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Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale is among the nominees for this year’s men’s Ballon d’Or award.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Paris St-Germain attacker Edinson Cavani are also contenders.

The 30-man list of nominees will be revealed throughout the day.

The Ballon d’Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year.

The ceremony to announce the winner will take place in Paris on 3 December, when a women’s award will be presented for the first time.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, won last year’s Ballon d’Or.

France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe scored four goals as Paris St-Germain maintained their 100% winning start in Ligue 1 by thrashing Lyon.

Mbappe’s goals came in a 13-minute second-half spell, netting his first with a low strike off the post.

He slid in his second, converted a cool finish for his hat-trick and stroked home his fourth from close range.

Neymar’s penalty put PSG ahead, with home defender Presnel Kimpembe and Lyon midfielder Lucas Tousart both sent off.

France international Kimpembe was given a straight red card by the referee after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), who advised a dismissal as the defender had caught Tanguy Ndombele in the shin with his studs.

Tousart was sent off for a second bookable offence on the stroke of half-time after hauling down Mbappe.

Thomas Tuchel’s side, champions in five of the last six seasons, have won all nine league games so far and are eight points clear of second-placed Lille.

Meanwhile, former PSG and Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa scored the winner as Rennes beat Monaco 2-1. Monaco had Radamel Falcao on the scoresheet, but the 2016-17 champions have won just once in the league all season and are struggling in 18th place.

Another former Magpies player, Florian Thauvin, and ex-Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou both netted as Marseille beat Caen 2-0.

The Reds were second best to second-tier opposition as they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Frank Lampard’s Rams
If every Manchester United win from hereon in is to be seen as power to Jose Mourinho’s elbow and every setback considered proof that Paul Pogba’s concerns are well-placed, then it was first blood to the Frenchman on Tuesday night as United went crashing out of the Carabao Cup at home to Championship Derby County.

The 8-7 penalty reverse after a 2-2 draw in bizarre circumstances after Sergio Romero was sent off midway through the second half seemed entirely fitting on a day when the deteriorating relationship between the manager and his most expensive signing hit a new low.

Before the match it felt almost as though the game itself was secondary given the pre-game revelation that Mourinho had told Pogba he will never captain the club again following the midfielder’s claim that United ought to be a far more attacking outfit in home games than they were in Saturday’s Premier League draw with Wolves.

“I think teams are scared when they see Man United attacking and attacking,” said the midfielder. “When we play like this it’s easier for us.”

And so it was that United should end the regulation time of their cup clash against Frank Lampard’s impressive side with the Stretford End appealing for their team to “Attack, attack, attack” in much the same way that Pogba had wanted to see more.

United started like a team determined to put the off-field issues behind them, with Anthony Martial excelling on the left and Juan Mata putting them into a third-minute lead after one of the wide man’s dangerous runs.

But it didn’t take too long for things to unravel, and as soon as the Rams began to put their foot on the ball United didn’t seem to know how to deal with the threat posed by the likes of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson.

It was Mount’s ball that opened United up soon after the opener and forced Romero into a smart save from Mason Bennett, but Derby would have to wait until the hour mark before getting the equaliser they deserved.

After Ashley Young’s foul on David Nugent, Wilson stepped up to deliver a wonderful left-foot free-kick which caught Romero completely flat-footed. It would get worse for the Argentine shortly after too, as Wilson chased onto the ball and attempted to flick it beyond the goalkeeper, prompting an instinctive save a full yard or two outside his area.

The red card which inevitably followed brought Lee Grant into action for the first time as a United player and with five minutes to play he was picking the ball out of his net as Jack Marriott smartly followed in Mount’s initial shot to turn home what appeared likely to be a winner.

But Mourinho was bailed out by Marouane Fellaini’s 95th-minute equaliser from Diogo Dalot’s exemplary right-wing cross and United were given the lifeline of penalty kicks.

There was to be no ultimate reprieve though, with 15 penalties being taken and scored before Phil Jones stepped up and side-footed a tame effort which Scott Carson was able to get down to and end a turbulent day in the life of Manchester United with a humiliating cup exit.

Ed Woodward had taken the opportunity to back Mourinho during the end-of-year earnings call with shareholders earlier in the day. But while the latest twist in the manager’s relationship with Pogba was one thing, another dreadful performance at Old Trafford and a cup giant-killing is only going to heap more pressure on the Portuguese’s shoulders.

The German defender confirmed reports that he drew interest over the summer while offering insight into why he turned down a pair of potential moves.

Jerome Boateng has confirmed reports that both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were interested in him this summer while revealing that Jose Mourinho was unable to convince him to leave Bayern Munich.

The German defender was the topic of transfer rumours throughout the summer window, but opted to remain with Bayern for his eighth season with the club.

Boateng had previously played in the Premier League for Manchester City, but the 30-year-old defender could not be tempted to leave Bayern, even if the thought of a new club intrigued him.

“I did not want just to get away from Bayern, but I was thrilled to try a new challenge.

“I feel well at Bayern. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

Boateng went onto reveal that he personally spoke to Mourinho regarding Manchester United’s interest.

Mourinho was adamant on bringing another centre-back to Old Trafford, with Harry Maguire also viewed as a target.

However, Maguire said he never had concrete thoughts of leaving Leicester City and Boateng also revealed he wasn’t fully convinced of a move.

“I called Jose Mourinho, I told him that his interest was an honor for me and thanked him for trying so hard for me,” Boateng said.

“I explained to Jose that it’s difficult to leave Bayern, and if I do, everything has to be in place to top this club.”

Are the World Cup finalists suffering from a hangover after their loss to France in Russia? Their Nations League opener certainly suggested so!

Losing a World Cup final can’t be easy, but just how damaging it could be to a side was on full display in Croatia’s crushing defeat at the hands of Spain.

Croatia followed their World Cup heartbreak with a lacklustre 1-1 friendly draw against Portugal last week, but in their first competitive match since the 4-2 defeat at the hands of France, Zlatko Dalic’s side set an unwanted record with the 6-0 loss at the hands of Spain in the UEFA Nations League – the biggest defeat in the country’s history by a distance.

The previous worst loss for the nation came in 2009 in a World Cup qualifying match against England when the side suffered a 5-1 loss at Wembley.

That match marks the only other time in history that Croatia have fallen by more than three goals, with the side having suffered five losses by three goals in their history.

Real Madrid star Marco Asensio was the man of the moment for Spain, scoring once and setting up four more in Luis Enrique’s second match in charge, and Croatia had no answer for the Spanish star on the night.

The match also kept Spain’s perfect record when playing against Croatia star Luka Modric.

The Real Madrid star has now lost all three matches he’s played against Spain in his career.

Spain return to the pitch in a month to face Wales in a friendly before return to Nations League action against England.

Croatia will also be back in action in October, but face another tough test against the Three Lions on their return to the pitch.

Simeon Nwankwo and Henry Onyekuru were on target in the encounter staged to honour president George Weah

Nigeria defeated the Liberian national team 2-1 in an international friendly played on Tuesday night at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium, Monrovia.

Goals from Simeon Nwankwo and Henry Onyekuru handed the Super Eagles a slim victory over the Lone Stars who got their lone strike via the penalty spot.

The game which saw retired James Debbah handed a starter’s role was organised in honour of President George Weah who retired his famous no.14 jersey.

President George Weah’s old team mate James Debbah is also on the pitch for the Lone Star.
Expectedly every touch of the ball by Weah is greeted with loud cheers and applause. — 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) September 11, 2018

Gernot Rohr’s men took the lead in the 11th minutes after Onyekuru made good use of John Ogu’s pass to set the stadium alive.

Nwankwo doubled the lead in the 33rd minute after Oghenekharo Etebo floated a corner kick in the goal area of the hosts.

HT: Liberia 0-2 Nigeria.
Our goals scorers are Henry Onyekuru and Simeon Nwankwo.#SoarSuperEagles #Team9jaStrong. — 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) September 11, 2018

However, Liberia got the consolation goal in the closing stages of the game after Semi Ajayi had been adjudged to have handed the ball in his vital area.

Penalty to Liberia.
The referee rules that Semi Ajayi touched the ball with his hands in the box.
1-2.#SoarSuperEagles #Team9jaStrong. — 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) September 11, 2018

Weah won Liberia’s presidential election in December, after securing 12 of the 15 counties in the west African nation, thus, succeeding Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The 1995 Fifa Ballon d’Or winner and three-time African Player of the Year defeated 73-year-old Joseph Boakai to become the country’s 24th president.

Emre Akbaba scored twice late on as Turkey completed an extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down to beat Sweden in the Nations League.

The Swedes, beaten by England in July’s World Cup quarter-finals, seemed to be comfortable when Viktor Claesson added to Isaac Kiese Thelin’s opener.

Hakan Calhanoglu’s curling shot made it 2-1 in Solna before late drama.

Emre finished off a superb team move to equalise in the 88th minute, then glanced in Serdar Gurler’s fine cross.

That goal, two minutes into stoppage time, gave Turkey their first win in League B’s Group 2, having lost their opener 2-1 on Friday at home to Russia – the early leaders of the table.

Sweden, playing their first competitive match since England beat them in Samara, had scored the most spectacular goal of the night when Claesson thumped into the top corner from 25 yards to put them two ahead.

Janne Andersson’s side, bottom of the group, will seek to gain their first Nations League points when they play Russia in Kaliningrad on 11 October.

Andre Silva struck a stylish goal as Portugal took control of their Nations League group by beating Italy.

Silva, who had a poor season in Italy with AC Milan before joining Sevilla on loan in August, controlled and steered in Bruma’s cross in the 48th minute.

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo, excused from international duty and pictured relaxing with his family on a yacht in St Tropez.

Yet Fernando Santos’ side still had the better of this League A Group 3 match.

The win took them to the top of the group on three points, two clear of Poland and Italy.

Roberto Mancini’s side, showing nine changes from the team who drew their Nations League opener 1-1 with Poland in Bologna on Friday, looked disjointed for much of the night in Lisbon.

Mancini left former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli out of the squad altogether, and retained only goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho from Friday’s starting line-up.

Donnarumma, the AC Milan teenager, was fortunate not to concede just before the half-hour mark, fumbling Bruma’s header under pressure, then watching as Bernardo Silva’s drive goalwards was cleared off the line by Alessio Romagnoli.

The keeper redeemed himself in the second half after his team went behind, though, with a flying save to tip away Manchester City forward Silva’s 20-yard angled shot, and was sharp again late on to stop substitute Renato Sanches’ low shot.

Portugal should have been in front before they did score; Bryan Cristante deflected a Mario Rui cross against his own bar just after the half-hour mark, and the home side were then denied a penalty when Domenico Criscito blocked off Pizzi inside the area – with Scottish referee Willie Collum declaring it a fair challenge.

Italy were better in the closing stages, once Domenico Berardi and Emerson Palmieri came on, but without creating any clear chances.

Obuh is not carried away by the victory as he expected more from the Super Eagles, especially against a team ranked 188 in the world.

Injuries and new entrants should never alter Nigeria’s ‘coordination’ against a lowly-placed side like Seychelles, says John Obuh, after the Super Eagles ran out 3-0 victors in Saturday’s African Cup of Nations qualifying match in Vitoria.

The Nigeria set-up was depleted after injuries to some key players including captain John Obi Mikel, and, thus, Rohr made four changes to the team that started against Argentina in their final World Cup group game in June.

The German tactician restored Ogenyi Onazi, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo to the lineup, with Samuel Kalu handed his debut. He also opted to set his side up in 4-3-3, as opposed to the 3-5-2 majorly deployed at the big summer in Russia.

However, despite getting their Afcon qualifying campaign back on track with the win at Stade Linite, the former Nigeria U20 coach insists that the team did not do enough against the tiny East African nation, as such games are used to ‘improve’ a team.

“Thank God for the victory anyway, but I think we still have to work very hard most especially anytime we are meeting a team of that level,” Obuh told Goal.

“I expect we should use that situation to make sure that we keep the coordination of the ball very well, the position of the ball very well and pass the ball very well.

“When we’re attacking we know we’re attacking, we’re defending we know we are defending. We had a lot of situation for counter-attack which we didn’t use well.

“I think the most important thing anyway is we’ve won the game but then we must try to make sure that when we are playing that kind of level we should use it to improve on our team.”

Also, Obuh suggests that there should be a laid down template which would ease the team, and its invitees.

“I wouldn’t want to say that [injury-enforced changes altered coordination of the game]. I just want to think that we are still in the process of testing,” he continued.

“There were some people who came into the team for the first time either because of the injuries or whatever but what I’m trying to say is let’s have a sort of game plan; what we are looking for each time we are playing.

“After the victory, we should able to tell what we are going to play so we’d be able to understand how we are playing and how we are going about it, irrespective of the changes, after all, we still have a couple of players who are stable in the team,” he concluded.

Nigeria play Liberia in a friendly encounter in Monrovia on Tuesday, and four Nigeria Professional Football League players [Mfon Udoh, Ebube Duru, Sunday Adetunji and Olamilekan Adeleye] have been called up.

The Frenchman has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid, but he is being mooted as a replacement for Jose Mourinho and plans to be back “soon”
Zinedine Zidane has fuelled speculation that he could be being lined up to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United by revealing that he plans to return to management “soon”.

The Frenchman has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

He walked away from that post on the back of an historic third successive Champions League triumph, with La Liga title glory also savoured at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zidane left Madrid claiming that the Blancos needed “something different” to keep them competitive at the highest level.

He has enjoyed a break from the stresses of coaching, but the 46-year-old is now eager to get back into the dugout.

Zidane told TVE: “Certainly I’ll be coaching again soon because it’s what I like doing and what I’ve done all my life.”

It has been suggested that the former France international’s next job could be in England.

He is being heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford amid Manchester United’s early struggles in 2018-19.

Jose Mourinho has claimed that it will cost the Red Devils too much to sack him, with the Portuguese having committed to a new contract in January.

He is, however, under pressure to deliver results after overseeing an inconsistent start to the new season.

If he is unable to turn the tide, then United will be left with little choice but to make a change.

Zidane would likely be among those taken into consideration if he remains without a job.

A spell with Real is the only top-level experience taken in by the World Cup winner, but he proved himself capable at the Santiago Bernabeu and is well respected throughout the game.