Megan Rapinoe has won The Best FIFA Women's Player award for the first time in her career, securing the prize ahead of fellow finalists Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan.

Rapinoe receives the individual honour after playing a starring role in the United States’ triumph at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The 34-year-old scooped the Golden Boot after scoring six goals, while she was also lifted the Golden Ball after being judged the best player at the tournament.

Morgan also finished with the same number of goals in France, though missed out on the scoring crown by virtue of playing more minutes than her compatriot.

The 30-year-old striker – who has surpassed a century of goals in her illustrious international career – was the only one of the trio to previously be nominated, finishing third in 2012.

Meanwhile, the coach's award went to Jill Ellis, who made history at the Women’s World Cup.

The USA boss became the first coach to win the tournament for a second time, having also led them to glory in the 2015 edition in Canada.

Bronze, meanwhile, was a key member of the England squad that reached the last four, following on from an outstanding season for Lyon that included helping the French club lift the Women’s Champions League for a fourth successive season.

Rapinoe and Morgan were joined by compatriots Kelley O'Hara, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz in the FIFA FIFPro Women's World11.

As well as Bronze, there were also places for Brazil legend Marta, Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, Sweden's Nilla Fischer and France duo Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry.

 

FIFA FIFPro Women's World11: Sari van Veenendaal, Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard, Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle, Marta, Alex Morgan

Phil Neville acknowledges he has been flattered by reported interest from the United States women's team but insists there has been no approach from the world champions.

Neville guided England to the semi-finals of this year's Women's World Cup, where they lost to the USA.

Victorious coach Jill Ellis will leave her role with USA at the end of October, though, and reports in England this week claimed Neville was a leading candidate.

But the ex-Manchester United defender, who is under contract with the Football Association until 2021, says his focus is on the 2020 Olympic Games, where he will lead Great Britain.

"There's been no approach," Neville told BBC Sport after England's 2-1 friendly defeat to Norway. "My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics.

"Beyond that, it's flattering because it means you're doing a good job. But my focus is England. I love this job, as I said before the game, and we've got a big job to do.

"We can see over the last two games [including a draw with Belgium last week] that the work is still in progress and we've still got a long way to go."

Neville was this week nominated for the FIFA's Best award for the top women's coach.

Afterwards, speaking ahead of the Norway game, the former England international defended his record and claimed England were lucky to have him.

"I have a vision that nobody else has," he said. "I've got bravery that no other coach has probably had.

"So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I'm here. I'm here to stay. And I'm going to continue to keep improving.

"I've got a long way to go but I think, with the set of players we've got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it."

The Neymar transfer saga is over for at least another window, but it remains to be seen how the star responds at Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 27, was largely expected to return to Barcelona, only for no agreement to be reached between the clubs before the window closed on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, the superstar forward is far from happy.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR ANGRY WITH PSG AFTER NOT GETTING BARCELONA RETURN

Neymar is very sad and deeply angry with PSG over his failed Barcelona move, according to Sport.

However, they also report Barcelona are convinced Neymar will return to Camp Nou in 2020.

Sport say Barca offered €150million – with €20m coming from Neymar – plus Ivan Rakitic and Jean-Clair Todibo on permanent deals and Ousmane Dembele on loan, only for the deal to be rejected.

ROUND-UP

- After plenty of debate, the Premier League will extend its close-season transfer window until September 1 next year, according to The Sun. Several clubs have been frustrated after they only had until August 8 to complete their business as the rest of Europe remained active.

- With Jill Ellis set to leave her post as United States head coach, the Women's World Cup winners have lined up England boss Phil Neville as their number one target to replace her, according to the Daily Mail.

- Manchester United are looking to the future. Sport Witness reports the Premier League giants sent scouts to watch Benfica duo Ruben Dias, 22, and Florentino Luis, 20, against Sporting Braga on Sunday, lining the pair up as two potential transfer targets.

- After collecting just five points from four Premier League games, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting frustrated. Solskjaer is frustrated by the failures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to score "scruffy" goals, according to The Athletic.

United States stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan will battle England international Lucy Bronze for The Best FIFA Women's Player award after nine names were trimmed from the original shortlist.

Lyon right-back Bronze was named UEFA Women's Player of the Year last week but faces stiff competition from Rapinoe and Morgan to claim the global accolade.

Rapinoe, 34, looks to be the frontrunner after spearheading her country to Women's World Cup glory earlier this year.

The winger scooped the Golden Boot with six goals from five games and completed a triumphant individual double by claiming the Golden Ball.

Team-mate Morgan netted the same number of goals in France, including the winner in the 2-1 semi-final defeat of England, and only missed out on the goalscoring crown by virtue of playing more minutes than Rapinoe.

Bronze's hopes could hinge on a strong club campaign as she helped Lyon to the treble, although two of the previous three winners - Carli Lloyd and Marta - have been based in the NWSL in America.

Similar battle lines have been drawn for the title of The Best FIFA Women's Coach, with England manager Phil Neville in contention against Jill Ellis, who has won back-to-back World Cups with USA.

Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman is the other contender after leading her country to the World Cup final.

Christiane Endler, Hedvig Lindahl and Sari van Veenendaal are the finalists for the goalkeeper's gong.

All award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Milan on September 23.

Phil Neville has called for the football community to boycott social media for six months after the latest instance of high-profile racist abuse.

England women's manager Neville was reacting to Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba being targeted online after he had a penalty saved in Monday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolves.

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and Reading's Yakou Meite have also been subjected to similar abuse over the past week following their own penalty failures.

United issued a statement branding the slurs directed towards Pogba as "disgusting" and called for social media companies to take action as they work to identify the perpetrators in this instance.

However, Neville has little faith in the likes of Twitter and Instagram making a meaningful difference and called on those within the game to take a stand.

"I've lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, is: come off social media," he said at a news conference ahead of his team's matches against Belgium and Norway.

"Six months – let's come off social media. Let's see the effect that it has on these social media companies, whether they're really going to do something about it."

Neville also spoke out last October after former England and Chelsea star Karen Carney received rape and death threats on Instagram.

"We talk to them all the time because my players get that kind of abuse all the time, whether it’s racist, whether it’s sexist, whether it’s homophobic,” he continued.

"They get that kind of abuse. Nothing gets done about it, but we experienced it earlier in the season.

"It's not going away, I think there’s some fantastic campaigns, initiatives, messaging that goes out, particularly in the Premier League, through the FA, about trying to stamp out racism.

"And at times, you feel as if you're making inroads, and then you get probably a massive reminder that actually we’re probably not.

"It’s a problem not just in football – it’s a problem in society, but football now is at the forefront of everybody’s minds in terms of, we’ve got the power to do something about it. I think the football community will.

"I think we try, but it’s getting to the point now where I think we need to make a real strong message, and I say to every single footballer out there, and to every club, and to the PFA: why don't we make a big stand? Come off social media. Boycott all social media now and see if that makes a big enough impact."

Pogba's United team-mate Harry Maguire called for all social media accounts to be verified and Neville suggested he would support such an approach.

"Maguire said this morning about being verified, giving passport details and addresses to be hold accountable for posting such disgusting things," he added.

"You can be an egg on Twitter and no one knows who you are."

Anti-discrimination pressure group Kick It Out has lamented the "increasingly predictable" nature of online attacks.

"This is a call to action – we want to know what they [social media companies] are going to do to tackle this insidious problem," a Kick It Out statement read.

Lyon trio Ada Hegerberg, Lucy Bronze and Amandine Henry have been nominated for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d'Or Feminin last year and will look to add the UEFA prize to her collection, having finished as runner-up in 2017-18 to Denmark and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder.

The 24-year-old dazzled as Lyon won their 13th consecutive French title last season, scoring 20 goals in as many top-flight appearances along with seven in nine Champions League outings – crowning a magnificent campaign with a hat-trick in the 4-1 final victory over Barcelona in Budapest.

However, Hegerberg did not participate in the World Cup, having not represented Norway since the 2017 European Championship due to frustrations over the standing of the women's game in her homeland.

Lyon colleague Bronze did feature in France, playing a starring role in England's second consecutive run to the semi-finals.

The former Manchester City right-back is the first English nominee for the award.

Midfielder Henry completes the nominees having finished third behind Harder and Hegerberg last time around.

Henry was runner-up in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – to Hegerberg on the latter occasion – making her four nominations a new record in the award's seventh year.

Toni Duggan has signed a two-year deal with Atletico Madrid after leaving Barcelona in July.

The England striker helped Barca reach the Women's Champions League final last term before making three appearances for the Lionesses in their run to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Duggan will continue her club career in the Primera Division Femenina after champions Atletico saw off competition for her signature from other top sides.

"This is an amazing opportunity to play for one of the greatest clubs in Europe," said the 28-year-old forward.

"I had several different offers – from all around the world – but at this stage in my career, I wanted to join a side that is consistently challenging for honours and Atletico's record is incredible. I've seen this team up close over the last couple of years and they are a real force.

"When I visited the new training ground I was extremely impressed. In terms of a facility that caters specifically for a women's team, it is the best I have ever seen.

"I have met both the captain and manager – this is the next level for me, in every sense. They have great players and I want to help them to retain the league and to go further in the Champions League.

"I played at the Wanda Metropolitano last season in front of 60,000 fans, so I know how much these supporters enjoy women's football – I was blown away by the atmosphere and their support for the team. It will be a huge honour to play in front of them. There are plans to play games at the Wanda next season and I am very excited about that."

Duggan joined Barcelona from Manchester City in 2017 and played 72 games for the club, scoring 29 goals and helping them finish second to Atletico in the league two years running.

United States star Megan Rapinoe and three of her international team-mates are among 12 nominees for the Best FIFA Women's Player Award for 2019.

A first-time recipient will be named in Milan on September 23 after former winners Marta, Lieke Martens and Carli Lloyd all failed to make the shortlist.

Reign FC forward Rapinoe shapes as a strong contender after inspiring USA to glory at the Women's World Cup in France.

The 34-year-old scored six goals in five games, including one in the 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final, to claim a Golden Ball-Golden Boot double.

Rapinoe's compatriots Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz are also in contention, as are England pair Ellen White and Lucy Bronze, who claimed the Silver Ball.

Right-back Bronze and striker Ada Hegerberg, last year's inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner, feature among four players from the Lyon side that won the Women's Champions League.

The list of contenders has been expanded to 12 from the usual 10 due to a tie in the number of votes received by some nominees.

 

The Best FIFA Women's Player nominees:

Lucy Bronze (Lyon & England)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars & United States)
Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona & Norway)
Ada Hegerberg (Lyon)
Amandine Henry (Lyon & France)
Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars & Australia)
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit & United States)
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal & Netherlands)
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride & United States)
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC & United States)
Wendie Renard (Lyon & France)
Ellen White (Manchester City & England)

The United States have opened up the biggest gap at the top of the women's FIFA rankings in history following their World Cup triumph.

Jill Ellis' side won their second successive title last Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final in Lyon.

They remain in first place in the international standings but now boast a record gap of 121 points over second-place Germany, who lost to Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Runners-up Netherlands are up five places to third, their best ever position, while bronze medallists Sweden climb three places to sixth.

France stay fourth, with England, beaten by USA in the semi-finals and then Sweden in the third-place play-off match, slip two places to fifth.

The biggest movers are the Philippines (67th place, up seven) and India (57th place, up six), who are rewarded for strong showings in qualifying for next year's Olympic Games.

The list now comprises 158 teams, up from 155, which is also an all-time record.

Phil Neville admitted his England players have "destroyed" him at the Women's World Cup as he opened up about his new-found sensitivity and the importance of creating a positive environment for the Lionesses to thrive in.

The former Manchester United and Everton midfielder said England's journey to the semi-finals, where they lost 2-1 to the United States, had left him more prone to teary moments and with a tendency to smile and relax, while describing his squad as "an unbelievable set of girls".

England lost 2-1 to Sweden in Saturday's third-place play-off – a game Neville wrote off as "a nonsense" - but he spoke about his pride in his players and his determination to reflect deeply on their performance.

"They destroyed me," Neville told 90min.com.

"They turned me into an emotional wreck. I cry at everything – I cry at watching Dirty Dancing now, and Pretty Woman. Because they are the most unbelievable set of girls, honestly they are.

"You think some days that they're not going to be up for today and they are. They drive each other forward. They inspire me.

"They've changed me. In life you're always at your best when you're happy and when you're having fun, and for these players to perform at their best I think at times I've needed to relax.

"I've always been a 100-miles-an-hour, eyeballs out, intense type of guy, but sometimes they like to see a smile, the smile gives them comfort and that feeling that you trust them and they've made me into that kind of person."

Neville has just short of two months to take stock of England's performance before the squad regroups for a friendly against Norway in September.

He indicated that the Lionesses, who were also eliminated from the World Cup at the semi-final stage in 2015, are playing the brand of football he has been aiming for since he took charge in January 2018.

"You have periods in the day when you think we were so close, and then you have periods where you get maybe a little bit angry that we should've done more," said Neville. "Maybe 12 months ago should we have been firmer.

"When you start reviewing some of the work you've done, some of your tactics or whatever, you do have to self-reflect. And I'm sure that after the tournament I'll probably do that more than anyone because ultimately the responsibility falls with me.

"We've still got to be proud of the work we've done and I'm proud of the way the players tried to play.

"The semi-final was enthralling. 56,000 people, my players playing the type of football I want them to play, every single player giving their all. I said to them at the start of the game, don't leave anything and they didn't leave anything. They left their hearts on the field."

Sweden clinched third place at the Women's World Cup for the third time after they exposed England's defensive frailties in a 2-1 bronze-medal match victory.

Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson scored inside the opening 22 minutes at Allianz Riviera, where the Lionesses failed to recover from a slow start despite Fran Kirby pulling a goal back just after the half-hour.

Ellen White was denied the record of being the first player to score in six consecutive matches in the same tournament when a VAR review deemed she used her arm to control the ball before putting it in the net and Sweden locked the gates thereafter.

Karen Carney, who announced her decision to retire from football before the game, came on as a second-half substitute but there was to be no fairy-tale ending for her or for England.

England were pinned back from the outset and came undone when Alex Greenwood's poor clearance fell to the feet of Asllani, who rattled home a low drive that found the net despite Carly Telford getting a hand to it.

Telford made a good near-post save to deny Jakobsson but was powerless to prevent the Montpellier winger from curling a shot into the far corner after England's defenders allowed her to dribble into the box unchallenged.

Kirby revived a lacklustre Lionesses' performance when she powered into the area and drilled beyond Hedvig Lindahl moments before White had an equaliser disallowed for handball – the Golden Boot-chasing striker thwarted by a VAR review as she was in the semi-final defeat to the United States.

Julia Zigiotti Olme fired a low shot from 20 yards that tested Telford mid-way through a quieter second half that saw Sweden sit deep and defend their lead while England began to tire.

Neville sent on Carney for her 144th and final England appearance 17 minutes from time, while Nilla Fischer's brilliant goal-line clearance prevented Lucy Bronze from taking the game into an additional period.

Count Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner among those not offended by Alex Morgan's tea-sipping celebration against England.

United States captain Morgan's reaction to her Women's World Cup semi-final winner against the Lionesses on Tuesday sparked outrage, with England international Lianne Sanderson among those critical.

Some saw it as a shot against the English, where the hot beverage has links to American independence after colonists dumped a shipment in the sea in an event known as the Boston Tea Party.

Morgan launched a staunch defence of the celebration on Friday, saying it was not a jibe at England but rather a homage to Turner - who played Sansa Stark in the hit television series Game of Thrones and is known to sign off social media videos by drinking tea.

Striker Morgan also accused her critics of "double standards" when "you see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks", with Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Simeone having both received fines, but comparatively less attention, for crotch-grabbing celebrations in last season's Champions League.

And Turner, born in Northampton, England, has supported Morgan in an Instagram story she posted while on honeymoon.

"I feel like this deserves a mention," she said. "Unfortunately the UK [England] Women's football team lost at the World Cup, and of course I'm incredibly sad and incredibly proud of that team. But I am so honoured that we lost to such an incredible team - the US Women's football team.

"Alex Morgan, all those haters that are saying that this was disrespectful, I'm honoured that you thought of me and all those people that are hating on you are probably sitting at home, millennials, drinking kombucha, and I'm really f****** proud of you, Alex Morgan.

"Congratulations on your win - and that's the motherf****** tea."

Morgan posted Turner's video to her own Instagram account with the message "ILYSM! [I love you so much]. PS - CONGRATS!!"

England striker Toni Duggan has left Barcelona after two years with the Spanish giants.

Duggan moved from Manchester City Women in 2017 to try her luck overseas and helped Barcelona reach the final of last season's Champions League.

She scored 29 goals in 72 appearances for Barcelona, winning two domestic cup medals, and has been a member of England's squad at the Women's World Cup in France, making three appearances.

Duggan's destination is not yet known, with representatives for the player saying her next club would be "announced in due course".

The 27-year-old has also played for Everton in the Women's Super League.

Duggan said: "It was a dream come true to wear the famous colours of FC Barcelona. To represent one of the biggest and most special clubs in the world has been a huge honour – but I feel the time is right for me to pursue a new challenge.

"Together with my team-mates and, of course, the wonderful supporters, I was able to win two trophies and enjoy many other memorable moments. A great many people have helped me over the last two years and I want to thank them all – you will always be in my heart."

Karen Carney will bring her playing career to an end when England face Sweden in Saturday's Women's World Cup third-place game - and says she has given "heart and soul" to the Lionesses.

Since making her senior international debut as a 17-year-old in 2005, Carney went on to become a key member of the England squad, playing in four World Cups and winning 143 caps.

The silky-skilled Chelsea midfielder, who can play on either flank or in an advanced central role, announced on Friday she will retire from club and national team duty at the end of England's stay in France.

She had hoped to sign off as a World Cup winner, but defeat to the United States in the semi-finals means England will play for bronze.

Carney has started all of England's games at France 2019 on the bench, making three substitute appearances.

She accepts she is no longer the force she once was, and the retirement announcement had been on the 31-year-old's mind for some time.

"I've probably known for quite a while now," Carney said. "My mind still wants to do everything and it still can, but I don't think my body can anymore.

"My mind would want to continue until I was 100, but at some point your body tells you enough is enough and I think I've got to that point. I feel I've given my heart and soul for the clubs I've played for, and especially my country.

"I don't think there's anything more I could physically or mentally give and I don't have any regrets with how that has happened.

"I think probably a career highlight would be when I told my mum when I was 11 that I would play for England, and then at 17 doing it."

Carney also played for Arsenal, Birmingham and Chicago Red Stars, as well as Great Britain at London 2012, and said: "It's really weird, I think the thing I'll miss most is singing the anthem, that'll be tough."

England boss Phil Neville did not pick Carney in his early squads after being appointed last year, as she was injured.

"Then I was on holiday when I got a text from one of my players. It was Karen, saying, 'I'm going to go to the World Cup, watch this space', type thing," Neville said. "I thought, 'I quite like that, quite cheeky'.

"To give an example of what kind of professional Karen is ... we have the option of some players going to training early.

"We call it individual development plans and there was only one player that went early yesterday and that was Karen Carney.

"A player that was two days away from kicking her last ball actually still went down to the pitch to practise her skill before everybody else got there."

Lindsey Horan sent an apologetic message to Steph Houghton for her over-zealous celebrations following the United States' victory over England.

Houghton saw a controversial late penalty saved by Alyssa Naeher in Tuesday's Women's World Cup semi-final, as USA held firm to secure a 2-1 win.

England captain Houghton cut short a post-match interview with TalkSPORT in the wake of the result, when Horan, who set up Alex Morgan's winner, celebrated loudly in the vicinity.

Horan's actions were labelled "disrespectful" by Houghton, while Morgan has also come under fire for her 'tea sipping' celebration during the match.

But Horan claimed she did not mean to rile Houghton and explained she was fully focused on celebrating with Naeher following her crucial save.

"I sent a message to her apologising because I had no intentions of [showing disrespect]," Horan told Sky Sports on Friday.

"Obviously emotions arise after a game and I was so excited for Alyssa because it was the biggest save of her life. She's so humble and so down to Earth, I just wanted to rile her up again because it was an absolutely amazing night.

"I had no idea what was around me and I had no intentions of doing that. Hopefully Steph knows that. But obviously emotions are there after winning a semi-final."

England bring their tournament to a close with a third-place play-off against Sweden on Saturday, while holders USA face European champions Netherlands in Sunday's final.

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