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Everything Happening With Newcastle

Newcastle are entering a new phase in their club’s history and over the next four months we’ll get a strong gauge about where the Magpies are heading over the next few years.

This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Newcastle and they currently find themselves in the relegation zone with more than half the campaign already behind them.

That’s where new owners Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a Saudi-backed organization – become so valuable to the Magpies this month.

PIF completed its takeover in 2021 after buying out Mike Ashley at Newcastle, and the purchase was met with significant jubilation from Magpies supporters and vast displeasure from other sides across the Premier League.

The majority of the unrest comes from the fact that many are worried about another club being owned by a country could bring in outside factors that hinder the football agenda.

Paris Saint-Germain, which has a Qatari-backed ownership group has been long met by the same criticism over the years, particularly their dealing with TV rights holders beIN Sport – which they own – as well as Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Back in October, we wrote about what Newcastle fans could potentially expect from their new ownership.

With the Magpies in the midst of the January transfer window now, it feels like a more appropriate time to examine the situation as Newcastle aims to stave off relegation.

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Reports are all over the place when it comes to the club targeting players this season, with Lille defender Sven Botman, Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and other high-profile talents all linked to the English side.

Newcastle has secured deals with striker Chris Wood and England right back Kieran Trippier, which will surely bolster the Magpies squad a bit, but the club appears to be far from finished if they have any say in the matter.

Despite being only two points from safety, Newcastle need significant reinforcements if they are to fend off a drop to the Championship next season.

The club has.just one Premier League win all season and they’ve allowed the second-most goals in England’s top flight (43).

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Newcastle can certainly benefit by building around star attacker Allan Saint-Maximin, who had contributed five goals and three assists this season, but the French star cannot do it all by himself.

This season, striker Callum Wilson and Saint-Maximin has played a role in roughly 70 percent of Newcastle’s goal involvements, leaving little margin of error when either aren’t on the pitch.

It’s unclear if the Magpies will be able to get the necessary deals over the line before the end of the January transfer window, but given the nature of the club’s history and the attention drawn by their new ownership anything except a stay in the top flight would be considered a massive misstep.

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Meet Anthony Elanga, United’s Rising Baller

Anthony Elanga is quickly becoming one of Manchester United’s latest rising ballers and it’s easy to see why those around the club are so excited about the youngster.

At 19 years old, he’s seeing more and more regular time for the Premier League side and given the club’s immense youth talent it’s an exciting time to be watching the Red Devils.

Elanga was born in Sweden and briefly played at Malmo’s academy to begin his career, the same club where Zlatan Ibrahmovic made a name for himself early on as a player.

Elanga moved to United’s famed Carrington academy in 2014 and has quickly risen through their system as a teenager.

United’s Carrington academy is known for producing many top talents like Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, and Elanga is starting to enter that mix as well.

Despite Elanga’s father Joseph representing Cameroon at the international level, the Man United attacker plays for Sweden and currently represents their Under-21 side.

With the competition at United in the club’s attack, it was difficult for Elanga to get a fair shake early in the season with Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rashford all present.

However, after new manager Ralf Rangnick took over in December, Elanga has received much more attention.

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He’s earned seven appearances across all competitions since the German took charge last month, and Elanga bagged his first senior-team goal of the season on Wednesday against Brentford.

Elanga played all 90 minutes for the first time in the Premier League and it could be a vital raise in confidence moving forward if Rangnick continues to reward him with regular appearances.

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What is the FIFA Club World Cup?

The FIFA Club World Cup will kick off next month in Abu Dhabi, but what exactly is the competition and how long has it been around?

FIFA created the Club World Cup back in 2000 to celebrate regional club winners from across the globe.

Traditional there are seven clubs ranging from all six major confederations around the world, including CONCACAF (North/Central America & Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), UEFA (Europe), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania).

The first-ever Club World Cup took place in Brazil, where Brazilian champions Corinthians took home the trophy that year.

Over the first two decades of the tournament, winners have only come from Europe and South America, with the four other regions seeking their first trophy.

Etsuo Hara / Contributor

Real Madrid hold the record for most titles in the competition with four, including a run of three consecutive trophies from 2016 through 2018.

In fact, Madrid has never lost a Club World Cup match, boasting 10 wins and two draws in their four previous competitions.

The competition is single-elimination with three teams receiving first-round byes and two more teams receiving byes for the first two rounds of play.

This year, Chelsea and Palmeiras will be automatically through to the semifinals. Meanwhile, Al Jazira and AS Pirae will meet in the lone first round matchup to decide who will take on Al Hilal in the second round.

Who’s Competing This Year?

Chelsea (England) – UEFA Champions League

Palmeiras (Brazil) – Copa Libertadores

Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) – AFC Champions League

Al Ahly (Egypt) – CAF Champions League

Monterrey (Mexico) – CONCACAF Champions League

AS Pirae (Tahiti) – OFC nomination

Al Jazira (UAE) – 2020/21 UAE Pro League winner

Previous Winners

2000 – Corinthians (Brazil)

2001-2004 – Tournament cancelled

2005 – Sao Paolo (Brazil)

2006 – Internacional (Brazil)

2007 – AC Milan (Italy)

2008 – Man United (England)

2009 – Barcelona (Spain)

2010 – Inter Milan (Italy)

2011 – Barcelona (Spain)

2012 – Corinthians (Brazil)

2013 – Bayern Munich (Germany)

2014 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2015 – Barcelona (Spain)

2016 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2017 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2018 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2019 – Liverpool (England)

2020 – Bayern Munich (Germany)

2021 – TBD

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James Ward-Prowse and His Magical Free Kicks

Players like David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho have been known throughout their illustrious careers for being some of football’s greatest free-kick takers in the history of the sport.

James Ward-Prowse may not have the recognition of the aforementioned trio, but he’s putting himself into that incredible company with his magical free-kick production at Southampton.

The Englishman has been a Saints lifer to this point in his career, arriving at the club 18 years ago when he was invited to their youth academy.

Southampton have been known over the years for producing some of the Premier League’s top talent and making out quite well in the transfer market by selling those players.

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Danny Ings, Sadio Mane, Luke Shaw and Virgil Van Dijk are just a few of the Saints products that have done the club well over the years and helped keep the club functioning at a high level with their sales.

Ward-Prowse, however, has had a very different trajectory for his career despite constantly being floated as a transfer target for other top English sides.

Not only is Ward-Prowse Southampton’s captain but he’s also the club’s most-expensive signing in club history.

Ward-Prowse also happens to be Southampton’s greatest free-kick taker and he’s emerging into elite territory in all of the Premier League.

At the age of 27, Ward-Prowse now has 12 free kick goals to his name while playing at Southampton.

Ward-Prowse only trails Beckham for most direct free kick goals in Premier League history, with the former Manchester United legend boasting 18 during his career.

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Since 2003 when Opta starting tracking free-kick data, Ward-Prowse has the highest free-kick conversion percentage of any player in the top English flight.

Ward-Prowse is a unique specimen though outside of his free-kick endeavors.

Last season, he became recognized as the only Southampton player to play two consecutive Premier League seasons without coming off at any point.

With his consistent play across the midfield, it’s difficult to imagine Ward-Prowse not getting an opportunity at an elite club in the near future. But until then, we can all enjoy his breathtaking free kicks whenever he puts on a Southampton shirt.

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Meet Jacob Ramsey, Aston Villa’s Homegrown Star

When Jack Grealish moved on from Aston Villa in 2021 there was great sadness around Villa Park as the club’s biggest star embarked on a new journey at Manchester City. 

We’re now halfway through the Premier League campaign and although may not be a top four side they have another Villa homegrown star that’s ready to fill the shoes left by Grealish.

Meet Jacob Ramsey, the 20-year-old midfielder born in Birmingham.

He may not play the same role as his predecessor, but Ramsey’s importance is quickly growing under new manager Steven Gerrard and it was on full display over the weekend in his side’s comeback 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

Now in his fourth season with the Villa first team, expectations for the Englishman are rising and that could mean significant opportunities in the future both at the club and international levels.

History of Ramsey

Ramsey is a Villa homegrown in every sense of the term. He grew up in Birmingham, not far from Villa Park as he aspired to one day play for the Villans. 

His brothers, Aaron and Cole, are both involved in the Villa system and could potentially join him with the first team someday.

Meanwhile, their father, Mark, was a light-welterweight boxer that fought former champion Ricky Hatton twice in his career.

At six years old, Ramsey joined the club’s youth academy and from there it became an upward trajectory of when, not if, he would make it all the way up to Villa’s first team.

Ramsey signed his first professional contract with the club in January 2019, during the same season in which Aston Villa climbed back into the Premier League for the first time in three seasons.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

It wasn’t until the following year that Ramsey was really granted an opportunity to show off his skills though. The club loaned Ramsey out to League One side Doncaster Rovers in January 2020, but the Englishman would only play seven matches for the Reds after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down football and the world in March.

Doncaster’s season ended because of the coronavirus and that meant Ramsey would head back to Villa and eventually get his first chance to play for the club in September of that same year.

Since that moment, Ramsey’s chances with the first team have only increased and that’s an incredibly exciting notion for a club looking for its next superstar.

Style of Play

Ramsey’s on-field play style is very much that of a prototypical box-to-box midfielder. While Ramsey did shine recently with a goal and an assist against Man United, he isn’t afraid of tracking back to handle the dirty work on the defensive end of the pitch.

With the addition of Philippe Coutinho at Villa it’s a very exciting opportunity for Ramsey to pair with another creative central midfielder.

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It’s very likely that Ramsey can learn from Coutinho’s attacking tendencies while also polishing his defensive performances as well, making him into another Jude Bellingham-esque youngster in the England player pool.

What the Future Holds

Ramsey has become a top prospect in the England youth pool, most recently representing their Under-21 side in 2021. There’s been strong rumblings that Gareth Southgate could turn to more young midfielders such as Ramsey in the near future, especially given the increased youth within the Three Lions squad.

England continues to give opportunities to other youngsters like Reece James, Declan Rice, Phil Foden and Bellingham, and with more consistent play at Villa it’s easy to anticipate Ramsey getting a call up of his own shortly.

With Villa’s increased spending over recent seasons, they’ll expect their squad to improve rapidly. Ramsey could very well become the next Grealish as his builds out his portfolio at the club over the next five-plus seasons and hopefully parlay that into a big-money move of his own.

Or perhaps his journey will be different from Grealish’s. With Gerrard building out his Villa side and setting the boundaries for a squad that has top-half potential, perhaps Ramsey could help guide Villa back to European football, something that Grealish wasn’t able to do before his departure.

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Guide to American Ownership in European Football

The rise of interest in European football in the United States has been significant over the past two decades with the increase of social media’s presence and the accessibility for consumers to watch matches around the world.

In 2022, an American fan can watch matches on a variety of platforms like ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock to take in their favorite team’s fixtures in Europe’s Big Five leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.

Why is this all so important though? Well, the growth of interest in the sport for fans across America has also piqued the curiosity of wealthy entrepreneurs in the U.S. and it’s led to their presence in Europe rising as well.

In the Premier League alone, eight Americans or American-backed ownership groups have at least a minority stake in what’s considered the top division in the entire sport, accounting for roughly 40% of all ownership.

The importance of American ownership presence in Europe can’t be overstated though because of the opportunities that will further arise in the coming years as a byproduct of Stan Kroenke’s stake in Arsenal or John Henry and Tom Werner’s controlling interest at Liverpool, as two examples.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Clubs across Europe have become more infatuated with the idea of recruiting American players to compete in top leagues, with the Bundesliga currently being the biggest hub for U.S.-based talent.

Ricardo Pepi’s recent move to Augsburg was a perfect example of American influence playing a role considering the club has David Blitzer as one of its key stakeholders.

Blitzer is an American private equity investor that has major stake in clubs across the United States like the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Real Salt Lake, as well as Premier League side Crystal Palace and Augsburg in Germany.

ONE37pm is breaking down the American ownership across Europe’s biggest leagues and how these clubs are succeeding.

Premier League – England

Arsenal – Stan Kroenke

For American sports fans, Kroenke is the owner of the Los Angeles Rams and Colorado Rapids, but in June 2008 he officially took over the majority owner of legendary Premier League side Arsenal. The Gunners have since won four FA Cup titles despite not having won the Premier League since 2003/04.

Aston Villa – Wesley Edens

Edens joined Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris in a majority takeover of Aston Villa in 2018 and since that time Villa have begun their ascent once again in the Premier League. Despite selling star attacker Jack Grealish to Manchester City in 2021, Villa have been extremely active in the transfer market and have even brought in Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to manage the club.

Burnley – Alan Pace/ALK Capital

Pace acquired Burnley in December 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and made a promise to supporters that they could keep their remaining ownership stake of around six percent or be bought out and receive club credits in the future. 

Crystal Palace – Josh Harris/David Blitzer

In 2015, American Josh Harris and David Blitzer revealed they were part of a group proceeding with taking over Crystal Palace despite previous owner and English businessman Steve Parish staying involved. American John Textor also entered the fold in 2021 when he invested over $100 million to join the partnership.

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Harris and Blitzer are known for their stakes in the New Jersey Devils (NHL) and Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), while Textor previously served as executive chairman of FuboTV and is now CEO of Facebank.

Leeds United – 49ers Enterprises

In May 2018, 49ers Enterprises became a minority owner of Leeds and they are headed up by the York family – Denise DeBartolo York, Jed York and John York – who also run the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. The move came around the same time as when Leeds announced Marcelo Bielsa would be taking over as club manager in the most expensive managerial deal in Leeds history. The club are currently in their second season back in the Premier League after Bielsa helped get the side promoted from the Championship in 2020.

Liverpool – John Henry/Tom Werner/LeBron James

Fenway Sports Group, led by John Henry and Tom Werner, have controlled Liverpool for over a decade now after taking over in 2010. NBA superstar LeBron James also has a minority stake in the club after signing a marketing deal with the Fenway Sports Group.

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Their group has been vital in creating a revamped culture at Liverpool in the 2010s, including winning Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. Fenway also owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and various other ventures.

Manchester United – Glazer Family

The Glazers are known for also owning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL as well as famed Premier League side Manchester United. The Glazers have had an ownership stake since the early 2000s and by 2005 they had up to a 98% controlling stake in United. They have been ambitious with their marquee signings over the years by bringing in top talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and others. 

Championship – England

Barnsley – Chien Lee/Paul Conway/Billy Beane

The Championship side was sold to Chien Lee, Paul Conway and Billy Beane in 2017. The Oakland Athletics front office executive Beane, who was famously portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball, also plays a role in the club’s analytics. The club haven’t reached the Premier League since 1997/98.

Coventry City – Joy Seppala

Hedge fund owner Seppala has owned Coventry since 2007 but the club has mostly bounced around between the Championship and League One during that span. The Sky Blues have a long history battling now-Premier League side Leicester City in the lower divisions, but the two sides haven’t met since 2012.

Fulham – Shahid Khan

Khan has been a familiar face around English football since 2013 given Fulham’s back-and-forth endeavors in the Premier League and English Championship. Fulham is the longest-running London-based football club dating back to 1879.

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Khan is also known for owning the Jacksonville Jaguars and has made a concerted effort to play several NFL games in London over the years to expand their global presence.

Millwall – John Berylson/Richard Smith

John Berylson and his group took over in 2007 and the club have actually enjoyed some success in the lower divisions. Millwall have competed in the Championship for the past five seasons and have come close to promotion on several occasions which would be a significant feat for a club that currently boasts a squad value of roughly $38 million based on Transfermarkt valuations.

Swansea City – Stephen Kaplan/Jason Levien

Swansea is a historic side that’s known throughout the United Kingdom for being one of the most successful Welsh clubs. Kaplan and Levien became co-owners in 2016 around the same time American manager Bob Bradley was coaching the Swans. Ultimately, Bradley was sacked shortly after but Swansea has been consistently towards the top of the Championship since.

League One – England

Ipswich City – Mike O’Leary/Gamechanger 20

O’Leary took over at Ipswich recently in 2021 and the club is aiming to make a significant leap to the Premier League in the future. In the past Ipswich has had a rich history, including having Sir Bobby Robson as a previous owner. During his opening press conference, O’Leary said, “We are here to help the club climb the football pyramid. Promotion to the Championship as soon as possible is the immediate aim. It’s possible this season but if it takes another year or so, so be it.”

Plymouth Argyle – Simon Hallett

Hallett became a majority owner in 2018 for the League One side after previously being involved in the club’s ownership. He’s done a great job renovating the team’s historic venue, Home Park, which has been around since 1901 and remains a legendary English stadium to visit.

Portsmouth – Michael Eisner

Portsmouth’s financial struggle were documented for years, but Eisner has helped steady the ship since coming aboard in 2017. Pompey Supporters Trust – a fan-owned group aiming to save Portsmouth – helped keep the club from going through liquidation back in 2013, but former Disney CEO Eisner became involved as well and now his investment group The Tornante Company owns Portsmouth outright.

Wycombe Wanderers – Rob Couhig

American lawyer Rob Couhig and his family helped Wycombe reach the Championship in 2020 and it was momentous for the club for a number of reasons. Adebayo Akinfenwa’s notable post-game speech about the courage and passion he and his teammates exhibited throughout the season was memorable, but Wycombe are now aiming to be competitive past that triumph.

Serie A – Italy

Fiorentina – Rocco Commisso

Commisso is still one of the more well known American owners because of his ownership in legendary NASL side New York Cosmos. Their struggles to find a permanent league have been well documented over the years, but Fiorentina is on the rise under Commisso. They currently have one of the top young players in Serie A and all of Europe with Dusan Vlahovic. 

Genoa – 777 Partners

In 2021, Steven W. Pasko and Josh Wander of 777 Partners took over Genoa and the club have since gone out and made legendary player Andriy Shevchenko manager after he left the Ukraine national team. Although Genoa have bounced around between Serie A and Serie B their new owners seem to be willing to invest in the club in order to improve.

AC Milan – Elliott Management Corporation

Milan are one of the most historic sides in football and in 2017 America hedge fund group Elliott Management Corporation became involved. There have been so many legendary players throughout the history of the club, but they’ve gone out and spent wisely on younger talents over recent seasons like Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali. 

Roma – Dan Friedkin

Dan Friedkin and the Friedkin Group took over Roma in 2020 and it has sparked some big moves thus far for the club based in Rome. Jose Mourinho took over as manager not too long ago and the club has also paid top dollar for players like striker Tammy Abraham, who came over from Chelsea.

Spezia – Robert Platek

Spezia joined the fold with an American owner in 2021 when Robert Platek got involved with the club. Platek’s private equity firm MSD Capital has been involved in helping out various clubs throughout Europe in the past by lending money to English sides Derby County, Southampton, Sunderland and Burnley. Platek also owns Danish top-flight side Sønderjysk Elitesport.

Venezia – Duncan Niederauer

Ducan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, and his VFC Newco 2020 group own Venezia.

Francesco Scaccianoce/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The club has become very successful in its marketing through utilizing social media to capture the essence of the city and use its fashion roots to help promote the club through its dazzling kit designs and iconic images of the stadium and surroundings.

Serie B – Italy

Parma – Kyle Krause

When Krause took over at Parma it was a significant moment for the club that has previously featured Italian legends like Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and so many more. Parma even managed to bring back Buffon this season despite currently playing in Italy’s second division. Krause, who owns the American convenience store chain Kum & Go, is hoping that he can help the club return to the top flight.

Ascoli – Matt Rizzetta/North Six Group

Matt Rizzetta has a lot of influence in Italian football, also boasting a stake in Campobasso Calcio – a fourth-division Italian club. He’s based out of New York and hopes that his connections with Italian Football TV can bring a new generation of fans to both Ascoli and Campobasso.

La Liga – Spain

Mallorca – Robert Sarver/Steve Nash/Stu Holden/Kyle Martino

Sarver also owns the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, but Holden, Martino and Nash all have significant football connections. Holden and Martino both played professionally abroad and represented the U.S. Men’s National Team and Nash previously played basketball for the Suns and other teams but grew up playing football as well. He’s held a number of large charitable football matches in the past to raise money for great causes.

Ligue 1 – France

Marseille – Frank McCourt

McCourt took charge of Marseille in 2016 and the club has enjoyed a fair share of success during the period since. Marseille have finished top five in Ligue 1 every season since and thye currently have a host of talented young players including Matteo Guendhouzi, Boubacar Kamara and USMNT attacker Konrad de la Fuente.

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Spanish Super Cup: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Breakdown

Barcelona and Real Madrid have one of the oldest and most fierce rivalries in football and El Clasico will look to create more unforgettable moments on Wednesday.

The two Spanish giants will meet in the Spanish Super Cup semifinals, which is held annually with four sides. Two teams come from the previous season’s Copa del Rey final and the other two are the top finishers from the most recent La Liga campaign.

Real currently sit atop La Liga in 2021/22 while Xavi’s Barcelona are having an uncharacteristically tough season with the Blaugrana in sixth place. Barca are currently 17 points behind Los Blancos.

Today, the rivalry will renew in the Spanish Super Cup at 2 p.m. ET in the United States. The match can be watched on ESPN and ESPN+.

Head-to-Head History

Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet for the 281st time in their history today with the former holding a narrow lead in the all-time series. Barca have won 115 matches in all competitions, while Madrid have 103 victories to their name. The two sides have also drawn 62 times.

NurPhoto / Contributor

Madrid are currently enjoying a five-match unbeaten run against Barcelona though, including four consecutive wins.

The last time either side won five straight matches was from 2008 to 2010 when Barcelona were at peak form under Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. During that win streak, the Blaugrana outscored Real 16-2.

Key Injuries/Illnesses and Suspensions

Barcelona: Martin Braithwaite, Eric Garcia, Sergi Roberto, Moussa Wague.

Real Madrid: Gareth Bale, Mariano Dias.

Barcelona should have a huge boost with returning players guiding Xavi’s side on Wednesday. Ferran Torres is likely to make his debut for the Blaugrana, while Ansu Fati, Pedri and Frenkie De Jong are among the others coming back from injuries.

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Recent Form – Last 5 All Competitions

Barcelona: DWWDW

Real Madrid: WWLWD

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last six matches across all competitions, while Madrid have won two straight in La Liga. Meanwhile, Real are unbeaten in their last five matches head-to-head against Barcelona.

What’s At Stake?

While the match doesn’t affect the league table, Barcelona-Real Madrid is always a heated affair when the two sides get together.

For Barcelona, the plot is pretty simple. Madrid are far ahead in La Liga and with new manager Xavi at the helm the goal is to win and put their club back in the same sentence as their rival.

Madrid need to stay focused in order to keep the spotlight on themselves and further distance Los Blancos from Barca.

The winner will meet the winner of Atletico Madrid-Athletic Bilbao, which will be played Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.

Prediction

Real Madrid have been a well-oiled machine all season, cruising in La Liga play and advancing to the Champions League knockout phase with ease.

Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. have formed one of the top attacking partnerships in the world and they’re the top two scorers in La Liga. Meanwhile, Barcelona have struggled to find a consistent goal scorer and they hope that Ferran Torres’ arrival will change that.

Barca have only kept two clean sheets in their last 10 matches across all competitions, so stopping Madrid’s potent attack will be challenging.

The improvements under Xavi have been slightly trending up but Barcelona are still a ways from their counterparts and it’s very likely Real extend their unbeaten run Wednesday.

Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

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African Cup of Nations Day 3 Roundup

The African Cup of Nations progressed to Day 3 on Tuesday and it was full of tightly-contested matches.

Although there was only one goal across the three matches, there’s been a physical and intense nature surrounding the competition so far.

Kelechi Iheanacho helped guide Nigeria to a massive three points after knocking off Mohamed Salah and Egypt 1-0.

Meanwhile, the day kicked off with defending champions Algeria drawing Sierra Leone 0-0 as Riyad Mahrez and Co. aim to repeat as AFCON holders in 2022.

DANIEL BELOUMOU OLOMO / Contributor

Algeria extended its unbeaten streak to 35 straight matches with the draw though, putting the Desert Warriors to positive results away from tying Italy for the all-time international record.

Sudan and Guinea-Bissau also played to a scoreless draw in a back-and-forth affair despite neither team finding the back of the net.

All matches are available in the United States on beIN Sports, Fubo TV and Fanatiz.

Results – January 11

Group D – Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

Group D – Guinea-Bissau 0-0 Sudan

Group E – Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone

Day 3 Matches – January 12

Group F – Tunisia vs. Mali – 8 a.m. ET

Group F – Mauritania vs. Gambia – 11 a.m. ET

Group E – Equatorial Guinea vs. Ivory Coast – 2 p.m. ET

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African Cup of Nations Day 2 Roundup

The African Cup of Nations hit Day 2 on Monday with a number of exciting matches setting the tone for the group stage.

Senegal, Morocco, Guinea and Gabon all earned victories in their first matches of the competition and have now set themselves up well to carry their form through group play.

Sadio Mane kicked off the day with the latest goal in AFCON history when he scored from the penalty spot in the 97th minute to help Senegal knock off Zimbabwe.

Senegal were missing key players Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly after both tested positive for COVID-19, but the Lions of Teranga still managed to earn three points.

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images

In the other Group A matchup, Guinea opened its account with a 1-0 victory behind Issiaga Sylla’s strike before halftime. Guinea reached the Round of 16 back in the 2019 edition of the tournament, but haven’t advanced past the quarterfinals since 1976 when they finished runners’ up.

Meanwhile, Morocco earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ghana after Sofiane Boufal’s 83rd-minute strike guided the Atlas Lions to the top of Group C.

Gabon capped off the day with a familiar 1-0 scoreline of its own after topping island nation Comoros, who are playing in their first African Cup of Nations.

Comoros has only been a FIFA-recognized football nation since 2005 despite joining the African confederation two years prior.

All matches are available in the United States on beIN Sports, Fubo TV and Fanatiz.

Results – January 10

Group B – Senegal 1-0 Zimbabwe

Group B – Guinea 1-0 Malawi

Group C – Morocco 1-0 Ghana

Group C – Comoros 0-1 Gabon

Day 3 Matches – January 11

Group E – Algeria vs. Sierra Leone – 8 a.m. ET

Group D – Nigeria vs. Egypt – 11 a.m. ET

Group D – Sudan vs. Guina-Bissau – 2 p.m. ET

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Is CONMEBOL Joining UEFA Nations League?

The opposition to FIFA’s biennial World Cup plans have been loud and clear, but that hasn’t stopped Arsene Wenger and some of the organization’s masterminds from pushing forward with it.

Today though, there’s news of other plans, ones that could throw a major wrench into the international football schedule.

ESPN’s Dale Johnson is reporting that the UEFA Nations League could see major reforms starting in 2024, including major additions with the arrival of all 10 CONMEBOL nations.

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South American countries, as well as other confederations, have been previously left out of the competition as UEFA continues to expand its massive reach over football.

CONMEBOL hosted Copa America this summer as Lionel Messi and Argentina won the trophy, but an alliance with UEFA would be a huge win for the South American countries.

Below, ONE37pm will dive a little further into the reported plans and detail what it means for FIFA – who’s current ideas differ drastically from what’s being proposed.

What is UEFA’s latest plan?

UEFA recently held its draw for the 2022/23 Nations League, but this new reform wouldn’t take place until 2024 with the arrival of CONMEBOL countries.

“This is the last UEFA Nations League in this format,” UEFA vice president Zbigniew Boniek said. “We had a meeting with CONMEBOL, an organization of South American countries. From 2024, teams from this continent will join the competition.

“As many as 22 teams will play in League A, in which 16 teams are currently competing. Six of them will be from the CONMEBOL zone. The remaining four teams will be added to League B.”

The 10 South American countries would be broken with Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and Chile currently the top six nations and then the bottom four countries as Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia.

For context, this is how the upcoming Nations League setup looks for 2022/23.

UEFA

With Leagues A and B currently featuring 16 teams in each pathway, the addition of CONMEBOL nations would bring League A up to 22 teams and League B to 20.

All the matches for the updated competition are anticipated to be played in Europe.

How does this affect FIFA’s biennial World Cup plan?

FIFA surely won’t be thrilled will this development given their strong push towards a biennial World Cup — held every two years instead of the tradition four-year pattern.

With UEFA and CONMEBOL signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) until June 2028, the two biggest confederations in football have made their opinions clear as to what they think of FIFA’s proposal.

While some of the proposed reforms are needed, such as a clean up of the international calendar and reduced travel for players throughout the year, it’s been a common theme that most outside of FIFA circles don’t want to see an increased frequency for the World Cup.

Today’s development also comes on the heels of UEFA and CONMEBOL announcing the Finalissima, a mini final that will start this summer with Argentina and Italy meeting as the winners of Copa America and Euro 2020, respectively.

What’s the outlook for football?

While the combined presence of UEFA and CONMEBOL strengthens the two confederations that have historically dominated football, it’s not necessarily the best thing for outsiders like CONCACAF, AFC and CAF, which represent North/Central America, Asia and Africa, respectively.

The UEFA Nations League has already made it more difficult for teams outside of Europe to schedule friendlies and prepare properly for the world’s biggest tournaments, such as the World Cup, but now the addition of elite South American nations widens the gap at the top.

The U.S. Men’s National Team under Jurgen Klinsmann, for example, was regularly scheduling friendlies against Netherlands, Italy, Germany and other top teams from around the globe.

Over the past three years, the only top 25-ranked side the USMNT has faced outside of CONCACAF rivals Mexico are Switzerland and Chile.

The outrage across Europe when it came to the European Super League was felt globally, but when it comes to the subject of international football nobody blinks an eye for the teams that don’t reside within Europe despite the fact that some of the world’s best talents didn’t come from the UEFA region.

There’s surely a lot more that needs to play out in this story, but for now, the ball is in FIFA’s court as they plan their next move.