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48-team World Cup: Good idea or bad idea?

World Cup
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 By Elko Born

Louis van Gaal will want to make up for Man United stint before retirement

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal won't like that his final job did not end the way he would have wanted.

Earlier this week, former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal said he would not be returning to football. Then, a day later, insisted he was not retiring but only taking a sabbatical to be with his family and that, in fact, he had rejected an offer from Valencia and would consider his future in the summer.

One thing seems certain: Van Gaal's failure to conquer English football with United will make it difficult, if not downright impossible, for him to give up football for good.

It's always been...

Monaco's Thomas Lemar looking to emulate idol Andres Iniesta

Monaco went top of Ligue 1 on Sunday as they beat Marseille 4-1 away from home, while Nice were held 0-0 by Metz.

For some reason, all the Guadeloupe-born stars who have worn the shirt of the France national team have been defenders.

The first was Marius Tresor, the elegant Marseille and Bordeaux centre-back who scored a famous volley against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup semifinals. Then came Jocelyn Angloma, the magnificently skilled attack-minded right-back who excelled at Euro '92 and won the Champions League with Marseille a year later before enjoying successful spells in Italy and Spain.

Lilian Thuram...

Chinese FA moves to help domestic-based players and boost national team

Oscar insists he's delighted with his move to big-spending Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG.
The FC crew discuss the latest big-money offers coming out of China and react to Uli Hoeness' comments on CSL spending.

Ryan McGowan might not have realised it at the time but, a little less than six months ago, the Australian hit upon one of the reasons for the Chinese Football Association's new restrictions on foreign players in the country's Super League.

Recent big-money deals for Oscar, Carlos Tevez and Axel Witsel may have claimed the headlines but, throughout the last two years, Chinese football has increasingly been seen as a potential home to some of the best talent Asia has to offer.

For those looking for...

 By Tony Evans

Pep Guardiola will struggle to fix what's broken at Manchester City

Gab Marcotti and the ESPN FC crew discuss Manchester City's flaws following their four-goal defeat at Everton.

Remember when Manchester was billed as the capital of football? When United and City shared four Premier League titles in successive seasons between 2011 and 2014, it seemed as though the city's dream was close to coming true. If anyone had predicted in those heady days three years ago that Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho would soon be in charge at the Etihad and Old Trafford respectively, the assumption would have been that the Mancunian clubs' domination was about to be entrenched.

It has not...

 By Nick Ames

Defending champions Ivory Coast stutter vs. Togo, Emmanuel Adebayor

Wilfried Zaha is now cap-tied after starting for Ivory Coast.
Wilfried Zaha showed flashes of quality but it wouldn't be enough for the Ivory Coast to defeat Togo.

OYEM, Gabon -- Three points from a surprising 0-0 draw for the Ivory Coast as they begin their African Nations Cup defence...

1. Ivory Coast begin title defence with a stutter

All in all, Ivory Coast stuttered on a night that did little to suggest they will have a straightforward run to a second successive Africa Cup of Nations title. Unfancied Togo deserved their goalless draw and increased their own chances of progressing from Group B; this result was hardly a disaster for the Elephants, but...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Harry Kane earns unanimous pick atop Player Power Rankings with hat trick

Paul Mariner evaluates the top ten players from the weekend of football, with Harry Kane's hat trick earning him top spot.

Also receiving votes: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City), Marco Borriello (Cagliari), Pedro (Chelsea), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool).

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.