Javier Tebas slammed the "ignorance" of The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales for living "in another world" in regards to the proposed European Super League.

Outspoken LaLiga boss Tebas has been a vociferous critic of the new Super League plans, a competition featuring 60 to 80 teams spread across several divisions, which guarantees clubs 14 games per season.

The new Super League proposals came almost two years after 12 clubs, including LaLiga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, attempted to form a breakaway competition.

Rubiales seemingly infuriated Tebas by suggesting to the Europa Press the latter was the "best ambassador for the European Super League".

Tebas wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "The president of the RFEF lives in another world, and shows his ignorance in economic data, television and such.

"By the way, in UEFA, they do not think the same as he does in his statement."

Tebas refuted claims Spanish football will be unable to compete with England's Premier League, referencing a "sustainable" model LaLiga clubs are operating under.

"LaLiga does not compete with the [Premier] League for a commercial issue," Tebas added. "It is a losing league. It is losing billions of pounds a year and that is how it is financing its transfers. 

"Our big clubs with television rights are totally competitive with the English, where they are not with losses. And here we have decided on a sustainable football that we are not going to lose.

"TV audiences go up, stadiums are filled, losses are controlled, but Rubiales' analysis is that LaLiga should follow the example of competitions ruined by the RFEF and a streamers event [the Gerard Pique-backed Kings League], in which they disguise themselves as clowns. I don't get that out of my amazement.

"We are always open to listening and learning, but if the one who tries to give us lessons is a ruinous manager who also lies, then you have to go to the data."

The RFEF swiftly responded to Tebas' series of messages, insisting the governing body has developing Spanish football at the forefront of its aims.

"We make proposals with respect and education," the RFEF posted on Twitter. 

"We denounce the falsehoods that, no matter how much the president of the League repeats them, are not true. We remain open to collaborating to make Spanish football better."

Kingsley Coman netted another vital Champions League goal against his former club Paris Saint-Germain as Bayern Munich claimed a 1-0 lead from the away leg of their last-16 tie.

Paris-born Coman scored the only goal when Bayern beat PSG in the final three years ago, and he repeated the trick at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The first-leg victory was no more than Bayern deserved, and the Bundesliga giants will hope they do not pay the price for winning by just the one goal against a PSG side who played without Kylian Mbappe until the 57th minute.

Mbappe, returning from injury, was introduced soon after Coman's goal and could not inspire a turnaround – seeing a late equaliser disallowed – but his involvement in the return match in Germany could yet be decisive.

Without Mbappe from the outset, PSG were completely outclassed, albeit Coman's strike early in the second half was their first clear-cut opportunity.

The winger's finish from substitute Alphonso Davies' cross was close to Gianluigi Donnarumma, but it crept beneath the goalkeeper, who still has not kept a clean sheet in the Champions League this season.

Mbappe's introduction did little to slow Bayern, and Donnarumma was far more impressive in keeping PSG in the tie, making instinctive stops from Eric Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard.

Finally, with 17 minutes to play, Mbappe got in at the other end, but Yann Sommer blocked bravely, and the PSG forward was still in an offside position when Neymar's subsequent shot was spilled at his feet.

That was a straightforward call for the linesman, but the VAR was required when Nuno Mendes dashed in behind and squared for Mbappe to score. The celebrations were cut short as replays showed the left-back had strayed offside.

Although Pavard was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time, Bayern have control heading back to Bavaria.

CONCACAF has announced that its council has approved a new competition format for the region’s men’s and women’s youth tournaments starting in April 2023.

The new competition format, created following an extensive analysis of the current format, includes three rounds – qualifying stage, group stage, and knockout stage – and will improve development by increasing the number of matches in the qualifying rounds, as well as producing more competitive and exciting matchups in the Championship stage.

The new format increases the total number of matches for CONCACAF Men’s and Women’s youth teams by at least 20%.

Teams that advance from the qualifying stage are now guaranteed multiple matches against the region’s top ranked nations

“This new CONCACAF youth competitions format reflects our football first philosophy and our commitment to delivering more competition for all of our Member Associations,” said CONCACAF General Secretary, Philippe Moggio.

“We know that the best way for players to develop is to play and compete in official matches and tournaments. This format will provide more opportunities for all of our federations and their young players to shine on the regional and global stage,” added Moggio.

Men’s Under-17 and Under-20 competitions will commence with a six group Qualifying Stage played amongst teams ranked between 7 and 41, according to the relevant Concacaf Rankings. The number of teams per group may vary depending on the number of participating teams.

The Qualifying Stage will be played in a round robin format, with each team playing one match against each of the other teams in the same group. After round robin play, the six group winners will advance to a centralized Group Stage.

The Group Stage will be composed of three groups of four teams each (12 teams in total). This will include the six top-ranked teams (pre-seeded into this round) and the six group winners of the Qualifying stage. After round robin play, the top two teams of each group and the two best third places will advance to the Quarterfinals (eight teams). 

The knockout stage – quarterfinals, semi-finals, and final - will be played in a single match direct elimination format, with the semi-finalists (four teams) qualifying for the respective youth FIFA World Cup. 

Furthermore, for every other edition of the Men’s U-20 tournament, the finalists (two teams) will qualify for the Summer Olympics Men’s Football Tournament. 

Women’s Under-17 and Under-20 competition will commence with a six group Qualifying Stage played amongst teams ranked between 3 and 41, according to the respective Concacaf Rankings. The number of teams per group may vary depending on the number of participating teams. 

The Qualifying Stage will also be played in a round robin format and the six group winners will advance to a centralized Group Stage. 

The Group Stage will be composed of two groups of four teams each (eight teams in total).

This will include the two top-ranked teams (pre-seeded into this round) and the six group winners of the Qualifying stage. After round robin play, the top two teams of each group will advance to the semi-finals (four teams). 

The knockout stage – semi-finals, third place match, and final - will be played in a single match direct elimination format, with the finalists (two teams) and the third place match winner (one team) qualifying for the respective youth FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

The 2023 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship will be the first competition to feature this new format.

 

Austin FC have tied Sebastian Driussi down to a long-term contract ahead of the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Driussi joined Austin from Zenit in 2021 and has scored 30 goals and set up a further 12 in 54 MLS appearances.

He finished second behind Nashville SC's Hany Mukhtar in the MLS MVP, having netted 25 goals last season.

Leeds United were among the teams linked with Driussi in January, but Austin have secured their talisman's future ahead of the start of the new campaign, which they start against St Louis SC on February 25.

"I'm delighted to sign a new contract with Austin FC," Driussi said.

"This club and community have made Austin feel like home for my family and me. I have big ambitions here both personally and for the team, and I'm excited to work with my team-mates, [coach] Josh [Wolff] and the staff to achieve them."

On the back of Driussi's outstanding form, Austin reached the Western Conference Final in the MLS Cup playoffs last season, but lost 3-0 to eventual champions Los Angeles FC.

They finished second in the West in their second season in MLS.

Edin Terzic has not discussed the future with Jude Bellingham and is focusing on improving the midfielder – along with Borussia Dortmund's latest 'next big thing' in Jamie Bynoe-Gittens.

Bellingham is set to be the most sought-after player in Europe when the transfer window opens at the end of the season.

Liverpool have been widely linked with the England international but are set to face competition from rivals in the Premier League and Champions League.

Dortmund have not given up hope of keeping Bellingham, sporting director Sebastian Kehl said this week, but that is not head coach Terzic's concern.

"He still has a long-term contract with us, and I never spoke about that with him," Terzic told The Telegraph.

"The only thing we talk about is improving his performance and to try to push him to find his limits. The rest – there will always be rumours, especially if you are a young, talented English player not playing in England."

Terzic is not yet sure of that limit – "he can achieve everything if he stays hungry," the coach added – but he is confident Bellingham will not be the last young player to trust Dortmund with his development.

Indeed, Bynoe-Gittens, another English teenager, left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2020 and broke into the BVB first team at the end of last season.

This season, winger Bynoe-Gittens has played just 281 Bundesliga minutes, but he has scored three goals – all as a substitute – and provided five secondary assists in that time.

Dortmund sit just three points behind leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, and they come up against Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"We have to produce the next big thing," Terzic said. "It's our way, and you see it started with Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic, who stepped into this role, and then we created our own chain reaction.

"When you are ready to sign Jadon Sancho, he sees that Ousmane Dembele had a great time at the club. Then it makes it a bit easier to sign Erling Haaland.

"If you have Erling, you sign Jude, and if you have Jude, it's easier to sign Jamie."

Terzic is comfortable discussing Bynoe-Gittens in that company, adding of the 18-year-old: "Every time he's on the pitch, he's capable of making the difference, and at 18, it's something special to do that.

"We are sure he's going to be the next one we enjoy on the pitch."

FIFA has awarded the next Club World Cup to Saudi Arabia, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The tournament will be staged in the Middle East country from December 12 to 22 of this year, retaining its current seven-team format.

World football's governing body said the Saudi Arabian Football Federation was "unanimously appointed" to host the event by the FIFA council, which consists of members from all regional confederations.

Saudi Arabia has pushed to be recognised as a nation that stages standout sporting events, and it may bid to stage the 2030 World Cup.

A World Cup proposal from Saudi Arabia in tandem with Egypt and Greece has been mooted in reports, and intentions to bid have confirmed been already from Morocco, a Spain-Portugal-Ukraine alliance, plus a South American offering from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.

FIFA is due to announce the 2030 World Cup hosts next year, with the Club World Cup giving Saudi Arabia a platform on which to showcase its capabilities.

It will feature Champions League winners from across FIFA's confederations, plus the Copa Libertadores champions and the Saudi league title holders. Real Madrid won the most recent edition, beating Al Hilal 5-3 in Sunday's final in Morocco.

Human rights groups have accused Saudi Arabia of using major events as means to 'sportswash' its international reputation, with the country having heavily invested to secure events in sports such as golf and boxing.

There was also strong criticism expressed when it was claimed the Visit Saudi tourism authority was set to be a major sponsor of FIFA's Women's World Cup this year, staged by Australia and New Zealand.

Saudi Arabia has been cited by critics as having poor records in terms of rights for women and the LGBTQ community.

The next men's World Cup, in 2026, sees the United States, Mexico and Canada serve as co-hosts, and FIFA has confirmed all three nations will qualify automatically for the finals, as expected.

FIFA said that was decided "in line with the long-standing tradition of having all hosts competing at the FIFA World Cup, as well as sporting and operational considerations".

It means there will be only three, rather than six, slots available to teams taking part in CONCACAF qualifying for the 48-team finals.

Carlo Ancelotti has been getting teased by his Brazilian players at Real Madrid about stories linking him with their national team.

Reports have suggested that Ancelotti is in line to become Brazil's head coach as the replacement for Tite, who left his role after the Selecao's exit at the 2022 World Cup in the quarter-final stage to Croatia.

At a press conference ahead of Wednesday's LaLiga match against Elche, the Madrid boss was asked if the trio of Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Rodrygo have mentioned the rumours.

"They joke about it," the Italian replied. "They laugh about it, but we haven't talked about it. We're friends, they laugh.

"They're jokes. But the reality is different. I have a contract [at Madrid] until 2024."

The three Brazilians have been key to Madrid's success under Ancelotti in recent years, but it was not enough for Vinicius to be named in FIFA's FIFPro Men's Team of the Year 26-player shortlist for 2022.

The shortlist was revealed on Monday, with Vinicius' name surprisingly absent despite winning LaLiga and scoring the only goal of the Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris.

The 22-year-old scored 20 goals and recorded 14 assists in 49 games for Los Blancos in 2022, and Ancelotti has been left confused by his omission from a selection of seven forwards that included his Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among others.

"Vinicius not being there seems strange," he said. "I think they've made a mistake."

Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago were beaten by Canada and the USA, respectively, at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship at Estadio Pensativo in Guatemala on Monday.  

The early game saw one-time runners up Canada secure a comfortable 2-0 win over the Bajans.

Liam Mackenzie opener the scoring for the Canadians in the 21st minute before Alessandro Biello doubled their lead seven minutes later.

Later at the same venue, Trinidad & Tobago were beaten 1-3 three-time champions, the United States.

The game was effectively over before the 30 minute-mark as Micah Burton in the 11th minute, Paulo Rudisill in the 14th minute and Taha Habroune in the 24th minute gave the Americans a 3-0 lead heading into the half-time interval.

The Trinidadians got a consolation goal through Derrel Garcia in the 78th minute.

All four teams will be back in action on Wednesday as Trinidad & Tobago will face Barbados before the Americans and the Canadians do battle.

Valencia have hired club great Ruben Baraja as their new head coach following the dismissal of Gennaro Gattuso.

Former Milan and Napoli boss Gattuso was removed from his post on January 30 after presiding over just 18 LaLiga games with embattled Los Che.

Gattuso left with Valencia – who finished ninth last term – 14th in the table, and three successive defeats since under the guidance of regular caretaker coach Voro have seen them slide into the relegation zone.

Traditionally one of Spain's biggest clubs, Valencia are now potentially facing the prospect of dropping out of LaLiga for the first time since the 1980s – their single campaign in the Segunda during the 1986-87 season is the only year they have spent outside the top-flight since the early 1930s.

Valencia had briefly looked to be enjoying a resurgence under Marcelino Garcia Toral, who led them to Copa del Rey success and back-to-back fourth-place finishes between July 2017 and September 2019.

But he and sporting director Mateu Alemany, now in charge of transfers at Barcelona, were both sacked for criticising the club's deeply unpopular owner Peter Lim.

Baraja will be the fifth permanent head coach since Marcelino's exit three and a half years ago.

The former Spain international was a key part of the Valencia team during one of the most successful periods in their history.

He helped them to LaLiga success in 2001-02 and 2003-04, a UEFA Cup in 2003-04, the 2004 European Super Cup and the Copa del Rey in 2007-08. He retired in 2010 after a decade at the club.

Baraja returned to Valencia three years later as a youth coach and also worked with the reserves before setting out on his own, but he has had minimal success as a head coach.

All of his previous jobs have been in the Segunda, and with no team has he lasted more than a year.

He almost led Sporting Gijon to LaLiga during the 2017-18 campaign, only to fall during the play-offs – he left a few months later after presiding over only three wins in 14 games at the start of the 2018-19 season.

Baraja was most recently in charge of Real Zaragoza in 2020 but was sacked after less than three months at the helm.

He returns to Valencia amid the backdrop of fan protests against Lim, with thousands of supporters staging a demonstration prior to Saturday's home defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Lim rescued Valencia from financial ruin and administration, but supporters feel he has mismanaged the club for much of his nearly nine years as steward.

Carlo Ancelotti insists Real Madrid will fight to claw back Barcelona in the LaLiga title race.

Los Blancos sit in second place, 11 points behind their Clasico rivals with a game in hand, which they play against Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Fresh from winning the Club World Cup after beating Al Hilal 5-3 in Morocco at the weekend, Ancelotti stated his belief that winning trophies makes you hungrier for more.

"I don't think it's a problem for Real Madrid," he told reporters. "The idea I have is that winning helps you win. When you win you feel things you want to repeat.

"Repeating is motivation for us. We have a disadvantage in LaLiga, but we're going to fight."

Madrid have won just four of their last nine LaLiga games (D2, L3) and were beaten 1-0 at Real Mallorca last time out.

"I don't need to give arguments," Ancelotti added. "Our fans know the professionalism of this team, of these players. They know that we are going to fight every game. I don't think anyone thinks that we are in a 'critical' situation."

The Italian coach was without Thibaut Courtois in Morocco, with the goalkeeper getting injured prior to the Mallorca defeat, but while Courtois will also not be available against Elche, Ancelotti believes he could have the 2022 Yashin Trophy winner back for Saturday's game against Osasuna.

Toni Kroos will also be missing on Wednesday through illness, though Eder Militao and Lucas Vazquez are in line to return.

"Courtois will not be there tomorrow, I hope he will be there for Saturday against Osasuna," he said. "Militao returns, Lucas returns... We have Kroos out, who has a problem."

Ancelotti was positive about Kroos' long-term availability, though, hinting that the German midfielder could sign a new deal with the club.

"I know what is going to happen, but I can't say it. I'm not Kroos," he said. "He hasn't told me, but the feeling is that he's going to renew, but we'll see."

When asked about Karim Benzema doing the same, Ancelotti replied: "I don't know, but I repeat: the legends of Real Madrid must retire at Real Madrid."

He was more certain that Benzema will still be at the club next season, though, despite suggestions that Madrid will be in the market for a new striker at the end of this campaign.

"Well, that Madrid needs a nine is an opinion," he said. "We have Karim, who is not a child, but he will be with us next year. This is not the time to think about next year."

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl remains hopeful Jude Bellingham could sign a new contract with the club, but he admits that may be "wishful thinking" on his part.

Bellingham is widely expected to leave Dortmund in the near future, with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool heavily linked with the 19-year-old.

The England midfielder's Dortmund deal expires in 2025, but reports have suggested a sale in the next transfer window is likely, in order to allow his club to extract a bigger transfer fee.

Kehl, however, has not given up hope of keeping Bellingham at Signal Iduna Park for the long term.

Asked if there was any update on Bellingham's future, Kehl told Ruhr Nachrichten: "There has been no new development. We'll have to be patient for a little longer. 

"But of course we're trying to keep Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund as long as possible, because he's an incredibly important player who has shown once again this season how he identifies with this club and makes the team better.

"I would also like to still have Erling Haaland or Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund. Because you can only imagine if we had managed to keep all three players in one team, what opportunities would then arise.

 

"Things develop due to market mechanisms. So of course, I have my thoughts and also have my wishful thinking. I can't say whether that will happen in the end. 

"From Borussia Dortmund's point of view, the wishful thinking would be to keep a player of this quality at this club for as long as possible. 

"We will always try everything to keep players of this quality at BVB – because we are ambitious, because we want to win titles. For this, we need not only good but outstanding players."

Bellingham leads his Dortmund team-mates for goals (10), tackles (70) and duels (388) this term, with the midfield all-rounder only seeing his tally of six assists bettered by Raphael Guerreiro (seven).

Dortmund host Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, looking to end a 10-match winless run against English teams in European competitions dating back to 2016 (D2 L8).

Inter defender Stefan de Vrij has been made aware of interest from LaLiga clubs by his agent as he weighs up whether to renew his contract at San Siro.

With De Vrij's deal expiring at the end of the season, Spanish champions Real Madrid – as well as their rivals Atletico Madrid – have been credited with an interest in him.

Inter will lose Milan Skriniar at the end of the campaign after he reached a pre-contract agreement with Paris Saint-Germain, and fellow defender De Vrij could follow him through the exit door.

Asked about interest from Spain's biggest clubs after Monday's goalless draw at Sampdoria, De Vrij said: "These are words from my agent, I try to concentrate on work and on the field."

However, the prospect of the Netherlands international staying in Milan cannot be ruled out, as he added: "I'm on very good terms with the club. We're talking and, when there's news, you'll find out."

Inter are now 15 points adrift of Serie A leaders Napoli following their failure to break down Sampdoria, and De Vrij accepts the Scudetto is a lost cause this campaign.

"The 15 points away from Napoli are too many," he said. 

"On the one hand there is a Napoli that is flying by winning every game, on the other there is us, who are unable to bring home certain results."

Borussia Dortmund host Chelsea for the first leg of a Champions League tie that sees two of the world's best prospects go head-to-head.

Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez have a combined age of just 41. Between them, the pair have already stacked up 278 senior club appearances.

Bellingham has played 161 times for Dortmund and Birmingham City, while Fernandez has racked up 117 appearances across spells at Defensa y Justicia, River Plate, Benfica and now Chelsea.

As good as the duo have been for their clubs, they elevated themselves into the "must buy" category for Europe's elite sides with their performances at last year's World Cup.

Fernandez was named the tournament's best young player as he played a key role in Argentina claiming their third world crown, and Chelsea were determined to get their man.

While their efforts early in the January window were frustrated, Chelsea eventually agreed to pay Benfica the full amount of Fernandez's £106.8million (€121m) buy-out clause as he became the crown jewel of their spending spree.

Bellingham, meanwhile, asserted himself as a crucial player in Gareth Southgate's England side, with the 19-year-old's displays in Qatar reminiscent of when Wayne Rooney starred at Euro 2004.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are said to be battling it out for Bellingham, should Dortmund decide to cash in on their talisman at the end of the season.

Should Bellingham be destined for a move back to England, then Wednesday's clash between Dortmund and Chelsea at Signal Iduna Park could just hint at what is to come from two potential Premier League staples.

Lighting up the world stage

While Bellingham was always likely to be on the radar of Europe's biggest sides regardless of whether he had a great World Cup or not, his performances for England will likely do Dortmund's bank balance no harm.

If Bellingham's fine showings in the groups had hinted at his immense talent, then his performance in England's 3-0 victory over Senegal in the last 16 was a coming of age performance on the international stage.

Bellingham did not score but was heavily involved in all three of England's goals to mark him becoming the only teenager, after Michael Owen in 1998, to start a World Cup knockout game for England.

He went off in the 76th minute of that tie having provided an assist – the youngest player to do so for England in a World Cup game since 1966 – and completed 30 of his 33 passes (91 per cent), with eight of those attempted in the final third.

Across the tournament, only Luke Shaw (16) contributed to more open-play shot-ending sequences than Bellingham (15) did for the Three Lions.

 

Fernandez, on the other hand, has certainly had the limelight thrust on him due to his excellent World Cup.

Not that he had not been excellent at Benfica. However, his stunning goal in Argentina's group stage win over Mexico led to him being a constant starter for the rest of the tournament.

In the final, Fernandez led all players for touches (118), successful passes (77) and tackles (10). His tally of tackles was the most of any player in a World Cup showpiece match since Gennaro Gattuso in 2006 (15).

Combative off the ball, Fernandez won 40 of his 68 duels in the tournament (58.8 per cent), and also proved dependable in possession, completing 410 passes, with his accuracy of 87.6 bettered by only six of his team-mates to play at least 90 minutes in Qatar.

Fernandez played more successful long passes (16) than any other Argentina player, while only Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero and Rodrigo de Paul played more forward passes than his 116.

Thriving at club level

As previously noted, Fernandez had impressed with Benfica before carrying that form into the World Cup.

Only Ricardo Horta (126) had been involved in more open-play shot-ending sequences than Fernandez (122) in Portugal's Primeira Liga prior to the latter's move to Stamford Bridge.

Fernandez ranked third in the competition for goal-ending sequence involvements (14), second for expected goals (xG) sequence involvement (18.8) and second for goal build-up involvements (eight).

From a role at the left-side of Benfica's central midfield, Fernandez was also key to starting moves during his half-season in Portugal. In the Primeira Liga alone he started 23 shot-ending sequences (league rank third), four goal-ending sequences (second) and accumulated 4.8 xG from moves he started (first).

Fernandez has taken little time to settle into the Premier League. He assisted Joao Felix's first Chelsea goal with a wonderfully weighted ball in Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham and his tally of 171 passes across the last two games – only four top-flight midfielders attempted more.

 

No Chelsea midfielder won more duels (12), tackles (nine, six of which he won), touches (209), carries (43), or forward passes (29). Just Fred, of Manchester United, has won more tackles in the last two league games.

The 22-year-old might have a huge price tag to live up to, but he has certainly proved to be one of the most efficient all-round midfielders in Europe this term.

Right up there with him in that regard is Bellingham, who has been let off the leash somewhat from an attacking standpoint at Dortmund this season.

With BVB no longer able to rely on Erling Haaland goals, Bellingham has been tasked with arriving into the box late to supplement their attack.

Bellingham has featured 27 times for Dortmund this season, second only to Nico Schlotterbeck. He is their top scorer with 10 goals, second for assists (six) and third for chances created (28). He boasts an impressive 19.2 per cent shot conversion rate and has outperformed his xG (7.6).

More of an attacking threat than Fernandez, Bellingham has the other side of the game too: 388 duels is 172 more than any of his club-mates, and he has won 225 of them (Schlotterbeck ranks second with 144); the same goes for tackles, with the teenager attempting 70 and winning 39 – both team highs.

 

A sign of what's to come

Fernandez is the most expensive signing in Premier League history, and should Bellingham join him in England's top tier next season, it seems likely as though the Birmingham boy would take that record.

They don't play the same role and shouldn't be expected to. Bellingham's game has gone up another level since he was given the freedom and responsibility to provide more attacking threat, and Fernandez can pull the strings from deep.

Bellingham's all-action style mixed with his sharp turn of pace makes for a player that would seem perfectly suited to Liverpool or City, while Graham Potter will be expected to build around Fernandez for years to come – the Argentine did, after all, sign an eight-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea.

One thing is clear. Bellingham and Fernandez are already outstanding players and both are destined to reach the very top.

Joao Felix has had a mixed start to his loan spell at Chelsea, but the Premier League club are eager to make his stay permanent.

The 23-year-old Portugal forward joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid in January, getting sent off on debut before scoring on his Premier League return against West Ham on Saturday.

Felix signed for Atletico from Benfica in 2019 on a seven-year contract for a transfer fee of €126 million and extended his deal until 2027 prior to the move to Stamford Bridge.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA WANT PERMANENT JOAO FELIX STAY

Chelsea want to make Joao Felix's stay at Stamford Bridge permanent, according to Relevo.

The Portuguese is on loan with the Blues for the rest of the season from Atletico Madrid, with Chelsea willing to pay €100 million (£88.3m) for his services.

The Spaniards were originally asking for more, believed to be around €130m-140m (£115m-£124m) but may be willing to accept a reduced fee.

Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic could be heading in the opposition direction with Atletico considering a cut-price bid for Chelsea's United States international, according to Fichajes.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are monitoring Tottenham forward Richarlison and Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, reports ESPN. Los Blancos are looking for long-term replacements for 35-year-old Karim Benzema.

- Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain is uncertain with the French champions to place him on their transfer list in the upcoming off-season, claims Foot Mercato. PSG paid a staggering €222m for Neymar in 2017 but are set to move on.

- Chelsea's pursuit of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice could lead them to sell Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to raise funds for the deal, claims Football Insider.

- Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka for a free transfer at the end of this season, claims German journalist Christopher Michel.

- Bayern Munich want to sign Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo for a reduced fee, rather than trigger the €70 million buy option, reports 90min. The report claims a fee around €60m is more realistic.

SOLIAS Conaree FC started off their 2023 SKNFA Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory over St. Peters FC at the Verchilds playing field on Saturday evening.

Byron Phillip opened the scoring in the 36th minute with Anthony Grant applying the second in the 87th minute to seal the victory. Coach Al Richards said after he was pleased with the win despite his team not performing to its best.

“Congrats to my team for winning a 2-nil victory,” he said.

“My thoughts on the game are simple; the first game of the season, we didn't really get it right, but we got the victory."

Meanwhile, Coach Austin Dico Huggins of St. Peters said his team failed to take the chances they created.

“I think we need to be more lethal in the attacking third of the field and we need to concentrate more on the job, especially on the game plan that is laid out," Huggins said.

"That's all we need to work on and get more involved mentally; because it is important that we remember everything that we need to do, in which area of the field that we need to do it and we need to play harder, more intense; a lot more running off the ball, so therefore we need to get fitter."

In the second match of the day, defending champions S.L. Horfords St. Paul’s United were held to a 0-0 draw by home side MFCR Old Road United Jets.

 Both teams created few chances but failed to make them count.

In the matches played on Friday (Feb. 10), S-Krave Newtown United and Hobson Enterprises Garden Hotspurs both recorded their first wins of the new season.

Newtown brushed aside Hotsprings Bath United 5-1 with goals coming from Sylvester Caines in the 13th minute and D'Jaun Warner in the 35th minute.

Leranje Liburd added a third 56th minute and Kennedy Rodriguez made it 4-0 from the penalty spot in the 59th. Akimba Lawrence scored the fifth in the 87th minute before Phillron Lavia got a consolation from the spot 90th minute.

Anthony “Nets” Isaac, who has returned as the coach for Newtown and he was happy with Friday’s result.

On the other hand, Coach of Bath Alex Claxon, said the players are finding their groove, seeing this was the first match, but promised some adjustments for the next match.

Meanwhile, Spurs edged newly promoted Jones Group Sandy Point FC 2-1.

Steve Archibald opened the scoring in the 19th minute with Valmon Jeffers adding a second from the penalty spot in the 60th minute. 

Shaquan Pemberton scored a consolation in stoppage time.

Spurs Head Coach Steven Brown said the win was a good one, considering the challenges they endured with match conditions. “We executed well enough. There were some challenges that we faced coming out here; the size of the field was a bit smaller so we couldn’t execute our game plan to the fullest, but nonetheless, the guys adjusted enough,” he said.

“We were able to capitalize on our chances and scored a few goals. We got the three points, which is what we came here for.”

The upcoming Premier League fixtures this weekend will be played in Cayon, Newtown and Warner Park.

 

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