Louis van Gaal: a developmental technocrat whose proudest boast has always been that he knows how to get the best out of young players. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Club went out to sign biggest names but the Dutchman is not a chequebook manager

Greg Dyke’s recent FA commission concluded that one reason why England doesn’t develop as many good players as Germany is a relative shortage of facilities. Photograph: Getty Images

Back in 1988 footballers weren’t even sure there games should be shown on television

Gareth Bale has fallen from grace as Real Madrid go through a sticky patch since the start of the year. Photograph: Reuters.

A 4-0 thrashing at city rivals Atletico prompts fans to whistle world’s most expensive player

Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger watches from the touchline during his side’s victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Photograph: AFP

In strange way, Wenger’s reaction to win gave credence to West Ham manager’s opinion

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal is expected to win his fourth Ballon D’Or. Photograph: Getty Images.

Comment on Lionel Messi being best starts the age of Cristiano Ronado

Steven Gerrard will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, with manager Brendan Rodgers unable to guarantee him a place in the side. Photograph:  Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Liverpool midfielder too pessimistic to ever feel happy sitting on bench for mediocre side

Ken Early on how a line from Alex Ferguson got the world wondering just how good the Liverpool and England midfielder really is (...)

Gèrard Depardieu’s Jules Rimet is scrupulously politically correct for a man who was born in 1873

Something very wrong with world football’s organising body’s celuloid depiction of itself

Soldiers of the 5th London Rifle Brigade with German Saxon regimental troops at Ploegsteert Wood during the Christmas Truce of the first World War in  December 1914. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Football may well have potential as a ‘universal language’ – certainly Uefa like to think so

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