DAVID LUIZ'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DREAM!

DAVID LUIZ'S...
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DREAM!

The defender is ready for CHELSEA’s return to the CL!

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BEING BACK IN THE CL...

DAVID SAYS: “This is what we worked so hard for last season. We’ve missed it and it’s good to be back! We are dreaming of reaching the final because this club deserves to go a long way in Europe. We are ready!”

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CHELSEA'S GROUP DRAW...

DAVID SAYS: “They are all big games in the group stage, it doesn’t matter who you draw. You just have to go out there to try and win – and that’s what we’ll do.”

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THE CL FAVES...

DAVID SAYS: “I don’t expect a lot of surprises. You know the favourites already. Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich. And of course, Chelsea!”

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HIS OLD CLUB...

DAVID SAYS: “PSG has increased its power with the arrival of Neymar – it’s a big signing. But so much depends on the teams they play against and how they perform. I’d sign up for a PSG-Chelsea final now!”

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THE GAFFER....

DAVID SAYS: “Conte is a big coach. He showed his level in Italy and also in his first year with Chelsea. That’s not easy when you are arriving from a different country and a different league. We are happy he is with us!”

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TARGETS FOR THIS SEASON...

DAVID SAYS: “To win trophies, maybe two. But to do that we have to play well in every single match. If we want to be champions of England again, we need to win our home games, work hard, prepare well and avoid the kind of mistakes we did in the opening game against Burnley.”

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THE TITLE RACE...

DAVID SAYS: “Chelsea are the champions, so clearly we are one of the favourites to win again. But in England the season is long and tough – and all of the big clubs are in the race.”

WELCOME BACK TO THE PREM... NEWCASTLE!

WELCOME BACK TO THE PREM...
NEWCASTLE!

Midfield boss ISAAC HAYDEN tells MATCH everything you need to know about The Magpies on their return to the Premier League!

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THE CITY...

ISAAC SAYS: “Before I joined, I knew all about the fans and their expectations, and when I signed it was exactly as I expected! Whether you’re going shopping or just out, everywhere you go it’s football, football, football!”

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THE STADIUM...

ISAAC SAYS: “Our average attendance last season was just over 51,000, so that tells its own story. When we beat Norwich 4-3 in the last minute, I’ve never been in a better atmosphere! I’ve been all around Europe, and Newcastle is the best atmosphere I’ve heard!”

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THE GAFFER...

ISAAC SAYS: “He’s a perfectionist – everything has to be right. He talks to every player, whether they’re in the team or not. We play fluid football with a lot of movement, but with a solid foundation in behind. Over last season he got everything right, and it’s proven because we won the league!”

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THE FANS...

ISAAC SAYS: “The Gallowgate End is definitely the part of the ground where, if you’re not putting a shift in, they let you know about it! They have a few songs, but lately it’s been all about the manager because there’s been some rumours of him leaving. They’re trying to show him that they really want him to stay!”

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THE DRESSING ROOM DJ....

ISAAC SAYS: “That’s keeper Karl Darlow. He’s got quite  a few DJ friends, so a lot of the mixes we use in the changing room are from those guys!”

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THE BEST DRESSER...

ISAAC SAYS: “I’ll give it to DeAndre Yedlin. He’s got a very different style, and he wears a lot of outlandish stuff, but he pulls it off!”

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THE WORST DRESSER...

ISAAC SAYS: “There are a few candidates for this! I get killed to be fair, because I just wear my Puma tracksuit all the time!”

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THE JOKER...

ISAAC SAYS: “Dwight Gayle is always having a laugh – and it’s usually Matt Ritchie who’s on the receiving end of his banter!”

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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICT...

ISAAC SAYS: “Achraf Lazaar, the left-back. He’s always doing Instagram and Snapchat videos. He’s a nightmare!”

LUIS SUAREZ REVEALED!

LUIS SUAREZ REVEALED!

The BARCELONA goal machine tells you everything you need to know about him!

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MY BEST GOAL SO FAR!

LUIS SAYS: “For importance, the winner I scored against Real Madrid in 2015. It meant so much – and that win edged us closer to the title.”

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MY CAREER HIGHLIGHT!

LUIS SAYS: “Winning the treble during my first season at Barcelona was so special and something I will never, ever forget – but hopefully something we can target again in the future.”

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MY FAVOURITE MATCH!

LUIS SAYS: “The Champions League final against Juventus – that is a dream for all players to win. I will never forget coming off the substitutes’ bench and scoring on my Liverpool debut as well.”

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MY BEST INDIVIDUAL DISPLAY!

LUIS SAYS: “It’s difficult to pick one! Maybe against Norwich when I played for Liverpool and scored a very good hat-trick, or for Barcelona against PSG in the Champions League quarter-finals.”

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MY FAVOURITE STADIUM!

LUIS SAYS: “Other than the Nou Camp, Anfield is a special place –  especially on Champions League nights. The Champions League is where Liverpool belongs.”

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MY FOOTBALLING HERO GROWING UP!

LUIS SAYS: “Gabriel Batistuta was a player I admired. He was a great goalscorer, but he also never stopped moving or trying to create space – he refused to give defenders an easy time – and that’s how I like to play.”

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MY FAVOURITE TEAM-MATE!

LUIS SAYS: “People know I have a great relationship with Leo on and off the field, as I did with Neymar, but I also learned so much from Stevie at Liverpool.”

WELCOME TO THE PREM... BRIGHTON!

WELCOME TO THE PREM...
BRIGHTON!

Seagulls goal machine GLENN MURRAY tells you everything you need to know about Premier League new boys BRIGHTON!

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THE TOWN...

GLENN SAYS: “Brighton itself is a great town on the seaside, and we get plenty of good weather down here. It’s gonna be a great away day for fans next season!”

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THE STADIUM...

GLENN SAYS: “Our ground’s called The Amex, and I really enjoy playing here! The North Stand behind the goal is where the fans make all the noise – they usually sing, ‘Albion, Albion!’ and, of course, ‘There’s only one Glenn Murray!”

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THE GAFFER...

GLENN SAYS: “Our boss is Chris Hughton, and he’s a very, very good manager! He works us hard and he’s brought a lot of success to the club, so we’re looking forward to repeating that in the Premier League!”

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THE NEW SEASON...

GLENN SAYS: “Our only aim is to stay in the Premier League! Obviously we’re all looking forward to the opening day of the season, at home to Man. City, and personally I always look forward to going to Stamford Bridge too. Our biggest rivals are Crystal Palace, my old club, so that’ll be big as well!”

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THE DRESSING ROOM DJ....

GLENN SAYS: “Normally our captain, Bruno Saltor, is in charge, but if he plays too much Spanish music he gets knocked off by Conor Goldson!”

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THE BEST DRESSER...

GLENN SAYS: “It’s really tough to pick out just one player, but I don’t think you can go far from a steady Steve Sidwell!”

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THE WORST DRESSER...

GLENN SAYS: “There are a few at the club right now, especially the foreign lads! Our winger Jiri Skalak is right up there!”

THE JOKER...

GLENN SAYS: “Some of the young lads – Lewis Dunk, Anthony Knockaert and Goldson – they are all thick as thieves, so we get plenty of laughs out of them!”

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THE TWITTER KING...

GLENN SAYS: “Everyone is on social media, but there are a few that really like to post a lot – Knockaert and Tomer Hemed especially!”

TOM DAVIES - TOFFEES TALENT!

TOM DAVIES...
TOFFEES TALENT!

One of the Prem’s hottest wonderkids chats about breaking through at EVERTON!

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YOUTH CAREER!

TOM SAYS: “I joined Everton when I was 11 and before that I was at Tranmere. The way the academies are now, you do get looked after a lot. The coaching staff have been great, helping me to develop to where I am now, and the facilities are fantastic. Everton has a long tradition of bringing young players through, and the incentive has always been there for me to progress with the club.”

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ACADEMY MATES!

TOM SAYS: “Kieran Dowell, Liam Walsh and Callum Connolly were all in my age group, so I’ve come through each stage of the academy with those lads, and I’m good friends with Harry Charsley too. Me, Kieran and Harry went to Italy last summer. It’s a part of the world I’d never been to and we wanted to experience the culture of Italy. I loved it!”

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BIG BREAKTHROUGH!

TOM SAYS: “I made my debut against Southampton in April 2016, and it was a dream come true to play on the Goodison pitch in front of the fans. I was nervous, but once I got out there and made the first few passes, I was alright. Then, having David Unsworth as manager for my full debut against Norwich, felt like it was meant to be. I’ll always look back on that day as being a big part of my career.”

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GOAL AGAINST CITY!

TOM SAYS: “I remember watching it go in and thinking, ‘I’ve scored here!’ Then it was joy and elation, a dream achieved! The fans really want you to do well, so that’s why when I slid on my knees I was thinking, ‘I need to get into the crowd here!’ It was an unbelievable feeling doing that for your hometown club, something I always dreamed of!”

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KOEMAN ADVICE!

TOM SAYS: “The manager has been great with me and helped me out a lot – and it’s only going to continue if I keep listening to him and working hard. He’s helped me a lot on aspects I need to work on in my game, things like my first touch and having control of the ball. But also defensively, with pressing and knowing who’s around me when I’m defending.”

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FOOTY ROLE MODELS!

TOM SAYS: “I like certain players and I pick up things from watching them. I love watching Barcelona – players like Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. I really enjoy watching them and seeing how calm and composed they are. The way they can control a game, that’s something I’d love to be able to do one day.”

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EVERTON TARGETS!

TOM SAYS: “Winning a trophy here is something I want to do, and hopefully it’ll be in the next five years. I’ve set myself goals and they’re something to work for. I’ve always wanted to play in a European competition, so I’m sure the lads will be relishing the chance to be in the Europa League. Hopefully we can kick on again and push to go even higher next season.”

Everton’s 2017-18 Umbro home kit is now on sale. For more info, visit www.evertondirect.com

CESAR SPEAKS!

CESAR SPEAKS!

We chat to CHELSEA ace CESAR AZPILICUETA about trophies, desert islands and being called Dave!

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FULL-BACK OR CENTRE-BACK?

CESAR SAYS: “They’re different roles. At full-back I have the chance to go into the attacking third to deliver more crosses, but as a centre-back in a back three I see more of the ball and help the team in another way!”

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YOU USED TO PLAY AS A STRIKER?

CESAR SAYS: “As a young kid, nobody wants to be a defender or a goalkeeper! I went from striker to right winger, then to full-back! I played my first professional game as a right winger, then at the age of 18 I became a regular full-back.”

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WOULD YOU RATHER WIN THE CL OR WORLD CUP?

CESAR SAYS: “What a question! I’d be pleased with just one of them!”

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHELSEA MOMENT?

CESAR SAYS: “When we won the Premier League – Chelsea had gone five years without winning the league. We’d won the League Cup and Europa League before that, but we all know how difficult it is to win the Premier League. We had to fight really hard – it was a really big pressure!”

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MESSI OR RONALDO?

CESAR SAYS: “It’s a question where you get 50% saying one, 50% saying the other. They’re two amazing players – they score around 50 goals every season, they always fight for the Ballon d’Or, one has five and one has four – they’re amazing!”

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WHICH CHELSEA STAR WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH?

CESAR SAYS: “One who gets my food! N’Golo Kante would run to get some food I think, so him!”

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DO YOU LIKE BEING CALLED DAVE?

CESAR SAYS: “If the fans call me Dave, I don’t have any choice! It’s fine, it’s fine!”

Cesar Azpilicueta was supporting the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country – the PlayStation Schools’ Cup. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

MARCUS RASHFORD – ENGLAND'S NO.9!

MARCUS RASHFORD...
ENGLAND'S NO.9!

The MAN. UNITED man chats about growing up loving footy to becoming a THREE LIONS hero!

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FOOTY CRAZY!

MARCUS SAYS: “When I was growing up, I’d just kick a ball off the walls in my room or down the hallway. Wherever I could, it didn’t matter! But I loved playing down the park with my big brothers. In our imaginations we were Rooney, Owen or Rio playing at Wembley for England!”

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FIRST ENGLAND TOP!

MARCUS SAYS: “One night, I came home after a kickabout with my brothers and my uncle had another football top for me. A red football top. He was United all the way, but this one was different. On the top left of the chest was a crest with Three Lions and one gold star, and ROONEY 9 was on the back. From that day, I wanted to be just like Rooney, and I wanted to play for England!”

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FOOTY IDOL!

MARCUS SAYS: “I was too young to appreciate guys like Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham from the ’90s – for me, it was all about Rooney. My earliest memories of the England team are of him and Michael Owen up front together. Me and my brothers would always sit down to watch the England games together."

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WHIRLWIND YEAR!

MARCUS SAYS: “A lot of people think I came out of nowhere. And to be honest, my first year went by so quickly that I still can’t believe it myself! One day I was training with United and making my debut for the club, the next my team-mates were telling me I’d been selected for the national team to go to Euro 2016!”

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ENGLAND CALL-UP!

MARCUS SAYS: “Phil Jones came up to me in the changing rooms and said, ‘I’m tellin’ ya mate, you’re going to France.’ When I got my mobile out of my locker, there were messages from my brothers, mum and friends saying the same thing... England!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it!”

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DREAM COME TRUE!

MARCUS SAYS: “When I got into the changing room for the friendly against Australia, I saw all the shirts hanging up. I remember looking around for mine, and then I saw it. Red football top. Three Lions crest. One gold star. Man! Then I flipped it around. RASHFORD 9. I kind of laughed and said to myself, ‘No more dreaming now. You’re playing for England!’”

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QUICK-FIRE DEBUT!

MARCUS SAYS: “Three minutes into the match, I scored my first England goal! How can I describe that? It’s like as soon as the ball goes into the back of the net, something goes off in your head. It’s a moment you hold on to, but at the same time, you just want to do it again and again and again! You crave the feeling!”

Interview courtesy of The Players’ Tribune.

CHRIS BRUNT'S PENALTY MASTERCLASS

CHRIS BRUNT'S...
PENALTY MASTERCLASS!

MATCH chats to WEST BROM’s lethal leftie about all things penalties!

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HOW MUCH DO YOU PRACTISE PENS?

CHRIS SAYS: “We don’t really practise penalties that much, unless we have a cup game. We do get video clips from the coaches during the week if there’s a chance of a penalty shoot-out that weekend, though. If not, you’ll just make your mind up on where to strike the ball at the time!”

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WHERE DO YOU STRIKE THE BALL?

CHRIS SAYS: “It depends. If I’m going straight down the middle of the goal, I’ll usually smash it as hard as I can with my laces. If I’m going towards one side of the goal, I’ll use more of the inside of my foot for accuracy.”

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POWER OR PLACEMENT?

CHRIS SAYS: “I tend to hit it hard! You’re only 12 yards out, so if the keeper goes the right way and you’ve hit it hard, you’ve still got a chance of scoring!”

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DO YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND?

CHRIS SAYS: “If you think too much about it during your run-up, you’ll make a mistake. So no, nine times out of ten I’ll pick my spot and stick with it. As long as you make the keeper make a decent save, you’ve done part of your job.”

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WHAT'S YOUR NO.1 PENALTY TIP?

CHRIS SAYS: “You’re probably asking the wrong person this question – I hit my last penalty onto the motorway! I usually just put my head down and put my foot through it! Just hit it as hard as you can into the corner! Obviously, people expect you to score penalties, but it’s not always the case!”

MICHAIL ANTONIO INTERVIEW

MICHAIL ANTONIO INTERVIEW!

The West Ham superstar chats heading, targets, celebrations, England and loads more!

You’ve played all over the pitch for West Ham! Do you want to nail down a position?
 

MICHAIL SAYS: “I’m one of those players where as long as I’m playing, I play for the team. If the boss needs me to play somewhere, I’ll do it! But if I was picking the team, I’d be on the wing – I prefer the left."

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You score a lot of goals with your head...
 

MICHAIL SAYS: “As long as it hits the back of the net, I don’t mind! I’m not far off the Premier League record of nine headed goals in a season, but if I break that record or score more with my feet, I don’t care. Even if it goes in off my back, I’ll take it!”

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You’ve had lots of awesome celebrations – what have you got lined up next?
 

MICHAIL SAYS: “I did the Thriller dance when I scored against Tottenham, but I need some more suggestions! I want someone on Twitter to choose one for me because I’m running out of ideas! But it has to be in the right circumstances – I can’t pull out a new celebration when we’re losing!”

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Can you get back into the England squad?
 

MICHAIL SAYS:  “It’s definitely one of the aims I’ve put in place for myself. I’ll just have to keep performing and make sure I can’t be overtaken. Getting called up was overwhelming – I cried when I found out! But it was a great experience to be there with the elite players and I enjoyed every moment.”

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What do you think of Gareth Southgate?
 

MICHAIL SAYS: “He’s a really nice guy. Gareth knows the players, he’s done well so far and he’s just got to keep going. He’s a leader – he takes charge in training and does loads of work with the players!”

Michail was talking to MATCH at the PlayStation Schools’ Cup – the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country! Here’s what he had to say about it...

MICHAIL SAYS: “It’s a really great event – it’s definitely the biggest school competition in the country! I always go back to my school, and I really enjoy this type of thing.”

MICHAIL SAYS: “When I was young, to represent my school was huge – we loved it! Playing footy, going around to other schools... we’d have loved to have had this kind of opportunity.”

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MICHAIL SAYS: “The kids here are so lucky – most of them want to grow up and play in the Premier League, so to get the opportunity to meet their idols is amazing! The first pro players I ever met were when I signed for Reading!”

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To find out more about the tournament, visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

TOTTENHAM REVEALED WITH DANNY ROSE!

DANNY ROSE...
TOTTENHAM REVEALED!

MATCH spoke to the speedy full-back recently, and he told us all about his Spurs team-mates!

BEST TRAINER!


DANNY SAYS: “The best trainer, other than the goalkeepers, is Harry Kane. He gives the same dedication, application and desire every single day without fail. He always does extra training and extra finishing – he deserves everything he gets because of how professional he is.”

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MOST SKILFUL!


DANNY SAYS: “Mousa Dembele – he’s the most difficult to tackle. The Belgian and Dutch players play Futsal growing up, and he’s one of the best at it. He’s made half the Premier League look silly with his skills, and we have to suffer that every day in training! He’s a joy to watch.”

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THE JOKER!


DANNY SAYS: “I’d probably say Dele Alli – he’s always winding people up and recording everyone on his Snapchat. He likes to wind up Eric Dier all the time. Those two tend to go at it quite a lot!”

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FASTEST PLAYER!


DANNY SAYS: “I’d say Kyle Walker or Moussa Sissoko. When I started as a player, people used to come in and test how fast you could sprint over 10, 20 and 30 metres. We’ve stopped doing that recently, so it’d be interesting to see who’d win at Spurs!”

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LEAST INTELLIGENT!


DANNY SAYS: “I’d say Dele! Not in terms of common sense, but he’s not very good at knowing old players. I know he’s only young, but if you asked him about a player from ten years ago, you’d have to explain who he played for!”

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THE DJ!


DANNY SAYS: “Harry Kane – he’s the DJ. He plays a bit of everything – Chris Brown, Craig David, Justin Bieber. I don’t mind his music, it depends on what mood I’m in before a game as to whether I listen to my own music or his. There’s always music on in the changing rooms.”

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BEST AT FIFA!


DANNY SAYS: “I think it’s out of Dele or Sissoko – we have FIFA at the training ground so we sometimes play it there. Moussa has a portable PlayStation that he carries around with him and uses when we travel to away games. I used to be really good at it, but now I’m horrific!”

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BEST MATE!


DANNY SAYS: “One’s Danny Welbeck – I first played against him when I was 11 at Leeds and he was at Man. United. Ever since, we’ve got on really well. The other is Fabian Delph – I joined Leeds when I was 11 and he was already there. Straightaway, he looked after me and helped me settle in. We speak every week!”

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Danny Rose was supporting the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country – the PlayStation Schools’ Cup. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

10 OF MESSI'S BIGGEST ARGENTINA MOMENTS

10 OF MESSI'S BIGGEST ARGENTINA MOMENTS

MATCH takes a look back at ten of Lionel Messi's top moments for his country!

1. DEBUT DISASTER!


Leo’s first game was against Hungary in 2005, but he only spent two minutes on the pitch before being sent off for lashing out at a defender!

2. GOAL NO.1!


His first goal was v Croatia in 2006, and it was classic Messi! He cut in from the right and curled the ball past the keeper!

3. WORLD CUP WONDERKID!


Messi’s World Cup debut against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006 made him Argentina’s youngest-ever World Cup player!

4. COPA HEARTACHE!


Messi scored twice and won the Young Player Of The Tournament award on his way to the 2007 Copa America Final, but he lost 3-0 to Brazil!

5. GOLD MEDALIST!


Argentina got their revenge against Brazil in the Olympic semis in 2008, as Messi fired his team to the first and only international title of his career!

6. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC!


After new manager Alejandro Sabella was put in charge in 2011, one of the first things he did was make Messi the team’s skipper!

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7. WORLD CUP FINAL AGONY!


Leo won the Golden Ball at World Cup 2014, but it was heartbreak again as Argentina were beaten in the final by Germany!

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8. COPA NIGHTMARE!


One year after the World Cup defeat, Messi lost another final as Argentina were beaten on pens by Chile at the 2015 Copa America!

9. RECORD BREAKER!


At this summer’s Copa America, Messi overtook Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 54 goals for Argentina with a free-kick against USA!

10. COPA CRISIS!


Once again, he inspired his country to a final, and once again they lost on pens! Leo fired his spot-kick over the bar as Chile won the Copa again! He retired from international football after the match, but changed his mind two months later!

SPENCERFC CHATS HASHTAG UNITED!

SPENCERFC CHATS HASHTAG UNITED!

The YouTube legend spoke to MATCH all about how his team are going to take over the footy world!

HOW LONG HAVE HASHTAG UNITED BEEN GOING?


SPENCER SAYS: “Hashtag United started last February as an idea me and my brother Seb had. We already had a five-a-side team with our mates called Hashtag United which was just for fun, and we signed up a few extra friends to get a full eleven-a-side team together.”

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WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?


SPENCER SAYS: “I’ve been making football videos for a long time, and I always wanted to do real life matches. That’s why we did the Wembley Cup – a big, one-off game with loads of YouTubers! They’re really cool but we can only do it once a year, so I thought it would be great to play regularly with my friends!”

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HOW DID IT GET STARTED?


SPENCER SAYS: “I filmed a game with my mates that got loads of interest, and then we got challenged to a match by a YouTube channel. We played them twice and beat them, so we created the team and started playing more games!”

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YOU'VE HAD SOME WICKED MOMENTS WITH HASHTAG!


SPENCER SAYS: “Yeah – our third game was at Wembley! It was special because it was with friends that I’ve known since I was five years old. We played one of the final games at Upton Park as well. As a West Ham fan, that was great!”

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HOW GOOD ARE THE TEAM?


SPENCER SAYS: “I think we’ve got the best strike force outside the National League! We’ve got four or five guys in the team that could play semi-pro, but others are more suited to Sunday League sides! So it’s a real mixture, and I’m slap bang in the middle.”

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WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S BEEN SO POPULAR?


SPENCER SAYS: “It’s the stories alongside it. We never boast about our football skills, but we make it entertaining. No other Sunday league team plays at Wembley, against ex-pros, or travels abroad. We’ve lucked our way to this situation, and we’re saying, ‘come along on the ride!’”

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WHAT FOOTY ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG FAN?


SPENCER SAYS: “When I started playing at 13, I only played because I was the one kid that could head the ball! I didn’t start getting into the team on merit until I was 16! But if you love something like I love football, even if you’re not the best player, you can make a career out of it!”

MIDDLESBROUGH REVEALED WITH GEORGE FRIEND!

GEORGE FRIEND...
MIDDLESBROUGH REVEALED!

MATCH caught up with Middlesbrough defender George Friend recently, and he told us all about the Boro dressing room...

MOST SKILFUL!


GEORGE SAYS: “Gaston Ramirez is a very skilful player, but I’d have to go for Alvaro Negredo. He’s a big, tall, strong player but he’s got amazing feet. When we do little possession drills in training, he can make a fool out of a lot of people, including me!”

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FASTEST PLAYER!


GEORGE SAYS: “Adama Traore, for sure. Even when he’s jogging, he’s still the fastest by miles! Adama’s the fastest player I’ve ever played with or against, and I think the Premier League’s seeing that now. I’d put myself in the top five at the club.”

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MOST INTELLIGENT!


GEORGE SAYS: “I would say Bernardo Espinosa – he’s from Colombia, but he speaks better English than some of the English lads! He’s very modest, but he has quite cultured conversations. He’s a very intelligent guy.”

DRESSING ROOM DJ!


GEORGE SAYS: “Viktor Fischer and Bernardo Espinosa – they both tend to pick the music. When Viktor signed, he brought in a speaker to the dressing room. They’ll play a bit of dance and house music, but I’m into country music and that never gets played!”

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BEST FASHION SENSE!


GEORGE SAYS: “Viktor Fischer’s pretty on top of what he wears, too. He gets a bit of stick, but I think he looks quite smart. He’s got some nice leather jackets and stuff like that. He looks a bit like a pilot sometimes, but I think it works for him!”

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WORST FASHION SENSE!


GEORGE SAYS: “Probably Adam Clayton! Only because he can look really smart one day in some nice fitted gear, then he’ll completely let himself down. There’s a lack of consistency! He wears some really ill-fitting tracksuits!”

BEST TRAINER!


GEORGE SAYS: Daniel Ayala works very hard all the time – he’s always in the gym working on his fitness. Whenever he goes out he trains very hard. He’ll work on his heading a lot too, being a defender.” 

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WORST TRAINER!


GEORGE SAYS: “We don’t really have a worst trainer, but Adama Traore cuts it very fine when making it on time. He always seems to get there just on the dot, probably because he’s so fast! He’ll give himself like a minute to get out onto the training pitch once he arrives.”

George Friend was talking to MATCH at the 10th anniversary of the Premier League Kicks social inclusion programme. The Kicks Ambassador presented Middlesbrough FC Foundation participant-turned coach Jack Wilson with a bespoke Kicks Hero comic illustration to celebrate his contribution to the scheme.

PHILIPPE COUTINHO INTERVIEW

PHILIPPE COUTINHO INTERVIEW!

The Liverpool superstar chats injuries, targets, Anfield, Klopp and loads more!

How frustrating was it to be out for so long?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “It was a bad time and I was worried. I really hope it’s the last injury of this campaign because all I want to do is play football. My target now is to get in perfect condition and return to my best as quickly as possible. I’m getting more confident all the time and I just need minutes on the pitch to do it.”

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THE INJURY LOOKED REALLY BAD...
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “It was. The blow to my ankle was very hard and very painful. First of all, I thought I was going to miss the whole season, but the medical tests were more positive and the physios have worked very well with me. I have to thank them for that.”

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WHAT HAVE YOU MADE OF LIVERPOOL'S SEASON?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “I think we’re playing well in the Premier League and we’re still in the title race. At the moment Chelsea are the leaders but we have a chance to fight for the title, that’s for sure. It’s a big, big motivation for us!”

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YOUR GAFFER JURGEN KLOPP LOOKS FUN TO WORK WITH!
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “He’s a very good manager. He’s actually very serious with the players and very concentrated on the system we play. He’s one of the most professional coaches I’ve worked with.”

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WHAT TRAINING DO YOU DO?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “We work hard on our passing game, because our manager likes this playing style. There’s no secret – you just have to practise a lot, then you start to make the right decisions. Confidence comes with repeating actions lots of times in training.”

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL DRILLS?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “Something we do a lot is playing three short passes then switching the play with a long ball. This helps the forwards escape their markers and open up spaces on the pitch quickly.”

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CAN YOU WIN THE TITLE?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “My dream is to win the title this season, but we know it won’t be easy. We’re a team every club wants to beat, and every match feels like a final. That’s the life at a super-club like Liverpool. That’s why I wanted to come here in the first place.”

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IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE AT ANFIELD BECAUSE OF THAT?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “There’s always more pressure to win at a club as big as Liverpool. We’re used to that. We know we have to fight to win trophies and we have to play at our best and with the right intensity every match. There is honestly no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League. It’s what I love about football in England!”

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WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL GOALS FOR THIS YEAR?
 

COUTINHO SAYS: “I want to win titles with Liverpool of course, but I also want to keep getting better as a player and to do even more for this team.”

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC INTERVIEW

ZLATAN SPEAKS!

(MATCH LISTENS...)


Legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic chats about trophies, Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney, United’s fans & loads more!

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ZLATAN ON... WINNING THE PREM!


ZLAT SAYS: “It’d be fantastic. We have been a bit unlucky in certain games, but we believe. I will win it – I have this vision! But we need to work hard and do everything to win.”

ZLATAN ON... UNITED!


ZLAT SAYS: “It’s perhaps the biggest club I’ve played for! The only one I can compare it to is Milan. It’s a massive club with great fans, and I want to be as successful as possible!”

ZLATAN ON... STAYING MOTIVATED!


ZLAT SAYS: “Trophies is what it’s all about! For me, the more trophies we can collect the nicer it is – and then after your career you can look back and see how much you won. It’s important!”

ZLATAN ON... WINNING TROPHIES!


ZLAT SAYS: “Every trophy is important, that’s what you are playing for. You try to win every tournament you are in. So if we win things it’d be fantastic, no matter what the competition is!”

ZLATAN ON... THE EUROPA LEAGUE!


ZLAT SAYS: “It’s a big trophy, it doesn’t matter what people say. The manager wants to win it – you can see he is putting out strong teams – and I think the players want to win it too!”

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ZLATAN ON... ROONEY!


ZLAT SAYS: “I’ve been lucky enough to get to know him, and as a player there are no bad words to say – he’s the perfect player! I said many years ago, the perfect partner for a striker is Wayne Rooney!”

ZLATAN ON... JOSE!


ZLAT SAYS: “He knows everything about the game – he’s a mastermind! When the chance came for him to be my coach again at United, it was an easy decision. Who wouldn’t want to be coached by him?”

ZLATAN ON... THE FANS!


ZLAT SAYS: “The United fans are amazing – I have this feeling in every game that they are the 12th man on the field. I’ve played in many countries and for many big teams, but the supporters here are something else!”

TAMMY ABRAHAM – HIS JOURNEY

PART ONE – THE START OF THE JOURNEY

Tammy Abraham is a real-life Alex Hunter! Like the star of FIFA 17’s The Journey, Tammy started his career at a Premier League club before being loaned out to the Championship. He tells MATCH all about his journey...

STARTING MY CAREER

TAMMY SAYS: “I started out aged seven in a team with my friends. We played in tournaments and just kept winning – we had a really good side! We got scouted by clubs like Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea. Ovie Ejaria was in the team and he’s just played for Liverpool!”

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SIBLING RIVALRY

TAMMY SAYS: “I’ve got a younger brother who plays, too – he’s 15 and at Charlton. We’re really competitive and we’re both strikers, so we love scoring goals! He’ll come home and say, ‘I scored two, how many did you score?’”

JOINING CHELSEA

TAMMY SAYS: “I was seven when I joined Chelsea. I got scouted and went for trials at the training ground in Battersea, then progressed to the Academy at Cobham. My first few games I went to watch were them, so it’s always been Chelsea!”

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MY FOOTBALL HERO

TAMMY SAYS: “My idols growing up were all-round strikers, like Didier Drogba. Seeing him off the pitch really inspired me, too. When I was about eight, he picked me up from the front of the training ground and dropped me off at the academy! I was so excited!”

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MY POSITION

TAMMY SAYS: “When I was around ten I was a defender because I was always the biggest! But I just kept running forward to try to score goals, so eventually I got moved forward. That’s when I found out that I liked scoring goals, so I settled on being a striker!”

MY MAIN STRENGTHS

TAMMY SAYS: “I’m a hard worker, skilful and I like to score goals! I’ve got good speed and I like to use my strength. I try to find a weakness in my opponent and use my strengths to capitalise on them!”

MY FOOTBALL MATES

TAMMY SAYS: “Me and Fikayo Tomori started together aged seven and made our way up to the 21s, and he made his debut with me against Leicester! We came through with Dominic Solanke and Kasey Palmer, who I played against before Christmas – that was weird!”

For more about EA SPORTS FIFA 17 The Journey and to live your Alex Hunter story, head to https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/the-journey

GARY CAHILL – CHELSEA REVEALED!

GARY CAHILL...
CHELSEA REVEALED!

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MATCH caught up with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill recently, and he told us all about The Blues’ dressing room...

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THE DJ!


GAZ SAYS: “This might sound boring, but our DJ is the kit man! If you want a song on, you go and request it. Our playlist is the most random thing ever because you have Brazilian songs, Spanish songs, then English ones. But normally it comes from Willian, Oscar or Diego with Brazilian music.”

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MOST FASHIONABLE!


GAZ SAYS: “Willian is the one that always seems to make a lot of effort, but he carries it off well too. He wears all sorts – generally it’s smart – he just looks well dressed. Some lads just wear tracksuits and hoodies, but he never does.”

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LEAST FASHIONABLE!


GAZ SAYS: “Probably Ivanovic, who just isn’t bothered at all! I can see why – he probably just wants to get his tracksuit on, come to work and go home, and he’ll tell you he’s got no one to impress in our changing room!”

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BEST MATE!


GAZ SAYS: “Probably the skipper John Terry. There are so many languages at our club, so naturally in certain environments people speak in their own languages. When Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard moved on, it just ended up with me and John Terry speaking English to each other!”

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THE JOKER!


GAZ SAYS: “Diego Costa, and it’s crazy because he hardly speaks any English! You see him on the pitch as being aggressive, but off the pitch he acts like a ten-year-old kid. He might not even be doing something that funny, but he’s always looking to do something crazy!”

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THE POSER!


GAZ SAYS: “Nobody’s too vain in our club, which is a good thing I suppose. Maybe someone like Thibaut – he spends a lot of time in the mirror doing his hair. Most of the time I come in and my hair is just a mess, but he would definitely make sure his looked alright!”

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THE BRAINBOX!


GAZ SAYS: “I’d say Begovic. He stands out because we were doing a quiz not long ago and he seemed to know the answer to loads of questions – things you wouldn’t expect. So, I’d probably say him.”

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THE PRANKSTER!


GAZ SAYS: “Everyone just acts like kids! One of the things that’s been going on recently is when you come down from the canteen, people jump out at you. You’d be holding your dinner, and there was food going everywhere for about two weeks! You’d have to check the reflection in the window to make sure no-one was there!”

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Gary was supporting the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country – the PlayStation Schools’ Cup. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

ALEX IWOBI INTERVIEW!

ALEX IWOBI INTERVIEW!

The Arsenal and Nigeria wonderkid chats targets, his style of play and loads more!

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CONFIDENCE...


ALEX SAYS: “Confidence is something I’ve had to pick up over the years, because when I was younger I wasn’t the most confident player. But I’ve always been told to be confident, believe in your ability and express yourself all the time. So I guess when I’m on the pitch, I’m just a different person.”

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PROVING HIMSELF...


ALEX SAYS: “I’m not quite an established Arsenal player yet, and I’ve still got a long way to go. There are a lot of players in this side competing with me. I just hope I can maintain my spot in the first team.”

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HIS TARGETS...


ALEX SAYS: “I didn’t expect to score two goals last season, so I’m just hoping to play more this season and get more goals and assists. I don’t really set myself personal targets – I take everything game by game.”

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HIS STYLE...


ALEX SAYS: “My biggest strengths are that I’m a creative player, I like to keep the ball moving and just play it as I see it. The manager lets me do what I want to do and gives me freedom to roam around.”

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HIS BEST POSITION...


ALEX SAYS: “When I was younger I played right-back and in central midfield, but eventually I settled as an attacker. My best position is behind the striker in the No.10 role – that’s where I feel most comfortable on the pitch. I’ve played out wide, but I still drift inside – it’s just natural for me to come inside.”

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