Declan Rice says performing on the biggest stage for England has only increased his desire to feature in the Champions League in the future, declaring: "you only get one career".

Rice has started all three of England's games at the World Cup in Qatar, helping the Three Lions top their group at the tournament for the first time since the 2006 edition in Germany. 

The West Ham midfielder has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years, and his solid international displays will have done little to reduce interest in his services. 

Asked whether his desire to reach the top of the club game had increased as a result of his time with Gareth Southgate's side, Rice said: "Yeah, 100 per cent. 

"For the last two or three years I have been saying that. I have been playing consistently well for [my] club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.

"I see my friends here who are playing in the Champions League and for big trophies. 

"You only get one career, and at the end of your career you want to look back at what you have won and the biggest games you have played in. I am really ambitious."

Rice has made seven interceptions at the World Cup so far – at least five more than any of his England team-mates, while only Jude Bellingham (18) and Luke Shaw (17) have recovered possession more often than he has for the Three Lions (14).

England take on Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday, having progressed through five of their previous seven last-16 ties at the World Cup (failing to do so against Argentina in 1998 and Germany in 2010).

Ruben Amorim has renewed his contract as Sporting CP head coach until 2026, the club announced on Tuesday.

Amorim, 37, had been linked with Premier League clubs Chelsea and Aston Villa earlier this season but no move ever materialised.

The former Portugal international moved to Sporting in 2020 after a positive spell with Braga and went on to guide the club to their first Primeira Liga title in 19 years in 2021.

Last season they finished as runners-up in Portugal's top tier, though after 13 games of the 2022-23 campaign they find themselves fourth and 12 points adrift of bitter rivals Benfica at the summit.

They also finished third in their Champions League group, subsequently dropping into the Europa League.

Nevertheless, Sporting remain committed to stability, convinced in Amorim they have one of the world's premier coaches.

"This renovation demonstrates a lot how Sporting CP works today: with discretion, efficiency and direction," president Frederico Varandas said.

"It is also a very strong sign of how today Sporting CP is a strong and stable club, with stability being the basis of all success.

"A contract of this length always obliges the people who sign it to see themselves 100 per cent in the sporting project and that there is extreme trust between both parties.

"As president of Sporting CP, I can only be very happy that we have a contract until 2026 with one of the best coaches in the world and that we will continue to make Sporting CP grow."

Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City in July 2016 with the aim of "winning games to make the fans happy and proud".

Six and a half years on from his appointment, it is fair to say the Catalan has achieved what he set out to do in that regard.

While a lack of Champions League success continues to blight his CV, Guardiola has otherwise conquered English football.

With four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup, Guardiola has won at least five major trophies more than any other City manager.

After signing a new deal on Wednesday that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 campaign, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind Pep's reign.

DOMESTIC DOMINANCE

Guardiola has managed 374 matches as City manager, winning 271 of those, drawing 49 and losing 54 for a win rate of 72.5 per cent.

Most of those games (242) have come in the Premier League, followed by the Champions League (70, inc. qualifying), FA Cup (30), EFL Cup (28) and Community Shield (4).

The 605 Premier League goals scored by City under Guardiola averages out at 2.5 per game, with less than one a game conceded over the same period.

It is in the EFL Cup that Guardiola boasts his highest win percentage (75 per cent), having won 21 of the 28 matches he has managed in that competition, losing just twice.

 

PEP OUTDOING FERGIE

Unsurprisingly given City have won the title in four of his six seasons, no manager – not even Manchester United great Alex Ferguson – can better Guardiola's win rate.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won 74 per cent of his games in the competition, with Ferguson, who managed 810 matches, next best on 65.2 per cent.

Among those to have taken charge of at least 20 games, Antonio Conte (65.7 per cent), Jurgen Klopp (63.2) and ex-City boss Roberto Mancini (61.7) make up the top five.

With four English top-flight titles, Guardiola needs one more to overtake Kenny Dalglish, though he has a long way to go to catch up with Ferguson, who won 13-such crowns.


PREM'S TOP DOGS

Guardiola is one of 119 managers to have taken charge of at least 50 Premier League matches, and he leads the way in a number of the top metrics.

He boasts the most points per game on average (2.4), the highest win percentage (74), most goals per game (2.5) and the fewest goals conceded (0.8).

That is reflected in an accumulated Premier League table across his six and a half seasons at the helm, which has City on 568 points – 38 more than next-best Liverpool.

Chelsea and their various managers have accrued the next highest number of points since the start of the 2016-17 season with 463, followed by Tottenham on 455.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEXT?

For all of Guardiola's undoubted success on the domestic stage, though, he has been unable to add to the two Champions League trophies lifted while managing Barcelona.

Guardiola has won 44 of his 68 games in the competition for a win rate of 65 per cent, a return only Hansi Flick can better (89 per cent) from his short spell at Bayern.

However, his side have repeatedly fallen short on the continent, with their run to the final in the 2020-21 season – when defeated by Chelsea – the best they have managed.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies," Guardiola said upon signing his new contract.

On course for yet another Premier League triumph, albeit with a five-point gap to make up on Arsenal, conquering Europe again is now the undoubted main aim for Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola's wildly successful reign as Manchester City manager is set to continue until 2025 after he agreed a two-year contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.

Since swapping Bayern Munich for the Premier League in 2016, Guardiola has enjoyed incredible success, winning four league titles, as many EFL Cups and the FA Cup.

However, not everything has gone to plan for Guardiola in the past six years, and his desire to end a long wait for continental glory was likely a key factor in his decision to stay with the club.

Guardiola has undoubtedly enjoyed more highs than lows during his time with City, but there have been a few bumps in the road along the way.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look back at Guardiola's major triumphs with the Citizens, as well as some of his rare failures.

Low: An underwhelming start, 2016-17 

When Guardiola agreed to take the reigns at City in 2016, hopes were high that he would make an immediate impact – his three years at Bayern had seen him deliver three Bundesliga titles, posting two of the club's three highest points tallies in their history (90 in 2013-14, 88 in 2015-16). 

However, Guardiola's focus on instilling his possession-based style attracted criticism from some, particularly when he opted to replace two-time Premier League winner Joe Hart with the more cultured if erratic Claudio Bravo.

City racked up 78 points as they finished third in 2016-17, an improvement of one place and 12 points on Manuel Pellegrini's final campaign in charge, but more was expected from the former Barcelona coach.

In a sign of things to come, City saved their most disappointing display for the Champions League, exiting on away goals after a wild 6-6 aggregate draw with Monaco in the last 16.

High: City's centurions, 2017-18 

If Guardiola's first season with City was largely forgettable, his second campaign at the helm was memorable for all the right reasons.

Most points (100), most away points (50), most wins (32), most consecutive victories (18) and best goal difference (+76) were among the Premier League records City claimed during an incredible season.

Buoyed by the signings of future stalwarts Kyle Walker, Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte, City ultimately finished some 19 points clear of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.

Guardiola did not even have to wait until May to get his hands on silverware, leading City to an EFL Cup final thrashing of Arsenal in February 2018.

Low: Champions League final heartache, 2021

The main criticism levelled at Guardiola throughout recent years has been his failure to win the Champions League since leaving Camp Nou in 2012.

City's nearest miss to date came in Porto in May 2021, as Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea produced a defensive masterclass to frustrate the Premier League champions en route to a 1-0 win. 

Kai Havertz's goal handed the Blues their second European crown at the Estadio do Dragao, but one of the defining images was that of Kevin De Bruyne leaving the field in tears following a heavy collision with Antonio Rudiger.

The defeat was Guardiola's first in a final with City, and just the second major final loss of his entire coaching career – after a 2011 Copa del Rey reverse to Real Madrid.

High: Domestic cup dominance, 2018-2022

While Guardiola's success is best measured in league titles, City have made several superb memories by dominating the cup competitions under his management.

Under Guardiola, City have captured the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times – for context, the club had only won the latter competition three times in their history before his arrival.

Guardiola's lone FA Cup triumph – sealed with a 6-0 final win over Watford in 2019 – made City the first English team to lift both domestic cups and the top-flight title in the same season.

Their rout of the Hornets also represented the biggest margin of victory in an FA Cup final since Bury beat Derby County 6-0 in 1903.

Low: Collapse at the Bernabeu, 2022

The final defeat in 2021 may be the closest Guardiola's City have come to European glory, but last season's collapse against Real Madrid was undoubtedly their most painful failure in the competition.

Holding a 5-3 aggregate lead over Madrid as the second leg entered stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu in May, it seemed impossible for City to fall short of a place in the final.

However, Rodrygo's incredible last-gasp brace was followed by an extra-time penalty from Karim Benzema, teeing Madrid up to claim their 14th European crown later that month.

The result handed Guardiola his sixth semi-final elimination from the Champions League – the joint-most of any coach, alongside Jose Mourinho.

High: Edging out Klopp's Reds, 2018-19 and 2021-22

All great teams need a great rival, and in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Guardiola's City have certainly had one.

Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, City have amassed an incredible tally of 568 Premier League points, putting them 38 clear of Liverpool's own impressive total.

The closest title battles between the duo came in the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons, with City edging out the Reds by just a single point on the final day of both campaigns.

Two of Guardiola's four league titles have thus come at the end of close-run races with Liverpool, helping him become the most decorated manager in City's history with nine major trophies.

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Rangers have sacked manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst after falling off the pace in the Scottish Premiership title race.

Van Bronckhorst joined Rangers last November following Steven Gerrard's move to Aston Villa, leading them to a Scottish Cup triumph and a Europa League final - where they were beaten by Eintracht Frankfurt - last term.

However, Van Bronckhorst was unable to inspire consistency in the Scottish Premiership, with Rangers finishing last season four points behind Celtic and entering the World Cup break nine adrift of their Old Firm rivals.

Rangers also endured a chastening Champions League campaign this term, becoming the first Scottish team to lose all six of their group-stage games in the competition.

Van Bronckhorst's team conceded 22 goals across those matches, which included a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool and a 4-0 defeat at Ajax.

In a statement on Rangers' website on Monday, chairman Douglas Park said: "I want to thank Gio for the hard work he has put in over the last 12 months and, especially the achievements of taking the club to the Europa League final and winning the Scottish Cup last season.

"Unfortunately, recent results have not met neither our nor Gio’s expectations, and we have taken this difficult decision today. Everyone at Rangers wishes Gio every success in the future."

With the Scottish Premiership campaign on hold for the World Cup in Qatar, Rangers have over three weeks to find a replacement before they host Hibernian on December 15.

Ligue 1 referee Johan Hamel has died at the age of 42.

The French Referees' Union confirmed Hamel's passing in a statement on their official website on Wednesday.

Hamel had officiated in the French top flight for more than a decade and made his Champions League debut as fourth official in Real Madrid's win over Celtic earlier this month.

One of the most respected referees in France, Hamel's final match in the middle was Lille's 1-1 draw with Rennes on November 6.

He was also fourth official for PSG's 5-0 win over Auxerre at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which oversees the major leagues in French football, also sent their condolences.

Hamel's death comes two years after the passing of fellow French referee Sebastien Desiage at the age of 46 following a battle with illness.

LFP president Vincent Labrune said: "Johan Hamel was an experienced referee who had worked for many seasons in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. His sudden death is a terrible shock. 

"Two years after the loss of Sebastien Desiage, his death again mourns French arbitration.

"In the name of all professional football, I send my condolences to Johan's family and loved ones, as well as to SAFE and the FFF."

Former Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill has announced his retirement from football.

Cahill made 22 Championship appearances for Bournemouth last season, but the last of those came in January and he was released following their promotion to the Premier League in May.

Having made his name during spells with Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, Cahill enjoyed a successful seven-year stint with Chelsea, making 191 Premier League appearances for the Blues.

Cahill won eight major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, including two Premier League titles and the Champions League – starting in Chelsea's final win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Cahill wrote: "Football is a game that has given me so much enjoyment and success and as I make the decision to hang up my boots, I can honestly say I gave it everything I had.

"I've achieved things I once dreamt of, creating some incredible memories. From amazing highs like winning the Champions League and Premier League, to the privilege of captaining my country and Chelsea in an FA Cup-winning team.

"I've had time to consider my options and after much deliberation and reflection, I feel now is the time to move on to the next stage of my career.

"Football will always be part of who I am and what I love, so this is just the end of this chapter. For me, it's important to look forwards, not backwards, as a new chapter in my life begins."

Cahill won a total of 61 senior caps for England during his career, and appeared for the Three Lions at World Cups in 2014 and 2018, as well as at Euro 2016.

Speaking to Sky Sports after announcing his retirement, the 36-year-old revealed he received several offers to continue playing this campaign, but had opted to prioritise family matters.

"Obviously, it's been a tough decision in some aspects but I think I just knew the journey had to come to an end at some stage - I just got the feeling that now is the right time," Cahill said.

"I did have options. I could have played in the Premier League with one side, and I had a couple of options in the Championship which is flattering, to still get the offers.

"But at the moment, as well as my career, my kids are settled at school and it would've meant moving again."

Mauricio Pochettino believes he offered Paris Saint-Germain stability but the challenge proved a step too far after having to appease "too much greatness" within his squad.

PSG brought in Lionel Messi in August 2021, along with Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, to join forces with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

A plethora of world-class talent was expected to help Pochettino's side to European glory, though they instead crashed out of the 2021-22 Champions League after a dramatic last-16 clash with eventual winners Real Madrid.

Pochettino and PSG subsequently parted ways in July 2022, with Christophe Galtier his replacement, and the Argentine has said balancing an abundance of superstar footballers was the greatest difficulty.

"You need to adapt constantly because there was too much greatness," Pochettino told Spanish outlet Relevo.

"For Barcelona to have Messi or for Madrid to count on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be number one, there can be confusion.

"In the end, when you play, it's 11 players with only one ball. There was a penalty and who takes it? It's not even the manager's decision.

"Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff's] was that of being people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give each person what they needed.

"The thing is each one needed something different with their circumstances, depending on how they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms, and so on.

"We gave cause for there to be certain stability at PSG this year and for the same pieces to be maintained."

PSG's recruitment has come under scrutiny in recent years, with their desire to assemble world football's biggest names coming at the detriment of both player happiness and defensive stability.

Mbappe's time at PSG with Pochettino was filled with transfer speculation, the forward signing a bumper three-year extension after it appeared increasingly likely he would wait for a move to Madrid.

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino suggested he did not even know Mbappe was going to sign fresh terms just hours before PSG announced the news.

"They asked me in a news conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had a year left on his contract," he added.

"[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] said that thing about how managers can't say the truth.

"Kylian was always calm, he always told me that he hadn't taken a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He told me: 'Mister, I haven't taken the decision.' I insisted: 'But tell me if you've signed, it can stay a secret.' 'Mister, I haven't signed anything,' he replied. 'Are you going to stay?' 'I don't know.' 'Are you going to leave?' 'I don't know.'

"And like that until the end. I don't know what happened afterwards, I only found out a few hours before the announcement was made at the final match [of the season]."

Lionel Messi has joked that Pep Guardiola "did football a lot of harm" with his revolutionary approach at Barcelona, describing the now-Manchester City boss as the best coach he has worked with.

Guardiola led Barca to 14 major trophies during an incredible four-year spell with the club between 2008 and 2012, including three league titles and two Champions Leagues.

In the decade since Guardiola left Camp Nou, Messi has only lifted Europe's foremost club prize on one occasion (in the 2014-15 season), while the City boss has yet to repeat his continental heroics with Barca.

However, Messi is in no doubt as to Guardiola's place as the best coach he has worked with and believes others' desire to emulate him damaged the game.

Asked by Movistar whether Guardiola is the best coach he has played under, Messi said: "Without a doubt. 

"He has something special, above all how he watched and prepared for matches and how he communicates, because of how he transmitted it to you.

"Guardiola did football a lot of harm, because he made it look so easy and so simple that everyone wanted to copy him. 

"Later I found many 'Guardiolas' out there, and you realise what we did and what that was."

Messi warmed up for his fifth World Cup campaign with Argentina by starting Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 thrashing of Auxerre on Sunday, having recovered after suffering from inflammation in his Achilles tendon last week.

Robert Lewandowski expected Barcelona "would not win everything" in his first season as he called for patience with the rebuild at Camp Nou.

Xavi's side head into the World Cup break two points clear of Real Madrid at the LaLiga summit but crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages for the second season in a row.

Having brought in the likes of Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde alongside a host of high-profile free transfers, their European failures have placed some scrutiny on Blaugrana coach Xavi.

But Lewandowski suggested it was always going to take time for Barca to regain their Spanish and European dominance, owing to the transformative period the Blaugrana are going through.

"I knew that in my first season at Barcelona, we were not going to win everything," he told Marca. "This team is still being rebuilt, and it needs time, this is part of the process.

"We should be playing the next round of the Champions League, but we have learnt a lot, especially because we have a lot of young players.

"We made a few mistakes and at this level, you must always be ready. It doesn't matter how you do it, you need to learn how to win."

Despite falling out of the Champions League, Lewandowski says the marked improvements with Xavi's side are already noticeable.

"I think that even in a few months, you can see the progress we've made at Barcelona," he continued. "At the beginning of next year, we can show our better performances, and we can grow up as a team.

"Even next season will be much better, and we'll have more stability. In football, you can win a lot in a short amount of time. We've had a lot of injuries and as a result we lost a lot of stability. 

"In that sense, we haven't had much luck. In just a few weeks we lost a lot of players. Then, when you consider we also had to play a new system with a new set of players, it made things even more difficult.

"But now we've learnt from this and now we can move forward."

The 33-year-old scored 50 goals across all competitions last season, the most across Europe's top five leagues, as Bayern Munich lifted their 10th Bundesliga title in a row.

Lewandowski also broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in a single season in the 2020-21 campaign, while his 43 league goals in 2021 serve as the record for a calendar year in Germany's top tier.

Having accumulated 344 goals and 57 assists across 375 appearances in all competitions for Bayern, Lewandowski says he left Julian Nagelsmann's side as he needed a new challenge.

"It was a very tough decision but I knew it was the right moment for me to leave. At Bayern, I had everything under control and I was in my comfort zone," he added. 

"But, in my head, I knew it was my team to leave, I wanted to play a long career and continue to be happy.

"When I started to talk to Barca, I knew for my personal and footballing life, the best decision was to move to Barcelona to play in LaLiga. It was always my dream to play in La Liga.

"Also, I didn't want to play my entire life just in one league and that was another reason, even after I won everything at Bayern.

"I will always be proud and grateful for that, but my head was clear, and I wanted to move on to Barcelona. I have a new happiness now."

Barcelona would receive a €1billion bonus for being one of the Super League's founders, club president Joan Laporta has revealed.

Laporta also believes the competition would resemble a "much-improved Champions League".

Nine of the Super League's 12 founding clubs withdrew their support in the face of public and media pressure following a botched launch last year, though three clubs have advocated a revival of the competition.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have all been vocal in their support for the project, with a new format reportedly being drawn up by A22 Sports' chief executive Bernd Reichart.

Having organised a meeting with Reichart earlier this week, UEFA hit out at the "greedy plan" of the Super League's backers, accusing them of jeopardising the future of football.

However, Laporta – who has spent his second spell as Barca president battling a financial crisis at Camp Nou – feels the competition would offer his club several benefits.

"From the outset, for the founding clubs, there is an initial bonus of €1bn, and per season, we could get about €300m annually in this competition," Laporta told Sport.

"In addition, the key to the Super League is that the clubs will have governance. UEFA will obviously be at the governance table, but the clubs will have the majority.

"The Super League is a great opportunity. But you can only win through dialogue. What the Super League aims to do is improve football. 

"It fights for the sustainability of football, so that the clubs come out of ruin, so that the clubs can be more and more competitive and have more resources. 

"The Super League will end up as a much-improved Champions League, which will be based on meritocracy, that is, it will be open, without club discrimination, but with guarantees and rules that will allow clubs to have more resources. 

"Super League chief executive Bernd Reichart met last Tuesday with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin in a very important step forward."

Despite their economic troubles, Barca embarked on a significant spending spree in the last transfer window, acquiring the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.

While the Blaugrana were criticised for gambling the club's future after selling shares in their future television rights and in-house production company to fund those deals, Laporta says they will look for opportunities to strengthen again in January.

"The economic levers have helped to save the club from bankruptcy and to build a competitive team," Laporta said. 

"But the hole was so big that we still have an operating deficit of €200m annually, as a result mainly of the enormous expenses that we have, especially with the wage bill.

"To sign in winter, we would have to incorporate players that improve what we already have. It's not easy, especially considering that we continue to have fair play problems due to our elimination from the Champions League, which has reduced our budgeted income.

"LaLiga has already warned us that we will have less capacity to sign. We will try to reverse it by negotiating with LaLiga to reconsider its interpretation [of the rules] and achieve new income with victories in the Europa League or the Supercopa de Espana. Even with some friendly matches during the World Cup."

Mauricio Pochettino wants his next coaching job to be with a club capable of winning the Champions League after his experience of working with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain.

Pochettino departed PSG in July, having won the Ligue 1 title last season having failed to recover their title bid the previous year.

The former Tottenham boss paid the price for another lacklustre campaign in Europe, however, with his star-studded squad eliminated by Real Madrid across a dramatic last-16 encounter.

Pochettino has been out of work since despite offers, and he has now outlined exactly what he is looking for in a new project.

"Talking about projects in football is very difficult," he reflected. "There are [a] few lucky ones who can be involved in a project in the medium or long term.

"[But] there is more and more demand and less patience in the clubs. The main objective is to win and at the same time create a structure that gives you a livelihood to maintain it.

"After being at a club with Mbappe, Messi, Neymar, it is normal that I would seek to maintain that level. A club that gives the chance to aim for the biggest, like winning the Champions League [would be ideal]."

On countryman Messi, who is likely to have his final shot at winning a World Cup with Argentina at Qatar 2022 later this month, Pochettino feels his narrative helps La Albiceleste sit among the favourites.

"You always have to count on Argentina," he added."[But there is also] Brazil, [and] I would include England, France, Spain and Germany.

"Argentina is more favoured than four years ago, especially having won the Copa America. When you have Messi, and everyone understands they have to play for him, dreams can come true."

Success for Messi would see him follow Diego Maradona – another of the sport's all-time greats – in leading Argentina to glory.

Pochettino would not be drawn into any discussion around how the two compare as players, as he added: "For me, that debate never existed.

"They are the best in their respective contexts. How do we measure it?

"According to results? If he won the World Cup? Ballon d'Or? Both are in the same place, and it is in the first position."

UEFA has hit out at the "greedy plan" to revive the Super League following Tuesday's meeting with the competition's backers A22 Sports, accusing them of jeopardising the future of football.

It was revealed last month that Bernd Reichart was heading up plans for a revival of the Super League, which retains the support of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus following a failed launch in April 2021.

On Tuesday, UEFA announced it had reaffirmed its opposition to the Super League project at a meeting requested by A22, which was attended by several big-name executives including Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn.

However, European football's governing body was infuriated by a subsequent statement from A22, accusing UEFA of seeking to preserve the "status quo" and possessing a monopoly over continental competitions.

UEFA then released a second statement of its own, saying A22 had disrespected football's organisers and possessed no concrete plans for a new Super League format. 

"A22 Sports Management has published an account of their visit to UEFA Headquarters in Nyon today. UEFA is currently checking the recording to see if they are talking about the same meeting," the statement began.

"The 'other executives' they refer to were not faceless bureaucrats but senior stakeholders from across European football; players, clubs, leagues and fans, people who live and breathe the game every day. To fail to recognise that is disrespectful.

"If there is a 'takeaway' from today, it should be that the whole of European football opposes their greedy plan, as was clearly communicated in our media release. 

"European football has constantly demonstrated its openness to change, but it must be for the benefit of the whole game, not just a few clubs.

"A22 wanted dialogue, so we gave them two-and-a-half hours of time from all of the game's stakeholders, and each one rejected their approach. 

"As the Football Supporters' Association said, the UK has had as many Prime Ministers in the last two months as they have supporters of their plans.

"They claim not to represent the three remaining clubs. They refuse to define what their alleged new approach is. They claim to want dialogue. But when presented with the chance, they have nothing to say.

"The time for real dialogue is tomorrow, when the Convention on the Future of European Football reconvenes here in Nyon. 

"National associations, clubs, leagues, coaches, players, fans, agents and administrators will gather to discuss the real issues facing the game, not to spend time indulging bankers and marketing executives on ideas that put the future of the world's favourite game in jeopardy."

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