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Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders named as RB Salzburg head coach



Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders has been appointed as Red Bull Salzburg’s new head coach.

The 41-year-old, who joined Liverpool in 2014, will go to the Austrian club this summer on a three-year deal.

Lijnders, who is in his second stint at Anfield, had been set to leave the club following Jurgen Klopp’s decision to step down.

The Dutchman said he wants to create an attacking style of play at his new club “where passion and hunger for success are the basis of everything”.

Having initially worked under Brendan Rodgers, Lijnders remained a key part of Liverpool’s backroom staff after Klopp’s appointment in October 2015.

He left the Reds for a brief stint as manager of Dutch club NEC Nijmegen but returned to Anfield seven months later to fill his previous role.

Liverpool’s development coach Vitor Matos will join Lijnders in the Austrian top-flight team as his assistant manager.

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Carlo Ancelotti’s secret weapon – his son, Davide



Once a footballer himself, Davide knew from an early age that he wanted to be a coach like his father. He understood tactics and would have a say on how to organise a team even as a youngster.

A naturally curious boy, if he was interested in something, he wanted to learn everything about it. As the son of one of Italy’s greatest tacticians, Davide became consumed with being the best he could be.

A sports science graduate, he joined his father’s staff at Paris St-Germain. At Bayern Munich, he became his father’s assistant coach. As he often states, his primary role is to offer his father a different tactical perspective. At Real Madrid, his value to the squad has grown more important.

Davide wants to learn all there is to learn about the game. He watches countless games around Europe, studying the opponents and reflecting on the data gathered on his own players. He oversees training, takes charge of set-piece routines and devises certain patterns of play.

However, his true value lies in his ability to look at specific moments in a game and quickly decide the route to victory.

Take the first league match of the 2022-23 season. Real Madrid had conceded an early goal to Almeria. It took until the 61st minute before they found the equaliser, but they needed a winner.

Luka Modric won a free-kick and Davide was seen giving detailed instructions to incoming substitute David Alaba on the sidelines. Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema stood over the ball, waiting to unleash the set-piece. Davide interjected. Speaking to his father, Davide made the case for why Alaba had to come on right away and take the free-kick.

The set-piece was on the right. It was in the ideal position for one of Alaba’s sweet left-footed strikes. The defender scored. The win was secured.

Davide, who speaks five languages, has good individual relationships with Real’s players. He can always be seen giving them instructions. He works with them after hours to develop their game.

As one example, take Karim Benzema’s defensive positioning at corners. That was something the French striker worked in with Davide, to improve his defensive contribution, to reduce the number of goals conceded from set-pieces.

Aurelien Tchouameni has spent plenty of time after regular training working with Davide to better understand how to receive the ball, how to turn his body and how to adapt his posture, permitting him to play in several positions. This has come especially handy as Madrid lost several centre-backs to injuries this season.

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Esme Morgan: England defender to leave Manchester City this summer



Morgan will link up with former Barcelona manager Jonatan Giraldez in Washington. Giraldez is taking over at Spirit after guiding the Spanish side to victory in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Morgan came through the youth ranks at City, making her professional debut in 2017 and going on to appear in 87 senior matches across all competitions.

She won the Women’s FA Cup and League Cup with City, and was part of the team that came second to Chelsea in the WSL this season, missing out on the title on the final day.

“For nine years I have been lucky to live a dream and have the honour of playing for my club,” Morgan said in a statement posted to X, external.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the support of everyone at Man City throughout my journey from the academy to first team, continually opening doors for me to develop as a player and as a person, and always with the right timing.”

Morgan made her senior England debut in October 2022 and was part of the squad that reached the final of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

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Xavi: Next Barcelona manager will ‘suffer’



Outgoing Barcelona boss Xavi says his successor will “suffer” in the role.

The Spaniard, 44, was sacked before taking charge of their final game of the season – a 2-1 win over Sevilla.

Former Germany and Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick is set to replace him.

Xavi, who was under contract until 2025, said he was going to leave the club in January but performed a U-turn, announcing he was staying on at Camp Nou in April.

He said: “To the new manager, I tell you: ‘You will suffer’. This is a very complicated place to be. This is a difficult job and you have to be patient.”

The former Spain midfielder took over as head coach in November 2021 and won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in his first full season in charge.

This season they finished second in La Liga, 10 points behind champions Real Madrid.

Xavi’s sacking came a month after Barcelona confirmed he would stay at the club. It followed comments he made about the club’s financial struggles, which were said to have angered president Joan Laporta.

“I have the feeling that everything I have done in these two and a half years has caused an earthquake,” he said. “I have been targeted many times in many situations.”

Xavi said his work at the club “not been sufficiently appreciated” and said of the decision to sack him: “I had no choice but to accept it. It doesn’t matter if I agree with the arguments.”

The former Barca player said he is open to a new job but thinks he also needs to “rest a little bit”.

“It’s so difficult to coach Barcelona,” he added. “It’s been tough last week, but I have my conscience very clear. I’m proud and happy.”

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Luke Ayling’s move to Middlesbrough made permanent



Ayling was part of the Leeds squad that won promotion to the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa in 2020.

But he lost his place during last season and went to Middlesbrough on loan.

He leaves Elland Road having played 268 games and scored 11 goals following his move from Bristol City eight years ago.

Carrick said he was delighted to have him on board as the Teesside club’s first transfer of the summer.

“After coming in on loan in January, Luke settled in very quickly and made a big impact, bringing his character and personality to the group,” Carrick told the club’s website, external.

“He knows what it takes to be a success in this league.”

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Spurs’ Moore scores ‘very special’ goal in England U17s win



Tottenham’s Mikey Moore scores as England beat Spain 3-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Uefa Under-17 European Championship in Cyprus.

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Football Daily



Mark Chapman talks Man Utd winning the FA Cup and Chelsea eyeing up Enzo Maresca.

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Al-Nassr forward sets new Saudi Pro League scoring record



Cristiano Ronaldo set a new record for goals scored in a Saudi Pro League season after a double for Al-Nassr against Al-Ittihad took his tally to 35.

The 39-year-old netted twice in the 4-2 win to overtake Abderrazak Hamdallah’s mark of 34 in 2018-19, though the Morocco striker’s haul – also for Al-Nassr – came from four fewer matches.

Portugal forward Ronaldo has scored 64 goals in 69 games for Al-Nassr in all competitions since joining on a free transfer in January 2023 after leaving Manchester United.

The win meant Al-Nassr finished second in the table for the second successive season, 14 points behind champions Al-Hilal but 17 clear of third-placed Al-Ahli.

Ronaldo has now scored 765 goals in his 22-year career for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

He also holds the record for international goals with 128 from 206 appearances for Portugal.

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Rachel Furness: Mental health forced Northern Ireland break



“I remember at a point before the Euros, I was thinking ‘can I continue to do this?’. I had no escape,” Furness tells BBC Sport NI as she opens up about her mental health journey.

“It was a really, really tough decision, but the little girl in me wanted to play at a major tournament, to go and experience that.”

She boarded the plane to the Southampton, and, with her customary smile, made history stepping out against Norway in Northern Ireland women’s first match at a major tournament.

But behind the outgoing persona, things were brewing.

Midway through the tournament she wanted to go home for the sake of her mental health.

“You might think it’s crazy, but I just wasn’t happy,” says Furness.

“Everything just seemed so in place on the football side, it was going really well.”

In the background, everything wasn’t as rosy.

Off the pitch, she had been processing the end of a long-term relationship alongside her father’s illness.

Coupled with the high-intensity environment of a major tournament, she had reached breaking point.

“Personally, I wasn’t happy with myself in the environment,” Furness adds.

“Then you start to question, why? Why am I doing this? Why do I feel like this?”

After shedding some tears, she composes herself to recall the conversations as team-mates attempted to persuade her to remain in camp, rather than walk out on a campaign that was the pinnacle of all their international careers.

Furness and her fellow players talked long and deep, looking out from their hotel overlooking Southampton’s sun-kissed harbour. In the end, she was convinced to stay.

“I’m glad I did stay because I go back to that moment with the fans at the end, and thinking that was all worth it,” she says. “That’s the special moment I take away.”

But when the singing stopped, when the dancing was done, a decision remained.

Furness had managed to get through the tournament, but her mind was made up. She needed to take a step back from a team she loved so much.

After the tournament, she had conversations with staff about “how I was feeling, and how I was made to feel” and why she couldn’t carry on.

“It was tough to get across how I felt, and how mentally I was feeling,” she says.

“I did blame myself for a lot of that. Before I’d spoken to somebody and made sense of it, you do just blame yourself.

“I love representing Northern Ireland, and taking that risk of stepping back, never knowing if I’d step back in, was one of the biggest decisions of my life.

“Two years on you can tell it still touches and it still means a lot, but it’s one I can comfortably speak about now. I’m in a much better place for that.”

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Football gossip: De Zerbi, McKenna, Guimaraes, Adarabioyo, Casemiro, Summerville



The latest on Manchester United’s managerial search, while Newcastle and Liverpool compete for an English goalkeeper – and PSG chase a Premier League star.

Manchester United have spoken to ex-Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi over the possibility of succeeding Erik ten Hag as manager. (Guardian), external

But United are considering retaining Ten Hag as their manager. (Manchester Evening News), external

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna is set to sign a new long-term contract despite interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Brighton. (Athletic – subscription required), external

Paris St-Germain are ready to battle Manchester City and Arsenal for £100m-rated Newcastle and Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 26. (Goal), external

Former England midfielder Adam Lallana, 36, is in talks over a return to Southampton on a free transfer when his Brighton contract expires next month. (Telegraph – subscription required), external

Chelsea are considering rivalling Newcastle for English defender Tosin Adarabioyo, 26, who will be a free agent when his Fulham contract expires next month. (The i), external

Southampton will try to sign West Ham’s English winger Flynn Downes, 25, and Newcastle’s 30-year-old Scotland winger Ryan Fraser on permanent deals after successful loan spells last season. (Daily Echo), external

Leicester may target West Brom boss Carlos Corberan should Enzo Maresca join Chelsea. (Talksport), external

Newcastle are considering a £20m bid for Burnley’s 21-year-old England Under-21 goalkeeper James Trafford. (Mail), external

Liverpool also want Trafford, with their Republic of Ireland keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, 25, looking to leave the club. (Football Insider), external

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Manchester United: Anthony Martial confirms ’emotional’ departure from club



Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has confirmed he is leaving the club after nine seasons.

The Frenchman never quite lived up to expectations after United made him the most expensive teenager in the world when they signed him for £36m from Monaco in 2015.

The 28-year-old scored 90 goals in 317 appearances for United, but his last game for the club was a 3-0 home defeat by Bournemouth on 9 December.

He had groin surgery in January and returned to training but never made a first-team squad again.

His contract expires this summer.

“It’s with great emotion that I write to you today to say goodbye,” he wrote on social media.

“After nine incredible years at the club, the time has come for me to turn a new page in my career.

“Since I arrived in 2015, I have had the immense honour of wearing this shirt and playing in front of you, the best supporters in the world.

“Manchester United will always be in my heart.”

Martial won the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League at United – and had a loan spell with Sevilla in 2022.

His last cap for France was in 2021.

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