9 huge things that happened in club football while the World Cup was on
Big news wherever you look.
The World Cup is an all-consuming tournament which often dominates the front pages as well as the back, so with the 2018 competition over there are loads of other football things you might have missed.
From transfers to managerial reigns, pre-season results to fixture lists, here are nine things that might have caused greater tremors across the football landscape were it not for one of the biggest sporting shows on Earth.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo joins Juventus
After nine years of football at Real Madrid, where he picked up four Champions League titles, two La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups and four Ballons d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Serie A side Juventus.
Costing £99.2 million, the former most expensive player in the world scored 451 goals over nine years at the Bernabeu, and will now take his trademark celebration to Turin. At 33, it could be his final club.
2. Unai Emery era begins at Arsenal
Unai Emery has taken charge of his first Arsenal game since Arsene Wenger’s departure from the north London club, with the Gunners running out 8-0 winners over Boreham Wood.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a hat-trick while the club’s youngsters also impressed in Arsenal’s new era. Can Emery take them back to the top of the English game again?
3. Everton win pre-season fixture 22-0
If you thought Arsenal’s 8-0 win sounded farcical, wait until you learn that Everton beat Austrian side ATV Irdning 22-0 in pre-season.
Kevin Mirallas scored five goals, while Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse netted four apiece. Thank goodness there’s no second leg…
4. The Premier League fixture list is released
Someone somewhere thought it was a good idea to release the Premier League fixture list on the opening day of the World Cup, so the news went largely ignored.
The league’s most exciting opening day fixture is doubtless champions Manchester City travelling to Arsenal, while the rest of the fixture list confirmed everyone’s suspicions that all 20 teams would play one another twice.
5. Fantasy Premier League begins
For those who prefer their football with a side order of fantasy, the Fantasy Premier League is open for business again, with a budget of £100 million to be divided between a squad of 15 players.
With points for goals, assists, clean sheets and more, Mohamed Salah is the game’s most expensive player at £13 million after his 32-goal season last time around. Is there room for him in your squad?
6. West Ham sign everyone
Speaking of fantasy signings, West Ham have signed a whole host of incredibly promising footballers ahead of the 2018/19 season, completing much of their business during the World Cup.
Brazil talent Felipe Anderson, Paraguay defender Fabian Balbuena, Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko and England midfielder Jack Wilshere have all joined the Hammers, who, under Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini, could be serious contenders for Europe this season.
7. Gerrard and Lampard begin management careers
Fresh from retirement from the game and a stint as pundits on the television, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard appear to have learned nothing from their England days by both going into management simultaneously and leaving no cover for the defence.
Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Rangers went well enough, a 2-0 home win against FK Shkupi in the first leg of the Europa League first round qualifier, while Lampard’s Derby recorded a 4-1 win at Notts County in a friendly.
8. Wayne Rooney goes Stateside
After a respectable campaign with Everton in the Premier League, Wayne Rooney, 32, has ended his career with the Toffees as he began it, with a long-range effort, this time crossing the Atlantic to join DC United.
England’s record goalscorer is something of a marquee signing for the MLS side, with the mayor of Washington DC announcing that July 2 was declared “Wayne Rooney Day”. Rooney made his debut over the weekend in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
9. Another season for Chelsea, another manager
Managers don’t seem to stay at Chelsea for long these days, and the theme continued as Maurizio Sarri replaced Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri, 59, became Chelsea’s sixth Italian manager after Conte, who left following two seasons in charge of the Blues. How long will the former Napoli manager last in charge?