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    South American stars face burn out with World Cup qualifiers and delayed Copa America games alongside their club duties

    EUROPEAN clubs are seldom happy about releasing their South American players for international duty.
    Especially when they come back having picked up the coronavirus and not able to take the field, as happened to Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez, who was forced to sit out an eagerly awaited reunion with Barcelona.

    Luis Suarez was forced to miss out on a reunion with Barcelona after testing positive with coronavirus on international dutyCredit: Reuters

    But, with the coronavirus wiping out South America’s international dates in March and September, there were only two trips across the Atlantic this year, for the double headed World Cup qualifying dates in October and November.
    There is nothing else until the end of March – by which time it is to be hoped that the worst of the pandemic is in the past.
    But after that, the games come thick and fast – and so, surely, will come the complaints of the European clubs.
    After March, there are more World Cup qualifiers in June, September, October and November, before the campaign comes to a close with more games in January and March 2022.

    And in the middle of all this, there is a Copa America – originally scheduled for this June and July, but since put back twelve months.
    This is a bizarre competition, staged in Argentina and Colombia, countries at opposite ends of a large continent.

    The Copa America will be a much longer competition in 2021 Credit: AFP – Getty
    Rather than the standard Copa format of three groups of four, this one has two groups of six, meaning that the competition takes ages to get going. 

    This is a twelve-team tournament when those that reach the closing stages will play a total of eight matches – one more than anyone plays in a 32 World Cup.
    Between March 2021 and March 2022 there is a chance that South American players will have to play 22 games for their national team – effectively half a season on top of an already crowded club campaign, with the added burden of seven or eight double journeys back and forth across the Atlantic.
    It would be unfair to pin all the blame for the fixture pile up on international football. The current problem has its roots in the sad fact that no one, at club or international level, wants to give up anything. Someone has to lose.
    And since none of the administrators are willing to give up any of their competitions, then the losers are the players – exposed to the virus, exposed to injuries, exposed to burn out.
    The way that the 2022 World Cup was switched to December was clearly unsatisfactory.

    South American stars like Neymar face burn out before World Cup 2022 in QatarCredit: Alamy Live News

    But for all the problems, there is – or appeared to be – one silver lining.  Playing the tournament in the middle of the club season would, had the pandemic not struck, have meant that Qatar 2022 would have avoided the issue that harmed the quality of all the recent World Cups – players with no gas in the tank trying to force their weary bodies through the decisive stages.
    There was much to look forward to in Qatar 2022 – the planet’s best players finally playing a World Cup in something close to their peak physical condition.
    This now seems unlikely. The fixture pile up will take its toll. South America’s star names will be clocking up the air miles, and surely running down their own batteries.

    Luis Suarez BOOKED for taking sneaky look at VAR screen as referee gives penalty against Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv More

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    Top 25 Barcelona youth players from famed La Masia academy, including Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Mauro Icardi

    IN 1979, Barcelona decided they wanted a steady stream of homegrown talents to one day blossom in their first team.
    They launched their now famed La Masia (Catalan for ‘The Farmhouse’), a state-of-the-art academy designed to train youngsters the Barça way, and has since produced a slew of top-class footballers.

    Lionel Messi (in the mask), Cesc Fabregas (back row, second right) and Gerard Pique (back row, third left) are Barcelona youth productsCredit: PA:Press Association

    They were schooled at Barcelona’s famous La Masia AcademyCredit: Simon Jones – The Sun

    Many have gone on to become legends at the club, while others have slipped away and grown at pastures new.
    Here are their best 25 best academy trainees.
    25. ALEX GRIMALDO
    The Spanish left-back is one of the most sought-after defenders in world football at the moment.
    Currently starring at Benfica, he has been linked with a move to Tottenham.

    Barcelona let him go for £1.5million in 2015, without playing a game in the first team.
    Originally, he was plucked from Valence in 2008 – spending four years with the Catalans until he was sold.

    Alex Grimaldo has made his name at BenficaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    24. DANI OLMO
    Olmo is the most recent promising youngster that left Spain for a new challenge.
    The Spanish 21-year-old midfielder, who moved in January 2020 to Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, arrived at La Masia aged just nine.

    But in a surprising move, Olmo decided to leave Barça when he turned 16 and signed for Dinamo Zagreb.
    Barcelona were rumoured to be looking at bringing him back to Catalonia before he moved to Germany.
    He has since moved to RB Leipzig and is a regular in the Spain squad.

    Dani Olmo gambled with his career leaving Barcelona aged 16 for Dinamo ZagrebCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    23. NAYIM
    Arsenal fans won’t want to be reminded of Nayim’s most famous moment in his career.
    But before he was lobbing David Seaman from the halfway line, he was a young hopeful at La Masia.
    He joined Barcelona aged 12 – leaving his hometown Cueta.
    But his chances were limited in a team that was managed by Terry Venables.
    He later joined the former Three Lions boss at Spurs.

    Former La Masia product Nayim scored the winner the Cup Winners’ Cup final against ArsenalCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    22. LUIS GARCIA
    The former Liverpool midfielder had two spells with Barcelona.
    First as a 12-year-old youth player, where he starred in their reserve team.
    But having failed to break into the first team, he was sold to Atletico Madrid in 2002.
    However, after impressing with Atletico, Barcelona exercised a clause in Garcia’s contract to buy him back a season later.
    Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez moved for the playmaker in 2004 – having had him at Tenerife on loan in 2000-01.

    Luis Garcia had two spells at Barcelona but never made the gradeCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    21. ANDRE ONANA
    Another surprise, in-demand Ajax keeper Andre Onana had a spell at Barcelona from 2010-15.
    He joined the club after starting out at the Samuel Eto’o Academy, but failed to make the grade there.
    Five years ago he signed for the Dutch giants, and has since become their No1.

    In-demand Andre Onana had five years at La Masia before moving to AjaxCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    20. ALBERT FERRER
    It was right-back Ferrer’s dream to play for Barcelona – having grown up in the city.
    And he appeared in 221 La Liga games during nine seasons with his boyhood club, after he was signed as a 13-year-old.
    In 1998 he moved to Premier League with Chelsea in a £2.2m deal, where he retired aged 33.

    Albert Ferrer was a local lad who got to represent his boyhood clubCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    19. PEPE REINA
    The son of former Barcelona goalkeeper Miguel Reina, Pepe was always destined to follow in his father’s footsteps.
    He joined La Masia in 1995, and from 1999 he was playing for their reserve side in the third tier of the Spanish football pyramid.
    Reina was never more than an understudy at the Camp Nou, and was told he could leave in 2002.

    Pepe Reina was surplus to requirements to Barcelona in 2002 after being an understudy for yearsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    18. GUILLERMO AMOR
    Benidorm-born Amor became one of Barcelona’s most important players under Cruyff in the 1990s.
    He joined La Masia in 1980 – winning five league titles and a European Cup.
    With Barcelona in his blood, it is unsurprising he is now responsible for the club’s youth system.

    Former youth product Amor now manages Barcelona’s youth set-upCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    17. HECTOR BELLERIN
    The Arsenal full-back might speak like a cockney, but he’s Barcelona through and through.
    Bellerin was also eight when he joined the club – but after eight years at La Masia he moved to the Gunners.
    Now vice-captain of the Premier League giants, Bellerin has been linked with a move back to Spain.
    Could he follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas before him and return to the club where it all began?

    Hector Bellerin left Barcelona for Arsenal and has played against his old side several timesCredit: PA:Press Association
    16. SERGI
    The marauding Spanish left-back joined Barcelona in 1988, and went on to become a club legend – appearing 382 times and winning three league titles.
    He was handed his Barça debut by Cruyff in a heated Champions League match away at Galatasaray
    From then on, he became a mainstay before he was sold to Atletico Madrid. He hadn’t lost that nastiness that made him a tricky player to play against either – earning 33 yellow cards in his three seasons there.

    Sergi won three La Liga titles after coming through La MasiaCredit: Icon Sport – Getty
    15. THIAGO MOTTA
    Barcelona never really saw the best of Motta.
    Like Pedro, he was signed late – aged 17 from local side Clube Atlético Juventus – and was assigned to the B side.
    He made his debut in 2001, but his time at Barcelona was robbed from him by a serious knee injury.
    Eventually, he found himself at Inter Milan, where Jose Mourinho got the best out of him – winning the Champions League in 2010.

    Thiago Motta never fulfilled his potential at BarçaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    14. IVAN DE LA PENA
    The hype around De La Pena, nicknamed “Little Buddha”, was immense when he was a teen.
    The child prodigy joined La Masia in 1991 from Racing Santander and initially looked to have a big future at the club.
    But fallouts with Cruyff and Van Gaal, who were frustrated with his work-rate, saw his progress curtailed and he had more success with city rivals Espanyol.

    De La Pena had fallouts with Johan Cruyff and Louis Van GaalCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    13. ADAMA TRAORE
    Last season, Wolves winger Traore has finally shown the potential Barcelona youth managers believed he had.
    He joined the Spanish champions aged just eight, making his debut aged 17, but failed to break into the first team under managers Gerard Martino and Luis Enrique.
    The speedy winger then moved to England, and had an ill-fated spell at Aston Villa before rediscovering his potential at Middlesbrough.

    Adama Traore moved to England to get first team footballCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    12. MIKEL ARTETA
    The Arsenal manager is best known for his time in the Premier League playing for both the Gunners and Everton.
    But before he made it in England, Arteta dreamt of becoming pro in San Sebastian playing football on the beaches with childhood friend Xabi Alonso.
    He joined Barcelona aged 15, but struggled to break into the first team – joining PSG on loan before starring at Glasgow Rangers and returning to play for Real Sociedad with Alonso.

    Mikel Arteta struggled to break into the Barcelona first team
    11. VICTOR VALDES
    Valdes is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history – having played 535 games and winning 21 major titles, including La Liga six times and three Champions League’s.
    But it looked like his time at the club had come to an end in 1995 when his family moved to Tenerife.
    However, Barça re-signed him and quickly progressed through the youth teams – making his debut aged 20.

    Victor Valdes left La Masia academy only to return three years laterCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    10. PEDRO
    The ex-Chelsea winger was a late-comer when it came to joining La Masia.
    Pedro arrived from Canary Islands team CD San Isidro aged 17 in 2004.
    But soon, he became a key member of the first team once he was promoted by Pep Guardiola.
    In the 2018-19 season Pedro became the first player to score in six different club competitions during a single season and in the same year.

    Pedro was a late-comer to La Masia, joining aged 17Credit: PA:Empics Sport
    9. MAURO ICARDI
    Argentina striker Icardi had a spell at La Masia from 2008-11, after rejecting overtures from Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool.
    But the goal poacher failed to show his class in Spain and was shipped out on loan to Sampdoria in 2011, which became a permanent move six months later for just £400,000.
    He has since become one of the most sought-after strikers in European football, boasting a remarkable goalscoring record.
    Icardi always stood by his decision to leave Barça, because it ultimately benefitted his career.

    Super poacher Mauro Icardi failed to impress at La MasiaCredit: FC Barcelona
    8. GERARD PIQUE
    Another one that got away, but returned to become a hero.
    Pique played in the same youth teams as Messi and Fabregas from 1997, although he was deployed as a defensive midfielder in his early years.
    Manchester United snapped him up in 2004 on a pro-contract, without having to pay a fee.
    In 2008, he returned to Catalonia for a fee of £5million and has gone on to play 531 times for the club, as well as bag a celebrity wife in Shakira.

    Pique returned to Barcelona after a spell at Man Utd and bagged a celebrity missus in ShakiraCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    7. SERGIO BUSQUETS
    One-club man Busquets has become one of the greatest defensive midfielders of his generation.
    At youth level though he bounced around a few teams playing for the likes of Badia, Barbera Andalucia, Lleida, and Jàbac Terrassa, before settling at Barcelona in 2005,
    Guardiola promoted Busquets to his first team in 2008, but it’s his former international manager Vincente Del Bosque who provided this accurate quote about his abilities.
    He said: “If you watch the whole game, you won’t see Busquets – but watch Busquets, and you will see the whole game.”

    Sergio Busquets has established himself as the best defensive midfielder of his generationCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    6. CESC FABREGAS
    Fabregas trained at La Masia for six years before making the bold move to Arsenal in 2003, believing his chances would be limited at the Nou Camp.
    With the Gunners he soon established himself into one of the Europe’s most promising players – replacing Patrick Vieira in the heart of their midfield, before eventually being named captain.
    In 2011 he returned to Barcelona for £35m, and in three seasons played 96 times for them before moving to Chelsea for £30m in 2014.
    Cesc won the World Cup and the Euros twice, and has been capped 110 times by Spain.

    Fabregas returned to Barcelona after making his name at ArsenalCredit: Action Images – Reuters

    5. PEP GUARDIOLA
    Johan Cruyff called him one of the best midfielders of his generation, and it’s hard to argue with that seeing he was a major influence in playing style of the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.
    Guardiola joined La Masia at 13, and within six years the deep-lying playmaker made his debut against Cadiz.
    In 1998 Louis van Gaal made him captain, but in 2001 he left for Serie A side Brescia after years of injury problems with a troublesome calf.

    Pep Guardiola became Barcelona captain after making it through their youth ranksCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    4. CARLES PUYOL
    Arguably the most un-Barcelona-like player.
    But Puyol became a cult hero as an inspirational captain with his uncompromising style of defending.
    He joined La Masia in 1995, playing as a defensive midfielder before converting to full-back and then centre-half.
    But Puyol almost left the club three years later when Barça accepted an offer from Malaga after deeming him surplus to requirements.
    However, seeing Xavi getting a chance in the first team encouraged Puyol to stay, and the rest is history.

    Puyol became a cult figure at Barcelona but nearly left the clubCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    3. ANDRES INIESTA
    Plucked from Albacete at the age of 12, Iniesta never looked back.
    He steadily climbed up the youth ranks, making his debut aged 18 in 2002.
    Iniesta would go on to become the most decorated Spanish footballer in history – winning 35 trophies, including nine LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.
    Famously, he helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup – scoring the winner against Holland.

    Iniesta joined La Masia as a 12-year-oldCredit: Rex Features
    2. XAVI
    The greatest playmaker of his generation, and the embodiment of their tiki-taka passing style, Xavi joined La Masia at 10.
    At that age though it wasn’t Michael Laudrup he idolised, but in fact British-based stars like John Barnes, Paul Gascoigne, and Matt Le Tissier.
    “I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up on the Barcelona ethos,” he once revealed.
    “Which has taught me the value of being part of a team. ‘Today for you, tomorrow for me.’ Those qualities are essential for life in general.”

    Xavi idolised Paul Gascoigne, Matt Le Tissier and John Barnes growing upCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    1. LIONEL MESSI
    Without doubt the best youngster to come from Barcelona’s youth set-up, and the best to ever play for the club.
    Messi joined the LaLiga giants in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, who he had trained with since the age of six.
    Realising they had such a prodigious talent on their hands, Barcelona agreed to pay for his treatment after he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency.
    However, this season might be his last – with Manchester City desperate to bring Messi to the Premier League.

    Messi graduated from La Masia to become Barcelona’s greatest ever playerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    ‘Lionel Messi can leave Barcelona for free at the end of the season’ says ESPN’s Sid Lowe More

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    Wayne Rooney’s amazing property portfolio includes £20m ‘Morrisons’ mansion to secret luxury Barbados pad

    THEY might be worth an estimated £115million, but Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s new Cheshire mansion has been mocked for “looking like a Morrisons”.
    However, the six-bedroom palatial home – costing £20m – isn’t the only property in the couple’s lavish portfolio, which also includes pads in Florida and the Caribbean.

    The Rooneys’ new Cheshire home has been mocked for “looking like a Morrisons”Credit: The Mega Agency

    Wayne and Coleen have splashed out £20 million on their latest residenceCredit: Instagram

    Footie legend Wayne grew up in a council house in Liverpool – but has shown off his real estate skills with his sprawling Barbados villa, which he rents out for £25,000 a week.
    He also snapped up a £320,000 waterfront apartment in the Sunshine State in 2007 – and even splashed out £450,000 on a detached home in Liverpool for his parents to live in.
    Today, he and Coleen, both 34, have properties across the globe.
    Below, SunSport looks at the couple’s impressive property portfolio…

    Secret £5m Barbados pad
    The Rooneys’ housing portfolio stretches to overseas – where they rent out a spectacular Barbados villa for more than £25,000 a week in the high season.
    The five-bedroom property boasts an infinity pool, a media room and a shared golf course.
    Inside, the walls feature pictures of Hollywood icons Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

    The Rooneys own this spectacular villa in Barbados, which they rent out to wealthy guests

    The magnificent residence boasts an infinity pool, a media room and a shared golf courseCredit: Splash News

    It cost the couple a cool £5 million – but is rented out for as much as £25,000 a week
    The paradise pad sits on the island’s exclusive Jasmine Ridge estate, with celebrity neighbours including Ant and Dec and Roo’s old Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand.

    Boxer Joe Calzaghe, and motorcycle racer Carl Fogarty are also said to own homes there.
    Over the years, the swish Bajan resort has become so popular with Manchester’s rich and famous that its residents have dubbed it the Northern Quarter.
    The Rooneys bought the villa for £5million in 2010, but put it on the rental market as a holiday home four years ago, the Manchester Evening News reported.

    The mansion has some famous neighbours – including Ant and Dec and Rio Ferdinand

    Its outdoor dining area is perfect for entertaining family and friends
    United fans who want to live like Wayne himself will need to cough up around £10,000 to stay at the Royal Westmoreland pad during low season.
    And those staying at high season will have to fork out up to £25,410 a week.
    Based on the Rooneys renting out the property from 2015, they could have netted more than £2m from wealthy guests by now – an amount likely to soar this summer.
    It won’t be long until they’ve reached the price they paid for it nearly a decade ago.

    The villa is a far cry from Rooney’s childhood home, picturedCredit: Mark Robinson – The Sun
    £300k Florida apartment
    Not all of Wayne and Coleen’s purchases have seemingly done as well as their Barbados one.
    In 2007, the couple splashed out around £320,000 on a luxurious waterfront apartment at Harbor Pointe in Port Charlotte, Florida – but property prices later collapsed.
    They bought the pad via Your Place Abroad – whose former clients also include footie star Michael Owen and former cricketer Andrew Flintoff, the Daily Mail reported.

    Wayne and Coleen bought a Florida apartment for £320,000 12 years agoCredit: Zillow
    The firm has since gone into liquidation.
    Public records list Rooney as being the owner of a three-bedroom condo in the riverside resort, which has a balcony and more than 1,750 sq ft of living space.
    It also boasts a master suite with a study and an “oversized walk-in closet”, with a fitness centre and in-ground heated pool available in the resort’s grounds.
    It is thought the “spacious” condo is currently being rented out.

    This swimming pool is believed to be shared among residents at the apartment complexCredit: Zillow

    This image appears on an online rental listing for an apartment in Rooney’s nameCredit: Zillow
    In the years after the Rooneys snapped up their apartment, property prices in the area collapsed, with some homes dropping in price by more than £150,000.
    Waynesor Castle
    The Rooneys lived happily in a £6m home in Prestbury, Cheshire, for more than a decade before they were the victims of an attempted burglary.
    A former serviceman tried to break in while Wayne played in a testimonial match in August 2016,  leaving a worried Coleen fearing for her kids’ safety.
    Dubbed “Waynesor Castle” among other nicknames, the Rooneys’ home reportedly featured six en-suite bedrooms, a cinema, a Jacuzzi and a swimming pool.

    The Rooneys’ Prestbury home, which they lived in for more than a decadeCredit: Cavendish
    There have also been rumours of under-lawn heating and a hairdressing salon.
    Wayne and Coleen, are reported to be selling their former home following their move to the States, but it’s unclear whether they have yet done so.
    “Beautiful” Maryland home
    Last year, the Rooneys were rumoured to be set to move into a stunning £12m Washington DC mansion, after Wayne joined DC United.
    The property, in Wesley Heights, boasted a wine cellar, a home gym, an outdoor swimming pool, a recreation room and even a massive cinema screen.
    But it has since been reported that the family have opted to live in Maryland instead. They are thought to be living around a 50-minute drive from the US capital.

    The Rooneys were rumoured to be moving into this DC mansion – but apparently chose Maryland insteadCredit: Fortitude Press

    The mansion in Wesley Heights boasted this home gymCredit: Fortitude Press
    One source close to Coleen told SunSport in January: “They live in Maryland, which is really quiet, so if they do go out it’s bowling or cinema with the kids.”
    They added: “They have a massive house and it’s beautiful.”
    Once Wayne retires, the family are expected to settle in their sprawling new UK mansion…
    New £20m Cheshire mansion
    Features: Man-made fishing lakes, an orangery and a football pitch
    The Rooneys’ new pad sits on a 40-acre plot in Cheshire.
    Crews are still working on the £20m property, which will include a number of buildings, stables, two man-made fishing lakes and an orangery.
    But we reported how the luxurious new home has been compared to a Morrisons supermarket and even a Travelodge because of its exterior.

    The impressive new pad, featuring two man-made fishing lakes and an orangery, is nearing completionCredit: The Mega Agency

    Social media users have compared the Rooneys’ new property to a supermarket

    They have likened the home to this Morrisons store in SunderlandCredit: Wikipedia
    One person wrote online: “Looks like my local Morrisons supermarket. £20million for that?”
    Another said: “Surely that is a new Tesco build…?’  while a third quipped: “More of a Morrisons I’d say”.
    The mansion will also boast a TV room, snooker room, bar, wine store, cinema, gym and swimming pool, as well as an underground tunnel to a six-car garage.
    And there will even be separate lifts – one for the family, the other for visitors.

    What the sprawling site looked like last year, as work beganCredit: Flynet Pictures
    It is thought that former England striker Wayne has also requested a panic bunker in the home over fears his family will be hit by another attempted burglary.
    The property is thought to be nearing completion.

    A mansion for Wayne’s parents.. and one for Coleen
    As well as his own properties, Wayne bought his parents, Wayne Snr and Jeanette Rooney, a £450,000 detached home in West Derby, which reportedly has three reception rooms.
    Two years ago, reports claimed he’d also bought his wife a £5m villa in Portugal.
    And with a net worth of more than £100m (Coleen is worth an estimated £13m), it’s likely Wayne’s portfolio of luxury properties will only continue to expand.

    Wayne Rooney admits he wants to be Manchester United manager one day More

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    Dortmund sensation Youssoufa Moukoko, 16, makes Bundesliga debut vs Hertha to become youngest German footballer ever

    YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO made his long-awaited debut for Borussia Dortmund – smashing a Bundesliga record.
    The outrageously talented striker came off the bench to replace Erling Haaland in the 85th minute against Hertha Berlin – with the eyes of the footballing world upon him.

    Youssoufa Moukoko makes his long-awaited debut for Borussia Dortmund replacing Erling HaalandCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Moukoko has become the youngest ever German pro footballerCredit: AP:Associated Press

    With his brief cameo, the German wonderkid became the youngest ever German pro footballer – having only turned 16 on November 20.
    His debut in the 5-2 win comes after the Bundesliga changed age eligibility rules to allow players younger than the cut off point of 16 and a half to play.
    And there’s every chance he could break another record, after he was included in Dortmund’s Champions League squad back in October.
    The German side face Club Brugge on Tuesday, and if he appears he will become the Champions League’s youngest ever player.

    Moukoko’s appearance tonight was widely expected, and he’s been tipped for the top since he was 12.
    RULE BREAKER
    Unbelievably, Moukoko is so good the Bundesliga changed their age eligibility rules in order to let him play.
    Previously, players have not been allowed to play in Germany’s top-flight until they are 16-and-a-half.
    But such have been the waves caused by Moukoko’s rapid rise, that this has now been lowered to just 16.

    Furthermore, in anticipation of his German debut the live-wire forward was training with Lucien Favre’s first team.
    The original Dortmund record was set by Nuri Sahin back in 2005, when he made his debut at 16 years, 11 months and one day – before going on to play for Real Madrid and Liverpool.

    Striker Moukoko has scored goals for fun at youth levelCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Moukoko averaged a goal or an assist every 40 minutes during the 2019-20 seasonCredit: Getty – Contributor

    Last year, Moukoko signed a 10-year boot deal with Nike worth around £9mCredit: Nike
    The German teen, who signed a boot deal with Nike for 10-years worth a reported £9million in 2019, has left observers flabbergasted by his incredible ability at such a young age.
    But his progress is nothing new.
    GOALS, GOALS, GOALS
    At the age of just 12, pre-teen Moukoko was playing for Dortmund’s under-17s and Germany’s under-16s.
    He scored an astonishing 90 goals in 56 games at under-17 level, before bagging 34 in 20 this season for the under-19s – despite having started the season as a 14-year-old.
    Champions League-winning club legend and youth boss Lars Ricken spoke to German newspaper Bild about Moukoko’s rapid rise.
    “He’s scored a lot of goals, is very inquisitive, hungry for success, hardworking and always comes with a smile that distinguishes him,” he said.
    “That’s what we look at. The tools are there.”

    The Bundesliga lowered the legal age for debutants because of Moukoko’s abilityCredit: Getty – Contributor

    First team striker Erling Haaland welcomes Moukoko to trainingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    HOW OLD IS HE?
    But such success has been quickly met with doubts about his age, even from inside his own club.
    Dortmund’s Under-23s manager Timo Preus said: “With Youssoufa, I can imagine that his age has only been guessed.
    “Maybe in reality he is one or two years older. But certainly he is not 17. For him that is very difficult.
    “There is nothing to blame him for, the boy is not cheating or anything.”
    However, Moukoko’s dad Joseph has been forced to insist his son is the age he claims he is – even if he refuses to get caught up in the tidal wave of excitement surrounding the lad.

    Moukoko jostles for the ball with Dortmund’s Jadon SanchoCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Questions have been asked of Moukoko’s ageCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Moukoko Sr said: “His age is right.
    “Immediately after he was was born I registered him at the German consulate in Yaounde. We have a German birth certificate.
    “For me he is not a wonderkid. I was even better as a kid.”
    CONVEYOR BELT OF TALENT
    Dortmund have a rich heritage in bleeding first class youngsters from their youth set-up to the first team.
    Impressive Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old under Thomas Tuchel in 2016.
    And more recently, Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Gio Reyna have made fans sit up and take notice of their ability.

    Moukoko is the next big thing in Germany and has the world at his feetCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    14-year-old BVB wonder kid Youssoufa Moukoko’s two goals from Wednesday’s U17 victory…followed by a famous celebration ⭐️💎 pic.twitter.com/2ag5LHCTFa
    — Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) June 7, 2019

    The German giants also spent around £30million on Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham, who himself only turned 17 back in June.
    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said of Moukoko last November: “He’s an outstanding talent and we want him to learn how to train and play with adults.”
    Now he has, the future looks exciting for Dortmund fans.

    Perry Groves says ‘hats off’ to Jude Bellingham after 17-year-old seals £23m move to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City More

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    Dortmund wonderkid Moukoko set for Bundesliga debut, has a 10-year boot deal with Nike worth £9m, and is a goal-machine

    WHERE were you when Youssoufa Moukoko made his debut for Borussia Dortmund?
    That could be the question on every football fans’ lips, if this outrageously talented striker appears for the Bundesliga giants this weekend at Hertha Berlin.

    Dortmund star Youssoufa Moukoko has turned 16 and could appear for the Bundesliga giants against Hertha Berlin this weekendCredit: Getty – Contributor

    The German wonderkid is now of age to play first team football, after the Bundesliga changed age eligibility rules.
    And there’s every chance he will be included in the first team squad, having already been in Dortmund’s Champions League squad back in October.
    If he does appear, he will be the youngest ever person to play a professional match in Germany.
    Then, if he faces Club Brugge three days later, he will become the Champions League’s youngest ever player.

    RULE BREAKER
    Unbelievably, Moukoko is so good the Bundesliga have changed their age eligibility rules in order to let him play.
    Previously, players have not been allowed to play in Germany’s top-flight until they are 16-and-a-half.
    But such have been the waves caused by Moukoko’s rapid rise, that this has now been lowered to just 16, which he turns on November 20.
    Furthermore, in anticipation of his German debut the live-wire forward has been training with Lucien Favre’s first team.

    The current Dortmund record was set by Nuri Sahin back in 2005, when he made his debut at 16 years, 11 months and one day – before going on to play for Real Madrid and Liverpool.

    Striker Moukoko has scored goals for fun at youth levelCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Moukoko averaged a goal or an assist every 40 minutes during the 2019-20 seasonCredit: Getty – Contributor

    Last year, Moukoko signed a 10-year boot deal with Nike worth around £9mCredit: Nike
    The German teen, who signed a boot deal with Nike for 10-years worth a reported £9million in 2019, has left observers flabbergasted by his incredible ability at such a young age.
    But his progress is nothing new.
    GOALS, GOALS, GOALS
    At the age of just 12, pre-teen Moukoko was playing for Dortmund’s under-17s and Germany’s under-16s.
    He scored an astonishing 90 goals in 56 games at under-17 level, before bagging 34 in 20 this season for the under-19s – despite having started the season as a 14-year-old.
    And after the Bundesliga’s new ruling, dubbed the “Moukoko rule”, he could make his first-team bow in the winter – and become Dortmund’s youngster-ever player.
    Champions League-winning club legend and youth boss Lars Ricken spoke to German newspaper Bild about Moukoko’s rapid rise.
    “He’s scored a lot of goals, is very inquisitive, hungry for success, hardworking and always comes with a smile that distinguishes him,” he said.
    “That’s what we look at. The tools are there.”

    The Bundesliga lowered the legal age for debutants because of Moukoko’s abilityCredit: Getty – Contributor

    First team striker Erling Haaland welcomes Moukoko to trainingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    HOW OLD IS HE?
    But such success has been quickly met with doubts about his age, even from inside his own club.
    Dortmund’s Under-23s manager Timo Preus said: “With Youssoufa, I can imagine that his age has only been guessed.
    “Maybe in reality he is one or two years older. But certainly he is not 17. For him that is very difficult.
    “There is nothing to blame him for, the boy is not cheating or anything.”
    However, Moukoko’s dad Joseph has been forced to insist his son is the age he claims he is – even if he refuses to get caught up in the tidal wave of excitement surrounding the lad.

    Moukoko jostles for the ball with Dortmund’s Jadon SanchoCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Questions have been asked of Moukoko’s ageCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Moukoko Sr said: “His age is right.
    “Immediately after he was was born I registered him at the German consulate in Yaounde. We have a German birth certificate.
    “For me he is not a wonderkid. I was even better as a kid.”
    CONVEYOR BELT OF TALENT
    Dortmund have a rich heritage in bleeding first class youngsters from their youth set-up to the first team.
    Impressive Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old under Thomas Tuchel in 2016.
    And more recently, Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Gio Reyna have made fans sit up and take notice of their ability.

    Moukoko is the next big thing in Germany and has the world at his feetCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    14-year-old BVB wonder kid Youssoufa Moukoko’s two goals from Wednesday’s U17 victory…followed by a famous celebration ⭐️💎 pic.twitter.com/2ag5LHCTFa
    — Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) June 7, 2019

    The German giants also spent around £30million on Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham, who himself only turned 17 back in June.
    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said of Moukoko last November: “He’s an outstanding talent and we want him to learn how to train and play with adults.”
    And thanks to the “Moukoko rule”, this November it appears that Zorc can get his wish.

    Perry Groves says ‘hats off’ to Jude Bellingham after 17-year-old seals £23m move to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City More

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    Weirdest transfers in football history, from Bendtner signing for Juventus to Tevez and Mascherano joining West Ham

    NEVER underestimate the power football has to surprise.
    Over the years, SunSport has seen it’s fair share of weird transfers. Players swapping their glamour days for a runout at Barnet, for example.

    Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano shocked the world when they signed for West Ham in 2006Credit: PA:Press Association

    And then there are some who the so-called big clubs take a punt on – swooping on an unsuspecting ‘smaller club’ to make an odd signing.
    In the wake of Barnsley being linked with an audacious move for Mario Balotelli, here’s some of the weirdest transfers we’ve ever come across.
    NICKLAS BENDTNER
    On the final day of the transfer window in August 2012, Juventus were short of a centre forward.
    But even Arsenal fans, who had grown tired of Nicklas Bendtner’s off-the-field antics, were shocked the Italian giants went for their Danish striker.

    Especially since the previous season he had failed to pull up any trees at Sunderland.
    That didn’t deter Juve who gambled on the forward, but injury problems restricted him to just 11 appearances – and he failed to score.
    Unsurprisingly, the Serie A side didn’t take up an option of buying him permanently.

    Arsenal fans were left stunned when Serie A giants Juventus took troubled striker Nicklas Bendtner off their handsCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Bendtner failed to score in 11 games for the club and a permanent move was quashedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    BOJAN KRCIC
    The former Barcelona man was the epitome of the question; can he do it on a rainy Tuesday night at Stoke?

    The simple answer was no, despite Bojan had the benefit of playing for the home side too.
    Mark Hughes concluded the surprise deal for the man labelled the next Messi in 2014 for just £1.8million.
    “Anyone who knows European football will be aware of him as a player and the fact that he sees his future at Stoke City is really exciting,” Hughes beamed at the time.
    16 goals in 85 games later he was flogged to MLS side Montreal Impact in 2019.

    Bojan Krcic swapped Barcelona for StokeCredit: Action Images – Reuters
    TEVEZ AND MASCHERANO
    Probably one of the most audacious double-signings in Premier League history.
    No wonder then West Ham boss Alan Pardew had a smile like a Cheshire cat at their unveiling back in 2006.
    The Argentinian duo were plucked from Corinthians, and only stayed with the Hammers for a season with Tevez joining Manchester United and Mascherano signing for Liverpool.
    Tevez would write his name in the history books by scoring a goal that secured the club’s Premier League safety.
    Later, Pardew revealed he had only asked his chief executive to buy James Milner and then his Christmas came early.

    Carlos Tevez helped save West Ham from relegationCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    LUTHER BLISSETT
    Cruelly called Luther ‘Miss it’ by away fans, Blissett is a Watford legend and their all-time top goalscorer.
    After winning the First Division Golden Boot in 1983, AC Milan paid £1million to bring him to Italy.
    But Blissett struggled to settle in Italy, scoring just five times in 30 appearances in the club.
    His dietary requirements were also unfulfilled.
    “No matter how much money you have here, you can’t seem to get Rice Krispies,” he said.

    AC Milan gambled on Watford legend Luther Blissett, who failed to settle in ItalyCredit: AP:Associated Press
    EDGAR DAVIDS
    One of the finest midfielders of his generation, it was a shock to see Edgar Davids end up at Barnet.
    After all, this was a former Dutch international who had won the Champions League with Ajax, and played for AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan and Barcelona in a star-studded career.
    Still, in 2012 – still living in North London after a spell at Spurs and then Crystal Palace – he became player manager of League Two Barnet.
    However, he struggled to keep his discipline on the pitch – getting sent off three times in his first eight games of the 2013-14 season and picking up a booking in every one of those matches.
    His bizarre managerial career took a new turn when he decided to wear the No1 jersey normally worn by goalkeepers, insisting he was setting a trend for midfielders to don that number. He resigned in 2014.

    After starring at Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan and Tottenham, Edgar Davids opted to end his career at League Two BarnetCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    FERNANDO HIERRO, YOURI DJORKAEF AND JAY JAY OKOCHA
    There was no doubt Sam Allardyce had big plans for Bolton Wanderers.
    Although they were in their twilight years, between 2002-2004 Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro, France World Cup winner Youri Djorkaef and the remarkably gifted Jay-Jay Okocha all played for the club at the same time.
    Okocha joined from PSG on a free transfer, and soon became a fans’ favourite.
    Djorkaeff scored an impressive 21 goals from 87 games from midfield, initially snubbing interest from Manchester United and Liverpool for three years with the Trotters.
    While Hierro finished his career playing for Wanderers aged 37.

    Youri Djorkaef and Jay-Jay Okocha were part of a dream team of foreign signings at BoltonCredit: Reuters

    Real Madrid legend Fernardo Hierro enjoyed his final year as a pro with the TrottersCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    ROBERTO MANCINI
    Mancini enjoyed a stellar career at Sampdoria, where he helped the club win Serie A, four Coppa Italia titles, as well the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
    Three years followed at Lazio, but no one could’ve envisaged what was going to happen next.

    Mancini joined Peter Taylor’s Leicester City on loan – making his debut against Arsenal in 2001 at the grand old age of 36.
    However, he failed to complete 90 minutes in his only five games for the club.
    His contract was torn up in February, when Mancini decided he wanted to manage Fiorentina.

    Roberto Mancini joined Leicester City at 36 from Lazio, but failed to reach previous heightsCredit: PA:Press Association More

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    When Wags say too much about their footballer’s bedroom secrets, featuring Wanda Icardi, Abbey Clancy and Rebekah Vardy

    IN these cases, it’s not what happens behind closed doors, stays behind close doors.
    These gorgeous Wags have all embarrassed their footballing beau’s by revealing their intimate bedroom secrets.

    Abbey Clancy is one of many Wags who have embarrassed their partners by revealing their bedroom secretsCredit: Getty – Contributor

    From sexy nicknames to sex bans, we’ve heard it all.
    Let SunSport remind you of when Wags have said too much about their sex lives.
    WANDA NARA
    Wanda isn’t afraid of telling the world about what goes on in her boudoir.
    Earlier this year, the Argentinian beauty said she gives oral sex every night after a fan tried to taunt her about a rumoured x-rated sex tape.

    But, when it comes to Icardi, she revealed she won’t try to lure him into the bedroom when his team have lost a game.
    She was asked her thoughts on ex- boss Antonio Conte’s claims that footballers should make as little effort as possible during sex.
    Nara said: “I do not know what to say.
    “He should try it before a match but Mauro is very professional and does not do anything before a match.

    Argentine beauty Wanda Nara once revealed she gives oral sex every nightCredit: Instagram

    The wife of Mauro Icardi also revealed if her husband’s team lose he doesn’t want to have sex with herCredit: Refer to Caption
    “Only after and if the match went well.
    “If it does not go well, he does not even want to look at me.”
    ABBEY CLANCY
    This year, Abbey made the startling revelation that she didn’t have sex with husband Peter Crouch while she was pregnant with their fourth child, because they “hated each other.”
    The blonde beauty  revealed the two barely got on during the early stages of her pregnancy with youngest son Jack.
    Speaking during the couple’s livestream with Love Magazine: “In seven weeks we haven’t had one argument.
    “When I got pregnant with Jack we hated each other – we didn’t even have sex.”
    Clancy also banned Crouch from having sex with her in 2013, while she was filming Strictly Come Dancing for 13 weeks.
    And after winning the Glitterball Trophy, she revealed they were going to make up for last time.
    She told the Daily Star: “Let’s just say Peter is looking forward to having me back.
    “He just kissed me and twirled me around when I won. I need to spend some quality time with him.”

    Clancy revealed she didn’t have sex with Crouch when she was pregnant with their fourth childCredit: Refer to Caption

    Clancy said the pair “hated each other”
    MELISSA SATTA-BOATENG
    The incredibly beautiful Wag wasn’t afraid to dish the dirt on husband, Kevin-Prince Boateng.
    Football fans will know Boateng has had his problems with injuries over the years.
    And believe it or not, Melissa said she had the answer. They were having too much sex.
    “The reason why he is always injured is because we have sex seven to ten times a week,” Satta-Boateng once claimed.
    She added: “I’m afraid that’s the reason for the strain,” with Kevin-Prince out of action for most of 2012 with a thigh complaint.

    Melissa Satta-Boateng revealed the reason behind husband Kevin-Prince Boateng’s injury problemsCredit: Instagram

    Melissa-Satta Boateng said the pair were having too much sex Credit: Instagram
    VERA RIBEIRO
    When your missus is a sex therapist, you can expect your love life to be an open forum.
    So, Portugal goalie Rui Patricio knew just what he was doing when he shacked up sexologist Vera.
    Ribeiro hit the headlines in 2018 when she advised Portugal stars to masturbate at the World Cup to relax.
    “Nothing positive can come from abstinence”, she said.
    “The football player should not abstain from having sex before games, but we also know that in terms of routine they are not in contact with families either.
    “We cannot associate sports performance with the occurrence of sex.”
    And in 2019, Vera released a book called The Manual of Seduction, that included sex tips like using an electric tooth brush, Halls cough sweets, and a water balloon in the bedroom.

    Rui Patricio’s Wag Vera Ribeiro is a sex therapistCredit: Instagram

    Ribeiro once said players should not abstain from masturbation before big gamesCredit: Instagram
    VICTORIA BECKHAM
    When it comes to talking about sex, Mrs Beckham isn’t shy about discussing her bedroom antics with the former Manchester United.
    After all, this is a man she once called “Golden Balls” and said she had a mirrored-ceiling in their former Hertfordshire estate ‘Beckingham Palace.’
    “There’s a room like a tart’s boudoir, with leopard print everywhere and a mirrored ceiling,” she once said.
    “Then there’s our bedroom, which is quite virginal and white, with a big four-poster, old-oak bed.”
    And when David posed for an underwear ad for Emporio Armani in 2008, Victoria gushed about his manhood after questions were raised that Becks had some photoshop help in the tackle department.
    She even likened his penis to a piece of farm machinery.
    “I’m proud I still have a really good sex life with David. He is very much in proportion,” she enthused.
    “He does have a huge one, though. He does. You can see it in the advert. It is all his. It is like a tractor exhaust pipe!”

    Saucy Victoria Beckham isn’t afraid to dish about her sex lifeCredit: Victoria Beckham / instagram

    Victoria once boasted about David Beckham’s manhoodCredit: INSTAGRAM
    REBEKAH VARDY
    As a regular on ITV’s Loose Women and columnist for various celebrity magazines, Vardy has happily discussed her sex life openly.
    But her most famous revelation was the reveal that Gareth Southgate hadn’t put his players on a sex ban during the 2018 World Cup.

    “Gareth Southgate has been amazing with allowing the families and players lots of contact,” she told OK! Magazine.
    Rebekah brought along her children for the occasion, which she admitted might’ve got in the way of their sex life.
    “There is no sex ban, but I think we’d struggle to do it anyway with the kids around – it wouldn’t work logistically!”

    Rebekah Vardy talks about her sex life in columns and on ITV show Loose WomenCredit: Instagram

    Jamie Vardy’s wife revealed that England players weren’t on a sex ban at the 2018 World CupCredit: Instagram

    Wanda Nara sizzles with topless selfie leaving little to imagination as Mauro Icardi’s wife sends Instagram crazy More