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The top ten active goalscorers at the World Cup

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There might not be a prouder feeling in football than scoring a World Cup goal. Whether it’s a player’s first or 16th tournament goal, that pride will never dissipate.

It’s the biggest stage in all of sports; where legacies are crafted, chiselled and cemented.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar feels like a generation-defining one given the talent we may never see on this stage again. Each of these superstars is trying their utmost to conjure up one final bit of magic and work their way up the World Cup scoring charts.

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Here are the top ten active goalscorers at the World Cup.

Ivam Perisic

Ivan Perisic added his sixth World Cup goal in the round of 16 against Japan / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Croatia’s clutch maestro was at it again as he thumped home an emphatic header to restore parity in their round of 16 tie against Japan.

Perisic has delivered time and time again for the national team, scoring in the semi-final and final in 2018. His sixth World Cup goal drew him level with Davor Suker in Croatia’s all-time scoring charts at the tournament.

James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Colombia may not be competing at the 2022 World Cup, but James Rodriguez is still an active player – now plying his trade with Olympiacos.

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The former wonderkid embarked on a magical 2014 campaign in Brazil which culminated in a Golden Boot triumph. Rodriguez was the star of that World Cup, earning a move to Real Madrid off the back of it.

Enner Valencia, Piero Hincapié

Enner Valencia has scored six goals in six World Cup games / Visionhaus/GettyImages

After scoring three times in three group games back in 2014, Valencia returned to the grandest stage in Qatar where he continued his prolific World Cup form.

The Ecuador captain scored twice in the tournament opener against Qatar before scoring in the draw with the Netherlands to take his overall scoring tally up to six in as many games.

Very few boast a superior strike rate to Valencia.

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Luis Suárez - Soccer Player - Born 1987

Luis Suarez failed to add to his World Cup haul in Qatar / Simon M Bruty/GettyImages

Suarez has been scoring World Cup goals since 2010, but he failed to add to his haul in Qatar as Uruguay crashed out in the group stages.

His seven goals are evenly spread out across three tournaments (2010, 2014 and 2018), with his most memorable strike arriving in 2014 as he knocked England out with a late winner in the group stages.

Neymar

Neymar will be looking to add to his tally over the next couple of weeks / Lars Baron/GettyImages

With the weight of a devoted nation on his shoulders, Neymar delivered for hosts Brazil back in 2014 as he scored braces in group victories over Croatia and Cameroon before his tournament ended in devastating fashion against Colombia in the last eight.

Injuries have compromised Neymar’s World Cup proficiency, but he did score twice in 2018 and net in Brazil’s 4-1 thumping of South Korea, taking his overall tally up to seven.

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He’s not done yet.

TOPSHOT-FBL-WC-2018-MATCH56-COL-ENG

Harry Kane scored six goals at the 2018 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot / ALEXANDER NEMENOV/GettyImages

Sure, it wasn’t the prettiest of Golden Boot victories, but a World Cup Golden Boot is a World Cup Golden Boot, okay. How many have you got?

Kane scored six times in Russia before scoring his seventh against Senegal in the 2022 round of 16. The England hitman still has plenty of time to add to his haul before he calls it a career.

Korea Republic v Portugal: Group H - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to score a knockout stage goal at the World Cup / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Over a third of Ronaldo’s World Cup goals came in one game as he netted a superb hat-trick against Spain in Portugal’s first game of the 2018 World Cup.

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The all-time great, however, is yet to score a knockout stage goal at the tournament.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is embarking on a fairytale World Cup campaign / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

It’s the fairytale the footballing world is desperate to see manifest into reality. This is Messi’s last World Cup, and the little genius is trying his utmost to lead Argentina to glory.

Messi has scored at five World Cups, but he only recently notched his first knockout stage goal at the tournament. Hopefully, more are on the horizon.

Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappe has Miroslav Klose’s all-time record in his sights / Simon M Bruty/GettyImages

Mbappe has nine goals in 11 World Cup games. He’s 23-years-old. Miroslav Klose’s all-time scoring record is just seven strikes away.

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It’s a matter of when, not if, the French superstar usurps the German forward.

Thomas Mueller

Will Thomas Muller add to his tally before he calls it a career? / Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

20-year-old Muller announced himself to the world in 2010 as he won the Golden Boot in South Africa with five goals, beating out Wesley Sneijder and David Villa due to his superior assists haul.

Muller matched his five-goal tally in 2014 as Die Mannschaft went all the way in Brazil, but Bayern’s raumdeuter has failed to score in Germany’s last two disastrous World Cup campaigns.



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Player ratings as Los Blancos seal comfortable win

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Second half goals from Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior were enough for Real Madrid to fend off a ten-man Valencia team in La Liga.

Real Madrid almost took the lead inside the opening three minutes, when Valencia’s pourous defence was exposed by a wonderful through ball from Luka Modric. The pass played Marco Asensio clean through on goal, but the Spanish international’s subsequent effort on goal was well saved by Giorgi Mamardashvili.

15 minutes later Asensio was denied the opener again, this time by ex-Arsenal man Gabriel Paulista. The centre-back did brilliantly to dive in front of Asensio’s strike from around the penalty spot to keep the score a 0-0.

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Eduardo Camavinga was next to go close for Los Blancos, firing into the side-netting from the left-hand side of the box.

The home side thought they’d finally broke the deadlock in added time at the end of the first half thanks to Antonio Rudiger. The German international tracked Luka Modric corner kick from the left to head into the net, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR check on a Karim Benzema ‘foul’.

Los Blancos came out of the traps well at the start of the second half and deservedly took the lead through Asensio in the 52nd minute. The wide forward cannoned the ball into the top left corner of the net from outside of the box, leaving Mamardashvili rooted to the spot.

90 seconds later it was 2-0.

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This time it was Vinicius Junior who’d find the net, bursting down the left flank before side-footing into the right corner of the net.

Things went from bad to worse for Valencia in the 71st minute when Gabriel Paulista was sent off for an utterly despicable kick out at Vinicius Junior. A thuggish, rather pathetic, action from the ex-Arsenal man.

GK – Thibaut Courtois – 5/10 – Had literally nothing to do.

RB – Nacho Fernandez – 6/10 – Got forward on his side well.

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CB – Eder Militao – N/A – Subbed with an injury in the first half.

CB – Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – Scored an offside goal and had basically nothing to do in the defensive third.

LB – Eduardo Camavinga – 7/10 – Looks like he’s found a position he can call home at left-back.

CM – Luka Modric – 7/10 – His usual self.

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CM – Toni Kroos – 5/10 – He doesn’t look as comfortable in the defensive midfield position.

CM – Dani Ceballos – 6/10 – Did well again in midfield.

RW – Marco Asensio – 8/10 – Missed a few chances in the first half but more than made up for them in the second with a stunning goal.

ST – Karim Benzema – 7/10 – His passing was as good as ever,

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LW – Vinicius Junior – 8/10 – Scored a wonderful goal to seal the win.

SUB – Dani Carvajal – 6/10.

SUB – Rodrygo Goes – 6/10.

SUB – Federico Valverde – N/A.

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SUB – Aurelien Tchouameni – N/A.



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When windows are and what competitions are there?

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For so many fans, international breaks are the scourge of the football calendar. They interrupt the season just as your team seems to be building up a head of steam and putting some results together.

They can provide some brilliant entertainment though if you look in the right places, and they are also a valuable rest for some of your team’s most important players.

The introduction of the UEFA Nations League has meant that we don’t get international breaks filled with totally meaningless friendlies. The games do mean something, even if they don’t garner mass public interest until the business end of the competition.

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Here is a look at what international breaks are coming up for the rest of the season and what games are being played.

Due to the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup being held in the winter, the entire football calendar has been thrown out of kilter and many decisions feel subject to change as the season goes on.

There was an international break on the weekend on September 24, 2022, and the World Cup itself between November 13 and December 25 was classed as an international break, with play in the Premier League resuming on Boxing Day.

That means that the final international break to affect the Premier League is set to be the weekend of March 25, 2023. The break will officially be March 20 – March 28.

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There are more breaks in the women’s football calendar, so there is one coming between February 13 and February 22, and another between April 3 and April 11.

There is going to be a set of EURO 2024 qualifiers in the March international break next month. These will be the first games of that particular qualifying campaign after the groups were drawn some weeks ago.

England have been drawn in a group with Italy, Malta, North Macedonia and Ukraine, meaning it will not be easy to navigate. On March 23 at 19:45 GMT, England will take on Italy away at Napoli’s Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Then on March 26 at 17:00 GMT, England will host Ukraine at Wembley, meaning they’ll go up against their two toughest opponents immediately ahead of the clashes against Malta and North Macedonia in June.

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Northern Ireland will be away at San Marino and at home to Finland. Republic of Ireland will only be playing one game and that is at home against World Cup finalists France. Scotland will face Cyprus at home and then will also host Spain, whilst Wales face Croatia away and Latvia at home.

The England Women are only playing one game during the February international break. They will take on South Korea at home on February 16.



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How much do 2022/23 winners earn?

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UEFA Champions League action is almost back with the knockout stages set to get underway on Tuesday, February 14. The group stage threw up plenty of drama and some great goals, but the business end of the tournament is where things get serious and the money starts to be made.

The Champions League is the most lucrative club competition in the world and more and more money is earned the further a team goes. Here is a breakdown of what is up for grabs and how it will be divided in 2022/23.

There are many different factors to decide how much money a team earns from their participation in the Champions League. More money is earned from every single game that is won, meaning if you’re through to the knockouts with a game to go, it can still be worth winning that final game.

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The total prize pot from UEFA for the Champions League this season is a whopping £1.72bn (€2.03bn/$1.98bn). That figure will be divided up between the participating teams as they tournament goes on.

In comparison, the prize pot for the UEFA Europa League is €465m, while for the UEFA Conference League it is €235m.

Last season’s champions Real Madrid earned €83.2m from their involvement in the Champions League after they beat Liverpool in the final in Paris. They didn’t stop there, getting another €4.5m from winning the UEFA Super Cup.

It was pre-determined what the maximum amount that one team could win is from the 2022/23 tournament, and the figure stands at €85.14m. That is if a team wins all of their group stage matches and then wins the tournament.

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As you would expect, the majority of the money is handed out based on performance. There are two other ways in which the money is distributed though. 55% of it is based on performance, 30% is based on coefficient ranking, and the last 15% is broadcast revenues. The 55% is divided as follows:

Coefficients

UEFA have got their own coefficient algorithm which ranks each club’s European performance in the previous 10-year period. That pot of €600.6m is paid out to all 32 clubs in the group stage, as per their coefficient ranking.

Teams that have won European trophies in recent history will be higher up that ranking than those who are only just taking part in the tournament for the first time. The lowest-ranked team earns one share (€1.137m), while the top-ranked team earns 32 shares, or €36.38m.

Broadcast money

The final 15% of the money is based on broadcast revenues and then distributed accordingly. These figures are only final once all of the broadcast deals in each country have been decided upon.

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The footballing governing body of each country that has a team in the Champions League that season gets a share of €300.3m and that share size is dependant on the proportional value of their TV market. It is then distributed to the clubs taking part from each country.

50% of the allocation that, for example, the FA receives, will be divided among the participating clubs based on fixed percentages determined by UEFA. The other 50% is paid out in propertion with the amount of matches that each club plays in the competition. Therefore the further your team goes, the more broadcast revenue they receive.

The first legs are being played on February 14, 15, 21 and 22, with the second legs played on March 7, 8, 14 and 15.



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