proclaiming his protégé would become “the best player in the world”.

Coach Lula heard this, chuckled, but upon seeing Pele during his first training session immediately handed him his first-team debut, which Pele scored on as a 15-year-old in 1956. Over the next 18 years the forward propelled Santos to 25 major titles, including two Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup crowns apiece.

National treasure
With Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid having all tried to sign Pele, the Brazilian government, under president Janio Quadros, declared him an ‘official national treasure’ to prohibit him moving overseas.

The chance No10
Pele immortalised the No10 jersey across the globe – but only by chance. Brazil forgot to submit their squad numbers to FIFA for Sweden 1958, so they got chosen randomly. Virtually all made no positional sense – goalkeeper Gilmar and centre-back Zozimo were allocated the No3 and No9 respectively – but Pele, who began as a reserve, somehow got the number he duly made the most famous in football.

Pele & Garrincha
Together for Brazil, Pele and Garrincha played six World Cup matches and several Copa America games, faced Argentina multiple times and took on European heavyweights such as England, France, Portugal, Soviet Union, Spain and West Germany. They incredibly never lost once.

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The man who stopped a war
Between one and two million people died during Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970. Astonishingly, a 48-hour ceasefire was called between the Nigerian government and the secessionist state of Biafra in 1969 so they could watch Pele and Santos draw 2-2 with the Nigerian Super Eagles, with ‘The King’ receiving incessant applause and a standing ovation from the home fans.

You can’t dethrone royalty!
Merely two-and-a-half months before Mexico 1970 kicked off, Joao Saldanha, who masterminded Brazil’s perfect qualification campaign, unthinkably dropped Pele for a friendly against Chile. A few hours later he was sacked.

CBF officials hurriedly raced to a Botafogo training session, unannounced, and told Mario Zagallo to get in the car because he was the new Seleção coach. Exacting the trust his former team-mate had in him, Pele persuaded Zagallo and team doctor Lidio Toledo to take Tostao, who had suffered a career-threatening eye injury, to the tournament.

World Cup records
The Baptist

‘The Beautiful Game’, a universally-used nickname for football, was coined by Pele. He also baptized Brazil’s Mexico 1970 champions as ‘The Beautiful Team’, which also stuck.

The King of New York
Soccer barely existed in New York in the early 1970s. Celebrities did. A who’s who of the world’s biggest.

But when the New York Cosmos sensationally brought Pele out of retirement in 1975, soccer’s popularity exploded, the Cosmos became the most glamorous club on the planet and ‘The King’ became the VIP of VIPs in NYC.

“Absolutely everybody wanted to shake his hand, to get a photo with him,” said Mick Jagger of Pele’s presence at Studio 54. “Saying you had partied with Pele was the biggest badge of honour going.”

Pele’s presence drew mind-blowing crowds to matches, seduced Muhammad Ali, Peter Frampton, Jagger, Elton John, Diane Keaton, Henry Kissinger, Robert Redford, Rod Stewart and Barbra Streisand into being Cosmos fans, coaxed Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia to the ‘Big Apple’, and inspired the club to the Soccer Bowl in his swan song.

Television
Escape to Victory

Pele had a lead role in the 1981, John Huston-directed hit film, which also starred Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Max von Sydow and Bobby Moore, about Allied prisoners of war playing an exhibition football match against the Germans.

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The rest
Pele appeared in several Brazilian soap operas, TV series and films, American movie hotshot and British mockumentary Mike Bassett: England Manager.

The Simpsons
“Hey, dad, how come you’ve never taken us to see a soccer game,” Bart asks Homer during The Cartridge Family episode in 1997. The next scene shows the Simpsons at Springfield Stadium to watch Pele initiate a game between Portugal and Mexico.

The likes of David Beckham, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have since appeared on The Simpsons.

South America’s top international scorers
Music

Four days before turning 80, Pele released Acredita No Véio (Listen To The Old Man), a track recorded with 2019 Grammy winners Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Pele has loved music all his life and composed hundreds of tracks since the early 1960s. He famously carried a voice recorder with him everywhere because “a song can some into your head at any time – even at a World Cup.”

Celebrity and honours
In 1970, Pele was named the most famous person on the planet above John Lennon, Pope Paul VI, Paul McCartney, Muhammad Ali, Paul Newman, Queen Elizabeth II, Neil Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne and Barbra Streisand.

A few years later, the brand ‘Pele’ was named the globe’s second-biggest according to a survey – astonishingly bigger than oil and gas supermajors, banks, automotive manufacturers, airlines, telecommunications titans and everything other than Coca-Cola.

Pele, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson were the only sportspeople to make the much-publicised 1999 Time magazine compilation of The Most Important People of the Century.

That same year, Pele was one of nine sportspeople bestowed by the International Olympic Committee with the ‘Athlete of the Century’ award, despite, amazingly, having never partaken in the Olympic Games. Others included Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz and Nadia Comaneci, three of the most triumphant athletes in Olympic history, Steffi Graf and Michael Jordan.

Pele was the inaugural recipient of the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Obrigado, Rei
FIFA: “Many thanks for taking the trouble to be here, Cafu.”

Cafu: “Wow! Are you saying thank you because I came here to record this for ‘The King’s’ 80th birthday? I thank you!”

Pele, no words will ever do you justice, but the above exchange, and the desire of so many footballing legends, the world over, to go out of their way during these troubling times to honour you, perhaps best illustrates the incalculable amount you mean to football.

Thank you for everything, and have a BEAUTIFUL 80th birthday.


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Barcelona is more Popular in USA than Real Madrid

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Ahead of the first Clasico of the 2020/21 season on Saturday, Barcelona have taken a victory in one of the off pitch proxy battles with it proven that the Blaugrana are more popular than Real Madrid in the United States of America.


Whilst the country itself has somewhat bigger priorities at the present moment in terms of who will take possession of the White House in 2021, the popularity of European football in America is on the rise.

As part of a study conducted in 2016, Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing found that the most well supported teams in the USA were Barcelona and Real Madrid, in that order.

Four years on, the study has been readdressed and extended with the main European leagues being taken into account, with the Premier League, LaLiga Santander and Bundesliga being the biggest of the selection.

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The number of searches on google and the digital footprint left on each club’s respective Facebook posts helped build the data.

As such, the first conclusion that 60 percent of the most supported teams in the USA come from the Premier League, although none of them were at the very top.

Barcelona and Real Madrid occupied the top two positions, although it was the Catalan giants who once again took the crown.

With regards to the American clubs in the list, the highest rank they achieved was 12th which belonged to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

As a general overview, the Premier League is the most watched league in America, with LaLiga Santander being the second.

Although, beyond the two behemoth clubs in Spain, there is little interest in the action which takes place below them. The same metrics are shown with regards to the French Ligue 1, where only Paris Saint-Germain are really watched by members of the US population.

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This evidence could show Alvaro Gonzalez is guilty under the offence of ‘RACISM’

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Paris Saint-Germain have sent a video to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission that they believe shows Alvaro Gonzalez’s alleged racist insults towards Neymar in Sunday’s game against Marseille.


A huge brawl broke out in the final minutes of the match, with five players being sent off.

One of them was Neymar, who slapped Gonzalez after allegedly being racially abused by the Spaniard.

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MARCA has had access to the video that PSG have made available to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission, in which Neymar and Gonzalez are seen arguing and in which the Brazilian is seen pointing something out to various officials.

It is a video taken from a camera that followed Neymar throughout the game and belongs to the Doha-based TV channel BeIN Sports.

It hasn’t been broadcast before now because it is not the property of Telefoot, which has Ligue 1’s TV rights.

Angel di Maria also claims that his teammate was racially abused.

PSG have shown their support for Neymar through an official statement and have asked the disciplinary commission to investigate with all its means if the version of their player is true, given the seriousness of the accusations.

For their part, Marseille have stated that their player is not a racist.


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Champions of Social Media ‘Real Madrid’

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Real Madrid’s success in 2019/20 was reflected on their social media accounts as they managed an average of 38,687 interactions per post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Los Blancos surpassed Juventus, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, who were crowned champions in three of the five major European leagues.

On July 16, the day Real Madrid mathematically won LaLiga Santander, they shared 216 posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, generating more than 16 million interactions and an average of 74,192 per post.

The following day this record was broken, with 180 posts generating more than 16.6 million interactions, increasing the average above 92,000 interactions per post, according to data from Blinkfire Analytics.

Their Instagram account, on which they registered 929,169 interactions per post between August 1, 2019 and July 21, 2020, is the one that stands out with 91.1m followers.


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Suarez to become ‘the 13th’ player to play alongside Messi and Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated elite football for decades, picking up a countless number of trophies, awards and records.

Many footballers dream of playing against such talent but only a select few are lucky enough to play alongside one of these greats.

As it stands, there are only 12 players in history who have been fortunate enough to share the same shirt as both Ronaldo and Messi.

Luis Suarez could become the thirteenth on that list as he negotiates a deal with Juventus after being told by new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman that he is not in his plans moving forward. So, with that in mind, who else is in this exclusive club?

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Fernando Gago
Played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid between 2009-2011

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2007-2017

Fernando Gago arrived at Real Madrid along with Gonzalo Higuain, during their 2006-2007 campaign.

Gago linked up well with Ronaldo to help the team win the title in LaLiga, but it wasn’t long before the defensive midfielder dropped in form.

While, in a national squad flooded with attacking talent such as Messi, Gago won well over 50 caps, an Olympic gold medal in 2009 and featured in both the 2011 Copa America and the 2014 World Cup.

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Gabriel Heinze
Played with Ronaldo at Manchester United between 2004-2007

Played with Messi in Argentina national team between 2005-2010

Gabriel Heinze was under contract at Sporting CP when Ronaldo joined the club; however, the pair never got to play alongside each other as the defender rounded up his loan spell in Portugal before the striker was handed his debut.

It wasn’t long before Heinze got the opportunity to share the pitch with Ronaldo as the two lined up alongside each other for Manchester United.

Heinze and Ronaldo spent three years playing together, but during that time Heinze was lucky enough to also link up with Messi.

In 2005 Heinze played with the Argentinean while on international duty. The defender was part of the starting XI and scored the winning goal, whereas Messi came off the bench to replace Lisandro Lopez.

Messi did, however, work his magic and conjure up a goal just 43 seconds into his international debut.

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Gerard Pique
Played with Ronaldo at Manchester United between 2004-06 and 2007-2008
Played with Messi at Barcelona between 2008 and present
From one Barcelona legend to another.

Gerard Pique, who is the seventh most capped Barca player of all time, has lined up alongside Messi on multiple occasions.

The pair have been team-mates since 2008 and have won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, European Super Cup, Copa del Ray and LaLiga crowns during their time together.

Although Pique is known for his accolades at Barca, the 33-year-old actually started his career at Manchester United – alongside Ronaldo. The pair had two spells playing alongside each other – 2004-2006 and 2007-2008.

Pique joined the English giants one year after Ronaldo but also spent one season on loan at Real Zaragoza.

Pique made 23 appearances alongside Ronaldo at United, and even scored twice in the Champions League group stages in 2007.

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Angel Di Maria
Played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid between 2010-2014

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2009 to present

Angel Di Maria has played with both Ronaldo and Messi for a substantial amount of time.

Di Maria joined Real Madrid the year after Ronaldo and went on to make 190 appearances for the club.

He established himself as one of the starting front three, alongside Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. The trio were known for their ability to create impressive chances and instil fear into their opponents.

The 32-year-old old picked up six trophies alongside the Portuguese striker, before moving to Ronaldo’s former club Manchester United for just one season.

Despite creating a formidable partnership with Ronaldo, Di Maria was also known for linking up with Messi on the international stage.

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Carlos Tevez
Played with Ronaldo at Manchester United between 2007-2009

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2005-2015

Carlos Tevez was a name that everyone knew for many reasons, but playing alongside Messi in Argentina’s World Cup qualification match against Peru was one of the defining moments of his career.

After breaking into the national team in 2004, this was this first time Tevez had featured for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and the first time he lined up alongside fan favourite, Messi.

Subsequently, the pair played together on the international stage for five years. Tevez’s relationship with Messi blossomed as he began to learn from the best.

Developing into a star within his own right, Tevez was scouted by a host of Premier League clubs. After initially signing for West Ham Tevez joined Manchester United, where he linked up with Ronaldo.

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Paulo Dybala
Played with Ronaldo at Juventus between 2018 and present

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2015 and present

Paulo Dybala has played alongside Messi and Ronaldo for club and country and is developing into quite a player.

Dybala made his international debut under Gerardo Martino in 2015 and has played alongside Messi ever since.

There have previously been rumours of Dybala and Messi joining up at club level, with the Juventus forward being linked to a move to Barca.

However, the youngster instead became Ronaldo’s team-mate – when the. Portuguese joined Juventus in 2018.

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Gonzalo Higuain
Played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid between 2009-2013 and Juventus between 2018 and present

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2009-2019

Higuain established himself as part of the starting line up at Real Madrid long before Ronaldo’s arrival.

However, the Portuguese international’s arrival two years later was not quite so exciting for Higuain as the combination of Ronaldo and Benzema saw his first-team opportunities diminish at the Bernabeu.

Being forced out on loan to both AC Milan and Chelsea, Higuain only began playing with Ronaldo again last season, this time in Turin.

Alongside Messi, Higuain has reached a World Cup final, only to miss the big chance to seal victory for Argentina against Germany.

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Henrik Larsson
Played with Ronaldo at Manchester United in 2007

Played with Messi at Barcelona between 2004-2006

Henrik Larsson experienced brief partnerships with both Messi and Ronaldo during his time at Barcelona and Manchester United.

Having established himself as a world-class player in Scotland – scoring 242 goals for Celtic – Larsson was highly sought after on the European stage.

Barca signed Larsson to accompany Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Deco for two seasons.

During his time at the club he lined up alongside Messi on multiple occasions and even found himself on the scoresheet next to the Argentinean international.

Larsson later left Barca and joined Manchester United in 2007.

Going from one superstar to another, Larsson regularly featured with Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Despite spending just one season at the club, Larsson made a name for himself – scoring in all competitions during the year that United won the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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Nelson Semedo
Played with Ronaldo in the Portugal national team between 2015 and present

Played with Messi at Barcelona between 2017 and present

As it stands, Nelson Semedo is currently playing alongside both Ronaldo and Messi.

Semedo has trained alongside Ronaldo for Portugal for several years but has only received 14 caps. Whereas, Ronaldo has made 164 appearances for his country since debuting in 2003.

Semedo has also lined up alongside Messi for Catalan giants, Barcelona. During his first season at the club, the now 26-year-old made 35 official appearances.

Much to Messi’s delight, Semedo assisted the superstar six times in his first 98 games for the club.

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Ezequiel Garay
Played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid between 2009-2011

Played with Messi in the Argentina national team between 2007-2015

Despite playing alongside Ronaldo, Ezequiel Garay said choosing to leave Real Madrid in 2011 was the ‘best decision’ of his career.

Garay joined Madrid for £9million from Racing Santander in 2008 and even won a Copa del Rey medal in 2011 but could not secure a regular place in the starting XI.

Garay did, however, link up with Ronaldo during their 6-0 win over Real Zaragoza in December 2009 to score a phenomenal goal.

Having spent the majority of his time at Real Madrid warming the bench, Garay played an essential role for his country. Garay lined up alongside Messi for the better part of eight years on the international stage.

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Deco
Played with Ronaldo in the Portugal national team between 2003-2010
Played with Messi at Barcelona between 2004-2008
Deco played an instrumental role in the rise of Messi. The attacking midfielder was the one who was substituted to make way for Messi’s debut for Barcelona.

Since then, Messi has become Barca’s all-time top scorer with 634 goals in 731 games, and LaLiga’s record goalscorer with 444 in 485 appearances.

Deco was also present for Ronaldo’s international debut for Portugal against Kazakhstan in 2003.

The pair went on to create a formidable partnership, with their first combined goal coming in 2004 at the Euros.

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Andre Gomes
Played with Ronaldo in the Portugal national team between 2014 and present
Played with Messi at Barcelona between 2016-2018
In the summer of 2016, Andre Gomes faced the biggest decision of his football career – whether to join Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Gomes made up his mind and signed for the Catalan giants in a deal worth around £31m. Big things were expected of Gomes as they had believed he would be Andres Iniesta’s successor and a partner to Messi.

But the Portugal international struggled to find his form at the Nou Camp and only lasted two seasons alongside Messi.

During his dismal time at Barca, Gomes even dropped out of the international set up – having first lined up alongside Ronaldo at the age of 19 during a friendly against Ecuador in February 2013.

He later rejoined the squad after suffering a severe ankle injury. The pair are expected to provide their country with a series of goals this year and next in the Nations League and rearranged Euros.

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Sterling’s time to shine

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No Harry Kane, no problem. Well, not quite, but England are finally proving they can cope without their talismanic captain.

That has not always been the case. The national team’s reliance on Kane is inescapable. Since the start of the 2018 World Cup, the Tottenham striker has scored 19 of England’s 61 goals.

He should have been awarded his 33rd international strike against Iceland on Saturday but his early effort was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Yet, there are promising signs that England’s reliance on Kane is fading. Raheem Sterling has scored 11 of those 61 England goals — and provided six assists — while Marcus Rashford has notched seven.

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That is not to diminish Kane’s importance — his influence on this team is obvious — but it is clear the national side are becoming adept at winning matches without leaning so heavily on their No 1 striker.

By the time Sterling had stroked home England’s winning penalty in Iceland, captain Kane had been substituted.

And Gareth Southgate’s side had also been reduced to 10 men after Kyle Walker’s show of indiscipline.

Yet they managed to stumble over the over the line, albeit courtesy of Birkir Bjarnason’s woeful penalty miss just moments after Sterling had successfully converted his spot-kick.

How they won is neither here nor there — it never is when England play. And this was only the third time in three years that they had won a competitive game without Kane scoring.

‘Harry is a supreme goalscorer and he is critical to the way we play,’ said Southgate.

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‘Equally, we have some tremendous threats which will be clear as the next few months develop, with Raheem in particular. Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount coming through, Marcus Rashford, of course, at home (injured).

‘The nice thing is that we won’t be leaning just on Harry and I think goals can come from elsewhere. But he’s still a critical part of what we do.’

Add Manchester United’s 18-year-old striker Mason Greenwood, who made his international debut in Reykjavik, to the equation and it is hard to disagree with Southgate’s thinking.

The re-emergence of Southampton’s Danny Ings — scorer of 22 Premier League goals last season — as an international option could also be key for Southgate ahead of next summer’s European Championship. Kane’s lack of fitness following a quarantine-hit pre-season was clear during the second half and it remains to be seen whether Southgate starts his captain against Denmark on Tuesday.

If the manager does decide to rest his first-choice striker, he will do so safe in the knowledge that he has viable alternatives.

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None more so than Sterling, who is arguably surpassing Kane as England’s most influential player. When England needed a hero against Iceland, the Manchester City man stepped up.

He has been doing that with increasing regularity in an England shirt. Southgate said: ‘I can’t speak highly enough of him, really. It would have been very easy to have another few days on the beach, not report for international duty, get himself right for his club at the beginning of the season.

‘But his mentality the whole week has been exceptional: desperate to be here, desperate to play, desperate to stay on. I thought he carried the fight when we went down to 10 men.

‘He took the responsibility of the penalty and I thought it was outstanding character throughout. His desire to win and succeed is exceptional.

‘Along with Kevin De Bruyne, he was the outstanding player in the Champions League game when Manchester City went out (against Lyon last month), and he’s just been relentless.

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‘His hunger to score, his hunger to win things, his hunger to drive himself, you really can’t underestimate that. It has a massive impact on everybody around him and really has taken his game to another level.’

Southgate has turned his attention to Tuesday’s game in Copenhagen. He will freshen up the team — he has no option with a number of players looking exhausted during the closing minutes against Iceland. Having deployed a 4-3-3 system on Saturday, the early indications are that he will consider a switch to 3-4-3 against the Danes.

But however the team lines up, they will do so safe in the knowledge that even without their most distinguished striker, they can still win matches.

ICELAND (4-1-2-2-1): Halldorsson 7; Hermannsson 6, Ingason 6, Arnason 7, Magnusson 6; Palsson 7; Traustason 6 (Hallfredsson 76min), Bjarnason 6; Bodvarsson 7 (H Fridjonsson 90), Thorsteinsson 5 (A Sigurdsson 66, 6); Gudmundsson 6. Subs not used: Fjoluson, Eyjolfsson, S Fridjonsson, Kristinsson, Runarsson, Anderson, Baldursson, Skulason. Booked: Ingason. Sent off: Ingason.

ENGLAND (4-3-3): Pickford 6; Walker 5, Gomez 6, Dier 6.5, Trippier 7; Ward-Prowse 6.5, Rice 6.5, Foden 6.5 (Ings 68, 6); Sancho 6.5 (Alexander-Arnold 73, 6), Kane 6 (Greenwood 78), Sterling 8. Subs not used: Pope, Mings, Keane, Grealish, Mount, Maitland-Niles, Coady, Phillips, Henderson. Scorer: Sterling 90 (pen). Booked: Walker, Gomez. Sent off: Walker.

Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic (Ser) 6.5

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Spain Vs Germany lineups confirmed

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The line-ups of Germany vs Spain have been announced.

Germany XI: Kroos, Trapp, Gundogan, Emre Can, Draxler, Rudiger, Sule, Werner, Kehrer, Sane, Gosens

Subs: O. Baumann, Leno, Ginter, Brandt, Tah, Waldschmidt, Serdar, Koch, Neuhaus, Havertz

Spain XI: Ramos, J. Navas, Busquets, De Gea, Thiago, Rodrigo, Carvajal, Gaya, Fabian Ruiz, Ferran Torres, P. Torres

Subs: G. Moreno, Kepa, D.Llorente, Merino, Unai Simón, Reguilon, Olmo, Rodri, Eric Garcia, Rodriguez, Fati.

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Matthaus Slams Guardiola

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Bayern Munich icon Lothar Matthaus has taken a swipe at Pep Guardiola after his failure to win the Champions League since leaving Barcelona and labelled him as ‘egocentric’ for making too many changes.

The Manchester City boss saw his side dumped out by Lyon in the quarter-finals last season, with the Ligue 1 side running out 3-1 winners, and the Spaniard has still failed to reach the last four since he arrived at the club.

Guardiola also struggled in the competition with Bayern and has received criticism for his decision-making in recent seasons. In City’s defeat against the French outfit he surprised many by opting to play three at the back.

Now Matthaus has accused him of trying too hard to ‘do something special’ and said he must show more consistency in his tactics if he is to end his hoo-doo and win Europe’s grand prize.

‘With Pep Guardiola I have the feeling that he always wants to do something special in big games,’ he told German outlet BILD.

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‘Barcelona had a DNA, a system he pulled through. Pep was successful there.

‘With Bayern and City, he tried it over and over again with changes and failed again and again.’

Guardiola reached three semi-finals in a row with Bayern Munich, and suffered an embarrassing 5-0 loss on aggregate to Real Madrid in 2014, and Matthaus said Guardiola’s constant need to tinker was ‘egocentric’ – pointing out his bizarre call to play Robert Lewandowski on the wing.

‘He always wanted to show that he could do even better. I would like to tell him: “Pep, you are a giant trainer – but please keep your system!”

‘I would describe it as egocentric. That’s a harsh word, but it is due to what he did.

‘At Bayern, Robert Lewandowski even had to play left-wing once. That did not work out at all.’

Guardiola is one of a few managers to have won the Champions League twice – both with Barcelona – but has strayed away from the successful set-up he used at the Nou Camp. City’s exit to Lyon was the third year in a row they have fallen in the last eight.

In 2018 they were dumped out by Premier League rivals Liverpool as they lost 5-1 on aggregate before a crushing last gasp loss to Tottenham the following year.

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Breaking: Courtois tests positive for Coronavirus

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BREAKING: Thibaut Courtois tested positive for COVID-19.

The goalkeeper reported for international duty with Belgium and underwent a routine COVID-19 test. Courtois, if positive after a second test, will then have to quarantine for 14 days and miss the two UEFA Nations League matches with Belgium against Denmark and Iceland. The positive test will also delay Courtois return to the Spanish capital meaning Andriy Lunin could be thrust into the spotlight and start for Real Madrid at the beginning of their league campaign.

The next step for Courtois is to have a blood test to see if the virus is still preset in his body. If the blood tests comes back negative, then Courtois could potentially return to the group and continue his involvement with the Belgian team. Whether not he is in training in the next few hours will be decisive in regards to his involvement for Belgium and Real Madrid.

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Shocking: Di Maria, Neymar and Paredes tests positive for Coronavirus

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Neymar is the 3rd player to test positive for COVID-19 in the PSG 1st team squad, after Leandro Paredes & Angel di Maria, according to L’Equipe.

The French champions who last month lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich, had said on Monday two unnamed players had presented with coronavirus symptoms.

French sports daily L’Equipe reported the players could be Argentinian duo Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, who spent their holidays together in Ibiza.

PSG are set to start their Ligue 1 title defence at Lens on September 10.

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ESM reveals her team of the year

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Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen were the only players from LaLiga Santander included in the European Sports Media (ESM)’s team of the year.

The ESM panel included representatives from MARCA, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Kicker and various other sports media outlets across Europe.

Voters were asked to choose their team of the year based on players’ performances during the 2019/20 season.

ESM team of the year

The final team includes four members of the Liverpool team that won the Premier League – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson.

Barcelona’s Messi and Ter Stegen make the cut, but there is no sign of any members of the Real Madrid team which won the LaLiga Santander title.

RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland complete the team.

Of those included, Van Dijk, De Bruyne and Lewandowski featured in the team of the month selections the most – five times each.

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