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An end to away goals? Wenger, Emery, Mourinho among those proposing

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Some of UEFA’s biggest names in management are asking the confederation to eliminate the away goals rule and bring about an earlier transfer window deadline for all clubs.

The Premier League closed its transfer window before the season began, but Spain, Germany, and France all took their business deep into August.

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The away goals rule has been in place for better than a half-century, but managers argued that easier travel and progress in the game make it less of an advantage.

UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said the confederation will review both ideas. From the BBC:

“The coaches think that scoring goals away is not as difficult as it was in the past. They think the rule should be reviewed and that’s what we will do.”

Who led the charge? Arsenal’s Unai Emery and Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho were among the coaches on hand, with Arsene Wenger, Max Allegri, Julen Lopetegui, Carlos Ancelotti, and Thomas Tuchel some of the others.

How would it have changed last season’s Champions League? Home teams may’ve attacked with more abandoned, with away teams bunkering down. The score lines rarely finish level, anyway, but home stadia want to see their sides with every intention of scoring as many goals as possible. This would help that.

Barcelona-Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk-Roma were the only knockout round matches to end deadlocked on goals last season, with Roma advancing on both counts.

Liberian President Weah criticized for honoring Wenger

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MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) Liberian President and former soccer star George Weah is being criticized for his plan to award former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger the West African country’s highest honor.

Weah, who was elected president of his country last year, plans to honor Wenger and another French soccer coach, Claude Le Roy, at a ceremony on Friday.

[ REPORT: PSG won’t loan USMNT’s Weah ]

They both played crucial roles in Weah’s career.

Le Roy discovered Weah playing for a club in Cameroon in the late 1980s and recommended him to Wenger, then the coach of Monaco in France. Wenger took the advice, signed the Liberian and Weah went on to play for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, and became the first and still only African to win the FIFA world player of the year award in 1995.

Liberian sports minister D. Zeogar Wilson said Wenger is to be given the Humane Order of African Redemption with the rank of Knight Grand Commander. Wenger is expected to attend Friday’s ceremony.

But Darius Dillon, an opposition politician, criticized Weah on Wednesday for using the nation’s highest honor and the office of the president to recognize people who only played a role in his “personal life.”

Wenger: I’ll decide my future in September

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Arsene Wenger, former manager of Arsenal for more than 20 years, is famous for many things. One is either his indicative nature, or ability to show prudence when making decisions, depending on how you see it.

Wenger has been without a job for the first time in more than two decades, and he’s been taking his time deciding on what his future will be. There no doubt have been plenty of offers for him, whether to be a club coach, national team coach or a media pundit on any number of television networks across the globe.

[READ: Salah named to UEFA POY shortlist]

“I decided not to decide,” Wenger said in an interview with Corse Matin while on vacation in Corsica  “I was intoxicated (with soccer) so long that I made a promise to make no decision until September.”

In a follow-up question about whether he would go into another field, such as politics, Wenger rejected that, so it appears he still sees his future in soccer. But in the meantime, he’s been busy playing sports and relaxing by the ocean.

“Yes, (it’s been) very good,” Wenger said of his time off, “even better than I thought. When you have been as busy as I have been, you always fear a little emptiness.

“But I quickly organized myself in this new stage of my life, I do a lot of sport, here I eat with my friends, copiously, I talk a lot too, I can stay for hours watching the horizon, I read all day, at the moment a book by Philip Roth, I Married a Communist.”

In the question and answer, Wenger also backed former Arsenal star Thierry Henry to take over at Bordeaux, as has been rumored, though he warned he wasn’t sure if Henry was truly ready to sacrifice everything to be a manager.

“Yes, he wants to do it, he is intelligent and he has the qualities,” Wenger said. “The existential question that we always ask ourselves is whether we are ready to sacrifice our life for the coaching profession.”

Wenger, Conte among favorites to replace Zidane

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The dust has barely settled at Real Madrid as Zinedine Zidane announced his dramatic departure as manager, but already there’s plenty of talk about who could take charge of the Spanish giants next.

[ MORE: Guerrero cleared for World Cup ]

Zidane, 45, walked away from the Santiago Bernabeu just five days after winning his third-straight UEFA Champions League title as Real boss. Talk about a mic-drop moment…

His three years in charge of Los Blancos will surely go down in history as one of the greatest managerial stints ever and is unlikely to be replicated.

But who’s next in the notoriously toasty hot seat for Real’s president Florentino Perez? Real’s president seemed slightly stunned that Zidane had stepped down but knows he needs to act fast to keep his superstars in check over the summer and allow Real to build on their success.

Via Oddschecker, here’s a look at the favorites to replace Zidane.


Arsene Wenger – 3/1 – Now this would be something, wouldn’t it? Real have tried to get Wenger in the past but the Frenchman always resisted their advances to remain in charge of his beloved Arsenal. Now he’s a free man and has been speaking about his next managerial move being overseas, what’s to stop this happening? Could Wenger handle the egos of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale? His style of play would certainly delight the Real fans and this would be some way for Wenger to get back on the coaching carousel.

Antonio Conte – 4/1 – Look, his stock is still incredibly high across Europe despite what happened at Chelsea this season. A Premier League title, a fifth-place finish and an FA Cup in his two seasons at Stamford Bridge isn’t bad at all and Conte has proven he can work with big-name players at Juventus, Italy and Chelsea. Real could do a lot worse and Conte and Chelsea may have found the perfect escape route for their uncomfortable situation as the Italian enters the final year of his contract.

Mauricio Pochettino – 6/1 – Now, the Argentine has just signed a new long-term deal with Spurs until 2023 and seems very happy at Tottenham. There are also reports out there that Tottenham didn’t include a release clause in Pochettino’s new deal, so it seems as though he’s staying put at White Hart Lane. But come on, it’s Real Madrid. Daniel Levy will be keen to halt the conveyor belt from North London to the Spanish capital (Ahem, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric) and stopping Pochettino from jumping ship is pivotal to keeping the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli wanting to join him in Spain. Poch will manage Real one day, that much is true. But this could be slightly too early for him.

Guti – 6/1 – Remember this guy? What a fine head of hair he had during his playing days with Real as a twinkle-toed central midfielder. Guti has been working hard behind-the-scenes at Real with their academy players and the U-19 coach is well-respected at the club. Promoting from within worked out pretty well for Florentino Perez and his board before. That said, Guti doesn’t quite have Zidane’s stature in the game so again, it may be a few years before he could take the reins. A good back-up option and a Real legend.

Massimiliano Allegri – 12/1 – It appears that he may well remain at Juventus but the Italian tactician is yet to commit his future to Juve and this opportunity would surely be intriguing for him. A coach who loves the art of defending may find it a little tough to drill the flamboyant Real stars, but for sustainable, long-term success, he’s your man. Allegri has built a fine squad at Juve and a group of players who play together instead of individuals.


Aubameyang: Arsenal coaching change can help “stagnation”

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Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is politely echoing what many Gunners supporters have been saying for some time when it comes to Arsene Wenger leaving the Emirates Stadium set.

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Unai Emery has been tabbed to replace the departing legend, who oversaw a relatively poor sixth place finish in the Premier League this season.

From RMC, translated by Goal.com:

“I think it’s a little bit of a mixed feeling in fact,” Aubameyang said. “On one hand, it’s strange for all the fans that the coach has left. But it’s definitely a fresh start.”

“Since over the last few seasons – you have to tell the truth – the club has stagnated a little bit, I think everyone is actually a little bit excited to see what happens next season.”

The 28-year-old striker scored 10 times for Arsenal since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January, scoring or assisting in 10 of 13 Premier League matches and bagging braces in two appearances.