Manchester City will face Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10. The two clubs have never played each other in a competitive match but manager Pep Guardiola does have some experience of facing the Italians. Here, the PA news agency looks back on those meetings.

September 2009: Inter 0 Barcelona 0 (Champions League, group stage)

All four of Guardiola’s past encounters with Inter came during his Barcelona side’s 2009-10 Champions League campaign, at a time when both clubs were among the most powerful forces in Europe, and pitted him against someone who would go on to become his fiercest rival, Jose Mourinho. The first of those games was a goalless draw at the San Siro.

November 2009: Barcelona 2 Inter 0 (Champions League, group stage)

Barca, the reigning champions, asserted their authority in the return fixture. A team that left Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench won comfortably with first-half goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro.

April 2010: Inter 3 Barcelona 1 (Champions League, semi-finals)

It was a different story when the sides met again in the last four. This time Inter ran out convincing winners at the San Siro after coming from behind in the first leg of their semi-final. Pedro struck first for the holders but Inter levelled through Wesley Sneijder and took victory after further goals from Maicon and Diego Milito.

April 2010: Barcelona 1 Inter 0 (Champions League, semi-finals)

Mourinho’s side were at their defensive best as they frustrated Barca with 10 men to end their reign as champions. Guardiola’s side won on the night with a late goal from Pique but it was not enough as the Catalans failed to take full advantage of Thiago Motta’s 28th-minute sending off. Inter went on to lift the trophy.

Dean Smith defended his under-fire Leicester players as they fight for their Premier League lives.

The Foxes go to Newcastle on Monday knowing their top-flight future hangs in the balance as they sit two points from safety with two games left.

If Everton win at Wolves and Nottingham Forest avoid defeat against Arsenal over the weekend Leicester will need to win at St James’ Park or they will go down.

The squad – with one win in their last 14 games – has been accused of lacking fight in their relegation battle but Smith has given them his support.

“I don’t need to pay homage to the players, I’ve inherited a squad and not brought any of them in,” said the boss, who saw the Foxes limply lose 3-0 to Liverpool on Monday.

“I can openly criticise them if I need to, I don’t think I need to and I choose not to because the work ethic I see is there.

“The numbers I get from my performance department prove to me it’s there. The thing which is missing is keeping clean sheets and making fewer mistakes in the defensive third.

“It’s out of our hands because if other teams get the results there’s nothing we can do. We just have to concentrate on Newcastle and get the win.

“If we get the performance we are capable of and minimise mistakes, not a problem.

“We are in a position we don’t want to be in. Our job is to get out of it. Our job hasn’t changed from eight games (when he came in) to two games.

“If you look at it realistically it was going to be tough to get points from Manchester City and Liverpool. Other games we would have expected to get points.”

Kelechi Iheanacho (groin) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (ankle) are expected to resume training on Saturday after missing the Liverpool defeat while Caglar Soyuncu (hamstring) and Danny Ward (dislocated finger) remain out.

It is a fourth straight Monday game – meaning Leicester will know all the results before they play – but Smith insisted other scorelines will not impact his approach.

He added: “We’re preparing for Newcastle now, I don’t want to suddenly change tactics with what we’ve been working on for four or five days.”

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is set to rejoin training on Friday ahead of the crucial trip to Wolves this weekend.

The England international was replaced at half-time of last weekend’s defeat by Manchester City due to a groin problem, and having been given a reduced workload this week, manager Sean Dyche is ready to bring him back into the squad.

“He’s had a few down days and it is looking more promising so he will be with us again tomorrow,” he said.

“He has come through the last couple of days well.”

Defender Vitalii Mykolenko’s continued absence, he missed the City game with a thigh problem, means Everton are without any first-choice full-backs as Seamus Coleman’s season was ended by a knee injury earlier this month.

Dyche admits it would be a risk to play the Ukraine international this weekend.

“I doubt he will be right for this one. He has got a chance for the next one,” he said.

“It’s a risk-and-reward scenario but he hasn’t trained so I doubt he’ll be ready for this one.

“Myko is close but it is whether we take a gamble on that with only one to go (after this weekend).”

Manuel Akanji has his sights firmly set on the treble after Manchester City took a huge stride towards becoming only the second English side to achieve that feat.

City ruthlessly swept aside 14-time European kings Real Madrid 4-0 on Wednesday to power into next month’s Champions League final.

With the team also on the brink of securing their fifth Premier League title in six seasons and through to the FA Cup final, a glorious end to the season is on the cards.

Claiming all three trophies would see them emulate the achievement of rivals Manchester United – coincidentally their FA Cup opponents at Wembley – in 1999.

City defender Akanji, who joined the club from Borussia Dortmund in September, said: “First we have got to win the Premier League. That’s what we can do on the weekend and I hope we are going to do it.

“Then it’s two finals and we want to win both of them.

“It would be unbelievable. It is my first season here. It is the best team I have ever played in and we have been really confident in the second part of the season.

“I think we’ve done a really good job but we’ve got to keep it up until the end.”

Victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday would see City clinch the Premier League with two games to spare.

Manager Pep Guardiola would then have the luxury of being able to rest or rotate players ahead of their finals, against United on June 3 and Inter Milan in Istanbul a week later.

Their stunning performance against Real, when they trampled all over the most successful club in European competition history to complete a 5-1 aggregate win, puts them at short odds to complete all three.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Switzerland defender Akanji, who was responsible for City’s third goal after his glancing header was deflected in by Eder Militao. “From the first minute we stepped on the court we were confident.

“I think at home, in all the knockout games, we have had pretty impressive wins. It shows how good we are here and now we have got to do this at the weekend as well to bring home the Premier League and then two other titles too.”

Bernardo Silva set up City’s victory with two first-half goals and Julian Alvarez completed the rout late on.

Bernardo Silva is determined to right a wrong after firing Manchester City back to the Champions League final.

The Portugal playmaker struck twice as City overpowered Real Madrid 4-0 in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday to set up a clash with Inter Milan in next month’s Istanbul showpiece.

It marks a return to the final for City two years on from their disappointing loss to Chelsea on European club football’s top night and Silva wants to ensure the result is different this time.

The 28-year-old said: “The final of the Champions League is always an unbelievable occasion.

“I’ve only played it once and the outcome was wasn’t very happy for me. Let’s try and change that.

“We know that we play against a very tough team. I watched their game on Tuesday and they are very organised collectively.

“We’re going to study them, follow the manager’s plan once again and try to, individually and collectively, put out the best possible performance, like this one, to be as close as possible to winning that game.”

City produced one of the greatest performances in the club’s history to move a step closer to winning the competition for the first time.

Real Madrid, the holders and 14-time winners of the trophy, had no answer to City’s dizzying combination of movement, speed, strength and cutting edge.

City made a blistering start and maintained the intensity throughout. Silva put them into a thoroughly deserved lead after 23 minutes and added a second before the interval.

An Eder Militao own goal and late Julian Alvarez strike made the scoreline 5-1 on aggregate and truly reflective of their superiority. Victory could have been even more emphatic with Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making three fine saves to deny Erling Haaland.

City’s display ensured sweet revenge for their loss to the same opponents in the semi-finals last year.

“I’m very happy because the performance was amazing,” Silva said. “From minute one, the pressure that we put on Real Madrid’s defence – we pushed them back and we created lots of chances.

“And with our people – the energy – we felt the momentum that we created. It helped a lot.

“The second half started in a weird way where they put us under a bit of pressure but I think the team was very resilient, very organised, and the difference from this year to last year was the chances – we created most of them. We took them and we scored the goals.”

The Champions League final could be the crowning moment of a glorious treble for Pep Guardiola’s City this season.

They will claim the first of the three trophies they are chasing if they beat Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

Silva said: “Yes, with our people again. Hopefully we can give them another happy day and give them the special moment of winning five (Premier Leagues) in six years, which is not easy in this country.

“We’re going to rest, sleep well, eat well and prepare well to be at our best and give that happiness to them because they deserve it.”

Manchester City moved within three wins of the treble by thrashing Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Pep Guardiola’s side need one victory from their three remaining Premier League fixtures to secure the title, while they can also win the FA Cup and Champions League by beating Manchester United and Inter Milan respectively.

City are seeking to emulate their local rivals United who achieved glory on the same three fronts under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1998-99.

Here the PA news agency compares the two sides.

Premier League

There are several parallels between this season’s title race and 1998-99.

Neither City nor United topped the table for a prolonged period until the second half of the campaign and both trailed Arsenal at various points during the run-in.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners were eight points clear of Guardiola’s side with nine games to go at the beginning of April, while Arsenal were three points ahead of Ferguson’s men with two matches remaining in 1999 – although both City and United had a game in hand.

Just as United edged out Arsene Wenger’s team with a 20-match unbeaten run, City have gone 14 Premier League games without defeat to move within touching distance of claiming a fifth title in six years.

Statistically, Guardiola’s treble-chasers have had the better season. They have amassed 85 points and scored 92 goals with three fixtures still to play, while United ended the campaign with 79 points and 80 goals scored.

Dwight Yorke top-scored for Ferguson’s side with 18 goals, which is half as many as Erling Haaland has managed for City (36).

That said, Andy Cole (17) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (12) also reached double figures for United, while only Phil Foden (10) has done so for City.

Defensively, Guardiola’s men have conceded 31 goals so far – the joint-fewest in the league alongside Newcastle. United shipped 37 goals in 1998-99, which was more than Arsenal (17), Chelsea (30) and Leeds (34).

Champions League

City topped their group ahead of Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Copenhagen, while United finished second behind Bayern Munich but ahead of Barcelona and Brondby.

Guardiola’s side have since gone on to beat RB Leipzig, Bayern and Real Madrid over two legs, thanks mainly to crushing home wins in each tie.

Ferguson’s men had fewer rounds to negotiate in 1999 – when the Champions League was contested by 24 teams rather than 32 – but they still had to get past Inter Milan and Juventus across two legs before facing Bayern in the final.

United’s European campaign was considerably bumpier than City’s, who have scored 31 goals and conceded only five on their path to the final.

The Red Devils – by contrast – lifted the trophy having scored 29 and conceded 16.

While City are yet to concede more than once in a Champions League game this season, United were involved in several high-scoring thrillers including a pair of 3-3 draws against Barcelona in the group stage and a dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Juventus in the semi-final second leg.

FA Cup

As with the Champions League, City’s route to the final has been largely serene while United’s 1998-99 campaign was filled with trials and tribulations.

Guardiola’s team have cruised past Chelsea, Arsenal, Bristol City, Burnley and Sheffield United without conceding a goal, becoming the first side to reach the final with a perfect defensive record since Everton in 1965-66.

Meanwhile, as well as coming back from a goal down against Middlesbrough and Liverpool in rounds three and four, United needed replays to see off Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Arsenal in the semis.

The latter victory was especially dramatic, with Peter Schmeichel saving a Dennis Bergkamp penalty to keep the game at 1-1 and Ryan Giggs scoring a fantastic solo goal in extra time.

Manchester City moved within three wins of the treble by thrashing Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Pep Guardiola’s side need one victory from their three remaining Premier League fixtures to secure the title, while they can also win the FA Cup and Champions League by beating Manchester United and Inter Milan respectively.

City are seeking to emulate their local rivals United who achieved glory on the same three fronts under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1998-99.

Here the PA news agency compares the two sides.

Premier League

There are several parallels between this season’s title race and 1998-99.

Neither City or United topped the table for a prolonged period until the second half of the campaign and both trailed Arsenal at various points during the run-in.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners were eight points clear of Guardiola’s side with nine games to go at the beginning of April, while Arsenal were three points ahead of Ferguson’s men with two matches remaining in 1999 – although both City and United had a game in hand.

Just as United edged out Arsene Wenger’s team with a 20-match unbeaten run, City have gone 14 Premier League games without defeat to move within touching distance of claiming a fifth title in six years.

Statistically, Guardiola’s treble-chasers have had the better season. They have amassed 85 points and scored 92 goals with three fixtures still to play, while United ended the campaign with 79 points and 80 goals scored.

Dwight Yorke top-scored for Ferguson’s side with 18 goals, which is half as many as Erling Haaland has managed for City (36).

That said, Andy Cole (17) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (12) also reached double figures for United, while only Phil Foden (10) has done so for City.

Defensively, Guardiola’s men have conceded 31 goals so far – the joint-fewest in the league alongside Newcastle. United shipped 37 goals in 1998-99, which was more than Arsenal (17), Chelsea (30) and Leeds (34).

Champions League

City topped their group ahead of Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Copenhagen, while United finished second behind Bayern Munich but ahead of Barcelona and Brondby.

Guardiola’s side have since gone on to beat RB Leipzig, Bayern and Real Madrid over two legs, thanks mainly to crushing home wins in each tie.

Ferguson’s men had fewer rounds to negotiate in 1999 – when the Champions League was contested by 24 teams rather than 32 – but they still had to get past Inter Milan and Juventus across two legs before facing Bayern in the final.

United’s European campaign was considerably bumpier than City’s, who have scored 31 goals and conceded only five on their path to the final.

The Red Devils – by contrast – lifted the trophy having scored 29 and conceded 16.

While City are yet to concede more than once in a Champions League game this season, United were involved in several high-scoring thrillers including a pair of 3-3 draws against Barcelona in the group stage and a dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Juventus in the semi-final second leg.

FA Cup

As with the Champions League, City’s route to the final has been largely serene while United’s 1998-99 campaign was filled with trials and tribulations.

Guardiola’s team have cruised past Chelsea, Arsenal, Bristol City, Burnley and Sheffield United without conceding a goal, becoming the first side to reach the final with a perfect defensive record since Everton in 1965-66.

Meanwhile, as well as coming back from a goal down against Middlesbrough and Liverpool in rounds three and four, United needed replays to see off Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Arsenal in the semis.

The latter victory was especially dramatic, with Peter Schmeichel saving a Dennis Bergkamp penalty to keep the game at 1-1 and Ryan Giggs scoring a wonder goal in extra time.

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as Manchester United manager, with the club still searching for a return to their glory days under the long-serving Scot.

Here, the PA news agency compares those years to the last decade of Ferguson’s triumphant reign.

Ferguson’s last 10 years

United won the Premier League in five of Ferguson’s last 10 years in charge, taking his total to 13 titles overall.

That included a run of three in a row from 2006-07 to 2008-09, before he added the 2010-11 title and signed off in 2012-13 with another.

They never finished outside the top three in that time, with an average league position of 1.7, and averaged 84.4 points per campaign.

His sides won 68 per cent of their league games and 66 per cent overall as they also collected three League Cups, an FA Cup and the 2007-08 Champions League title. Their 10 major trophies were supplemented by the 2008 Club World Cup and five Community Shields.

They scored an average of 1.94 goals per game and had a goal difference of +632 across their 578 games in all competitions.

The decade since

United have been through five permanent managers in the years since Ferguson’s departure, in addition to last season’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick and caretakers Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick.

Ferguson’s anointed successor David Moyes did not even make it through the first season of his six-year contract while Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also failed to bring sustained success.

Current boss Erik ten Hag has impressed in his first season in the role and offers hope the club are turning the corner, but their statistics in the last 10 years stand in stark contrast to Ferguson’s record.

Most glaring is the lack of a league title, with local rivals Manchester City instead chasing a sixth win in those 10 years, Chelsea winning two and one each for Leicester and Liverpool.

Mourinho’s 2016-17 season is the high water mark, with United winning both the League Cup and the Europa League. Ten Hag has already matched the former and will have the chance against City next month to emulate the FA Cup won in 2016 in fellow Dutchman Van Gaal’s last match in charge.

Even a pair of Community Shields can only lift the trophy count ahead of that final to six, and the club’s league record paints a similar picture.

They have gone from constantly battling for the title under Ferguson, and winning it half of the time, to a similar record in the battle simply to qualify for the Champions League.

Should Ten Hag’s side hold on to their top-four spot this season that will be five in 10 years, with an average position of 4.5 after finishing second twice, sixth on three occasions and once each in third, the fourth place they again occupy this season, fifth and seventh.

They have averaged 68.2 points over the nine completed seasons, 16 fewer than in Ferguson’s last decade. With 66 this season and three games remaining, they are at least on course to improve on that mark.

They have won 52 per cent of league games, rising to 55 per cent across all competitions, scored 1.68 goals per game and have a goal difference of +381 in 559 games.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden reign at Manchester United was illuminated by his often fiery rhetoric.

From withering put-downs to sparkling praise, the Scot produced many an apposite phrase and created a catalogue of memorable quotes.

Ten years on from his final match at the helm (May 19, 2013), the PA news agency takes a look at some of the most notable.

On challenging times

“My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that.”

On Manchester City’s emergence as a Premier League force

“There has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and, with the spending they have done, they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can’t do anything about them.”

On Jose Mourinho

“He was certainly full of it, calling me ‘Boss’ and ‘Big Man’ when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.”

On Arsene Wenger

“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”

On Rafael Benitez

“I think he is very concerned about his CV. He refers to it quite a lot.”

On his bust-up with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

“The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy.”

On the incident which saw former midfielder David Beckham struck on the head by a flying boot

“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!”

On the mind games employed by Italian teams

“When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.”

On seeing Ryan Giggs as a schoolboy

“I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.”

On Wayne Rooney’s decision to sign a new contract

“Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it’s a better cow than the one you’ve got in the field.”

On Real Madrid’s hopes of signing Cristiano Ronaldo

“Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.”

On United’s dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 1999

“Football, bloody hell.”

On retirement

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.”

On handling star players

“Superstars with egos are not the problem some people may think. They need to be winners, because that massages their egos, so they will do what it takes to win. I used to see Ronaldo, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes… practising for hours. They realised that being a Manchester United player is not an easy job.”

On his football philosophy

“Fear has to come into it. But you can be too hard; if players are fearful all the time, they won’t perform well. You play different roles at different times. Sometimes you have to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a father.”

On his supposed influence with referees

“This is a guy who has the worst record of any manager in the history of English football, fined £100,000 by them, suspended so many times. That’s some influence, I must say. It’s a little bit Walter Mitty.”

On the England manager’s job

“I don’t think the manager’s job with England is a good one. I think it’s a horrible job.”

On turning down the England job

“It took me about 10 seconds to say ‘No way’. I couldn’t manage England in a million years. Think of me going back to Scotland doing that.”

On David Beckham’s celebrity

“David is the only player I managed who chose to be famous. He thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson.”

On his recovery from a brain haemorrhage

“I knew I was alive but, on my own, I started thinking, ‘I wonder if they’re telling me the truth?’ The operation was a success, but you’re in that loneliness. It can be frightening.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is ready for the challenge a midfield overhaul will bring next season and is confident he and the team can rediscover the consistency which will allow them to close the gap to Manchester City.

Midfield is the key area which needs a refresh this summer and, with the club confirming on Wednesday the departures of veteran James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – in addition to forward Roberto Firmino – there will be some new faces for the next campaign.

Henderson will be 33 by then and entering his 13th season at the club but is relishing the competition which he may face, with Liverpool interested in Brighton’s Argentinian World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister as one of their options.

“I don’t think it’s a rebuild to be honest. I do think there will be new players coming in. A rebuild is changing an entire team – which I don’t think we will be doing,” Henderson, speaking at NHS Charities Together event at a school in Crewe, told the PA news agency.

“I think you have a lot of core players in the team that will still be there and are still in great shape to compete and be successful.

“But yes, it will need freshening up of course with players leaving and trying to improve the team.

“I am sure players will be coming in at some point to give us a boost and freshen things up a bit and hopefully put us in good position come the first game of the season.”

On what that means for him personally he added: “It’s always a challenge, especially at Liverpool, there will always be challenges for places and to play games.

“That’s the case ever since I came to the club. Come pre-season I’ll be ready for the challenge again.

“Motivation never changes really, it is always about improving and being better, individually and as a team.

“Always new challenges come along, different things will happen and you will have new challenges throughout the season.

“There is always a challenge in football to improve, to be better and that motivation always stayed the same to be successful.

“I’m confident we can reach the levels we are capable of again, definitely. We have shown that over the past six or seven games and it’s about continuing on that path from now until the end of the season and (next season) pick up where we left off hopefully.”

Henderson is an ambassador for NHS Charities Together and was at Springfield School in Crewe, which caters for four to 19-year-olds with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties, after they won a prize draw having been involved in the annual NHS Big Tea fundraiser, which this year takes place on the health service’s 75th anniversary on July 5.

The England international, who spearheaded the PlayersTogether initiative which encouraged professional footballers to donate to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic, has an affinity with the NHS after his father was treated for mouth and throat cancer.

“My dad probably wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the NHS staff, he’d say that himself,” added Henderson.

“I’ve got family members who work within the NHS and know how difficult it’s been, especially over the last few years with the pandemic.

“I’ve been doing work at different hospitals up and down the country as well and it’s been amazing to see the behind-the-scenes stuff and get to see some of the staff.”

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been suspended from football for eight months.

The England international’s punishment, which will see him banned until January, comes after he admitted 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules.

Here, the PA news agency looks at other Premier League players who have been handed lengthy bans.

Joey Barton – 13 months

In April 2017, when he was playing for Burnley, Barton was suspended by the FA for 18 months for placing bets on 1,260 matches between March 2006 and May 2013.

Soon after, with the midfielder having been released by the Clarets, that was reduced on appeal to 13 months.

Abel Xavier – 12 months

The Portugal defender received an 18 month-ban from UEFA in November 2005 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid following a match for Middlesbrough against Xanthi in the UEFA Cup.

The suspension was cut to a year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the summer of 2006 and Xavier resumed playing for Boro the following season.

Mark Bosnich – nine months

The FA gave Bosnich a nine-month suspension in April 2003 after he failed a drugs test for cocaine.

The former Australia goalkeeper was fired by Chelsea and lost his appeal against the ban.

Eric Cantona – eight months

In one of the most memorable incidents in English football, Eric Cantona kung-fu kicked a Crystal Palace supporter having just been sent off while playing for Manchester United in 1995.

The Frenchman admitted a criminal charge of assault, for which he was sentenced to community service, while also receiving a £30,000 fine and an eight-month ban by the FA.

Rio Ferdinand – eight months

In December 2003, following a two-day FA disciplinary hearing, Ferdinand was banned for eight months for missing a drugs test in September of that year.

With an appeal failing, the suspension saw the centre-back sit out the remainder of Manchester United’s season and England’s Euro 2004 campaign.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been hit with an eight-month ban after admitting breaches of betting rules.

Toney was charged by the Football Association last November for 262 alleged breaches over a four-year period.

The 27-year-old – who made his long-awaited England debut in March – admitted to 232 of the counts, with 30 having been subsequently withdrawn.

Following a personal hearing an independent regulatory commission imposed Toney’s sanctions, which included a £50,000 fine.

He will not be able to play until January 17, 2024, but can train with Brentford from September 17.

“Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity with immediate effect for eight months, which runs up to and including 16 January 2024, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for breaches of the FA’s betting rules,” an FA statement read.

“The Brentford FC forward was charged with 262 breaches of FA Rule E8 in total between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021. The FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted to the remaining 232.

“His sanctions were subsequently imposed by an independent regulatory commission following a personal hearing. He is permitted to return to training only with his club for the final four months of his suspension starting from 17 September 2023.”

The written reasons behind the decision of the independent regulatory commission are to be published “in due course” and will be reviewed by both the FA and Brentford.

The Bees chose to make no further comment and will be “considering our next steps”, which could include an appeal against the suspension.

Toney scored 20 Premier League goals for the Bees this season, but will now sit out the remaining two matches – at Tottenham and then home to leaders Manchester City – as Thomas Frank’s side look to consolidate a top-10 finish.

The loss of Toney, though, is likely to be more keenly felt at the start of the next campaign.

Speaking last December following the announcement of the FA’s charges, Frank had been questioned on what the club might do should Toney end up facing a lengthy suspension.

“We don’t have anything specific lined up if something should happen,” Frank said.

“We are always in the market, we always try to improve the squad so, of course, we are aware of players out there and we have a plan we are following, but no specific one for potentially replacing Ivan.”

James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita will all leave Liverpool when their contracts expire at the end of the season.

Milner and Firmino joined the Reds in June 2015 and both played in the 2019 Champions League final victory over Tottenham.

Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived in June 2017 and Keita the following summer, with the quartet all playing their part in the Reds’ Premier League title win in the 2019-20 campaign.

A Liverpool statement said: “We can confirm Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will leave the club upon the expiry of their contracts this summer.

“Special acknowledgements will be paid to the quartet at Anfield, with further tributes to follow at the end of the season.”

Milner, 37, has been linked with moves to Brighton and hometown club Leeds after spending eight years at Anfield.

He made his Premier League debut for Leeds aged 16 in 2002 and also had spells at Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City before joining Liverpool in 2015.

He has made 617 Premier League appearances in total, behind only Gareth Barry (652) and Ryan Giggs (632) on the all-time list.

The midfielder overtook Frank Lampard when making his 610th top-flight appearance early last month in a 0-0 draw at Chelsea.

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Liverpool signed Milner on a free transfer from City, with whom he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the League Cup during his five years at at the Etihad Stadium.

In his eight seasons with Liverpool, he won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup and made the last of his 61 appearances for England in 2016.

Firmino has scored 109 goals in all competitions for the Reds since joining from Hoffenheim, including 11 in 33 games this season.

Brentford forward Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity for eight months, the Football Association has announced.

Toney was charged by the FA in November for 262 alleged breaches of betting rules over a four-year period and has now discovered his punishment.

Bees forward Toney will be banned until January 16th and has been fined £50,000 after he admitted to 232 of the alleged breaches.

“Ivan Toney has been suspended from all football and football-related activity with immediate effect for eight months, which runs up to and including 16 January 2024, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for breaches of The FA’s Betting Rules,” an FA statement read.

“The Brentford FC forward was charged with 262 breaches of FA Rule E8 in total between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021. The FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches and he admitted to the remaining 232. “

An independent regulatory commission imposed Toney’s sanctions and he will not be allowed to train with his Brentford team-mates until September 17.

The one-cap England forward has scored 21 goals in 35 appearances for Brentford this season.

The FA statement continued: “His sanctions were subsequently imposed by an independent Regulatory Commission following a personal hearing. He is permitted to return to training only with his club for the final four months of his suspension starting from 17 September 2023.

“The independent Regulatory Commission’s written reasons for these sanctions will be published in due course, and The FA will wait to review them before commenting further.”

Roberto De Zerbi says Robert Sanchez is not currently part of Brighton’s first-team plans because the goalkeeper “wanted it this way”.

Sanchez was a surprise absentee from Albion’s matchday squad for Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League win at Arsenal and will not be involved in Thursday’s game at Newcastle.

The 25-year-old Spain international lost his starting role to Jason Steele in early March, with his future at the Amex Stadium now shrouded in uncertainty.

“With Robert, we spoke before the Arsenal game and we decided together the best solution was to stay home,” said Seagulls head coach De Zerbi.

“He decides everything. Robert decides and at the moment it’s like this. He wanted it this way, not me, not the club.”

Sanchez has been restricted to FA Cup appearances during the past three months, aside from playing in the 2-1 victory at Chelsea on April 15 when Steele was injured.

Meanwhile, De Zerbi confirmed Brighton are on the verge of completing a free transfer deal for 27-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud, who is out of contract in the summer.

“I know very well Dahoud but he’s not official at the moment,” said the Italian.

“He’s not official yet and we will speak about him later, in the next press conference.”

After a reporter said “it sounds like he’s coming”, De Zerbi replied: “Yes, because we have no secret and I like him and I would like to work with him.”

De Zerbi is eager to bolster his squad as he braces himself for some big-name departures.

Yet he is not completely resigned to losing the likes of Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, contrary to reports following the weekend win at Emirates Stadium.

“I didn’t say it like this,” he said. “I said it can be the possibility to lose some big players, like Caicedo maybe, Mac Allister, (Kaoru) Mitoma, I don’t know.

“But we are Brighton and I know the policy of my club and we have to be ready to bring in other good players with the right characteristics.”

Sixth-placed Albion require just two more wins from their remaining four fixtures to secure Europa League qualification following the stunning success over Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.

De Zerbi is balancing injury problems ahead of the long trip to St James’ Park.

He admits selection issues are causing him to lose sleep, with Joel Veltman, Adam Webster, Solly March, Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Jeremy Sarmiento remaining on the lengthy injury list.

“We can’t lose any more players for the last four games,” he said.

“We can’t take any risks and we start (with the intention) to win the game tomorrow but we have to think we have four games in 12 days.

“I’m losing sleep to decide the best first XI.”

The Seagulls received widespread plaudits for their weekend performance in north London as they emphatically bounced back from being thrashed 5-1 by relegation-threatened Everton.

De Zerbi urged his players to set aside the elation of that result and focus on future challenges and the chance to make history by claiming a European spot.

“We have to be ready to forget the last game and start with a clean head,” he said.

“We are fighting for a historic target and if we want to reach the historic target we have to make historic results.

“This year we won two times against Chelsea, we won 3-0 against Liverpool, we won 3-0 in Emirates Stadium.

“We are winning incredible games but to reach the incredible target you have to win incredible games.

“We can decide our destiny and our future but we know the way is still difficult.”

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