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Serie A: Inter throttle Roma; Juve come back on Dybala’s hat trick

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Roma 1-3 Inter Milan

New Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti had a fruitful return to the Italian capital on Saturday, as his Nerazzurri side came from behind to win at Roma 3-1 in Serie A.

Mauro Icardi scored twice in the second half as Roma was made to pay for its profligacy, having hit the woodwork three times.

Spalletti left Roma by mutual consent at the end of last season and joined Inter shortly afterward, along with sporting director Walter Sabatini. He has two league wins out of two for Inter, after they beat Fiorentina 3-0 in their opener. Icardi also scored two then.

It appeared as if their return would be a miserable one after Edin Dzeko, last season’s top goal-scorer, gave Roma the lead. He chested down Radja Nainggolan’s pass and volleyed it home.

Aleksandar Kolarov hit the post seconds earlier and Roma hit the woodwork twice more through Nainggolan and Diego Perotti.

Inter leveled through Icardi from an Antonio Candreva assist in the 67th.

Icardi doubled his tally 10 minutes later, controlling Ivan Perisic’s low cross before swiveling to fire into the bottom left corner.

Matias Vecino sealed the result three minutes from time with his first goal since joining Inter from Fiorentina in the offseason.

There was controversy however, as Roma felt it should have had a penalty early in the second half when Milan Skriniar appeared to trip Diego Perotti at the byline, but the video assistant referee was not called upon and only a corner was given.

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[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — United keep 100% record; City win late ]


Genoa 2-4 Juventus

MILAN (AP) The limitations of video review were obvious at Genoa, where Juventus fought back from two goals down to win 4-2 in Serie A on Saturday thanks to a hat trick from Paulo Dybala.

Video review (VAR) was used twice in the first half, to give both sides a penalty. However, Genoa forward Andrej Galabinov was offside before he was fouled by Daniele Rugani, while there were also grumbles about Juve’s spot kick.

Meanwhile, Benevento thought it picked up a first ever point in Serie A but the VAR ruled out what would have been a stoppage-time equalizer and it lost to Bologna 1-0.

In a frantic start, Genoa took the lead against Juventus inside 20 seconds when Miralem Pjanic inadvertently turned Goran Pandev’s cross into his own net.

Galabinov doubled Genoa’s lead six minutes later from the spot after his ankle was clipped by Rugani. It was the second penalty awarded against Juventus by video review in as many matches.

Dybala, who scored in Juve’s opening win at Cagliari last weekend, halved the deficit in the 14th minute when he fired Pjanic’s pullback into the top left corner.

And Juventus leveled in first-half stoppage time through a penalty of its own, which Dybala drove emphatically into the roof of the net after Mario Mandzukic kicked the ball onto Darko Lazovic’s hand from close range.

Juan Cuadrado had a poor match, but gave Juventus the lead shortly after the hour mark. The Colombia winger chested down Mandzukic’s pass, turned Diego Laxalt and placed the ball into the far top corner.

Dybala sealed the result in stoppage time with an accurate shot into the near corner for his first hat trick for Juventus.

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.

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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.