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FIFA World Cup

United signs Falcao in another transfer coup

Man United the biggest mover in Premier League on deadline day with Radamel Falcao joining
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - A week after signing Angel Di Maria, Manchester United persuaded striker Radamel Falcao to join the faltering club in European football's most eye-catching switch as the summer transfer window closed.

Falcao's season-long loan from Monaco is set to cost United around $25 million for the salary and fee to the French club, although there is an option to then sign the Colombia forward permanently.

On to Burnley, Van Gaal needs a Man United win

Winless after 3 games, including cup rout, Van Gaal needs upturn in United fortunes at Burnley
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - From the World Cup semifinals to a bruising introduction in Britain, Louis van Gaal's fortunes have changed rapidly inside two months.

The coach who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup enters his fourth match as Manchester United manager still searching for his first win.

Michel Platini won't run against Sepp Blatter

Michel Platini opts out of election fight against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency
Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

MONACO, Monaco - Michel Platini won't fight Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, though he still hopes somebody will.

The UEFA president decided Thursday not to challenge Blatter in an election next May, insisting he was not dodging a battle with his former mentor.

Platini denied FIFA critics a potentially bitter contest, but then urged more conflict within the Blatter-led executive committee.

Despite 'baggage,' Rooney made England captain

Wayne Rooney to captain England, leading team into European Championship qualifying
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - Despite an often tempestuous relationship with fans and past concerns over his temperament, Wayne Rooney has received the symbolically-prestigious honour of captaining England.

Taking over the leadership of an inexperienced squad that is recovering from the national team's worst-ever World Cup, Rooney knows the rebuilding process requires unity.

"I hope that I will have the full backing of the fans," Rooney said Thursday. "I am their type of player once I am on that pitch."

Champions League draw wide open

From Madrid and Barcelona to Monaco and Roma, Champions League draw promises tough groups
Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

MONACO, Monaco - Real Madrid's Champions League title defence takes shape Thursday at one of the most open draws in years.

Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea — the past four winners — are among the eight top-seeded clubs in the 32-team draw.

However, lower-ranked seeding pots loaded with big spenders returning to the Champions League after years away promise to deliver trickier than usual groups.

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