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    Goals changed for Arsenal’s Champions League clash with Ajax after Gunners club official spots crossbar is 10cm too low 

    JONAS EIDEVALL says Arsenal were faced with the bizarre scenario of having goals changed before their Champions League clash with Ajax.The Swede revealed the Dutch side’s goals were 10cm too small, saying: “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life.”
    Jonas Eidevall was shocked that Ajax’s goals were too smallCredit: Getty
    The goals had to be changed prior to kick-offCredit: Getty
    IFAB rules state the bar must be eight feet high and the width between the two posts eight yards.
    But Ajax use the smaller goals in Dutch League games.
    Arsenal spotted the bar was nearly four inches too low in the warm-up and demanded the goals were changed ahead of their 1-0 second round, second leg win.
    Eidevall, 39, said: “It has been weird coming here and playing a big club like Ajax and we have to measure the goals.
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    “We can only control what we can control.”
    Later in the game, Arsenal were prevented from bringing on a concussion sub for Lionesses star Beth Mead, who suffered a head injury.
    He added: “Beth needed to be taken off.
    “The problem I had is that I asked the fourth official if we could do a concussion sub and she said yes.
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    “Then when we were about to do it she said no. I don’t understand it.
    “But the players defended well with 10.”
    Vivianne Miedema blasted the Gunners into the Champions League group stages with a 3-2 aggregate win.
    The Dutch hotshot struck in the 51st minute for her third goal of the season.
    Meanwhile, Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr helped thwart West Ham’s hopes of a top-flight shock as Chelsea trounced the Irons 3-1.
    The match saw Emma Hayes drop an F-bomb as the titleholders took the lead before bagging back-to-back wins.
    The Hammers – who are yet to beat their London rivals in the WSL – took a third-minute lead with skipper Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s towering header.
    Kirby chipped in a 40th-minute leveller before Kerr gave the hosts the lead with just over half an hour of normal time left.
    And Millie Bright made it 3-1 with a classy, headed effort.
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    Chelsea looked to extend their lead when Lauren James won a penalty after being brought down by Lucy Parker.
    But the forward saw her spot-kick saved in the 77th minute as the WSL champs moved to fourth ahead of their trip to Everton after the international break. More

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    Eidevall to take momentum from Arsenal’s North London derby win into a tough battle with Ajax

    JONAS EIDEVALL is under no illusion about the hard task awaiting Arsenal in their battle with Ajax for a Champions League group stage spot.The Gunners are targeting an away win against their opponents who frustrated the WSL leaders by clinching a Round Two first-leg draw.
    A win for Arsenal against Ajax will see them join Chelsea in the Champions League group stageCredit: Getty
    Arsenal go into the game, which kicks off at 6:00 pm tonight, off the back of a 4-0 win against Tottenham watched by a record WSL crowd of 47,367 at the Emirates.
    And they will play in front of a record crowd at the De Toekomst Stadium home of their rivals this evening.
    Victory over Ajax will see the Gunners play their Champions League group stage games at the Emirates.
    Arsenal head coach Eidevall, 39, who has a fully fit squad for the game, said: “Of course, we want to play in the group stage and we want to go as far as possible.
    “This is the game we need to win in order to get there.
    “In the Champions League it’s about playing against the best. It’s about being challenged.
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    “And it’s nice the club want to play at the best stadium – the Emirates. We will do our very best in order to go through.
    “We can take a lot of energy and positive momentum from our win against Tottenham.”
    On whether Ajax will be buoyed by the draw by their impressive display last time out, Eidevall added: “I thought they played with a lot of confidence last week.
    “I’m under no illusion that this game will be anything else.
    “It will be a hard game. Away matches in Europe are tough when we’re playing a good team like Ajax.
    “We will need to defend well, attack well and be good at set pieces and in transition.
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    “It’s up to us to be the best that we can possibly be. I believe we can go through.”
    Having reached the contest’s quarter-final stage last term before being knocked out by Wolfsburg Eidevall’s side hope to progress further this season.
    And the club remains the only English side to have won the Women’s Champions League with their 2007 triumph.
    Since then, the contest has been dominated by Europe’s other giants with French side Lyon having won the tournament eight times, including their 3-1 triumph over Barcelona in May.
    Chelsea became the first English side to reach the final in 14 years when they took on Catalan giants Barca in May last year.
    The overall winner of this term’s Champions League is set to receive £301,000 in prize money with the runners-up awarded £172,000.
    Jonas Eidevall is confident Arsenal will be able to defeat Ajax away from homeCredit: Getty
    Match victories for teams in the group stage is thought to earn sides £43,000.
    On whether he feels constant pressure on Arsenal from a financial perspective, Eidevall added: “I don’t spend much time thinking about other things and I don’t think I should do either.
    “I went into this game preparing to get the best possibilities to win and I don’t think about anything else.” More

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    Tottenham ‘to complete £31m Dejan Kulusevski transfer in summer whether they qualify for Champions League or not’

    TOTTENHAM will “no doubt” sign Dejan Kulusevski on a permanent deal at the end of the season, reports suggest.Kulusevski joined Spurs in January following an 18-month loan deal with Juventus and has since shone bright in north London.
    Tottenham star Dejan Kulusevski joined on an 18-month loan from JuventusCredit: Getty
    According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Antonio Conte’s side will offer the winger a contract whether or not they qualify for next season’s Champions League.
    Romano claims that Tottenham will have to pay €35million (£31m) if the Sweden international plays in at least 20 Premier League games this season and they finish in Premier League’s top four.
    If Spurs fail to seal Champions League qualification they will still have a “buy option clause”.
    Kulusevski arrived alongside former Juventus team-mate Rodrigo Bentancur and together they proved vital in the team’s last-ditch effort for a top-four finish last season.
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    The Swedish ace has registered a total of six goals and 11 assists in 29 appearances ever since his arrival from Turin.
    Conte has praised the ex-Atalanta star’s immediate impact at the North Londoners.
    Kulusevski has proven to still be a key player under the Italian tactician this season as he adds even more attacking threat next to star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
    Conte previously said: “He’s a Tottenham player 100 per cent in every aspect. Not officially but he’s 100 per cent a Tottenham player.”
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    Kulusevski is loving life in England as he admitted “everything is going better” in the UK than it did in Italy.
    The versatile forward added that he made the “best” decision leaving Juventus last winter.
    Kulusevski told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Sometimes in football things simply go well. I haven’t changed anything in these months.
    “I always go and always went to the pitch with full commitment. However, at Juventus, something didn’t work regardless of how much I worked.
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    Tottenham will sign Dejan Kulusevski on a permanent deal in the summerCredit: Getty
    “I like to look forward rather than backward. Surely, I wasn’t okay at Juventus for many reasons and when you realise things don’t work, it’s hard to change direction in the same environment.
    “The decision to leave Italy was the best I could make in that situation.
    “Everything is going better in England. On and off the pitch. Now I always want to play football and win for my team.” More

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    Chelsea legend John Obi Mikel retires from football aged 35 as he says goodbye after trophy-laden 18-year career

    CHELSEA hero John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.Obi Mikel took to Instagram to state he was hanging up his boots alongside a photo of his 18-year career’s biggest highlights.
    John Obi Mikel was part of the Chelsea side that won the 2012 Champions League titleCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    The legendary midfielder’s message read: “There is a saying that ‘all good things must come to an end’, and for my professional football career, that day is today.
    “I look back at the past 20 years of my career, and I must say that I am very satisfied with all that I was able to achieve and more importantly the human it has helped shape.
    “All of this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, managers, clubs, coaches, teammates and most importantly my ever-loyal fans.
    “You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days that I did not live up to your expectations. I say a big thank you.
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    “I will also like to encourage everyone who I may have inspired one way or the other in the course of my career to never give up on their dreams, for every time you think about quitting, remind yourself why you started.
    “This is not goodbye, it’s the start of another journey, another chapter of my life. I look forward to what the future holds and I hope you will walk with me. Thank you.”
    Obi Mikel’s professional career kicked off in 2004 at Norwegian outfit Lyn.
    Chelsea scouted him only two years later and brought him to their star-studded squad at Stamford Bridge.
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    The Nigerian great enjoyed tremendous success during his 11-year stint in West London as he amassed a total of six goals and 13 assists in 372 appearances.
    The 35-year-old won two Premier League titles, three FA Cup trophies, the 2007 League Cup and the 2013 Europa League.
    Obi Mikel was also part of the Chelsea side that won the 2012 Champions League trophy.
    The versatile midfielder also enjoyed immense success on the international stage as well as he won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 with Nigeria.
    Obi Mikel left Chelsea in 2017 for Chinese outfit Tianjin TEDA before his return to England for Middlesbrough only two years later.
    He then moved to Turkey in 2019 where he won the Turkish Cup with Trabzonspor a year later.
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    Obi Mikel made one final comeback to England in 2020 for Stoke until his departure for Kuwait SC a year later.
    The Chelsea hero had been a free agent since last November until his decision to roll credits on his career.
    Chelsea legend John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from footballCredit: Action Images – Reuters More

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    Chelsea icon Ramires gets tattoo of iconic Champions League goal vs Barcelona after announcing retirement aged 35

    FORMER Chelsea star Ramires has marked his retirement by getting his memorable Champions League goal against Barcelona tattooed on his leg.The 35-year-old scored 34 goals during six seasons in English football, with the most notable coming at the Nou Camp back in 2012.
    Ramires marked his retirement with a tattoo of his most famous goal
    Ramires scores a brilliant chip against Barcelona in 2012Credit: Reuters
    With Chelsea trailing 2-1 on aggregate after Barca wiped out their first leg advantage, and down to 10 men following John Terry’s red card, Ramires took matters into his own hands in first half stoppage-time.
    Having been sent through by Frank Lampard, Ramires beat both Carlos Puyol and Sergio Busquets to the ball before exquisitely chipping over Victor Valdes to bring Chelsea level in the tie and ahead on away goals.
    Ultimately, the game was more remembered for Fernando Torres’ late strike, which sealed Chelsea’s place in the Champions League final.
    But Ramires’ goal was still equally as important, with the Blues going on to win the competition for the first time ever after beating Bayern Munich on their own patch on penalties in the final.
    Ramires won both the Premier League and League Cup under Jose MourinhoCredit: PA:Press Association
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    Unfortunately, Ramires was booked later in the game against Barcelona, which meant he was suspended for the showpiece in the German capital.
    Nevertheless, the 35-year-old, who’s set to call time on his career having been without a club since leaving Palmeiras back in 2020, has marked the semi-final occasion by getting the moment tattooed on his right leg.
    Chelsea fans reacted to the tattoo on Twitter, with one calling it a ‘so beautiful’, while another described it as ‘unforgettable’.
    Ramires would spend four more years at Stamford Bridge before leaving for Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning, although only after adding the Premier League, Europa League and League Cup to his medal collection with the Blues.
    Ramires spent four years in China after leaving ChelseaCredit: Getty
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    He rounded off his playing days by returning home to Brazil, with his final professional game coming for Palmeiras in the Copa Libertadores almost two years ago.
    Ramires has been a free agent since his departure in November 2020, but has only now decided to officially hang up his boots. More

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    Uefa ‘to invite top MLS team to join Champions League, Europa League & Conference League winners in revamped Super Cup’

    MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER clubs could face the winners of the Champions League in a revamped Super Cup reportedly being considered by Uefa.It has been alleged that talks are already underway for a “four-team season-opening event” which would replace the current Super Cup.
    New York City FC celebrate winning last season’s MLSCredit: Getty
    And it would continue to feature the winners of both the Champions League and Europa League as well as the new Europa Conference League.
    America is believed to be the main destination to host it, with one option said to include the host nation’s champions also – which would be the MLS in this case – as a fourth team.
    The idea to replace the Super Cup from 2024 is said to be “gaining traction” and will have an emphasis on trying to attract more female fans and families.
    The Press Association claims that sources have informed them that could mean “placing the matches within a weekend festival” or “having pop acts perform” prior to games or at half-time.
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    They have been encouraged by other sports moving matches and events into new markets, such as the NFL’s success in staging regular-season games in London.
    The European Club Association’s General Assembly in Istanbul is currently taking place and more discussions on the above are due to take place.

    Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali was invited to explain how F1 is trying to attract new fans and widen interest.
    And ECA chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi is due to discuss dangerous debt levels of clubs around the continent.
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    New York City FC lifted the MLS Cup last season Stateside.
    Real Madrid, who beat Europa League holders Eintracht Frankfurt in the Uefa Super Cup in August, won the Champions League last term.
    And it was Jose Mourinho’s Roma that were crowned the inaugural winners of the Europa Conference League. More

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    Thomas Tuchel could be DEPORTED before Christmas with German in post-Brexit visa limbo after Chelsea axe

    THOMAS TUCHEL could be DEPORTED before Christmas with the German stuck in post-Brexit visa limbo following his Chelsea sacking, according to reports.The 2021 Champions League-winning manager was incredibly let go following a poor start domestically and in Europe.
    Thomas Tuchel is unsure on whether he must leave the UK due to post-Brexit visa rulesCredit: Getty
    Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly swung the axe after watching his club fall to a 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in Europe.
    The brutal sacking came despite Chelsea splashing £254million on some of Europe’s top talent over the summer.
    Tuchel was replaced by Graham Potter, who left his post at Brighton to fill the vacant managerial role at Stamford Bridge.
    And to make things worse for Tuchel, he may be booted out of the country too due to Brexit rules, The Telegraph reports.
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    It is believed the 49-year-old is only able to stay for a maximum of 90 days following his sacking having arrived on a post-Brexit Governing Body Endorsement visa.
    However, there has been no official confirmation from the relevant parties.
    Talks are ongoing and Tuchel is said to be “happy and comfortable” living in the UK, and he is still weighing up his options.
    He was even spotted smiling in London on Wednesday.
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    Tuchel stopped and posed for photos with supporters.
    A representative for Tuchel told the Telegraph: “We will act in accordance with UK rules and adapt all future plans. Final decisions are not made yet.”
    Tuchel took over at Chelsea in January 2021.
    The West London club had to file a special application in order to get Tuchel and his staff access into the country following the UK’s exit from the European Union. More

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    Jordan Henderson joins Eric Dier in slamming fan abuse and says family will SKIP World Cup after Euro 2020 final hell

    JORDAN HENDERSON has revealed his family are planning to avoid the World Cup finals in Qatar after horrific experiences at major matches.The Liverpool skipper’s dad, wife and children were caught up in the terrible problems before the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, while there were also major security issues at last season’s Champions League final in Paris.
    Henderson’s family will skip the World Cup after the chaos surrounding the Euro 2020 final as well as last season’s Champions League finaleCredit: Getty
    The England midfielder said: “My family and friends have had a couple of experiences over the last couple of years which have really shocked them and probably put them off going to future games.
    “My dad said after the Champions League final that he was done with it.
    “When you’ve had those experiences sometimes, you think whether it is worth risking but we will have to see.”
    Spurs defender Eric Dier admitted this week he has stopped his mum from going to watch matches due to abuse.
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    And now Henderson has revealed the aggro players’ families can face.
    His wife Rebecca and young children were caught up in the trouble at Wembley 14 months ago ahead of the Euro final penalties loss to Italy.
    Henderson said: “My wife and kids tried to get in a side door but people wouldn’t let them in and they were trapped.
    “She was trying to get the kids away from all the middle of what was happening and eventually, I think after about 15 or 20 minutes, somebody recognised that she was my wife and they were let in.
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    “But if that person had not done that they could have been in trouble.”
    Equally, Henderson’s family were caught up in crowd problems ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
    He added: “It was pretty horrific. As a fan, if you don’t feel comfortable and you feel threatened, you’re not going to want to go again.
    “It’s as simple as that really.” More