ronaldo-trophyCristiano Ronaldo, who led Real Madrid CF to UEFA Champions League glory last term, has been voted the 2013/14 UEFA Best Player in Europe by a panel of football journalists.

Ronaldo finished ahead of Bayern Munich‘s Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer in a live vote by a panel of 54 journalists at today’s Champions League draw.

“I’m really happy so I must say thanks to my team-mates because without the team, individual awards would not be possible. I don’t have this trophy in my museum, so my brother is going to put it there” said Ronaldo.

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Gareth-Bale-Champions-LeagueLiverpool will have a glamorous return to the Champions League after being drawn against holders Real Madrid in the group stage.

Five-times European champions Liverpool will face ten-times winners face Real as well as Basel and Ludogorets, in Group B while there was a familiar look to the draw for the three other English sides.

Anfield will be rocking when Ronaldo, Bale and company visit, but more importantly for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, this is a group that Liverpool should advance from. It will be between Liverpool and Basel for second place, and that is a battle the Premier League side should win.

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landonAfter a 15-year international career, U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan will make his final appearance for the United States when the team plays against Ecuador on Oct. 10 in East Hartford, Connecticut. Buy USA v Eduador Tickets

It is interesting that US Soccer is giving Donovan a farewell game after Jurgen Klinsmann unceremoniously dropped him from the US squad for the World Cup. And I am sure we will read to much into it that U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati who is quoted about the event and not Klinsmann.

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Oliver-GiroudWith rumors stating that striker Olivier Giroud could be out until the new year with a leg injury, Arsenal boss is not panicking at the prospect of losing his top striker for potentially four month: f

“On Sunday he had a medical check and he needed to have further investigations,” said Wenger, who revealed an announcement will be made over his fitness on Wednesday afternoon or evening.

“The first news wasn’t fantastic, but I’m not a doctor so I wait for tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) complete examination and decision over how long he’ll be out for. It can be (long term), we’ll see. I don’t know (if it’s broken). It’s sad for us, but for the moment we are focused on the game.”

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Jones RevsIt was a long drawn out process, but finally the New England Revolution landed US national team player Jermaine Jones. Jones is by far the most high profile player ever to sign for New England, and  a sign that that Kraft family are willing to invest money in the team. That is an important point as many Revs fans were becoming disillusioned at the direction that the franchise was going, but the signing of Jones gives everyone involved with a club a huge boost.

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louis-van-gaalIt promises to be a record breaking transfer summer in England as Manchester United are poised to spend close to £200 million to get back into race for the Premier League title again. How will last season’s top four of Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal react to United’s spending spree? Will they match it with one of their own?

The transfer window re-opened on the final day of the domestic season and will close at 23:00 BST on Monday, 1 September.

Clubs could buy domestic players again once they had played their final game of the season. International deals can go through from 10 June.

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Super Mario is returning to the Premier League as Liverpool have signed AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli for £16m.

Balotelli announced the move this morning in Milan telling reporters before training:

“This will be my last day at Milanello.”

The £16m transfer fee means that Milan will take a £3m loss on a player who scored 30 goals in 54 games for the Serie A club since joining in January 2013.

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lvg-woodwardWith less than two weeks left in the transfer market, another Manchester United manager is getting hung out to dry by Unted’s executive vice chairmanEd Woodward.

Last season David Moyes took a lot of heat for United’s laughable summer transfer activity, but as history is set to repeat itself, it is clear that the fault for United’s poor season last season rests with Woodward.

Woodward has been brilliant extracting maximum revenue from United’s corporate partners, selling the brand around the world. But as his third transfer window gets closer to closing he has yet to demonstrate that he can apply that negotiating savvy to a very different trading environment; the transfer market.

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Rafael BenitezOn the first night of the Champions League playoffs, we did not get our usual blowouts, instead we got competitive matches that are all finely balanced heading into the second legs next week.

The headline match was Napoli v Athletic Bilbao in Italy and this tie could go either way as they head back to Spain tied 1-1. Athletic got on the scoreboard first when Iker Muniain scored four minutes before the break in Naples.

Napoli hit back after the interval as former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain fired a leveller on 68 minutes but the Basque outfit will fancy their chances of winning the second leg and progressing to the next stage.

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Barça MegastoreBarcelona have had their appeal against a two-window transfer ban rejected by FIFA following a hearing on Wednesday.

The Spanish giants will be barred from signing players in the next two transfer windows, taking them through until January 2016, after breaking the transfer rules related to signing players for their famed La Masia academy,

Barca though are not taking the decision well and have already announced, just as they did with the Luis Suarez ban, that they will now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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