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Why the world’s best player won’t be playing at the Women’s World Cup

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The best player on the best club team in women’s soccer won’t be playing at the crown jewel of women’s soccer, the ever growing and expanding FIFA Women’s World Cup.

And it’s not because her nation didn’t qualify for the tournament. It did.

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Striker Ada Hegerberg has not played for her native Norway since 2017, protesting what she states is gender discrimination from the Norwegian FA between how it treats the men’s national team and the women’s team. While staying away from the Norwegian National Team, Hegerberg has continued to blossom as a star for the best team in the world, Lyon. In the past three seasons, she’s scored a combined 97 goals in all competitions, including an incredible 46 goals in 2017-2018 in both Ligue 1 and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Obviously, Norway, despite qualifying for this World Cup without Hegerberg, could gain from her re-joining the squad, but according to Norway’s coach, Martin Sjögren, Hegerberg rejected his requests.

“It was tough on so many training camps,” Hegerberg told Norwegian sports magazine Josimar. “I’ve been broken mentally. There has been a deep depressive feeling. I had nightmares after having been with the national team. One should not have such things. If you want to get anywhere in life, make some choices. As soon as the thought came into my head: I think I must quit the national team…then just run everything off. I started to sleep well again.”

In the months after Hegerberg’s decision, which came after the 2017 European Championships, Norway’s FA adjusted their payscale to give the women’s team a higher salary and bonuses. However, it hasn’t moved Hegerberg and she looks ready to spend the rest of her career away from the national team.

Hegerberg also said to Josimar that despite some of the changes, she feel’s there’s a need for new leadership at the top. Hegerberg described her experience as the women’s team not being taken seriously by the FA, and that she and her sister, a fellow Norwegian international, were admonished for showing up to a team dinner late because they were signing autographs.

Initially, there was support for Hegerberg from even the men’s national team players, but with Hegerberg remaining away and the World Cup approaching, that could be starting to change.

Hopefully, there will be a resolution in the future between Hegerberg and the Norway FA, but for now, it’s Lyon’s gain and the world’s loss that Hegerberg, the first winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or, won’t be at the World Cup.

Watch Live: PL Asia Trophy – Newcastle v. West Ham, Man City v. Wolves

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Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers aim to collect a bit of silverware on the second Premier League Asia Trophy match day of the summer.

But first, a pair of Uniteds look to get off the map after beatdowns in their tournament openers.

Newcastle United and West Ham United were both walloped in Nanjing, and old hands Steve Bruce and Manuel Pellegrini would be happy to massage a victory out of their men.

Then Pep Guardiola and PL champions City get a taste of Wolves before their Oct. 5 meeting in league play.

Below is the full schedule for Saturday’s games in Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium.

Newcastle United v. West Ham United – 5 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Man City v. Wolves – 7:30 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.