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Man Utd offer ultimatum to Jesse Lingard as £15m transfer option emerges

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FIFA World Cup Qualifying 2022, news, results, Neymar retirement, Brazil, latest

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Brazil star Neymar said Sunday that the 2022 World Cup will be his last as he “doesn’t have the strength to put up with more football”.

“I think it will be my last World Cup,” the 29-year-old told DAZN. “I will play it like it is the last because I don’t know if I will still have the mental strength to put up with even more football.”

Neymar, who has played in two World Cups and is his country’s second top scorer of all time behind Pele, will be 34 when the 2026 tournament rolls around.

“I will do everything to get to the 2022 World Cup in great shape and will do everything to win for my country, to fulfil my biggest dream since I was little,” added the Paris Saint-Germain star.

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England roar past poor Andorra | 01:17

It follows an increasingly tense relationship with Brazil fans in recent months. After a clash with Chile, he was widely blasted as being out of shape. He then hit back twice, first with a post on his Instagram story where he said that he was wearing a ‘size G’ [large] shirt as oppose to his usual ‘M’ [medium]. He was also labelled unfit and overweight in the off-season after photos were published of him relaxing on a yacht.

He also said last month: “I don’t know what more I need to do in this shirt for the fans to respect Neymar.

“This isn’t normal. This has been happening for a long time, from you reporters, commentators, and others as well.

“Sometimes I don’t even want to give interviews but I do my bit at important moments.”

Neymar played in the 2014 World Cup on home soil and scored four goals. However, he was to suffer a back injury and missed out as Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.

Four years later, in Russia, Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.

So far, his international honours have been limited to the 2013 Confederations Cup and an Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016.

Injury ruled him out of the 2019 Copa America which Brazil won as well as the 2021 edition where Argentina triumphed in the final.

Brazil are comfortably placed to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar having won all nine of their qualifiers in the South American region so far.

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Klaassen clinches win for Netherlands | 01:01

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Newcastle draw up three-man Barcelona and Real Madrid shortlist to revolutionise attack

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The long-running takeover of Newcastle was completed last week.

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EPL news 2021, Newcastle United takeover, Saudi Arabia, how rich, new owners, transfers, latest news

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I guess this is how politicians feel?

Being told what you should think, how you should think, when you should think it and no matter what choice you make, to many, you’re 100% wrong.

Newcastle United is my football club. It is my father’s, his father’s, and his father’s. One step down and across on the family tree is an uncle who lives across The Town Moor and can hear St James’ Park when it is rocking, which hasn’t happened much of late. Uncle Bill used to go every week, then Mike Ashley happened. The joy and the hope gradually suffocated natural enthusiasm. He retains his season ticket, though every year it’s been a considered decision.

And now what. Now what?

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(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Source: AFP

THE PAST

There is no equation to calculate the level of angst, apathy, complete disdain Newcastle fans had for Mike Ashley who bathed in the financial lubricant of the Premier League for 14 years.

Yohan Kebabs, JFK (Kinnaer, not Kennedy), Dennis Wise, Nacho Gonzalez, Wonga, Sports Direct Park, Shearer’s bar, blanking Shearer, Rafa walks, Hughton sacked, Pardew’s headbutt, Jonas Gutierrez’s cancer and two relegations. And that’s just skimming the surface, under which lies a cave full of heartless tales which sucked the soul out of a football club in a city full of hearts that beat heavily when Newcastle United win.

It is illogical, given the struggles and joy the rest of life can bring, but in every city in the world there are examples of football being life. Newcastle is an extreme example.

Winning the balance sheet championship kept one man happy. He wanted to sell for a decade? In theory only. He saved the club? Therein lies the misconception Ashley operated under. What if the club went did go bust? It could get docked 100 points, or sent to the National League North for derby days against Blyth Spartans and there would still be a club and people to support it, long after all of us disintegrate to dust. Thank goodness that man is gone from our club.

Klaassen clinches win for Netherlands | 01:01

THE PRESENT

Should Mike Ashley still be owner a third relegation was more likely than not. Steve Bruce may have got sacked, but the replacement would inherit the same problems. Change drivers, but if the car is a piece of s***, the car is a piece of s***.

Newcastle made a liar of every modern-day statistic last season. Expected goals and the like? Bruce-ball danced around them, the unpredictability of Allan Saint-Maximin, the worthy-of-a-bigger-club prowess of Callum Wilson and on loan Joe Willock key factors in a late-season surge that snatched 12th position.

This renewal of the Premier League has fewer poor teams, of which Newcastle is most certainly one.

And in 24 hours, a switch flicked by two Arab states compromising on TV rights, everything changed. Everything about Newcastle flipped. About the inevitability, about the club, about the city, about dormant expectation. Suddenly, by some distance, the richest club in the world, in what is, by some distance, the richest league in the world.

66 years since a domestic trophy, and look over there to the last club this happened to; Manchester City.

Even after days of reading about managerial availabilities, or watching that mock-FIFA video of a team of Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe, and importantly, Kante, or hearing the story that there are 13,000 agents in the world and 10,000 of them would have been in contact with the club by now, the possibilities are unfathomable.

The catch, though, is far from insignificant.

Some have dressed in Thawbs and celebrated in front of Sir Bobby Robson’s statue. Some have got wildly drunk, #cans, and all that.

Some, like me, had a deep think, with some #cans of course because 14 years of frustration is worth having some #cans for.

Everyone; you, me, the neighbour, Australia to the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, has a past. And now when it comes to football their shadow is mine. A CIA report into the murder of a journalist is a factor. Plenty of advice from all points of view online too. And yet I keep on coming back to a question. How is this my fault?

(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Source: AFP

THE FUTURE

Protesting this takeover is like protesting a sunrise.

Private ownership in a league known around the world, its obscene wealth multiplying by the season, will attract those with the biggest chequebooks. Those early 90s meetings about changing the way England’s top division operated stand as the football equivalent of geologists digging through sand to find oil in the 1930s.

This Newcastle United transaction, decided by so few, affects many. From my perspective, drenched in cognitive bias, there is plenty of hope.

Hope the owners treat the city right. They’ll plough millions in to bring a new manager and new players, but the most telling appointments will be those who will bring world class football. The right CEO, the right football director, the right recruitment people listening to the right agents who represent the right players to rebuild a club, not just create a team. It took Manchester City three seasons to win a title post-takeover. I’d take a time frame three times that if it meant an air of sustainability rose above all.

The disconnect between local football on Tyneside and what happens inside that weirdly shaped stadium every second weekend is gaping. Mend that. Start treating everyone in the club properly, after the last bloke took pensions of canteen staff away to pay player bonuses. They are the stories that bounce around a town, talked about in pubs and bridge clubs, far from a headline.

England roar past poor Andorra | 01:17

Investing in football comes with a spotlight. That shadow that is now my shadow? It’s rightly more exposed than it was last week.

Investment in Newcastle is different to Saudi Arabia investing in Facebook and Uber and Boeing. I’d like to think fans of a football club not known to withhold their feelings will react differently to Mark Zuckerberg should the CIA need to start filing reports again.

From watching your team run around aimlessly away to Wolves to a heightened interest in geopolitics and CIA reports.

Far out, it’s been some week.

As flippant as it might sound, I just want to watch my team play good football and wherever that leads, so be it.

It might take us to Wembley Way, and an explosion of joy decades in the making, similar to when Manchester City beat Stoke to win the 2011 FA Cup final.

My father turned 82 on Friday and woke up to this news. His brother, Uncle Bill is a few years his senior. My son is 16, and a number ten with black and white stripes hangs from his bedroom wall.

The deep thought of the last few days leads to one possibility: All four of us sitting at a Cup final, the elder two telling stories of how much their dad loved Jackie Milburn, and why Newcastle, no matter what the situation, will be a part of us.

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