What the papers say

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International Champions Cup finding friends in new places for Europe’s elite | Jamie Jackson

7 hours 32 min ago

With 18 teams taking part across 22 venues over the next few weeks the ICC continues to draw huge audiences and now features women’s games and a youth tournament

Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and 15 other heavyweight European teams. Twenty-seven matches staged in 22 venues on three continents. Inaugural women and youth team tournaments. More than 5m tickets sold and plans for a quantum leap in global sponsorship and TV coverage.

In six years the International Champions Cup has fulfilled the vision of Stephen M Ross, the multi‑billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins and Relevent Sports, the company behind the pre-season competition which begins on Friday when Manchester City face Borussia Dortmund in Chicago.

Related: Juan Mata rescues Manchester United from opening pre-season defeat

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Juan Mata rescues Manchester United from opening pre-season defeat | Jamie Jackson

12 hours 56 min ago
  • Club América 1-1 Manchester United
  • Juan Mata spares José Mourinho’s blushes in 78th minute

Opening pre-season games are often soporific affairs and Manchester United’s 2018-19 edition was no different.

Before a sparse crowd of 37,660 that was markedly below the University of Phoenix Stadium’s 63,400 capacity, José Mourinho’s men ended with a draw courtesy of Juan Mata’s late strike.

Related: 'It used to be about Man United-ness': how ICC changed the pre-season friendly

Related: Alexis Sánchez to join Manchester United on US tour after being granted visa

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How Alex Ferguson snatched Roy Keane out of Blackburn’s hands | Rob Smyth

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 19:00
The midfielder became one of Manchester United’s greats but he had almost signed for Kenny Dalglish’s team instead

Historic moments usually have an epic quality. But sometimes, all it takes to change the world is for a few office staff to get that Friday feeling. Exactly 25 years ago – in the summer of 1993 – the world of football changed forever because the admin team at Ewood Park clocked off on time. If somebody had stayed late in the office, Roy Keane would have become a Blackburn Rovers player. Instead, Alex Ferguson was given the chance to oversee one of his most important injury-time winners.

United had just won their first title for 26 years but even they could not match the financial power of Blackburn, who had Jack Walker’s money to burn. They had beaten United to Alan Shearer a year earlier, and looked set to do so again when Keane announced he would leave Nottingham Forest after their relegation.

Related: England’s dream over but on ITV Roy Keane’s fun was just beginning

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Alexis Sánchez to join Manchester United on US tour after being granted visa

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:32

• Chile forward had been forced to remain in Manchester
• Sánchez set to join up with United squad

Alexis Sánchez has resolved his visa issue and will fly out “shortly” to join Manchester United’s pre-season tour of the United States.

Related: The rush after Russia – Premier League clubs struggle with new transfer deadline

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'It used to be about Man United-ness': how ICC changed the pre-season friendly

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 09:00

The International Champions Cup has been on a mission to change summer warm-ups into something worth playing for

Charlie Stillitano knows exactly when everything fell into place. “I sat down with José Mourinho in 2003 and he said. ‘I want to play really hard games,’” the New Yorker, who appears to be friends with every football A-lister, tells the Guardian. “José was the first person to not just embrace it, but demand it. Sir Alex Ferguson later wrote he learned something from José about getting ready to start the season. It was like total stamp-endorsing.”

Memories of this summer’s World Cup remain fresh in the minds of fans, yet the modern football juggernaut waits for no one. This week sees the good and the great from Europe —  Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid, Liverpool and both Milan clubs among others —  begin their pre-season preparations in earnest as the International Champions Cup (ICC) rolls around once again. A sauntering summer kick-about this is not – the tournament involves 18 teams, 27 matches, three continents, and 22 cities in eight countries.

Related: José Mourinho fears Alexis Sánchez will miss US tour after visa issue

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José Mourinho fears Alexis Sánchez will miss US tour after visa issue

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 19:19
• Raft of Manchester United players missing
• Manager has pre-season problems

José Mourinho has admitted Manchester United’s preparation for the new season is “very bad” because many of his senior players are resting after the World Cup and Alexis Sánchez may miss the club’s entire US tour because of a visa matter.

United are in California but Mourinho is without Sánchez, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelöf, Ashley Young, David de Gea, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Phil Jones.

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Pogba, signings and sparkle: Mourinho’s key issues at Manchester United

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 12:18

As United start their US tour with the aim of building up to a Premier League title challenge we address some of the manager’s principal challenges

One assessment of Mourinho’s business at the halfway mark of the window might be that it has been underwhelming. The manager has recruited Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for £52m, paid Porto £19m for Diogo Dalot and signed Lee Grant for £1.5m from Stoke City to become his third-choice goalkeeper.

Related: Alex Greenwood the jewel in Casey Stoney’s Manchester United crown

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Alexis Sánchez misses the start of Manchester United’s American tour

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 17:37

• Club blames ‘personal administrative issue’
• Striker could still take part in 15-day trip to the US

Alexis Sánchez was forced to miss the start of Manchester United’s summer tour of the United States due to a “personal administrative issue”, though the club hope he can join José Mourinho’s squad at some point in the 15-day trip.

Related: Alexis Sánchez admits he has struggled to adapt at Manchester United

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Transfer roundup: Daley Blind set to leave Manchester United for Ajax

Sat, 07/14/2018 - 18:13
• Clubs reportedly agree £14.1m fee for Dutch international
• West Ham sign £3.5m Paraguay defender Fabian Balbuena

Manchester United’s Daley Blind is set for a return to Ajax after the two clubs reportedly agreed a £14.1m fee for the defender.

Blind made 141 appearances in four seasons at Old Trafford after leaving Ajax in 2014, but only played seven Premier League matches last term for José Mourinho’s side.

Related: Transfer window 2018 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

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Paul Pogba and France finally primed to atone for Euro 2016 | David Hytner

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 22:30
• ‘We have started our dream and now we need to finish it’
Pogba one of only six survivors from defeat by Portugal

It was an impassioned soliloquy from Paul Pogba and one that bears retelling precisely as he performed it. The France midfielder could revel in one of the most beautiful triumphs of his career – the 1-0 World Cup semi‑final win against Belgium on Tuesday night – and the release of emotion was palpable.

Pogba has described himself during this tournament as the most criticised player in world football and those who do him down tend to look at the flashiness, the hair, the indiscipline, the self-centredness. Post-Belgium, Pogba wanted to set the record straight and remind a few people about what really drives him.

Related: Fellaini v Pogba and the problem of playing a club-mate for your country | Marcel Desailly

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Casey Stoney: ‘There’s no bigger club to work for than Manchester United’

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 11:00

The former England international has a grand vision as first manager of United’s women’s team

“I think this club has the ability to change the face of women’s football.” That is a bold claim but, coming from someone with the playing career and influence of the proponent, it feels very believable.

Less than a year ago the England defender Casey Stoney was pulling on a Liverpool shirt having joined the club from Arsenal the previous December. Now, she is sitting in Manchester United’s impressive Carrington training ground preparing to lead their long-awaited women’s team into their maiden season. It seems a quick turnaround and, for Stoney, not one she could have imagined: “Not in my wildest dreams, to be honest,” she smiles.

Related: Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg: 'Girls in Norway don't have the same opportunities as boys'

I want my players to be happy​,​ but I want them to be challenged, so I’ll​ and put them in uncomfortable positions

Related: Manchester United’s women’s football move is better late than never | Suzanne Wrack

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Why Wayne Rooney is joining MLS's worst club, DC United

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 10:00

The former England captain will find himself at a faded North American superpower. But they hope he will be the face of their climb back to the top

Wayne Rooney made his first visit to Washington DC earlier this month. Had he picked up a newspaper he’d have been faced with images of sporting celebration in the city. The Washington Capitals’ victorious run to the Stanley Cup final captivated his new hometown, not always the most obvious of sporting hotbeds.

ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon once called Washington a “minor league sports town,” but over 100,000 fans attended the Caps’ victory parade on 12 June. DC United, the team Rooney has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with, haven’t registered in this way for a long time, if ever.

Related: Farewell Wayne Rooney, who heads to Washington as a true England great | Andy Hunter

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Manchester United hopeful Marouane Fellaini will make U-turn and sign deal

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 09:17
• Fellaini understood to have told Belgium colleagues he will stay
• Midfielder had been expected to leave after refusing terms

Manchester United are hopeful a breakthrough has been achieved in negotiations with Marouane Fellaini and that the midfielder will make a U-turn and sign a new contract.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey out, Lucas Vázquez in?

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Manchester United sign Fred on five-year deal from Shakhtar Donetsk

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 14:14
• José Mourinho hails player’s ‘creative brain and passing vision’
• Fred says he could not pass up chance to work with manager

Manchester United have announced the signing of Brazil’s Fred on a five-year deal from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The midfielder, currently on international duty at the World Cup in Russia, passed a medical on Thursday but missed Brazil’s opening match of the tournament, a 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Sunday, with an ankle injury. United reached agreement with Shakhtar earlier this month, with the Premier League club reportedly paying a fee in excess of £50m.

Related: Fred can be the Red that José Mourinho has been looking for | Nick Miller

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Sir Matt Busby airbrushed from Liverpool FC history? | Brief letters

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:55
Upskirting | Sir Matt Busby | Sign language | Vegetarianism | Thameslink | Clive James

Once the law is eventually passed to class upskirting as the criminal offence it clearly is (Upskirting bill is blocked by single Tory objection, 16 June), can the powers that be take this opportunity to give it a more appropriate name? Upskirting sounds like something you would purchase by the yard at B&Q, rather than the sexually abusive, insidious crime that it really is.
Maggie D’Araujo

• Kenny Dalglish, the first knighted ex-Liverpool player (Report, 9 June; Letters, 13 June)? What about Sir Matt Busby, 122 Liverpool FC appearances between 1936 and 1939, cut short by war? Or does his subsequent Old Trafford move make him a non-person?
Andrew Bailey

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England’s Phil Jones says he is wise enough to cope with adversity

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:30

• Manchester United defender expected to be on bench
• ‘I’m not too worried about players from other teams’

Phil Jones says he has put his personal ordeal from the FA Cup final behind him, the Manchester United defender admitting he would be “ready to jump off a bridge” if he allowed it to fester in his mind now he is with England in the World Cup.

Related: After 36 years of hurt Peru fans have made a peaceful invasion of Russia | Stuart James

Related: José Giménez’s late show snatches victory for Uruguay over Egypt

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Premier League fixtures 2018-19: Manchester City to start at Arsenal

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:58

• Champions travel to Emirates for Unai Emery’s Arsenal debut
• Spurs’ new ground not ready until Liverpool on 15 September

Manchester City will start their Premier League title defence at Arsenal. The 2018-19 fixtures, announced on Thursday morning, handed Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking team an Emirates Stadium opener on the weekend of 11-12 August – a fixture that will be Unai Emery’s first competitive match as Arsenal manager.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Liverpool in for Lazio's Thomas Strakosha?

Arsenal v Manchester City
Bournemouth v Cardiff City
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
Liverpool v West Ham United
Manchester United v Leicester City
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton v Burnley
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion
Wolves v Everton

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Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United, says agent

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:39
• Representative says Frenchman needs to ‘resume career’
• Martial not involved in the World Cup with his country

Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United, according to his agent. The 22-year-old, who joined United from Monaco for £36m in September 2015, has found life at Old Trafford increasingly frustrating under José Mourinho, with limited opportunities from the bench.

The forward was not included in France’s squad for the World Cup having struggled to make much impact at United since Mourinho’s arrival.

Related: Manchester United agree deal to sign midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk

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Brazil midfielder Fred suffers ankle injury scare with World Cup looming

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 19:14
• Midfielder had problem with his right ankle during training
• Fred due to join Manchester United from Shakhtar Donetsk

The Brazil midfielder Fred has suffered an injury scare just one week before the World Cup finals get under way in Russia.

Fred is on the cusp of a move to Manchester United, who announced this week they had reached an agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk to sign the 25-year-old for a fee reported to exceed £50m.

Related: Manchester United agree deal to sign midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk

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Premier League finances: the full club-by-club breakdown and verdict

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:08

The 2016-17 accounts of all top-flight clubs and what the figures say about their health. Manchester United top the charts again with a £581m income and £57m profit

Financial figures for 2016-17, for the 20 clubs that were in the Premier League during 2016-17. All details from the most recently published annual reports at Companies House. Crystal Palace have missed the deadline for filing their accounts; as a consequence, all rankings of clubs are out of 19, not 20. Net debt is as stated in the accounts; debts minus cash held at the bank. The separate categories of turnover are listed according to the wording in individual club’s accounts and are each rounded up or down, so added together they do not always tally with the total turnover figure.

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