Here are the latest stories for Thursday.
LIVERPOOL: Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has announced the end of his playing career.
– Steven Gerrard’s slip and subsequent failure to win the Premier League will haunt him but he deserves his place among the league’s legends, Mark Ogden writes.
– With Gerrard’s decision to retire, ESPN FC looks back at Gerrard’s five greatest moments, led by that famous night in Istanbul.
– Gerrard held talks with MK Dons about becoming the manager of the League One club.
– Jurgen Klopp has reiterated that former club captain Gerrard is always welcome at Liverpool, but insists that nothing is imminent regarding a possible return to the club.
REAL MADRID: Real Madrid have confirmed Gareth Bale is set to undergo an operation amid reports he could be out for up to four months.
– Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to go incognito in order to spend the day at Disneyland Paris the day before Real Madrid’s Champions League win.
– The disappointments have been piling up for Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao this year, and the latest nearly cost his team victory in the Champions League.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The top two teams qualify for the round of 16, with the third-place team dropping into the Europa League and the bottom club eliminated from Europe. Who is going through?
– Barcelona, Man City advance to last-16 as PSG, Arsenal draw; Bayern stunned. Wrap
ARSENAL: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger acknowledged that there’s a “90 percent chance” the Gunners will finish second in their Champions League group after Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain but insisted that there is “no reason to panic.”
– Wenger says Arsenal have lost their “winning momentum a little bit” this month as they again face up to a disappointing November.
– Emiliano Martinez has committed his future to Arsenal by signing a new long-term contract.
MAN UNITED: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a big fan of Swedish central defender Victor Lindelof, who plays for Benfica. “Is he good enough for United? I think he’s good enough for the big clubs out there,” he said.
– Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Manchester United will exercise their option to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract for a second season.
– Mourinho has insisted that the club’s “lucky” period will come and other sides will eventually suffer from refereeing mistakes.
PSG: Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has claimed that the Ligue 1 giants “were left alone” by UEFA after Serge Aurier had his entry visa for the United Kingdom revoked by the British authorities before the 2-2 draw away at Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
TOTTENHAM: Mauricio Pochettino has rubbished suggestions the club could return to White Hart Lane for Europa League matches, insisting the players must make Wembley Stadium “feel like home.”
– Pochettino has said Tottenham Hotspur’s miserable record at Chelsea is an added motivation ahead of Saturday’s match at Stamford Bridge but warned the Blues are currently the best team in Europe.
BAYERN MUNICH: Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm refused to make excuses after Bayern Munich suffered a shock 3-2 loss in Russia to Champions League newcomers FC Rostov.
– Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has criticised Jerome Boateng for his off-field activities, telling Sky that Germany’s Footballer of the Year needs to “come back down to earth.”
MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola said he was relieved to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach secured a place in the last-16 with a game to spare.
BARCELONA: Brendan Rodgers thinks things may have been different if Lionel Messi lined up for his Celtic side on Wednesday as the Argentine scored twice in Barcelona’s 2-0 win at Celtic Park.
– Luis Enrique lauded one of European football’s “greatest atmospheres” after his Barcelona side won 2-0 at Celtic Park on Wednesday — even though the home supporters turned on Neymar in the second half.
– Barcelona forward Neymar equalled the record for Champions League assists in a single season during his team’s 2-0 win at Celtic, according to Opta data.
ATLETICO MADRID: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said beating PSV Eindhoven 2-0 to top their Champions League group was a welcome boost for this team after recent setbacks, but they should be judged at the end of the season.
ENGLAND: Gareth Southgate could be named England manager as early as Monday according to reports that say the Football Association has already offered him the job.
MLS: Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has confirmed interest in bringing Irish striker Robbie Keane to the A-League club.
– Sporting Kansas City has exercised club options on midfielders Benji Joya and Lawrence Olum and defenders Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jimmy Medranda and Seth Sinovic for next season.
AC MILAN: Silvio Berlusconi has said he will “take my Milan back” if the proposed takeover of the club by a Chinese consortium is not completed by Dec. 13.
INTER MILAN: Inter Milan are set to be without midfielder Gary Medel for up to two months due to a knee injury he picked up in last weekend’s Milan derby.
PREMIER LEAGUE: The Premier League aims to stage two preseason tournaments in Asia, involving six top-flight clubs, in the final two weeks of July, a league source has told ESPN FC.
BUNDESLIGA: RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl says his side are going to be hard to dislodge from the top of the Bundesliga this season.
FIFA: After campaigning for a 40-team World Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino is now leaning toward an even bigger expansion to 48.
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