Football news, features, statistics
17, Feb 2023
La Liga chief says Barcelona will NOT receive sanctions for referee chief payments

La Liga chief says Barcelona will NOT receive sanctions for referee chief payments

La Liga president Javier Tebas says Barcelona won’t be facing punishments over payments that they made to a refereeing administrator

(Image credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona will not receive sporting sanctions after it was alleged that they paid the former vice-president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), over €1.4 million between 2016 to 2018.

That’s according to La Liga president Javier Tebas, who says that on “a sporting level”, it is not possible to punish Barça, who were led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu during this period, before his resignation in October 2020, along with his entire board of directors.

Former CTA vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira has told Spain’s tax agency, the Agencia Tributaria, that Barça paid him to ensure that “refereeing decisions weren’t going to go against them,” while the club themselves have defended this(opens in new tab) as asking for “technical reports relating to professional refereeing,” which they claim is “a common practice among professional football clubs”.

17, Feb 2023
‘I feel it coming’ – Jack Grealish predicts winning streak as Manchester City go top

‘I feel it coming’ – Jack Grealish predicts winning streak as Manchester City go top

Grealish was on the scoresheet as City won 3-1 at Arsenal on Wednesday night – and he’s sensing something special soon

(Image credit: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Jack Grealish has backed Manchester City(opens in new tab) to go on one of their typical winning runs, after Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal(opens in new tab) sent the reigning champions top of the Premier League.

Grealish bagged City’s second goal at the Emirates Stadium, on a night when City landed an important blow in this season’s gripping title race.

Victory in the long-awaited rearranged fixture means that Pep Guardiola’s side lead Arsenal on goal difference (although the Gunners do still have a game in hand).

And, while conceding that City were perhaps fortunate to come out on top in North London, Grealish is confident that a victorious streak isn’t far way. Reacting to his team’s fourth league triumph in four games, he said


“It was the perfect night: for me getting a goal and the team winning the game. I don’t think we played to our best and Arsenal were the better team if I’m honest, but that’s what good teams do: come to places like this when they’re not at their best and get three points. We have to try different ways of playing against good teams like this and that’s what we did.

17, Feb 2023
Liverpool and Everton charged by FA for ‘mass confrontation’ in Merseyside derby

Liverpool and Everton charged by FA for ‘mass confrontation’ in Merseyside derby

Tensions boiled over as the Reds claimed an important Premier League victory over their local rivals at Anfield earlier this week

(Image credit: Future)

Liverpool(opens in new tab) and Everton(opens in new tab) have been charged by the FA after players from both sides clashed in a ‘mass confrontation’ during Monday night’s Merseyside derby.

Jurgen Klopp’s hosts ran out 2-0 winners against their local rivals, but there were unsavoury scenes towards the end of the game at Anfield, in an incident sparked by a coming together between Reds defender Andy Robertson and Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

After being flagged offside, Robertson kicked the ball away, prompting Pickford to retaliate. That flashpoint then spilled over into a more extensive clash along the touchline, with substitutes from each team getting involved.


“Liverpool and Everton have been charged following a mass confrontation during the 86th minute of their Premier League match on Monday 13 February.


“It is alleged that both clubs failed to ensure their players and/or benches conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour. Liverpool and Everton have until Monday 20 February to provide responses to their charges.”

Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo were on the scoresheet as Liverpool ended a run of four Premier League matches without a win, putting them within nine points of the top four.

As for Everton, their first defeat under new manager Sean Dyche meant that they remain in the bottom three.

17, Feb 2023
SPECIAL OFFER: Get 5% off a FourFourTwo subscription this Valentine’s Day

SPECIAL OFFER: Get 5% off a FourFourTwo subscription this Valentine’s Day

For a limited time only, you can get your loved one a subscription to FourFourTwo at a discount

(Image credit: Future)

Been wondering what to get your football-mad loved one for Valentine’s Day this year? Well look no further. 

ORDER NOW Get 5% off a FourFourTwo subscription this Valentine’s Day(opens in new tab)

For a limited time only, you can get a FourFourTwo subscription with a 5% discount. All you have to do is enter the following code at the checkout: LOVE5

You won’t regret it, as you not only receive all the features, exclusive interviews, long reads, quizzes, trips down Memory Lane and painstakingly crafted content our readers love about the magazine – and for a cheaper price! – but you’ll also receive special subs editions of the mag.

(Image credit: Future)

The beautiful covers aren’t available in the shops and they look even better than Jamie Redknapp did in the mid-nineties. Okay maybe not that good, but they’re easy on the eye. 

Recent editions of the mag have included our ranking of the 100 best Premier League stars right now and interviews with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Arsene Wenger and Dennis Bergkamp. We’ve counted down the 100 greatest managers of all time, revisited King Eric Cantona’s spell in English top-flight and celebrated Brazil on the 50th anniversary of the nation’s glorious yet ultimately doomed 1970 World Cup side. 

If this sounds like a bit of you, then grab a sub with 5% off now. You won’t even have to get off your backside to buy the mags – the postman will literally bring them to you. 

So, what are you waiting for? Order a FourFourTwo subscription with 5% off. The offer ends on February 15, 2023.

17, Feb 2023
In the mag: The 50 greatest players EVER! Plus Champions League knockouts preview, exclusive interview with Miguel Almiron and more

In the mag: The 50 greatest players EVER! Plus Champions League knockouts preview, exclusive interview with Miguel Almiron and more

Get your hands on the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine – available in print or on iPad and iPhone – from Thursday 2 February

(Image credit: Future)

Order the new issue with free delivery here(opens in new tab) – just select ‘March 2023’.


Subscribe to FourFourTwo today and save! You’ll get 13 issues per year…


First a message from our editor, James Andrew:


The terms ‘Greatest of All Time’ and slightly more tedious ‘GOAT’ have been common in football lexicon for years.


And like all things they get used out of context – there have been references to players being GOATs in League Two and games where it is the battle of the GOATs – by definition both are wrong.


Anyway, when it comes to picking the best player of all time, younger fans will say the argument of late has been between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


Those a bit older will say that neither are fit to lace either Diego Maradona or Pele’s boots, while others may plump for Ferenc Puskas or Zinedine Zidane as their number one.


Many feel the debate is settled now that Messi has won a World Cup (despite the fact Pele won three), but the truth is there is no right or wrong answer – it’s just an opinion and everyone has different opinions. That is absolutely fine.


This month we enter the discussion with our take on the top 50 players ever – some of you will agree and some will think we’ve got it horribly wrong. Feel free to let us know by using #FFT50 on social media.


What this list has enabled us to do is pay tribute to the great Pele, who sadly passed away at the end of December, and look back at his glittering career.

Enjoy the mag.

The greatest players... ever!

The greatest players... ever! (Image credit: Future)

Messi’s World Cup triumph and Pele’s passing prompted discussion aplenty about the finest footballers ever to play the beautiful game – now, FFT presents to you our definitive ranking from Dalglish to Di Stefano. 


Don’t agree? Of course you don’t! Tell us at #FFT50

Pele: the World Cup’s finest

Pele: the World Cup’s finest (Image credit: Future)

O Rei dominated the World Cup, and the globe – and his legacy stays strong. Oh, and he did once do it in Stoke, too


Lionel Messi: legacy complete

Lionel Messi: legacy complete (Image credit: Future)

In Doha, the Argentine confirmed himself as the greatest. What does it mean at home? This is the inside story of the Barça legend’s triumph in Qatar


Keira Walsh is at the wheel

Exclusive interview: Keira Walsh is at the wheel (Image credit: Future)

The Lioness star had a majestic 2022, winning the Euros with England and joining Barcelona for a world-record fee, all just three years after she had nearly given up on football. The pass-master reveals how she revitalised her career, and why she now has a bus named after her.

17, Feb 2023
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte to stay away until fully recovered from recent surgery

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte to stay away until fully recovered from recent surgery

The 53-year-old returned to the dugout for Spurs’ last two games but will now continue his rehabilitation back home in Italy

(Image credit: Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Tottenham(opens in new tab) have confirmed that head coach Antonio Conte will not return to work until he has made a full recovery from his recent operation.


The Italian underwent emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder at the beginning of February, subsequently missing Spurs’ Premier League win over Manchester City(opens in new tab).


Conte was back in the technical area for last Saturday’s defeat at Leicester(opens in new tab) and Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first-leg loss away to AC Milan(opens in new tab), but he will not be present for Sunday’s London derby at home to West Ham(opens in new tab).

“Following a routine post-operation check in Italy yesterday (Wednesday), Antonio Conte will remain at his family home to further and fully recover from his recent gallbladder surgery.


“Health is the most important consideration and everyone at the club wishes him well.”


In Conte’s absence, assistant Cristian Stellini will take charge of the team, just as he did against City two weeks ago – and for Spurs’ dramatic Champions League group victory Marseille(opens in new tab) in November, when Conte was serving a touchline ban.


On his Instagram Story(opens in new tab), Conte explained how he “underestimated” the seriousness of operation. He wrote(opens in new tab):


“Sadly, I underestimated the procedure, which wasn’t a routine operation but a sudden and serious emergency.


“My body has suffered [due to] my impatience and now I am forced to stop until my entire recovery.


“[Anyone] Who knows me understands what a burden this is for me, but it is necessary. Come on you Spurs!”

17, Feb 2023
Players from Europe’s top five leagues who have scored 10 or more goals so far this season

Players from Europe’s top five leagues who have scored 10 or more goals so far this season

Detailing the 28 goalscorers who have hit the net 10 or more times this season across the top five leagues in Europe

As crunch time fast approaches across leagues in Europe, more and more players are beginning to score goals and reach milestones within their season. 


In Europe’s top five leagues – the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – 28 players in total have already reached double figures. 


Ligue 1 are the most-heavily represented side on this list with ten players, while both La Liga and Serie A have just three players lucky enough to hit double digits. Seven Premier League players have notched ten or more goals, while the Bundesliga contributes five players. 

Lionel Messi (PSG) - 10

This campaign is by no means Messi’s greatest-ever scoring season, but he can be forgiven after dragging his country to World Cup glory in December. 


Scoring 10 goals in 18 games is already a better return than his first season at PSG, and the Argentine still has plenty of time to bag more during the Ligue 1 run-in. In every league game Messi has scored in this season, PSG have gone on to win the game, too, highlighting his influence on the French side. 

Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United) - 10

Almiron has proven the doubters wrong with some exceptional performances in the 2022/23 season, helping Newcastle United spend the majority of the season in the Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League with his ten goals.


One of those strikes earned him the October Goal of the Month award as well, a sublime volley at Craven Cottage against Fulham. Keep up this form, and the Paraguayan could fire Newcastle to even greater heights.

Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 10

While Borussia Monchengladbach have struggled in mid-table, they’d be even worse off were it not for the Frenchman banging in the goals. Vital strikes have secured wins against Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart, with Thuram having missed just one game all season.


His contract is due to expire in the summer, too, and signing a deal to stay at the Bundesliga side doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. Clubs are beginning to circle. 

Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich) - 10

Losing chief goalscorer Robert Lewandowski in the summer was always going to pose a problem to Bayern Munich this season, but fortunately teenage sensation Jamal Musiala has stepped up and turned into one of the side’s most important players.


What makes his ten goals even more impressive, though, is they have all come from deeper on the pitch, with the German operating from midfield positions. 

Habib Diallo (Strasbourg) - 10

Senegalese striker Habib Diallo has been a leading light in a poor Strasbourg side this season, managing 10 goals in a team currently sat 17th in Ligue 1. 


More remarkable about Diallo’s return, though, is he netted 11 strikes last season as the Alsace side finished sixth, proving how much responsibility he has taken on in the relegation dogfight they now find themselves in.

17, Feb 2023
Marcus Rashford equals scoring record as Manchester United draw with Barcelona

Marcus Rashford equals scoring record as Manchester United draw with Barcelona

The free-scoring forward starred yet again during a thrilling contest in the first leg of the Europa League knockout round play-off

(Image credit: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Marcus Rashford equalled his highest goals total for a single season by scoring in Manchester United(opens in new tab)‘s Europa League draw with Barcelona(opens in new tab) at the Camp Nou.
The Red Devils’ red-hot forward continued his remarkable renaissance as the first leg of the knockout round play-off finished 2-2, equalising less than three minutes after Marcos Alonso had broken the deadlock for the hosts.

Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen arguably could have done better with the near-post effort, but Rashford won’t care one bit: he’s now found the net 22 times in all competitions this season, equalling his career best from 2019/20.

The 25-year-old was also heavily involved in United’s second, darting explosively into the box and ultimately seeing his dangerous ball across the face of goal inadvertently turned in by Blaugrana defender Jules Kounde. That wasn’t to be the winner, though, as Raphinha’s cross-cum-shot travelled all the way in to leave the tie delicately poised.

Linked with a move away from Old Trafford last summer, Rashford has battled back from a desperately poor 2021/22 campaign in stunning style, regaining his spot in the England squad for last year’s World Cup – where he bagged three goals to finish as the Three Lions joint top scorer alongside Bukayo Saka.

He’ll be hoping to add to his tally when United entertain Leicester(opens in new tab) in the Premier League on Saturday, before next Thursday’s second leg against Barca.