Premier League team of the season

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There have many great performers in this season’s Premier League, but as it reaches its climax, who makes the cut in the best team of the season?

GOALKEEPER- BRAD GUZAN (Aston Villa)

The American international has been great for a struggling Villa side. Without his influence in goal there is every chance they would already be relegated. His form will be crucial from now until the end of the season.

RIGHT-BACK- PABLO ZABALETA (Man City)

In a season where many of his teammates have struggled for form, the Argentinian has been brilliant. His passion and hunger to win makes him very likeable, and he’s great both defensively and offensively.

CENTRE-BACK- PHIL JAGIELKA (Everton)

The England international has been a rock at the heart of the Everton defence all season long. His form has earned him a regular place in the England side, and on current form he is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

CENTRE-BACK- JAN VERTONGHEN- (Tottenham)

Signed from Ajax at the start of the season, the Belgium international has been a revelation at White Hart Lane. Strong in the air but also classy on the ball, he’s been a great addition to both his club and the Premier League.

LEFT-BACK-LEIGHTON BAINES- (Everton)

Is he now England’s first-choice left-back ahead of Ashley Cole? He’s certainly getting very close now. Baines has been consistently excellent, and has created more chances than any other player in Europe this season. That’s how good he’s been. His crossing and set piece deliveries, in particular, are awesome.

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CENTRE MIDFIELD- MICHAEL CARRICK- (Man Utd)

This has been Carrick’s standout season at Old Trafford. He has been United’s most reliable, and possibly most important, player. The 31-year-old has played the holding midfield role to perfection: starting moves, showing great positional sense and displaying expert defensive qualities. Underrated by many.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- MAROUANE FELLAINI- (Everton)

Although his form has dipped slightly in the latter part of the season, with injuries affecting him slightly, the 25-year-old has been Everton’s key player along with Baines this season. A menace in the air but also a brilliant technique for a guy of his size, he tormented United on the opening day and was superb from that point on.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- JUAN MATA- (Chelsea) 

The Spaniard has been a joy to watch. At times he has carried Chelsea, and his wonderful creativity and cultured left foot make him one of the most talented players in the league. He also has more steel to his game than some of his fellow countryman, which is essential in such a physical league.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- GARETH BALE- (Spurs)

Bale has been incredible, particularly in 2013. His game has gone up a level, and he is now reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was Bale’s age. When he runs with the ball at pace he is unstoppable, and he has now also added many goals and assists to his game. The best British winger since Ryan Giggs, the Welshman is favourite to win Player of the Year.

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STRIKER- LUIS SUAREZ- (Liverpool)

The most talented player in the Premier League? Quite possibly. Sadly his personality sometimes takes the focus away from his genius, but if you judge his displays this season purely on football then he has been unplayable. His never-say-die attitude is combined with amazing dribbling, great skill and measured finishing, and he is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with 22 goals this season. Liverpool have to keep him in the summer, but if he does leave it will be for an astronomical amount of money.

STRIKER- ROBIN VAN PERSIE- (Man Utd)

The best player in the league up until Christmas, the 29-year-old has had an incredible first season at Old Trafford. He can do pretty much everything as a striker and is one of the most dangerous players in the world. Crucial goals against Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs show he really is the man for the big occasion too.

Who would you have in you side?

Luis Enrique leaves with feeling of mission accomplished

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MADRID (AP) Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.

[ MORE: Arsenal edges Chelsea to earn FA Cup crown ]

The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.

Now it’s time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three “intense” seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.

“There is no sadness at all, just happiness,” Luis Enrique said. “I’m the one who decided to stop, and I think that it was a wonderful decision for me, for the players and for the team as well. The intensity of this profession demands maximum dedication every single day and there is a natural wear out.”

He said players always need new challenges and will benefit from a change in leadership, and the club will certainly keep winning despite his departure.

After missing out on the league this season, the Copa del Rey was Barcelona’s second title of the campaign to go along with the Spanish Super Cup, but Luis Enrique has won nearly everything since replacing Gerard Martino in 2014. The former midfielder led Barcelona to the treble of the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2015. He also managed the league-Copa double in 2016, and also won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2015.

He said he was “proud” to have helped Barcelona fans celebrate so many accomplishments during his time at the helm.

“If someone had told me when I arrived that I would have the opportunity to help my team win nine titles out of 13 that we played, I’d say that these would be good numbers,” he said. “It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I believe that the fans recognized the effort and the sacrifice of all the players throughout the season. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make them happy.”

Luis Enrique said he was also lucky to have had the chance to coach a player like Lionel Messi.

“He is extraordinary, extraterrestrial,” Luis Enrique said about the Argentina forward, who scored the team’s first goal on Saturday. “I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy Messi at his best, performing at the highest level. He is the very best, without a doubt.”

Neymar and Paco Alcacer also scored at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to help Barcelona win its third straight Copa del Rey title, and 29th all-time.

Luis Enrique celebrated with his seven-year-old daughter by his side, waving his winner’s trophy and singing the club’s anthem in front of the Barcelona fans who traveled to Madrid.

Barcelona is expected to announce this week that its new coach will be Ernesto Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao a few days ago.

Luis Enrique’s future remains up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing, really. I’m open to every possibility, including changing sports,” the 47-year-old Luis Enrique said, with a smile on his face. “I do know that I’m very competitive and it’s been like this since I was born. Right now I’m looking forward to the opportunity of enjoying my friends and my family.”

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Report: Reus could miss six months after sustaining knee damage

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Marco Reus missed much of the 2016/17 season with injuries, and the Borussia Dortmund attacker had that unfortunate spell continue on Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U-20 World Cup ]

The 27-year-old exited the club’s DFB Pokal final win against Eintracht Frankfurt at halftime after suffering a knee injury.

According to German outlet Bild, Reus will miss at least six months as he rehabs and prepares to make a comeback.

Despite the bad news for Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel’s men captured the title behind goals from Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Day 9: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U20 World Cup

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Five teams booked their place in the knockout phase at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, including Tab Ramos and the U.S. after the Americans picked up a valuable point to finish atop Group F.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

USMNT U-20s 1-1 Saudi Arabia

An unbeaten record in group play has Ramos and Co. moving on to the Round of 16, where the U.S. will meet New Zealand. Brooks Lennon inked his name on the scoresheet for the first time at this month’s World Cup just prior to halftime, before Abdulelah Alamri equalized with almost a quarter hour left to play.

Senegal 0-0 Ecuador

A draw was all Senegal needed to ensure it would continue its run at the World Cup, while Ecuador fell short of a final 16 bid after only managing two draws during Group F play.

New Zealand 0-2 France

With nine goals for and none conceded during Group E play, France remains one of the heavy hitters at the conclusion of the group phase. Les Bleus received a strong contribution from Bastia winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who netted twice in the first half.

Honduras 2-0 Vietnam

Honduras scored twice in the final 14 minutes-plus added time but neither nation reaches the Round of 16 with Sunday’s result.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

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The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”