The Lukaku story

The Lukaku story

The house he grew up in is No 71 on a street in the quiet village of Wintam, between Brussels and Antwerp, and behind the few roads of tidy social housing, if you know where to look, you can find a patch of grass enclosed by trees where Romelu Lukaku played football every day of his young life.

Ronaldo starts season in the dock

Ronaldo starts season in the dock

Cristiano Ronaldo faces a brutal return to Madrid before starting pre-season training with Real Madrid as he is expected in court on Monday, accused of evading millions in taxes.

Brazil's Neymar debate

Brazil's Neymar debate

Brazilian golden boy Neymar is riding high on a wave of unprecedented popularity at home where a year ahead of the World Cup news of his possible transfer has become an issue of national debate.

How Lukaku fits at United

How Lukaku fits at United

Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata had long seemed the man entrusted to replace the outgoing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but it now appears that Everton's Premier League-proven Romelu Lukaku will spearhead Manchester United's attack for the upcoming season.

How will Naby Keita fit in at Anfield?

How will Naby Keita fit in at Anfield?

The rumour that Liverpool will sign Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig has gathered exponential pace over the last few days.

Loew now spoilt for choice

Loew now spoilt for choice

After Germany's success at the Confederations Cup and Under 21 European championship over the last few days, coach Joachim Loew must feel like a kid in a candy store as he maps out his plans for next year's World Cup title defence in Russia.

Despite resting more than half a dozen key players this summer, Germany won the Confederations Cup for the first time on Sunday by beating South American champions Chile 1-0.

Two days earlier, the country's Under-21 team secured the European title, shocking favourites Spain by the same score and confirming the country's stellar work at youth level.

The 57-year-old Loew, now in his 11th year in charge, has a pool of more than 40 players to monitor as the clock ticks down to next year's World Cup finals. All of them battle-tested and with tournament experience.

"Joachim Loew now has the big chance, with a mix of experience and dynamism, to put together a strong squad (for next year)," said German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel. "We have a big pool to chose from."

The biggest problem for Loew is likely to be who to leave out.

Players like Confederations Cup top scorers Timo Werner, Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka, who all netted three times at the tournament, have every right to believe their fine performances in Russia will be a stepping stone to the 2018 World Cup squad.

Antonio Ruediger, Sebastian Rudy and Mathias Ginter also rose to the occasion while Julian Draxler, who captained the team in the absence of Manuel Neuer, was voted player of the tournament.

"We certainly have a lot of players who in those two tournaments have filled up on confidence," Loew said.

"But for those players the work is just starting, the big tournaments are still to come. To get to world class level is an even bigger challenge."

Loew has long preached the importance of having two players for every position to be successful at international level.

Judging by performances over the last few days, it appears he may have at least three.

At the top of the pile are Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Marco Reus, who all sat out the tournament to be fit and fresh for the coming year.

Injury kept several other first team players from the Confederations Cup, such as Leroy Sane, Ilkay Guendogan, Julian Weigl and Jonathan Tah.

But no one can afford to feel their position is secure with the likes of Under-21 players Jeremy Toljan, Niklas Stark, Maximilian Arnold, Max Meyer, Serge Gnabry and Davie Selke pushing for a place in the full squad.

While Loew was delighted to win both tournaments, he said the World Cup would be an entirely different proposition.

"Germany will always be one of the favourites, no matter what tournament," Loew said. "Winning the Confederations Cup and the Under-21 Euro win are no guarantees.

"At a World Cup there are five, six teams you battle against and everyone must almost be superhuman to succeed."

China target Aubameyang

China target Aubameyang

Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian are preparing an audacious swoop for Arsenal and Liverpool target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

What you need to know about the Garcia Report

What you need to know about the Garcia Report

The 'Garcia Report', which examines allegations of high-level corruption in world football, was finally released by FIFA on Tuesday.

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