Tuesday’s latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC’s What’s Trending …
UEFA WORLD CUP PLAYOFFS: Italy’s legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon struggled to fight back tears but remained positive about the future as he tried to come to terms with their failure to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 60 years and his retirement from international football.
– Daniele De Rossi, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli all said they would retire from international duty after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup on Monday.
– Sweden boss Janne Andersson dismissed talk of a possible international return for retired striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his side’s playoff win over Italy sealed qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
– Unsurprisingly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic found himself centre stage after Sweden battled their way to the 2018 World Cup at the expense of Italy.
– Italy miss out on their first World Cup since 1958 after failing to beat Sweden. The Azzurri controversially lacked imagination and were held by the Swedes over two legs, and Gian Piero Ventura is sure to pay the price, writes Mark Ogden.
– Italy’s failure to reach a World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years was described as an “Apocalypse” by the nation’s newspapers.
ARGENTINA: Gabriel Batistuta says Lionel Messi surpassing his Argentina goal-scoring record annoyed him but told Telefe he is at least “second to an extra-terrestrial.”
BELGIUM: Kevin De Bruyne has questioned Belgium coach Roberto Martinez’s tactics, saying the country cannot just rely on their individual talents at the World Cup.
– Roberto Martinez Q&A: Belgium boss talks golden generation and World Cup.
– Marcus Rashford leaves Gareth Southgate open-mouthed on the training ground with ability the England manager already puts among the best he has worked with.
– Southgate is ready to take a young, “fearless” squad to the World Cup — even if that bold approach puts the England manager’s job at risk.
– At the age of 21, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, star of England’s match with Germany, has started just 12 Premier League games in his career, writes Liam Twomey.
BRAZIL: Dani Alves has hailed Gabriel Jesus as the side’s “new Ronaldo” as they prepare for Tuesday’s friendly with England.
– Alves also insisted his side will not take a youthful England team lightly in Tuesday’s friendly clash at Wembley.
– As well a trophy-laden career and a claim to being the most expensive footballer in the entire history of the sport, Neymar can now also boast that he’s successfully managed to nutmeg Jesus.
– Sadio Mane’s fitness will be assessed when he returns to Liverpool after being released from international duty early, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
– Liverpool hint at progress but Klopp aware of big pressures at Anfield, writes Steven Kelly.
MAN UNITED: Basel will replace the pitch on ahead of next week’s Champions League game against Manchester United because of the damage sustained in Switzerland’s World Cup qualifier.
– Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira has said he wants to remain at Valencia beyond his current loan deal.
– Football’s Evel Knievel, Phil Jones has put his body through hell for Manchester United, writes Andy Mitten.
– Drogba also said he does not believe the high turnover of managers at his former club Chelsea is anything exceptional in the current game.
ARSENAL: Arsene Wenger says he could be tempted to take over as coach of a national team once his reign at Arsenal is over.
– Mike Dean will referee his seventh North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham on Saturday, the Premier League has confirmed.
– With Shkodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck all fit to start, Arsenal’s squad has been strengthened right through the spine of the team. Just at the right time, writes James McNicholas.
BARCELONA: Brazil international Paulinho says compatriot Neymar played a huge role in his decision to seal a move to Barcelona this summer.
REAL MADRID: Torino president Urbano Cairo has revealed that he discussed Andrea Belotti with his Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, who appeared interested when he learnt of the player’s value.
Karim Benzema says he began to lose respect for Jose Mourinho after a 2011 news conference in which his then coach compared him to a cat.
– Vinicius Junior signing emblematic of Madrid’s emphasis on teenage talent, writes Matt McGinn.
UNITED STATES: In the wake of the United States’ failure to qualify for the World Cup, Christian Pulisic has called for top American teenage players to be given more opportunities to develop at an earlier age.
– For first time in years, U.S. starting goalkeeper job completely up for grabs, but are there any candidates for the job, asks Jeff Carlisle.
MLS: New England Revolution general manager Mike Burns hit back at the criticism he received over hiring Brad Friedel as the MLS club’s new coach, calling his former U.S. teammate “the best person for the job bar none.”
– Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez has called keeping Designated Player Bastian Schweinsteiger at the club for the 2018 season “a priority.”
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