Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has revealed he remains in touch with Jose Mourinho and occasionally speaks to his former manager after matches.

Mourinho handed McTominay his Premier League debut in May 2017 and gave him an expanded role in the first team the following season.

The divisive ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid boss left Old Trafford last December but McTominay has continued to blossom, his performances a beacon of hope in the club's otherwise dismal start to the new campaign.

Mourinho once described the Scotland international as a "special character" and the admiration is mutual.

"He still keeps in contact with me now and keeps in touch after some games," McTominay told Sky Sports.

"He'll always have a special place in mine and my family's heart because he's the one who brought you in, he was the one who trusted you, he was the one who had belief in you.

"I owe a tremendous amount of credit to him because if it wasn't for him I might not necessarily be sitting in this seat."

McTominay has started all eight of United's Premier League fixtures this season.

He will have a big part to play if the struggling Red Devils are to gain a result at home to leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud is prepared to leave Chelsea if "forced" to make a decision on his future.

The experienced centre-forward scored for the second time in four days as France drew 1-1 with Turkey in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday.

World Cup winner Giroud continues to serve his country well but chances have been less forthcoming at club level with Tammy Abraham the preferred striker at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard has granted the former Arsenal front man two substitute appearances and a solitary start in eight Premier League games this season.

"I cannot be satisfied with what I have at Chelsea," Giroud told reporters in Paris, while adding he did "not necessarily" want to leave.

"I have some beautiful years in front of me. I'm 33 but I still have legs. I have a profile, I think, that will allow me to play football for a few more years.

"I feel good physically, I have a healthy lifestyle. I want to play more games.

"The priority is to stay at Chelsea but, if I'm forced to make a choice, I'll do it like when I left Arsenal."

Giroud moved across London in January 2018 and helped the Blues win the Europa League last season.

"I will fight for my place at Chelsea," he said.

"The coach knows it. We will assess things in January."

Giroud's goal off the bench against Turkey gave France a 76th-minute lead but Kaan Ayhan responded to earn the visitors a point.

Les Bleus remain second in Group H, four points ahead of third-placed Iceland with two games to play.

With Edinson Cavani's contract set to expire, a move away from the French capital has been mooted.

The Paris Saint-Germain veteran has been linked to David Beckham's incoming MLS expansion franchise Inter Miami.

However, Cavani reportedly wants a return to Serie A and the titleholders stand out.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI EYES JUVE SWITCH

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani wants to join Serie A champions Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Cavani – who has become PSG's all-time leading goalscorer since arriving from Napoli in 2013 – is out of contract at season's end.

With limited progress on a renewal, the 32-year-old's representatives have reportedly reached out to Juve over a return to Italy.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sport in Germany, Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is eyeing a move to Serie A or LaLiga. The 31-year-old was linked with PSG during the last transfer window.

- Former France and PSG head coach Laurent Blanc is keen on a job in the Premier League, reports in France say. Blanc was linked to the Lyon vacancy but the Ligue 1 strugglers have opted for ex-Marseille boss Rudi Garcia.

- Passione Inter claims Crystal Palace are looking to sign Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa. The 23-year-old Brazilian is starring on loan at Flamengo, having struggled to establish himself with Inter.

Inter and AC Milan are both interested in Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil, Calciomercato says.

- Calciomercato reports Manchester United are competing with Milan for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th goal of his professional career during Portugal's Euro 2020 qualifier against Ukraine on Monday.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner brought up his septuple century for club and country when he converted a second-half penalty in Kiev, awarded after Taras Stepanenko handled the ball inside the box.

It was his 95th goal for Portugal, with only Iran's Ali Daei (109) ahead of him on the all-time international goals list.

The bulk of Ronaldo's goals came for Real Madrid – 450 over the course of nine seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu between 2009 and 2018.

The 34-year-old has continued to be a prolific operator at Juventus, scoring 32 times for the Bianconeri – including 24 in their triumphant Serie A campaign last season.

Ronaldo only scored five times for boyhood club Sporting CP before earning a move to Manchester United in 2003, where 118 strikes helped to make him a hero at Old Trafford.

He has 10 goals so far in 2019-20, with some way to go before getting close to the most prolific season of his career. In 2011-12, when Madrid unseated Barcelona as LaLiga champions, Ronaldo scored a scarcely believable 69 goals overall.

Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones have returned to training with Manchester City.

Influential midfielder De Bruyne started this season in superb form, racing to eight assists in the Premier League.

But a groin problem kept him out of City's past two matches, including a lacklustre 2-0 loss at home to Wolves last time out that left Pep Guardiola's men eight points shy of leaders Liverpool in England's top flight.

Stones has been out with a hamstring injury since mid-September – an absence that has been keenly felt after Aymeric Laporte underwent knee surgery.

It left Nicolas Otamendi as City's only specialist senior centre-back, with midfielder Fernandinho pressed into action alongside the Argentina defender in recent weeks.

Sergio Aguero was not selected alongside his compatriot Otamendi for games against Germany and Ecuador over the international break, with Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni claiming "he's been carrying a problem and has not been training 100 per cent with his club".

However, City's all-time record goalscorer took part in Monday's session alongside Stones and De Bruyne.

City resume their Premier League title defence at Crystal Palace on Saturday before looking to make it three wins out of three in the Champions League when they entertain Atalanta next Tuesday.

Tottenham have re-signed free agent goalkeeper Michel Vorm on a short-term deal to provide cover for injured skipper Hugo Lloris.

The 35-year-old had been without a club since being released by Tottenham when his contract expired at the end of last season.

However, with Lloris out for the rest of 2019 with an elbow injury sustained in the 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on October 5, the Premier League side have moved to bring in Vorm until the end of the season.

Ex-Netherlands international Vorm, who made 47 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham during his previous five-season spell in north London, has again been assigned squad number 13.

He will likely act as back-up to Paulo Gazzaniga when Mauricio Pochettino's side return to action with a home match against Watford next Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez could be sidelined for "two to three" months after sustaining a potentially serious ankle injury, according to Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless friendly draw with Colombia on Saturday after suffering what the Football Federation of Chile described as a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons".

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will undergo further tests in Milan, with Rueda suggesting he could be out of action for the foreseeable future if surgery is required.

"If the club operates, we could be without him for two to three months," he told a media conference. "It is a pity. He had been regaining form for his club and played in the Champions League.

"Now we have to wait for these crucial hours to know what decision the club will take."

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

Steven Gerrard would have loved the opportunity to play under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The Reds icon scored 186 goals in 710 appearances for his boyhood club before switching to MLS side LA Galaxy in July 2015.

Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in October of the same year and Gerrard – who now manages Scottish Premiership side Rangers – admits to wondering if he should have stayed at Anfield longer to work with the German. 

"I always had little thoughts as I've gone along," he told Sky Sports. "Should I have stayed at Liverpool? Should I have signed a year extension?

"Maybe I might have been able to have that cameo under Jurgen Klopp as maybe a squad player.

"These things always cross my mind but, look, I made decisions. I am very proud of my Liverpool career; I am very proud of where I am up to now in my management.

"I want to give that my full focus and keep trying to learn and grow and improve and see where that journey takes me now.

"But, of course, you always have little moments. Imagine if I'd stayed at Liverpool a bit longer and maybe I'd bumped into Jurgen Klopp, as someone who could maybe have given him 10-15 minutes off the bench.

"Of course, it has crossed my mind. I would have loved that."

Klopp's side have started the season in blistering form and have an eight-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League after winning all eight of their games, while Gerrard's Rangers are top of the Scottish Premiership. 

Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford on Sunday highlights the growing gap between the Premier League leaders and rivals Manchester United.

Alex Ferguson famously declared he would knock the Reds "off their perch", a goal he achieved in some style by leading United to a lengthy period of domestic dominance, but there is no doubt who is on top now.

Liverpool are yet to drop a point this season with their winning run in the Premier League standing at 17 games, building an eight-point cushion over defending champions Manchester City.

United, meanwhile, sit two points above the relegation zone in 12th after losing 1-0 away to Newcastle United last time out, a result that increased the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Sunday's Manchester meeting offers Liverpool a chance to secure more bragging rights and their players dominate the Omnisport combined XI ahead of the game.


Goalkeeper: ALISSON

Injury has kept Alisson on the sidelines for most of the season so far, but he could return from a calf problem at Old Trafford. David de Gea has looked vulnerable at times this season and he probably should have saved Patrick van Aanholt's late winner for Crystal Palace in August. Alisson was named The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper in September and it is hard to argue with that assessment given the transformative impact his arrival from Roma has had on the Reds.


Right-back: TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has made a promising start to life at United but, while he is extremely strong in the tackle, Trent Alexander-Arnold offers much more in attack. The Liverpool right-back created the decisive goal in last season's Champions League comeback for the ages against Barcelona, his quick corner enabling Divock Origi to strike the final blow. Few players, let alone those just 21 years old, would have seen the opportunity or had the quality to pull it off.


Centre-back: JOEL MATIP

There is perhaps a case to be made for Harry Maguire, one of the few bright spots in United's campaign, but Joel Matip has taken his game to a new level this season. He is a key part of the tightest defence in the league this season, with Liverpool having only conceded six goals. And when Matip sat out the Champions League group game against Salzburg, Alisson's deputy Adrian was beaten three times.


Centre-back: VIRGIL VAN DIJK

There can be no arguments here, with Virgil van Dijk one of the first names on a combined XI team sheet. The Netherlands international cost a world-record fee for a defender when he eventually made the move from Southampton, but that £75million now looks like money well spent. Van Dijk has led Liverpool's defence to the Champions League title and a long-awaited Premier League crown could well follow this season.


Left-back: ANDY ROBERTSON

Similarly, Andy Robertson is a no-brainer at left-back despite Luke Shaw's improvement over the past year or so. The Scotland captain is arguably the finest player in Europe for his position now and was a superb bargain buy at just £8m from Hull City in 2017. His clash with Lionel Messi in the early stages of the Champions League semi-final at Anfield set the tone for the Reds' comeback.


Central midfield: FABINHO

It took time for Fabinho to settle after joining from Monaco, but the former right-back is now a key cog in Liverpool's relentless winning machine. It is impossible to leave him out of the combined XI given United's offerings as midfield protectors include mediocre options such as Fred and Scott McTominay.


Central midfield: PAUL POGBA

There is a spot for Paul Pogba, though, despite the World Cup winner remaining something of an enigma. Pogba was United's top scorer in the Premier League last season, also providing a team-high nine assists. He may not always hit top form, but at his best the ex-Juventus star remains an elite performer. Pogba could add an extra gear and more quality to Liverpool's occasionally one-paced midfield.


Central midfield: JORDAN HENDERSON

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson completes the midfield, providing experience and leadership. The England international is still underrated by some, but Henderson showed his importance to the Reds at the end of last season when he was utilised in a more advanced role by Jurgen Klopp. He displayed a fresh dimension to his game with creativity and incision in the final third.


Right wing: MOHAMED SALAH

Yet to hit top form this season, Mohamed Salah is another mandatory pick for Liverpool after his stunning goalscoring exploits since joining from Roma. The Egypt star has hit 77 goals in 116 appearances for the Reds, making Chelsea's decision to allow him to leave Stamford Bridge in 2016 look rather foolish. Salah's selfish streak may sometimes appear to annoy team-mates, but his individual brilliance can carry Liverpool through tight games.


Striker: ROBERTO FIRMINO

Leading the line is Roberto Firmino, with the Brazil forward's incredible energy, work rate and ability to operate between the lines giving Liverpool a platform to thrive. With Marcus Rashford having only scored once since the opening weekend it is impossible to argue for the United striker here, with the England international's confidence having looked very low of late.


Left wing: SADIO MANE

With eight goals in all competitions this term, Sadio Mane is Liverpool's top scorer in 2019-20 and he is another Red it is impossible to leave out of a combined XI. Senegal star Mane is one of the many ex-Southampton players to have flourished at Anfield and though Anthony Martial has sporadically impressed for United, he is not quite in the same league.


Substitutes

On the bench there is more room for United talent as De Gea and Maguire would be included. James Milner's versatility makes him a must, while the midfield drive offered by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum would see them be useful subs. If fit, Martial would join Champions League final hero Origi as forward options.

Franck Ribery says the affection he feels for Fiorentina has justified his decision to shun transfer interest from the Premier League.

The former France international was linked to Sheffield United and clubs in the Middle East after leaving Bayern Munich as a free agent at the end of last season.

Fiorentina won the race for his signature and have reaped the benefits, with winger Ribery named Serie A's Most Valuable Player for September following a string of standout performances for Vincenzo Montella's side.

"I had other contacts, in England and also in Italy, but there was a spark with the Fiorentina executives," Ribery told Corriere della Serra.

"When I agreed to come to Florence I couldn't know that it would be love at first sight, but that's how it has been since the evening of the presentation. That night was special and I will always carry it with me.

"Speaking with [sporting director Daniele] Prade and [consultant Joe] Barone, even with coach Montella, I felt warmth and confidence in me."

The 36-year-old departed Bayern at the same time as long-time team-mate Arjen Robben, who decided to retire aged 35.

"I don't know," Ribery responded when asked how much longer he might have left in the game.

"I came here because I'm hungry and I want to be able to win something. But the future cannot be foreseen."

James Milner believes Jurgen Klopp's exuberant touchline antics are part of an authentic package that helps drive Liverpool forward.

The Reds triumphed in the Champions League for their maiden trophy under manager Klopp last season and have won their opening eight Premier League games this term to stir hopes of a first top-flight title since 1990.

Routinely challenging for major silverware makes for a significant improvement from where Liverpool were when Klopp took over in October 2015, the club then languishing in 10th.

Animated celebrations and sideline theatrics have gained him admirers and critics while becoming a hallmark of his managerial make-up, but midfielder Milner insists the behaviour is genuine.

"The biggest thing with the manager is that what you see is what you get," Milner told the Liverpool website.

"He doesn't have one front for the cameras and then he's completely different with the players.

"He's honest with the players and he lives every minute of it. He's on the side and he's bouncing around, he wants to be out there. That energy's big for us when we're down.

"He seems to judge it right, when to put an arm round the shoulder after a game.

"If we haven't played well or something he knows what to say at half-time, or if you need a rocket he'll give you that as well.

"He seems to judge those situations very well."

Now 33, ex-England international Milner is the most senior member of Klopp's squad.

The versatile former Manchester City man understands his role is to pass on knowledge to the next generation but also to continue learning from his highly regarded manager.

"You've always got to try to improve as much as you can, so I'll go into every training session, every day, with that mindset that you never know anything," he said.

"I'm sure the manager's learned things and he's been in football a lot longer than me.

"I think if you've got the mindset where you think that you know everything, you're going to be struggling."

Where will Fabian Ruiz be playing by the end of January?

Napoli will be hoping Fabian remains at Stadio San Paolo.

However, LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are determined to bring the former Real Betis midfielder back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID SURPASS BARCA IN BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Madrid have moved ahead of Barca in the race for Napoli star Fabian and want to sign the midfielder in January, according to Marca.

Fabian has attracted plenty of interest since swapping Betis for Serie A side Napoli, where the Spaniard has starred since his €30milion arrival in 2018.

Barca have been keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, but rivals Madrid have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Fabian is of interest, Tuttosport says Barca are eyeing Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who has a €111m release clause.

- There is plenty happening at Camp Nou. Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are willing to let Ivan Rakitic and Carles Alena leave in January. Barca are also reportedly not interested in signing a new centre-back as they trust Jean-Clair Todibo or Ronald Araujo, with Marca saying right-back is an area they are looking to strengthen.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Fiorentina are targeting in-demand Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old has been linked to Juventus and Manchester United.

- AS claims Madrid are considering a move for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, before his contract expires at the end of the season.

Hakan Calhanoglu's time at AC Milan could be coming to an end, with Calciomercato reporting the struggling Serie A side may sell the 25-year-old. Calhanoglu has struggled for consistency since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017.

Barca are lining up an approach for PSV sensation Donyell Malen, according to Sport. It comes as AS reports Ernesto Valverde's side are set to hand contract extensions to Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Nelson Semedo.

Petr Cech got his ice hockey career off to a winning start as his crucial save saw Guildford Phoenix overcome Swindon Wildcats II in overtime.

Former Premier League goalkeeper Cech – a technical advisor at Chelsea after he left Arsenal at the end of last season – officially signed for Guildford on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old made his debut on the ice on Sunday, starting in net for Guildford against the Wildcats and, ultimately, proved decisive in clinching the victory.

Cech had little to do until the Wildcats struck to make it 1-1 after hosts Guildford had gone ahead, with the visiting side then taking a 2-1 lead.

The Phoenix hit back to force overtime and penalties, with Cech coming out on top in the shoot-out.

Swindon's penalty taker attempted to thread a low shot under the ex-Chelsea star, but Cech displayed plenty of experience, albeit from a different sport, to stand his ground and make an instinctive, match-winning stop with his pads.

Alexis Sanchez will leave international duty to have an assessment on a potentially serious ankle injury, the Football Federation of Chile (ANFP) has confirmed.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless draw with Colombia in an international friendly on Saturday.

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will travel back to Milan for tests on an injury that may require surgery.

Sanchez has suffered a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons", according to the ANFP, and will miss Tuesday's game against Guinea.

"Tests with magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic echotomography will be carried out to make the best therapeutic decision," said an ANFP statement.

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

The 30-year-old may be a doubt for an upcoming Champions League double-header against Borussia Dortmund.

Inter host the Bundesliga side on October 23 then travel to Dortmund for the reverse fixture in Group F two weeks later.

Declan Rice has dismissed speculation he could leave West Ham for Manchester United as "all talk".

Rice has broken into the England team on the back of his mature Premier League performances at London Stadium.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini said in March the club could be forced to cash in on the 20-year-old if the price was right.

United, struggling in the league's bottom half, are reportedly ready to make a £70million offer for Rice when the January transfer window opens.

But the midfielder is unconcerned about rumours over his future, having committed to the Hammers by agreeing a long-term deal.

"I signed a five-year contract with West Ham last year, which will keep me at the club till I'm 24," Rice told the Daily Mail.

"And for me this is the best place to be right now. I am playing for a manager who has given me my chance and played me week in, week out.

"It's all talk until something happens – and nothing has – so I'm just focused on West Ham, doing my best and making the fans happy."

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