Lionel Messi double powers Barcelona to victory over Alavés in opener

Barcelona began the new campaign with a 3-0 win over Alavés with the help of an under-the-wall free-kick from Lionel Messi, who scored twice, and a curling shot from the substitute Philippe Coutinho. The champions had dominated the late kick-off at a quiet Camp Nou but struggled to convert chances against a shrewd Alavés, who are the last team to win a league game at the Catalans’ home, beating them 2-1 in 2016. Continue reading...

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus debut ends in dramatic late win at Chievo

Juventus came from behind to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win at Chievo as Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut for the Turin side on Saturday, although the Portugal captain was not among the scorers in his first Serie A match. Ronaldo was thwarted several times the by veteran Chievo goalkeeper, Stefano Sorrentino, and his handball in the buildup led to a late Juventus goal being disallowed. Continue reading...

Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo heralds lift in Serie A mood for new season | Paolo Bandini

Transfer coup means Juve want to win the Champions League while Inter are likely to be their closest challengers at homeThis was supposed to be a grim summer for Italian football supporters. For the first time in six decades a World Cup was taking place without their national team. As the tournament in Russia got under way, the outgoing sports minister, Luca Lotti, portrayed the moment as calcio’s “Year Zero”. The fans themselves, though, did not seem so troubled by the prospect of a World Cup without the Azzurri. Mediaset recorded a cumulative TV audience of 297 million across the 64 games – 49 million more than the previous rights holders, Rai and Sky, had achieved between them in 2014. Continue reading...

Gus Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after he called owners ‘a disgrace’

• Former Brighton manager hit out at sale of Gaëtan Laborde
• Bordeaux players refused to train in protestGus Poyet was suspended by Bordeaux on Friday following his rant against the club’s owners, with his players refusing to train in protest against the treatment of the former Brighton and Sunderland manager. The former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder hit out after the 2-1 win over FC Marioupou in the Europa League having been informed striker Gaëtan Laborde had been sold to Montpellier without his knowledge. Continue reading...

Eyes down for kick-off in La Liga, where Barcelona remain the team to beat

Real Madrid are in transition without Zidane and Ronaldo, and Atlético are still the most likely to upset the old duopoly On 16 May Barcelona met Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly in Johannesburg. The Mandela Centenary Cup was the prize, Barcelona beat South Africa’s champions 3-1 and the highlight for the crowd at Soccer City was seeing Lionel Messi come off the bench in the second half. Related: Could La Liga’s US venture spark a Premier export? | Ed Aarons Continue reading...

Allan McGregor penalty save puts Rangers in play-offs after Maribor draw

• Maribor 0-0 Rangers (Rangers win 3-2 on agg)
• Molde 3-0 Hibernian (Molde win 3-0 on agg)Rangers held their nerve in Maribor as Allan McGregor’s stoppage-time penalty save sealed the 0-0 draw which took Steven Gerrard’s men into the Europa League play-offs. The Rangers manager vowed on Wednesday that he would not park the bus and look to protect their 3-1 first-leg lead. But the Light Blues had to grit their teeth as the Slovenian club came for them at the Ljudski Stadion, with McGregor capping off a fine display as he repelled Marcos Tavares’s late spot‑kick. Continue reading...

Burnley’s Jack Cork finds a bit extra and finishes off Istanbul Basaksehir

• Burnley 1–0 Istanbul Basaksehir (aet, Burnley win 1-0 on agg)
• Jack Cork strikes in extra time to finish the job for ClaretsAn extra time goal from the substitute Jack Cork took Burnley into a final play-off against Olympiakos to try and claim a place in the Europa League proper, mercifully saving this most tepid of encounters from the farce that would have been a penalty shoot-out. Based on the 90 minutes that preceded Cork’s goal it would have been interesting to see if either of the sides could have worked up any enthusiasm for a win. A low-key, low-tempo fixture drifted inexorably towards extra time with no one apparently willing to step up the pace to force a result, until Burnley finally broke the deadlock seven minutes into the overtime period. Continue reading...

La Liga set to stage match in US as battle to match Premier League grows

• Regular-season fixture could take place as early as this season
El Clásico would remain in Spain under proposals La Liga is set to stage a regular-season match in the United States, possibly as early as this year, but a clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona is pretty much out of the question. The league said on Thursday it is planning to play a match across the Atlantic as part of a new 15-year partnership with the sports and entertainment group Relevent to promote the game in North America. The group operates the International Champions Cup, the world’s largest summer club tournament. Barcelona and Real Madrid faced each other in the tournament in Miami last year. Continue reading...

Super Cup loss adds to Real Madrid’s post-Ronaldo narrative of negativity | Jonathan Wilson

Julen Lopetegui’s side conceded four goals for the first time since 2015 against Atlético Madrid, and the lack of galáctico signings add to the sense of a downward drift It was only the Uefa Super Cup. It was only a defeat in extra-time. Real Madrid won this competition last year, and that meant very little for a disappointing league season which in turn meant very little for a triumphant Champions League campaign. The needle flickers, form fluctuates, priorities change and when you are a club as stuffed with talent as Real Madrid trophies usually follow. And yet Wednesday’s game in Tallinn was not just another game, not even just another Super Cup. It was Real Madrid’s first competitive game after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo – and it was lost. Perhaps they would have lost with Ronaldo. Perhaps the game would not even have gone to extra-time. Perhaps he Continue reading "Super Cup loss adds to Real Madrid’s post-Ronaldo narrative of negativity | Jonathan Wilson"

Diego Costa double helps Atlético beat Real Madrid 4-2 in Uefa Super Cup

• Benzema 27, Ramos 63pen; Costa 1 79, Saúl 98, Koke 104
• Saúl Ñíguez scores brilliant volley in extra timeReal Madrid began life without Cristiano Ronaldo with an extra-time defeat to bitter rivals Atlético Madrid in the Uefa Super Cup. Quickfire goals from Saúl Ñíguez and Koke gave Atletico a 4-2 win in Estonia in Real’s first competitive match since their club record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo was allowed to join Juventus for £99.2m. Continue reading...

Facebook buys rights to show La Liga games in India

Company signs exclusive three-year agreement to screen all 380 Spanish top-flight football matches across south Asia Facebook has bought the rights to show Spanish top-flight football in the Indian subcontinent in the latest move by a US technology company into sports rights. The company has signed an exclusive agreement to show La Liga games featuring Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and other stars for the next three years. The deal will allow Facebook to show all 380 matches for the new season, which starts on Friday, to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Continue reading...

Is the US falling out of love with European clubs’ summer tours?

The International Champions Cup is still capable of attracting huge crowds in the US, but away from the marquee games, attendances were down Whatever you do, don’t call it pre-season. Meaningless games are now a thing of the past, at least according to the International Champions Cup. Billed as “club football’s premier summer tournament,” this year’s edition was the largest to date, encompassing 18 teams and 27 games played in 22 different cities on three different continents. And yet, the crowd numbers didn’t quite live up to hype. On more than one occasion, swathes of empty seats were visible for games involving some of the world’s biggest clubs. Only 16,000 fans turned up at the 69,000-capacity Heinz Field for a match between Borussia Dortmund and Benfica. A game between Roma and Tottenham in San Diego attracted just 18,800 spectators from a potential capacity of 70,000. The German and English champions, Continue reading "Is the US falling out of love with European clubs’ summer tours?"

Lille are finally over Marcelo Bielsa and ready to fight for Europe

Christophe Galtier’s conservatism has allowed Lille to make careful but considerable progress in Ligue 1 By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News Christophe Galtier’s reputation in France isn’t quite on par with that of Tony Pulis or Sam Allardyce, that of being an overly negative, needs-must type, but neither has he ever shown much interest in attacking football. His teams at Saint-Étienne, who he regularly guided to the European places despite limited resources and key players departing were decidedly prosaic, often deployed in a 4-3-3 with full-backs who rarely made it forward. It was more of the same last season after he supplanted Marcelo Bielsa, but there were brief uses of the sort of 4-2-3-1 that Galtier deployed on Saturday evening against a Rennes side who have spent heavily of late, eclipsing Lille as the league’s current ambitious outsiders after the opening day. Even Continue reading "Lille are finally over Marcelo Bielsa and ready to fight for Europe"

Cristiano Ronaldo scores on Juventus debut amid pitch invaders’ welcome – video

Cristiano Ronaldo made Juventus fans wait only eight minutes before scoring his first goal in a pre-season friendly against the club’s youth team on Sunday. Ten minutes later he pressured Riccardo Capellini into an own-goal to make it 2-0 and the Juventus A team went on to win 5-0. The game was abandoned in the 72nd minute after supporters invaded the pitch as part of a tradition dating back many years. Continue reading...

Owls’ anguish over George Hirst could spread far and wide | Daniel Taylor

Signing of Sheffield Wednesday’s brightest prospect by Srivaddhanaprabha-owned OH Leuven says much about the relationships that exist in modern footballNo doubt there are more than a few of us who feel a twinge of nostalgia when the mind goes back to the days when David Hirst was one of the more dynamic strikers in the country and, as unimaginable as it may seem in today’s game, the times when it wasn’t so easy for the elite clubs to snaffle up all the best players. Related: Championship: fans from all 24 clubs preview the 2018-19 season Continue reading...

PSG expect European excellence after letting Thomas Tuchel make his mark

The French club should retain their Ligue 1 title but their German coach will be under pressure to break new ground in the Champions League “He did not want to sing at the hotel so he will do it here in front of you,” exclaimed Marquinhos as Paris Saint-Germain’s players gatecrashed the press conference after the 4-0 victory over Monaco in the Trophée des Champions in China last weekend. Wiping away the spray of champagne from his brow, Thomas Tuchel took a deep breath and launched into his number, which turned out to be a not so tuneful version of Pharrell Williams’ 2013 hit Happy. As initiation songs go, it certainly was not a patch on Gianluigi Buffon’s rendition of an Italian love song while standing on a chair wearing shades or even Kylian Mbappé singing into a bottle last September. Yet the joyful reaction of his players – Continue reading "PSG expect European excellence after letting Thomas Tuchel make his mark"

Football quiz: are you up to speed on the managerial merry-go-round?

A lot of Europe’s big clubs have appointed new managers for the season ahead. Have you followed the standout moves?

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery has previously worked at Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain. At which club did he last just six months in 2012?

Galatasaray

Spartak Moscow

Red Star Belgrade

Dynamo Kyiv

Which two national teams has new Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa managed?

Italy and Spain

Argentina and Chile

Uruguay and Argentina

Chile and Brazil

Julian Nagelsmann will leave Hoffenheim to take over as RB Leipzig manager at the end of this season. How old is Nagelsmann?

29

31

33

35

Thomas Tuchel has become the new Paris Saint-Germain manager, replacing Emery. At which club was Tuchel given his first managerial post back in 2009?

VFB Stuttgart

Borussia Dortmund

Hansa Rostock

Mainz 05

New Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac won the German Cup last season – by beating Bayern Continue reading "Football quiz: are you up to speed on the managerial merry-go-round?"