• Marco Verratti: The new Pirlo?

    Name: Marco Verratti
    Date of birth: 05/11/1992
    Place of birth: Manoppello, Italy
    Nationality: Italian
    International caps: 1 (0 goals)
    Height: 1.65m
    Position: Midfield
    Club: Paris Saint-Germain
    Former club: Pescara

    Google the words 'Verratti new Pirlo' and the search engine spits out 557,000 results.

    That is an indication of the expectation level facing Marco Verratti just a few months into his Paris Saint-Germain career.

    It is a far cry from the July day when his transfer the French capital was completely ignored - thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival on the same day.

    But Verratti has

    Read More »from Marco Verratti: The new Pirlo?
  • Ahead of their Champions League Group B match with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening, we study the blossoming Schalke and Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby.

    Name: Lewis Holtby
    Date of birth: September 18 1990
    Place of birth: Erkelenz,West Germany
    Nationality: German
    International caps: Two
    Height: 1.76m
    Position: Midfield
    Current club: Schalke
    Former clubs: Alemannia Aachen, Bochum (loan), Mainz (loan)

    It is little wonder that the rampaging Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby is being touted with a move from Schalke to Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the season.

    Read More »from The Schalke kid who could have played for England: Lewis Holtby
  • Euroscout: Lukasz Piszczek

    Ahead of England's World Cup qualifier in Warsaw, we take a look at Poland right-back Lukasz Piszczek, who features in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund and is a reported target of Chelsea.

    Name: Lukasz Piszczek
    Date of birth: 3 June 1985
    Place of birth: Czechowice-Dziedzice
    Nationality: Polish
    Height: 1.84m (6ft)
    Position: Right-back
    Current club: Borussia Dortmund
    Former clubs: Hertha Berlin, Zaglebie Lubin (loan)

    View from Poland (Peter Kwiatkowski,

    Lukasz Piszczek is a tough topic. If he were an English player in England he would never have been selected for the national team as

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  • Dortmund’s midfield gem: Ilkay Gundogan

    Ahead of their Champions League clash with Manchester City, we take a look at Borussia Dortmund starlet Ilkay Gundogan.

    Name: Ilkay Gundogan
    Date of birth: 24th September 1990
    Place of birth: Gelsenkirchen
    Nationality: German
    Height: 1.80m
    Position: Central midfield
    Current club: Borussia Dortmund
    Former clubs: Nuremberg, Bochum

    Eyebrows were raised when Germany took Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender to the European Championships, leaving behind his higher-profile twin brother Sven Bender, who had won back-to-back titles with Dortmund.

    But Sven had lost his club place to another young German

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  • How did Joey Barton fare on his Marseille debut?

    Barton in a rare physical tussle with Fenerbahce's Alex de Souza at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium (AFP)

    Despite the hype surrounding Joey Barton's first appearance in a Marseille shirt following his loan move from QPR, the midfielder put in a low-key display as his new side drew 2-2 with Fenerbahce in the Europa League.

    The controversial Englishman opted for discretion over exuberance as he took his bow for the French club, putting in a no-frills display over the 70 minutes he was on the pitch in Istanbul.

    Barton, who has not featured since getting sent off in the final game of last season's Premier League against Manchester City, did not try to impose himself too physically before tiring with

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  • Euroscout: Paolo De Ceglie

    De Ceglie (right) celebrates a goal

    Ahead of their Champions League Group E clash with Chelsea, we take a look at highly-rated Juventus winger Paolo De Ceglie.

    Name: Paolo De Ceglie

    Date of birth: 17 September 1986

    Place of birth: Aosta

    Nationality: Italian

    Height: 1.84m

    Position: Left-back or left midfield

    Current club: Juventus

    Former club: Siena

    De Ceglie's place in the Juventus side appeared to be under threat over the summer as Udinese's Pablo Armero was among those linked with a move to the club, but he has started this season superbly.

    The 26-year-old has flourished in a 3-5-2 formation, playing very wide and getting

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  • Ten players to watch this summer

    Bologna's Gaston Ramirez (left)1. Gaston Ramirez

    The Uruguay playmaker 21, has been linked with Liverpool among others following an excellent season for Bologna, during which he scored eight Serie A goals as the perennial strugglers finished in the top half of the standings.

    Ramirez is a gifted, technical attacking midfielder who plays in the space between the midfield and the strikers. Ordinarily, players of this ilk struggle in the Premier League, but ordinarily, such trequartistas are slight of frame, and find themselves shunted out wide or forced to play in an orthodox four-man midfield.

    But he is six-foot tall and has

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  • When England play Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals on Sunday night, it won't just be the two nations going head-to-head. It will also be a meeting of two of the most controversial figures in the game, John Terry and Mario Balotelli.

    So we decided to take a look at the lowlights - and even one or two highlights - of the careers of football's two great pantomime villains.

    Both players have already hit the headlines in the tournament, with Terry being right at the heart of the  single most controversial incident with his attempted goal-line clearance against Ukraine.

    John Terry makes his controversial clearanceJohn Terry makes his controversial clearance

    It was a classic

    Read More »from Terry v Balotelli: Football’s pantomime villains
  • Euroscout: Aiden McGeady

    Ahead of the Euro 2012 finals, we looked at Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady during the 0-0 draw with Hungary.

    Name: Aiden McGeady

    Date of birth: April 4, 1986 (age 26)

    Place of birth: Glasgow, Scotland

    Nationality: Irish

    Height: 1.81m (5'11)

    Position: Right and left wing

    Current club: Spartak Moscow

    Former clubs: Celtic, Queen's Park

    McGeady is hardly an unknown quantity for Irish and British football fans, but he is only really seen on these Isles when playing for his country as his move to Russia means he has slipped off the domestic radar.

    Revitalised after a Scottish

    Read More »from Euroscout: Aiden McGeady
  • Euroscout: Miguel Lopes

    Ahead of the Euro 2012 finals, we look at Portugal right-back Miguel Lopes, who made his international debut in the pre-tournament friendly against Turkey at the Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon, which ended 3-1 to the visitors.

    Name: Hugo Miguel Almeida Costa Lopes
    Date of birth: December 19, 1986 (age 25)
    Place of birth: Lisbon, Portugal
    Nationality: Portuguese
    Height: 1.82m (5ft 11 1/2in)
    Position: Right-back
    Current club: Porto
    Former clubs: Benfica, Operario, Rio Ave, Betis (loan), Braga (loan)

    Miguel Lopes has been the unlikely beneficiary from the falling-out between coach Paulo Bento and Jose

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