Wayne Rooney “may want a fresh challenge” away from United

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The rumor mill is heading into overdrive right now, and Wayne Rooney is supposedly meeting new Manchester United manager David Moyes today, to discuss his future at Old Trafford.

Moyes is expected to try and persuade Rooney to stay with the Red Devils after the former Everton youngster, that Moyes helped develop as a teenager, told Sir Alex he wanted to leave United at the end of the 2012-13 season.

However former assistant coach Mike Phelan — who left his position in May following Ferguson’s retirement and wasn’t asked to stay on by Moyes — has suggested that Rooney wants to move onto greener pastures, to freshen things up.

“Wayne is at the greatest club you can be at,” Phelan said on British radio. “Why would you want to jeopardize that, unless you want a fresh challenge and you feel that challenge isn’t being met at Manchester United.”

Phelan has obviously worked alongside Rooney on a daily basis ever since England international arrived at United as an 18-year-old and knows him extremely well on a personal level.

But Rooney’s judgement calls in the past have been anything but predictable, on and off the pitch.

(MORE: Rooney wants out but where will he end up?)

England’s main striker has been hankering for a move for several months, after Robin van Persie arrived and grabbed United the EPL title in his first-season in Manchester. RVP has surpassed Rooney as the first-name on United’s team sheet and the Liverpudlian wants to go elsewhere to become the focal point of another teams attack.

How can we forget his very public transfer request following the 2010 World Cup, when he requested a move to mega-rich rivals Manchester City… only to rescind his request and sign a new deal with United.

Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have taken kindly to having his dirty laundry aired in public and Rooney lost plenty of face with United’s fans across the globe for that farcical episode.

(MORE: Wayne Rooney belongs at Old Trafford)

However if Rooney is feeling stale and unwanted at United, and he doesn’t feel like he can improve beyond his current level, then a move elsewhere will be best for the player and the English national team.

Last season he scored just 12 EPL goals, less than half of the 27 he scored prior to RVP’s arrival. But after winning every trophy imaginable at United (except for the FA Cup) Rooney’s time seems to be up at Old Trafford. It would be foolish if Moyes would made Rooney stay against his will, an unhappy players is no good to anyone.

(MORE: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Rooney to Barca, Cavani to Chelsea)

Who will he go to? Let’s leave that to another blog post. Simply, everyone wants Rooney. Despite some of the troubles that come with owning his mercurial talents, the forward is world class.

That’s why Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona are lining up to buy him. That is also why Manchester United don’t want to lose him.

Russia regains FIFA Council seat after Mutko’s ouster

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GENEVA (AP) Russia has regained its place on the FIFA Council, six months after Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was blocked from re-election.

UEFA member federations on Wednesday elected Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, by acclamation as one of their delegates to FIFA’s strategy-setting committee.

The seat, which runs through 2021, was vacant since May when Mutko was formally forced to step down.

Mutko’s candidacy was blocked by FIFA’s then governance committee chairman, Miguel Maduro, because of a conflict of interest with his government work. Maduro, who was ousted by FIFA weeks later, said last week that the world soccer body’s leaders put pressure on him to protect Mutko’s position.

Meeting with British lawmakers, Maduro said he was told that his ruling on Mutko’s eligibility could threaten FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s hold on power and “would be a disaster” for the World Cup.

Sorokin became the eighth of the nine European delegates on the 37-member FIFA Council. The ninth was left vacant in July when long-time Spanish soccer leader Angel Maria Villar resigned as a vice president of FIFA and UEFA after being arrested in a corruption investigation.

Villar was detained along with three other soccer officials, including his son, on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.

Interim replacements for Villar were to be confirmed later Wednesday at a meeting of the UEFA executive committee.

Predicting the FIFPro World XI for 2016-17

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With the World Players’ Union, FIFPro, releasing the 55 players who received the most votes from over 25,000 professional players from across the globe based on their play in 2016-17, plenty of usual suspects have been selected as the top players on the planet.

But who will make the final XI when it is announced in London on Oct. 23?

[ MORE: FIFPro nominees in full ]

With one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards selected by each professional surveyed, it is quite likely that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will make the team for the 10th straight season. Because, well, they’re Ronaldo and Messi.

Elsewhere there is plenty of debate as to who will make up the defense and midfield and even in goal.

Below I select my XI and I urge you to do the same in the comments section below.

Remember: we can’t always agree on everything but let’s get along…

JPW selects his FIFPro World 11

Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Neymar JR (Paris Saint-Germain)

Karim Benzema signs new contract at Real Madrid

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Karim Benzema has signed a new four-year contract at Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Sargent to Werder Bremen

The French striker, 29, has become the latest star name to commit their future to the two-time reigning European champions with Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal all signing new deals over the past week.

Benzema will now remain at Real until June 30, 2021, with the Frenchman scoring 181 goals in 371 appearances as well as winning two La Liga titles, three European Cups and two Copa del Rey trophies during his time in the Spanish capital.

It is believed this new deal has a release clause of over $1.35 billion as Spanish clubs are now becoming increasingly wary of losing their star players a la Neymar leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite his expulsion from the French national team for over 18 months due to his alleged involvement in a blackmail case involving a sex tape and former teammate Mathieu Valbuena, Benzema has been in fine form for Real since Zinedine Zidane took charge in 2015.

Benzema scored 19 goals in 48 games in all competitions last season and 28 in 36 games the season before that as his hold up play and ability to drift out wide or drop deeper crucial to getting the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Co.

That said, Benzema has scored just once in six appearances this season but Real are obviously happy with what he is producing aside from goals.

With question marks over the future of Bale at the Bernabeu, locking down Benzema shows just how important he is to Zidane’s attacking unit as they seek to seal a third-straight UEFA Champions League title.

FIFA open investigation into Chelsea’s youth transfer policy

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Chelsea could be in big trouble.

FIFA have confirmed they’re investigating Chelsea’s youth transfer policy yet again, specifically over the recruitment of foreign players under the age of 18.

What could the punishment be? The worst-case scenario is that Chelsea would be banned from signing any new players across its senior or youth levels but it is believed this situation isn’t as serious as previous investigations involving Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Via the Telegraph, FIFA had the following to say about the investigation: “As the investigation is ongoing, no further comment is possible for the time being.”

Chelsea released a short statement saying: “Chelsea FC complies with all FIFA Statutes and Regulations when recruiting players.”

It will be the third time in eight years that world soccer’s governing body have looked at Chelsea’s youth policy and back in 2009 they were handed a transfer ban for two transfer windows over the signing of French teenager Gael Kakuta from Lens in 2007 but that was later overturned after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

Chelsea were also investigated last year over the signing of Bertrand Traore after images emerged of him playing for the club as a 16-year-old, before international clearance had arrived.

Spanish clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been found guilty after similar investigations took place with Barca banned from signing players for two transfer windows and the same happening to Atletico who can’t sign any new players until January 2018, while Real Madrid had their ban reduced to one window after an appeal.

In the UK both Liverpool and Manchester City have recently been handed fines and bans for not following rules over recruiting young players domestically.

For foreign players signing for a team in another country there are strict rules in place.

Their family must either be relocating for non soccer reasons to the country where the new club is based, they must live no further than 50km from a national border and the club with which the player wishes to be registered with is within that 50km radius, or if they sign between the age of 16-18 the new club must provide them with housing, access to education and a soccer education.