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    Man Utd and Chelsea blow as Man City’s two-year Champions League ban is OVERTURNED by CAS

    MANCHESTER UNITED and Chelsea have been handed a bitter blow after Man City’s two-year Champions League ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
    Pep Guardiola’s side were slapped with a two-year European suspension and fined £25million for breaching FFP rules in February.

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    Man City have won their appeal against their two-year Champions League banCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

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    How the race for the top four looks with three games to go
    After a lengthy investigation, City were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when submitting accounts as part of the FFP compliance process.
    But now City have scored a major victory by winning their audacious appeal.
    The stunning verdict throws the entire Financial Fair Play regime into chaos.
    And it is also likely to lead to significant casualties among the Uefa hierarchy.

    A Uefa statement read: “UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.
    “UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.
    “Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.
    “UEFA will be making no further comments on the matter.”

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    Man Utd will have to fight harder to reach the Champions League next seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Meanwhile, a jubilant Man City statement added: “Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.
    “The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
    City appealed to the Lausanne-based court in February after the ban was imposed for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.
    The Etihad club were found to have disguised millions of pounds in funding from their Abu Dhabi owners as legitimate sponsorship deals.
    The findings of Uefa’s financial investigators, led by former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, were upheld by the governing body’s Adjudicatory Chamber, which imposed the suspension and a fine of £25m.
    But City, who consistently maintained their innocence and insisted they would be proven right, refused to accept the punishment and exercised their right to go to sport’s ultimate legal chamber.
    City made their case at a three-day virtual hearing last month.
    And that stance was vindicated as the Court ruled that while City DID fail to cooperate with Uefa investigators, they were NOT guilty of the allegations against them.
    The Court said: “The CAS award emphasized that most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred. 
    “As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions for MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.”
    City, originally fined £25m, were still ordered to pay £8.9m for their “disregard” of the principle of cooperation in investigations.
    But that will be a price worth paying for City, who will justifiably claim total vindication.
    The case was sparked by the Football Leaks document dump, which targeted a number of clubs and star players including City.
    From the outset, City insisted the entire case was based on the “illegal hacking and out of context publication” of internal emails.
    City had made it clear that Leterme was their most bitter enemy, accusing him of overseeing a “flawed and consistently leaked” process which they dubbed “wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed and hostile”.
    The Abu Dhabi-owned club launched a failed pre-emptive strike to get CAS to throw out the Uefa case last summer, accusing Leterme and his colleagues of “unlawful activities”.
    City claimed Leterme’s recommendation of a ban had been made “improperly and prematurely”, and that significant  “procedural defects” had caused the club “serious harm and loss”.
    In a vicious legal exchange, Uefa hit back.
    Leterme vehemently stressed his investigation had been “conducted in good faith and in an independent, objective and fair manner, as you well know” and accused City of behaving “in a totally artificial and misleading way”.
    While CAS ruled City’s case was “inadmissible” it agreed the alleged leaks were “worrisome”.
    And now the final decision means City have thrown off the huge cloud that hung over the club for the past two years.
    Man City mathematically booked their spot in next season’s Champions League by thumping Brighton 5-0 at the weekend.
    After Saturday’s game, Guardiola revealed he believes his side deserved to be at next season’s Champions League – because they earned it on the pitch.

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    Man City mathematically qualified for next season’s Champions League by beating BrightonCredit: EPA
    The City boss claimed: “I’m confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there but we have to wait and after I give my opinion or the club will give their statement.
    “[By beating Brighton 5-0] we achieved one incredible challenge, which is qualification for the Champions League mathematically.
    “That is the challenge that is the minimum requirement for this club… and these players have done it for the last six or seven years.
    “We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch.
    “Hopefully on Monday Uefa can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to.”

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    Chelsea may now be forced to resort to the Europa LeagueCredit: Getty – Pool

    As for this season, Man City currently lead Real Madrid 2-1 following their key win at the Bernabeu before lockdown.
    They have now won their bid to host the second-leg at the Etihad after Los Blancos pushed for it to take place in Lisbon – where the 2019-20 Champions League will be finished.
    Should they win, City will face either Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals in their bid to win their first-ever Champions League crown.

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    Eden Hazard adds £500,000 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ to his stunning car collection as he shows off new motor in training

    EDEN HAZARD has revved up his Real Madrid career by buying a £500,000 Lamborghini.
    The former Chelsea idol has helped the Bernabeu club hit the fast lane towards the LaLiga title following a slow start.

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    Eden Hazard has splashed out on a new £500k Lamborghini

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    The Belgian drove the Aventador SVJ to training

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    The ex-Chelsea man’s car collection is now worth more than £1MILLION
    And 29-year-old Hazard has now splashed out over half a million euros on a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.
    The supercar can do over 217 mph, and go from 0-60 in an incredible 2.8 seconds.
    Belgium international Hazard turned heads when rolling up for training in the Lambo on Sunday.
    And he found favour with Real’s fans by choosing a simple white paint job for the car – matching the club’s colours – rather than opting for a more adventurous shade.

    Hazard has made 20 appearances for Los Blancos, scoring once, in an injury-hit debut season in Spain.

    Questions were raised early on whether the playmaker was good value for his record £90million transfer.
    However he has since helped Zinedine Zidane’s men to the brink of the title.
    They lead arch-rivals Barcelona by a point, with a game in hand, before Monday night’s trip to mid-table Granada.

    Hazard is a well know petrol head and the Lambo is just the latest in an impressive motor collection.
    The midfielder has been spotted in various rides over the years, including a Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR, Audi R8 V10, BMW X6, Audi RS4 Avant, Range Rover, Aston Martin Vanquish and Mercedes C Class.
    Audi R8 V10

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    The Audi R8 V10 that’s part of Hazard’s collection is worth £110kCredit: Handout
    Able to hit a top speed of 205mph, Hazard would never be late to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground driving this car.
    Brazil star Neymar also owns an R8, so Hazard’s in good company.
    Price: Around £110k
    BMW X6

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    The BMW X6 is the perfect family car for Hazard, a dad of threeCredit: Handout
    A stylish and reliable SUV, the classic number ten often took his X6 for a spin on match day.
    As a family man, this roomy ‘Beamer’ is also perfect to drive around his missus, Natacha Van Honacker and their three kids for a day out.
    Price: From £60k
    Audi RS4 Avant

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    Hazard loves an Audi
    A regular standard among footballers, including Real Madrid and Barcelona’s elite – who have deals with the car giants – Hazard loves the Audi brand.
    Price: From £60,290
    Range Rover Sport

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    The Range Rover Sport is Hazard’s preference when leaving training
    A Range Rover… every footballer should own one and more or less most of them do.
    Hazard’s preference is the sport model because it’s comfortable and the ideal ride for when he finishes training and can stretch his legs.
    Should be more than enough room for his 5’8″ frame.
    Price: From £60,760
    Aston Martin Vanquish

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    The most expensive car in Hazard’s collection was the classy Aston Martin Vanquish worth £199,950 but the Lambo blows it out the waterCredit: Paul Tonge – The Sun

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    Is classy Hazard pondering what motor to get next?Credit: Reuters
    A classy gents’ car, the Vanquish was the most expensive motor in Hazard’s collection.
    James Bond star Daniel Craig once owned a limited edition version, which was sold at an auction for £344,000.
    Price: From £199,950
    Mercedes C-Class

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    Cool Hazard is a motor car enthusiast

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    The cheapest car in Hazard’s collection is a £32k C-ClassCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
    The luxury C-Class has been part of the German brand’s make-up since 1993, when it was first introduced.
    It was also one of the first cars Hazard rocked up in when he signed for Chelsea from Lille back in 2012. Needless to say, he’s moved on since.
    Price: From £32,260
    And finally, Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR

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    Hazard’s AMG GTR reaches a top speed of 197.6 mphCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Perhaps the best-looking in his collection, Hazard has a AMG GTR which has a horse power of 430 kW and top speed of 197.6 mph.

    Aston Villa and Man City legend Gareth Barry once had one once upon a time too.
    Price: From £99,245
    That gives us a grand total more £1.1m! Now, that’s not to be sniffed at.

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    Barcelona president ‘doubts PSG will put Neymar on market’ but confirms transfer talks with Inter for Lautaro Martinez

    BARCELONA president Josep Bartomeu has thrown cold water over speculation of Neymar moving to the Nou Camp but confirmed transfer talks with Lautaro Matinez. 
    PSG broke the bank by splashing out £198m to land Neymar in 2017 but the Brazilian ace has rejected attempts to extend his deal, which expires in 2022.

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    It is unlikely that PSG will put Neymar on the market this summer, according to reports
    Neymar has long been linked with a return to the Catalan giants and their latest attempt to prize the marksman away from the  French capital includes Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele going the other way.
    But as reported by Mundo Deportivo, Nou Camp chief Bartomeu reckons it is unlikely that Les Parisiens will put the Brazilian golden boy on the market given the financial uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
    He said: “it is a very difficult market for all clubs, especially.”
    Transfer fees are predicted to plummet and lavish £90m-plus moves are likely to be a distant memory.

    Nobody can guarantee contracts after a pandemic and wages, investment and expenses are set to take a big hit, so PSG may wait at least a year until they can cash in for the best possible price.
    It would also be a major blow for the club to lose Neymar given that he has scored 69 goals in just 80 appearances for the French giants.
    In that time, they have also won all three Ligue 1 titles as well as the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue in 2018.
    Bartomeu admitted that the club have approached Inter Milan regarding their star man Martinez.

    The Argentine striker has been a target for the Catalan giants for much of the season, having scored 17 goals in 38 games so far this term.
    Inter’s sporting director recently confirmed that Martinez can join Barcelona this summer but only if his £100million release clause is met.
    And this has proved a stumbling block for the La Liga giants who will reportedly not fork out the eye-watering release clause, having been forced to tighten the pursestrings after the coronavirus pandemic.

    Barcelona need to balance the books before landing big-money targets with up to seven players up for grabs.
    Dembele, Coutinho, Nelson Semedo, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic have been told they are free to leave.
    The Catalan Giants believe that Martinez’s value could drop especially if the player tells Inter chiefs that he wants out.

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    How Man Utd will line-up against Southampton as Solskjaer hints at naming ANOTHER unchanged side including Paul Pogba

    MANCHESTER UNITED are set to name yet ANOTHER unchanged XI for Monday night’s crucial clash with Southampton.
    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has fielded the same starting XI in the last four Premier League games.

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    How Man Utd could line-up against Southampton
    And having won all four by a three-goal margin, the boss isn’t willing to fix what isn’t broken.
    United have beaten Aston Villa, Brighton and Sheffield United 3-0, while crushing Bournemouth 5-2.
    With Chelsea and Leicester both suffering thumping defeats at the weekend, Solskjaer and Co can now finally break into the top three.
    Man Utd sit one point behind fourth-placed Leicester and two behind Chelsea in their quest to break back into the Champions League.

    And Solskjaer is ready to go for his tried-and-testing XI despite the matches coming thick and fast post-lockdown.
    David De Gea is set to continue between the sticks, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw ahead of him.
    Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic are likely to hold down the two deeper slots in midfield.
    On-fire Bruno Fernandes should start in the No10 role, flanked by Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.

    Anthony Martial will have the chance to keep up his good form through the middle.
    Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are the only players set to miss the game through injury, with everyone else available.
    Solskjaer revealed he is aware he has a large, eager squad – but is hoping to keep those in “rhythm” on the pitch for as long as possible.
    The Man Utd boss claimed: “There’s so many things you have to consider when you manage a team.

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    How Man Utd could line-up if Solskjaer decides to rotate

    “We’ve got players here champing at the bit, but also those that are in the rhythm. 
    “There are loads of decisions to be made, but they make it easier by playing and performing well.
    “If we don’t get too many injuries, there’s no reason to change too much when you’re doing well.”

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    Man Utd fan relieved after betting £55,000 inheritance on Liverpool winning Premier League title

    A GAMBLER breathed a massive sigh of relief after betting his £55,000 inheritance on Liverpool winning the Premier League.
    Manchester United fan Tony Ward, 55, had been waiting nervously on his mega-flutter since March’s lockdown.

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    Credit: SWNS:South West News Service
    But the dad of three collected £91,000, including his stake, when Jürgen Klopp’s side were confirmed as champions last month.
    Tony inherited £55,000 when his mum Rose died in 2017 aged 82 — and put the lot on Liverpool back in October, at odds of 4/6.
    He said: “Liverpool were always looking like they could win the title. I picked them after a long, long debate.”
    He then watched Liverpool streak ahead of Manchester City, with the title a mere formality — until the coronavirus lockdown came.

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    Credit: SWNS:South West News Service
    Tony, who calls himself an “armchair” Man United supporter, then had an agonising wait before the season eventually restarted in mid-June,
    He said: “I would have got my stake back, I think, if the season had been cancelled. But that would have been unfair.
    “Liverpool were that far clear. They only needed six points.”
    The Kop idols, managed by Klopp, quickly got those, clinching their first top-flight title in 30 years and earning Tony his payout from Ladbrokes.

    He is now planning a foreign getaway while keeping the rest in the bank.

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    Credit: Getty – Contributor

    He added: “I fancy a big holiday. The rest is for a rainy day.”
    Tony, of Bradford, West Yorks, said of his mum: “She wouldn’t have minded what I did with the money — not at all. She liked a flutter!
    “She liked the horses. But I’d give it all back to have my mum still around.”

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    Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hails Pep Guardiola as the ‘best manager of our era’
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    Wesley Sneijder comes out of retirement aged 36 as Real Madrid legend begins training with Dutch club DHSC

    DUTCH legend Wesley Sneijder is dusting off his boots to come out of retirement at the age of 36.
    According to RTV Utrecht, The former Real Madrid and Inter Milan star is set to begin training with amateur side DHSC on July 27 in the Netherlands.

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    Wesley Sneijder is coming out of retirement in Holland
    The Holland hero will build up his fitness with the fifth-tier side based in Utrecht.
    He quit the pro game back in August after finishing his career with spells at Galatasaray, Nice and Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa.
    His decision to come out of retirement comes just weeks after old international team-mate Arjen Robben sensationally performed his own career U-turn.
    Robben, also 36, made an emotional return to boyhood club FC Groningen, the side where he started his career, after being persuaded to make the move by his wife.

    Sneijder, capped a record 134 times by his country, is believed to be interested in a return to top-flight football with FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie.
    He has a great relationship with the club and the former playmaker is often spotted at Stadion Galgenwaard watching home games from a box.
    Sneijder was born in Utrecht but never played for his hometown team, instead bursting onto the scene via the Ajax academy.

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    But that could be set to change as technical director Jordy Zuidam admitted the club are interested in a deal provided Sneidjer is in good shape.

    The midfielder has piled on the pounds in retirement and recently spoke about his booze hell as vodka became his “best friend”.
    He confessed to becoming a party boy in the Spanish capital and has seen two marriages collapse amid his battle with the bottle.

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    The seven Premier League records Liverpool lost out on after Jurgen Klopp’s side’s 1-1 draw with Burnley

    LIVERPOOL have enjoyed a phenomenal season for the ages, finally winning their title back after 30 barren years.
    Jurgen Klopp’s relentless side have swatted away all competition with aplomb – with neutrals’ hopes of a title-race having fizzled out months ago.

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    Jurgen Klopp saw his champions draw 1-1 with Burnley on SaturdayCredit: PA:Press Association
    But while the German and his fans will likely not care too much, Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley at Anfield saw a number of potential records tumble out of reach, as per BBC Sport.
    The Reds could still shatter records for most points, home wins, victories and largest title-winning margin.
    But which have fallen by the wayside? Let’s take a look.
    1. MOST GOALS

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    Gabriel Jesus netted the 106th and final goal of Manchester City’s extraordinary 2017-18 campaignCredit: Rex Features
    While this one is technically still possible, I wouldn’t count on it… irrespective of how devastating Liverpool’s front three is.

    Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have frightened the life out of opposition defences all season – but the Reds would need to score 30 times in three games to match Manchester City’s eyewatering tally of 106 from two years ago.
    Upcoming opponents Chelsea have had a dodgy defence this year, but they’re not that generous…
    2. AWAY DAY TRIUMPHS

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    City produced some memorable performances on the road in 2017-18Credit: PA:Press Association
    So we’ve established earlier that Anfield is a fortress for the Reds, but this year it turns out that virtually, well, everywhere has been a fortress for the Reds.
    But even with wins at Arsenal and Newcastle in the coming weeks, Liverpool’s tally of away triumphs this term would reach 15 – one shy of City’s tally in 2018.

    Ironically Pep Guardiola’s side only lost once on the road that season on the way to securing 50 points away from home… at Anfield.
    3. STERNEST DEFENCE

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    Chelsea conceded just 15 goals in the 2004-05 seasonCredit: AFP
    So Liverpool’s defence has been pretty good this season, right?
    Correct. But Chelsea’s 2005 vintage were freakish in their ability to keep the ball out of the net.
    The Reds, marshalled by Virgil van Dijk, have conceded only 27 goals this season – six fewer than anyone else in the Premier League.
    But the Blues, with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at the back, conceded just 15 in an entire campaign, keeping 25 clean sheets in the process.
    4. INVINCIBLES

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    Arsenal’s 2004 side remain the only team to have gone a full Premier League campaign undefeatedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    February’s surprising 3-0 loss at Watford put paid to this one.
    For a while it had looked pretty likely, in fact, with the Reds having won 26 of 27 games to that point before travelling to Vicarage Road.
    But Arsenal’s “Invincibles” class of 2004 remain the only side to have gone an entire season undefeated in Premier League history.
    5. GOAL DIFFERENCE

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    City finished the 2017-18 campaign with an almost absurd +72 goal differenceCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Like with the “most goals” record, we can’t say this one 100 per cent for sure.
    But it’d have to be somewhere around 99.9…
    Again this record belongs to Manchester City’s 2017-18 campaign, in which they finished with a frankly ridiculous +72 goal difference.
    Liverpool’s is good, but at +49, there is no way that they can make up 23 goals in just three games.
    6. ENGLISH FOOTBALL’S HIGHEST POINTS TALLY

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    Reading’s 106-point haul definitely warranted an open-top bus parade in 2006Credit: Jasonpix
    Okay, so this one feels a little unfair.
    Yes – Liverpool aren’t going to match or better Reading’s stunning 106-point haul from 2006…
    But the Royals, being in the Championship, had eight more games in which to achieve the amazing feat.
    Steve Coppell’s all-conquering side finished with 31 wins, 13 draws and just 2 defeats in a season that looks likely to never be repeated in the second tier.
    But with Liverpool currently sat on 93 points from 35 games – you’d back them to collect at least 14 more if given another 11 games.
    7. TOP-FLIGHT EUROPEAN FOOTBALL’S HIGHEST POINTS TALLY

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    Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys also tasted a 106-point season, in 2016-17Credit: Rex Features
    This one, I’m afraid, belongs to Brendan Rodgers.
    The Northern Irishman, formerly of Anfield, led Celtic to an unprecedented season of success in his first at the Parkhead-helm back in 2016-17.
    The Bhoys completed a scarcely believable “Invincibles” season of their own, winning 34 games and drawing a further four on their way to a 106-point haul over 38 matches.
    Rodgers, 47, may have angered Hoops fans no end by the way he walked out last season to take on the Leicester City job.
    But his achievements at Celtic Park are likely to live on forever.

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