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ESPN – Time to ditch the away goals rule in the Champions League

Chelsea celebrate after Demba Ba's goal earned an away goals win over PSG last season. As Europe's leading coaches congregated for the 16th edition of the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon on Thursday, one of modern football's most divided topics was again brought into question: the away-goals rule. A concept that was first implemented by UEFA in 1965 to provide an alternative tie-breaker to a time-consuming replay or the random toss of a coin — an outcome that, for example, favoured Liverpool after two 0-0 draws with Cologne in the 1964-65 European Cup quarterfinals — proved…

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ESPN – Diego Costa unfairly painted as villain

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Craig Burley pick their transfer market winners and predict how Chelsea's signings will pan out this season. Football in general, and English football in particular, loves a pantomime villain. In recent years that position has been occupied by the likes of Joey Barton and Luis Suarez, characters who unite people in their condemnation as if they were the archetypes of what people despise about the modern game, juxtaposed against those who make it beautiful. The saturation of the sport provided by social media and tabloid newspapers demands that these personalities exist, and if they do not then they …

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ESPN – Balotelli’s new mansion comes with helipad

Unsurprisingly, Mario Balotelli's new home is decked out with the finest of modern amenities. Word on the wire (well, on Twitter) is that having recently signed for Liverpool, Mario Balotelli is about to move into the area and has put in an offer on an extremely swanky property in nearby Helsby, Cheshire. The modernist mansion in question is currently listed with an eye-watering asking price of 4.75 million pounds and comes complete with five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a helipad, an indoor spa pool, a wine cellar, a system of underground caves to regulate the property's temperature and a…

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