Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar with Russian deputy prime minster Igor Shuvalov and Fifa president Joseph Blatter (centre) in December 2010 after the announcement of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Photograph: EPA.

John Major used to tell a story about walking through the Kremlin with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin some time in the mid-1990s. “Boris, in one(...)

Alex Ferguson, former manager of Aberdeen FC and Manchester United. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

One day in July 2003 I found myself in Aberdeen, waiting for an evening flight home to Dublin. I decided to kill an hour or two with a walk out to Pit(...)

Morlock, West Germany’s inside right, scores against Hungary in the World Cup Final at Berne, Switzerland in 1954. Germany went on to become world champions with a 3-2 victory. Photo: Getty Images

Last July, the German weekly Der Spiegel printed a cover bearing the headline “Wir sind wieder . . . wer?” This headline was a play on words based on (...)

When Liverpool’s new signings arrived, they appeared to increase the options available to Rodgers, but in fact, between them, they don’t offer as many options as Suárez did by himself. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Brendan Rodgers made it all sound so simple. “It’s not so hard to bring the ball out from the back on the floor, you know.” The new Liverpool manager (...)

Luis Suarez was the sun at the centre of Liverpool’s solar system but he starts out at Barca as a peripheral satellite.  Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

There are many well-founded objections to the unfair economic systems that have resulted in the concentration of the world’s top footballers at a hand(...)

Last week, Raheem Sterling talked himself out of the England starting XI by telling Roy Hodgson that he was tired. The reaction of one former England (...)

John O’Shea hasn’t scored many goals but he’s scored some big ones. He scored in a Champions League semi-final, he chipped Manuel Almunia at Highbu(...)

German national team coach Joachim Löw (right) with (from left) general manager  Oliver Bierhoff, goalkeeper coach Andreas Koepke and coach assistant Thomas Schneider. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters.

The age of data analysis in football began in Swindon on the 18th of March, 1950, some time around a quarter to four in the afternoon. In the crowd at(...)

Dortmund’s charismatic manager Juergen Klopp with his players in front of the Südtribune prior to their Champions League clash with Arsenal.

Once you’ve been to a certain number of football stadiums they begin to blur into each other, but something about the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund bre(...)

Cesc Fabregas in action during the match between Chelsea and  Arsenal at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

According to Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography, which was released last week, Alex Ferguson’s favourite word in pre-match team talks was: “CONCENTRATE!” F(...)