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    Real Madrid star Antonio Rudiger reveals hardest XI he has faced from ‘best ever’ Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo

    REAL Madrid star Antonio Rudiger named his best XI of stars he has faced during his career – reserving special praise for the ‘best ever’, Lionel Messi.The German defender, now 29, revealed all in an interview with Sky Sports in 2020.

    And he named a host of Premier League stars, including two current Liverpool players.
    But when asked who he believed to be the greatest player of all-time, Rudiger aimed to settle the debate by claiming it would be Messi for him.
    The Blues defender – who left the Blues this summer for LaLiga- said: “If I had to pick one it would be Messi.
    “Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
    Check out what Rudiger had to say on every player in his best XI…
    GOALKEEPER – Manuel Neuer
    “There were some times, around 2014, where he was unbeatable. He was the goalkeeper.
    “There are a lot of good goalkeepers, I played with Alisson at Roma, he’s a beast, and I’ve played with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno.
    “There are a lot of good goalkeepers, but I pick Neuer.
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    “In the 2014 World Cup against Algeria, I was watching from home and he was unbeatable, he was almost playing like a defender, clearing up the long balls Algeria put over the defence.
    “He took everything and I was shocked.”RIGHT-BACK – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
    “This guy is hard to beat, with his tackles – his sliding tackle is amazing.
    “He is progressing very well, and I like him very much.”
    CENTRE-BACK – Sergio Ramos
    “Everyone knows why, this guy knows how to do his job in defence and is also very important at offensive set pieces.
    “He is a commanding defender and a great anywhere.”
    Van Dijk and Robertson both make it into Rudiger’s best XI
    CENTRE-BACK – Virgil van Dijk
    “In the last two years, he’s shown he is definitely one of the best, even maybe the best at the moment. He is a beast.
    “You always look up to those kind of players because these two centre-backs are, at the moment, the best centre-back, so of course you can learn something from them.
    “Everyone has their own style of playing, but you can learn from them.”
    LEFT-BACK – Andrew Robertson
    “This guy doesn’t stop running, he is active the whole time, going forward and backwards.
    “He is very good at crossing and overall, both defensively and offensively, he is doing a very good job.”
    CENTRE-MID – Andres Iniesta
    “The vision he had for football was massive, I’d never seen anything like it.
    “His combination game was top class.”
    Kante and De Bruyne start in the midfield of Rudiger’s XI
    CENTRE-MID – N’Golo Kante
    “The guy is everywhere, and he loves to tackle.
    “These kind of players look for the contest, they find it and they win it, that is impressive, especially when you consider what kind of guy he is.
    “Wow.”
    CENTRE-MID – Kevin De Bruyne
    “I played against him in Germany.
    “In those days, it was hell to play against Wolfsburg because they were a really tough side with good quality players, and of course he was the best in that team.
    “He has everything; his crossing, passing, the way he shoots on his left and right foot and his technical ability – he is really, really good.”
    Ronaldo and Messi start on the wings in Rudiger’s toughest opponents XI
    RIGHT-WING – Lionel Messi
    “The next two stand out, they are in a different world, they are different quality.
    “When you’re playing against Messi, the feeling you have is that it’s just up to him, if he is in a good mood or is having a good day you cannot stop him.
    “That is my honest opinion.”
    LEFT-WING – Cristiano Ronaldo
    “The same applies with Ronaldo. They have two different ways of playing, one to try and score goals and the other is enjoying his football.
    “If I had to pick one it would be Messi. Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
    STRIKER – Sergio Aguero
    “For me, he is a top striker. He’s small, compact and a goalscorer who scores for fun.
    “He’s the type of striker that if you give him an inch that’s enough, it’s tough to mark him.
    “For a big defender, his centre of gravity is very low and it’s difficult because of his good movement.” More

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    Roman Abramovich used to text former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti a question mark whenever the Blues lost

    ROMAN ABRAMOVICH used to look to former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti for guidance when things weren’t going so well.The former Blues owner appointed the Italian in 2009 and he went on to win the double before being axed two years later.
    Roman Abramovich and Carlo Ancelotti exchanged extremely brief text messages
    Abramovich would send Ancelotti a question mark
    Ancelotti is still highly regarded among Blues staff and supporters.
    And it is has been revealed that he remained in contact with Abramovich and the pair shared text messages over the team’s struggles.
    Sky Italia journalist Fabio Caressa said: “Ancelotti told me that Abramovich also texted him, always the same, especially in times when things were not going well.
    “He only sent him a question mark.
    “Instead he, the genius that is Carlo, answered him only with an exclamation mark.”
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    It appears the 63-year-old was in no mood to give his former club any of his wisdom at the time of the messages.
    Ancelotti was managing rival club Everton at the time of some of the messages.
    During that time, Ancelotti oversaw a 1-0 Toffees win over Chelsea at Goodison Park.
    Perhaps the Russian sent him yet another exclamation mark on that occasion.
    Ancelotti departed Merseyside last summer, returning to another of his former clubs – Real Madrid.
    The Italian beat Max Allegri to the role and went on to win LaLiga and the Champions League last term. More

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    Chelsea legend John Terry told ex-boss Antonio Conte to leave him out of squad for entire final season to give Ake a run

    JOHN TERRY has revealed he told former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to leave him out of the squad for the entirety of his final season – in order to give Nathan Ake a chance.JT was itching to see the Dutch youngster, 21 at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, given a chance at Stamford Bridge, even if it meant sacrificing his own minutes.
    Terry asked Ake to be handed more chances during his final season at the clubCredit: GETTY
    Terry was excited to see what a then 21-year-old Ake could produce
    Ake left Chelsea for Bournemouth and then secured a 2020 transfer to Man City, where he has won two Prem titles
    Speaking with snooker legend Stephen Hendry on an Instagram Live Q&A, Terry revealed he told Conte, who returned to Stamford Bridge on Sunday with Tottenham and was involved in a bust up with Thomas Tuchel, to give Ake the senior match-day experience, even if it was watching from the bench.
    But Ake only played four times all season and was sold to Bournemouth in the summer after Terry’s retirement, having spent the first half of the season on loan on the South Coast.
    Chelsea did go on to win the Premier League that season, with a back-three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill.
    Looking back at his final season in West London, Terry said: “I went to see [Conte] around Christmas time.
    “I was like ‘gaffer, listen you’re putting me on the bench and we’ve got Nathan Ake’, who for me was an unbelievably talented young player.
    “I said ‘put him on the bench because the chances of him coming on are really slim, it’s going to be great experience for him’.
    “‘He was on the bench for about seven, eight or ten games, and he ended up playing against Spurs in the [FA Cup] semi-final that year.
    “And it was just little stuff like that. I’m not sure players would have done what I did.”
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    Ake ultimately played just four times for Chelsea in 2016-17 before he was sold to Bournemouth for £20million.
    Terry quit the club to join Aston Villa, where he was assistant manager, but recently returned to Chelsea to join their academy staff.
    Ake, now 27, has gone on to receive international recognition with Holland and signed for Manchester City in a £40m deal in 2020, winning the Premier League in his first season at the Etihad.
    He also helped the club secure back-to-back Prem titles last season and also has an EFL Cup to his name.
    The Dutchman has started both of City’s opening Prem games this term, keeping two clean sheets in the process. More

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    Chelsea’s brilliant academy was nearly SHUT DOWN by ex-boss for being a ‘waste of time’, Michael Emenalo claims

    EX-CHELSEA chief Michael Emenalo claimed a former manager tried to CLOSE the club’s academy.Frank Lampard put his trust in the youth during his debut season in 2019-20 after the club were put under a transfer embargo – and managed to guide the young Blues into the Champions League.
    Michael Emenalo claims a former Chelsea boss tried shutting down the academyCredit: PA:Press Association
    And Chelsea have continued to have impressed ever since – now under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel – with academy graduates Mason Mount, Reece James, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi, to name a few, all shining.
    But things could have turned out differently had a former boss succeeded in persuading Roman Abramovich to pull the plug on his youth funding.
    Emenalo, who served as Chelsea’s technical director between 2011 and 2017 after spending the previous four years as chief scout and assistant first team coach, worked above the likes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Roberto Di Matteo.
    He claims former supremo Abramovich was urged to ditch his academy and focus instead on pouring money into the first team.
    But the Russian did not listen to his manager, and Emenalo reckons the decision is proving to be one of his best ever.
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Ronaldo funds, Scamacca to West Ham DONE deal
    The former Monaco chief told the Telegraph: “I defended the academy when there was pressure and doubt and pessimism.
    “There was a time when there was a clamour to do more and a manager came in to make a presentation to say the academy was not necessary.
    “The argument was it takes too long, we don’t have time, we should use it to make some money here and there, and that the owner should stop pumping money into it because it seemed like a waste.
    “But that wasn’t my idea and I had to fight against it.
    “This is where I am very, very proud of the owner Roman Abramovich because of the trust he had in me and the willingness to listen to me and give the academy time.
    “He would not abandon it. He believed in it and in me, and I can’t thank him enough for that.” More

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    Chelsea star Billy Gilmour wore a Liverpool shirt when he played football at home during lockdown

    CHELSEA and Scotland wonderkid Billy Gilmour once revealed he wore a LIVERPOOL shirt at home.The 21-year-old burst on to the Stamford Bridge scene and his form earned him a call-up for his country at Euro 2020.
    Chelsea’s Scottish star Billy Gilmour admitted he regularly wears a Liverpool shirt at homeCredit: EPA
    He revealed he wears the red jersey of his international captain Andy RobertsonCredit: Getty
    He was the star man as Scotland held England to a goalless draw at Wembley at the Euros, but was ruled out of the rest of tournament after testing positive for Covid-19.
    Last season he was on loan at Norwich City, but was unable to help Dean Smith’s side stay in the Premier League.
    But, during lockdown, Chelsea fans were shocked to learn he wore a Reds shirt.
    When asked if he wears a jersey of another team, the teenager told the Chelsea website in 2020: “It was probably Andy Robertson’s Liverpool shirt when I swapped with him after the recent FA Cup game.
    “I wear that sometimes at the moment, just out in the garden playing football.”
    It won’t be the first time the footballer has got stick for his clothing of choice.
    SunSport reported how Gilmour revealed he was the butt of jokes after he modelled for Burberry – but he has insisted he saw the funny side after seeing his face on billboards.
    Speaking to Jamie Redknapp on the Sky Football Show about how it came about, he said: “My agent phoned and he was just saying, ‘I got a phone call from Burberry and they were asking if you’d like to do modelling?’ So my dad phoned me and asked what I’d think doing modelling. I’m giving it a bit saying ‘of course’ and bantering with him.
    “I then got a phone call from my agent saying, ‘we’re meeting up tomorrow with Burberry’. I said, ‘Why’s that?’ and he said ‘You’re modelling for them, did your dad not say?’

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    “I said, ‘I thought he was kidding on! I ended up doing a couple of modelling shoots for Burberry! It was good, something different, but I got a bit of stick.
    “It’s funny, I was going home one of the times in Heathrow or Gatwick airport and the Burberry shop is there. I was walking to my flight and I come up on the billboard!
    “I just took a picture of it and sent it to my dad and started laughing. It was brilliant.” More

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    Spanish legend Fernando Torres picks best XI of players he’s played with and puts Gerrard vs Lampard argument to bed

    FERNANDO TORRES has named the top XI players that he played alongside during his glittering career – and put the Steven Gerrard vs Frank Lampard debate to bed.The now buffed up Spain star, 38, hung up his boots in 2019 after stints at Atletico Madrid, where he is now a youth coach, Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan and Sagan Tosu.
    Fernando Torres has revealed the best XI players he played with

    Having also played in his nation’s Euro 2008 and 2012 triumphs – and the 2010 World Cup – Torres has had some highly talented team-mates down the years.
    Check out who makes his XI, below…
    DEFENCE
    Jan Oblak, John Terry, Carles Puyol, Diego Godin
    TWO from Atletico Madrid – the masters of defending – one from Chelsea and one from Spain…
    Torres has plumped for Oblak in goal, with the Slovenian stopper arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet at present.
    Terry makes it into the XI after Torres’ brief spell at Chelsea, while Spain team-mate Puyol and Atleti pal Godin form a rock-solid back-three.
    .css-qu9fel{border-top:1px solid #dcdddd;}.css-b9nmbi{margin-bottom:16px;border-top:1px solid #dcdddd;}.css-1qsre5o{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:flex-start;-webkit-box-align:flex-start;-ms-flex-align:flex-start;align-items:flex-start;-webkit-align-content:flex-start;-ms-flex-line-pack:flex-start;align-content:flex-start;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;}.css-q8gelu{margin-bottom:24px;}.css-7ysxcx{padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-7ysxcx:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1x7hydu{font-family:The Sun;font-size:24px;line-height:1.1666666666666667;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:semi-condensed;padding:1px 0px;}.css-1x7hydu::before{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-bottom:calc(-0.24520833333333342em + -0.5px);}.css-1x7hydu::after{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-top:-0.2333333333333334em;}.css-1lobn43{display:inline;font:inherit;margin:0;color:rgba(0,0,0,1);}.css-1lobn43 svg{fill:rgba(0,0,0,1);}LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS.css-1gojmfd{margin-bottom:16px;}.css-zdjvqv{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:flex-start;-webkit-box-align:flex-start;-ms-flex-align:flex-start;align-items:flex-start;-webkit-align-content:flex-start;-ms-flex-line-pack:flex-start;align-content:flex-start;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-box-pack:space-around;-ms-flex-pack:space-around;-webkit-justify-content:space-around;justify-content:space-around;margin-top:calc(-12px/2);margin-bottom:calc(-12px/2);}.css-zdjvqv:before,.css-zdjvqv:after{content:”;display:block;}.css-1meuhfk{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;margin-top:calc(12px/2);margin-bottom:calc(12px/2);}
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    MIDFIELD
    Javier Mascherano, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard
    IN a four-man midfield, THREE Liverpool stars make the cut.
    And leading the headlines is the inclusion of Stevie G, who edges out Lampard in the starting XI – playing just off the strikers.
    It’s not too much of a surprise given Torres called the Kop idol his best-ever team-mate on announcing his retirement.
    Mascherano and Alonso join Gerrard in the middle, with the Argentine at the base of the diamond.
    Also in the midfield is Spain team-mate Xavi – helping form a centre-mid Xavi-Alonso partnership.
    Torres named Gerrard over Lampard in his attacking midfield slotCredit: PA:Press Association
    ATTACK
    Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Villa
    UP FRONT, Torres has picked himself to lead the line.
    In his prime he was possibly the best striker on the planet.
    He’s joined by Spain team-mates Villa and Iniesta in providing a threat going forward – two of his country’s all-time greats.
    Torres named David Villa as his partner in attack of his best XI More

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    ‘The guy is amazing’ – Chelsea fans hail Kenedy as he and fellow forgotten man Ross Barkley shine against Watford

    CHELSEA fans were left gushing over forgotten man Kenedy as he and fellow misfit Ross Barkley shined in the 2-1 win against Watford.Blues supporters were left rubbing their eyes when Thomas Tuchel named Brazilian wing-back Kenedy in his starting XI for the first time yesterday.
    Chelsea fans hailed forgotten man Kenedy after his fine performance against WatfordCredit: Getty
    Ross Barkley also delighted fans as he netted a late winner on the final dayCredit: Reuters
    The 26-year-old’s last Premier League appearance for Chelsea came in the 2016-17 campaign.
    Kenedy, a £6million signing from Fluminense in 2015, spent the following five years on loan at clubs including Watford and Newcastle.
    But he was given a shock recall from his Flamengo loan in January as cover for the injured Ben Chilwell.
    Despite returning to London, Tuchel continued to place his trust in Marcos Alonso, with Malang Sarr also preferred at left wing-back at times.
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Sun;font-size:24px;line-height:1.1666666666666667;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:semi-condensed;padding:1px 0px;}.css-1x7hydu::before{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-bottom:calc(-0.24520833333333342em + -0.5px);}.css-1x7hydu::after{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-top:-0.2333333333333334em;}.css-1lobn43{display:inline;font:inherit;margin:0;color:rgba(0,0,0,1);}.css-1lobn43 svg{fill:rgba(0,0,0,1);}READ MORE ON CHELSEA.css-1gojmfd{margin-bottom:16px;}.css-gmec1d{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;height:auto;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-align-content:center;-ms-flex-line-pack:center;align-content:center;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-pack:start;-ms-flex-pack:start;-webkit-justify-content:flex-start;justify-content:flex-start;margin-left:calc(-20px/2);margin-right:calc(-20px/2);}.css-fh9577{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;margin-left:calc(20px/2);margin-right:calc(20px/2);}.css-65fvqt{max-width:302px;max-height:294px;}.css-1exhbll{box-sizing:border-box;overflow:hidden;background-color:rgba(237,245,242,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;position:relative;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;max-width:302px;max-height:294px;}.css-bk55po{box-sizing:border-box;display:block;position:relative;margin-bottom:0;}.css-1shocxe{box-sizing:border-box;}.css-1a2irou{box-sizing:border-box;padding:0;}.css-1a2irou 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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}BLUES NEWS .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Tuchel ‘keen’ on takeover to be completed as Todd Boehly was spotted on pitch
    But Kenedy, who is out of contract in 2023, took yesterday’s opportunity with both hands.
    The ace, linked with Leeds United, was rampant up and down Chelsea’s left flank.
    And Kenedy made a real statement when he assisted Kai Havert’s opener at Stamford Bridge.
    Fans were certainly left impressed, with many wondering why Kenedy hadn’t been given a chance earlier on in the campaign.
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    Alonso is set to leave for Barcelona, while Emerson Palmieri is likely to depart once he returns from Lyon.
    And Kenedy’s performance could yet give him a second chance, with Chelsea no longer needing a big-money signing following Chilwell’s return to action.
    One fan simply gushed: “The guy is amazing.”
    Another beamed: “Kenedy is balling!”
    One said: “Where has Kenedy been this whole time? We’ve been hiding the Roberto Carlo regen all along. This guy is playing amazing.”
    Another noted: “He is very good offensively, I don’t know why Tuchel doesn’t use him.”
    One declared: “He is my favourite baller… why doesn’t Tuchel trust him more?”
    Supporters also enjoyed seeing Barkley grab the last Chelsea goal of the Roman Abramovich era, with his 91st minute effort sealing a 2-1 win.
    It was just his fifth since joining the Blues from Everton in January 2018.
    And fans hope Barkley can yet force his way into the side.
    One said: “Ross Barkley deserves more game time.”
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15px;}.css-1qsre5o{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:flex-start;-webkit-box-align:flex-start;-ms-flex-align:flex-start;align-items:flex-start;-webkit-align-content:flex-start;-ms-flex-line-pack:flex-start;align-content:flex-start;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;}.css-16djrfc{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:1;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;padding-top:2px;}.css-1skzs3j{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:1;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;padding-top:2px;}.css-7ysxcx{padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-7ysxcx:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1x7hydu{font-family:The 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    Another wrote: “Scored many important goals for us and makes his mark whenever brought in.”
    One added: “I wonder why Tuchel never used him.” More