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Grading the 25 biggest signings of the summer transfer window so far

Despite the financial restraints on many clubs around the world, the wheeling and dealing continues unabated – particularly in England – as we rumble toward the final weeks of the European transfer window. In order of transfer fee, we’re grading the marquee signings thus far in the men’s game. For more on all the deals struck by Saudi Arabian clubs – excluded on this list because of market distortion – tap here.

Declan Rice ?? Arsenal

The deal: Reported €116-million initial fee ?

Arsenal identified Rice as their primary midfield target early in the transfer window and withstood stiff competition from Premier League rivals – and reigning champions – Manchester City, who never met West Ham United’s asking price. When trying to make the leap from title contender to winner, this is the type of statement move you need.

Verdict: A

Jude Bellingham ?? Real Madrid

The deal: Reported €103-million initial fee ?

Real Madrid’s midfield is locked in for the next decade-plus. Bellingham, 20, joins Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Fede Valverde in assuming the reins from decorated veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. How did every other club in Europe let this happen? The English international is already a hit in Madrid and should develop into a generational superstar.

Verdict: A+

Josko Gvardiol ?? Manchester City

The deal: Reported €90-million fee ?

The rich get richer. There were some twists and turns during this protracted transfer saga, but Manchester City eventually landed their man. Gvardiol, 21, is arguably the best young defender in the game, and his arrival from RB Leipzig immediately makes the treble winners even better. In a point surely not lost on City fans, the Croatian was less expensive than Harry Maguire.

Verdict: A+

Rasmus Hojlund ?? Manchester United

The deal: Reported €75-million initial fee ?

This is a big gamble right now, but it could pay off handsomely for Manchester United down the line – it already has for Atalanta, who turned an enormous profit on the young Dane. Hojlund, 20, shouldn’t be expected to light up the Premier League immediately, but if the club practices patience, the striker has all the tools – particularly physically – to be a scoring machine.

Verdict: B-

Kai Havertz ?? Arsenal

David Price / Arsenal FC / Getty

The deal: Reported €75-million fee ?

Havertz is undeniably skilled – to question his pure talent would be foolish. His fit with Arsenal isn’t immediately clear, though, which isn’t ideal when you’re talking about such a monstrous amount of money. He’s not a pure No. 9, and the spaces in which he best operates – off a striker in playmaking areas – are already occupied by some of Arsenal’s most bona fide starters.

Verdict: B-

Christopher Nkunku ?? Chelsea

The deal: Reported €73-million fee ?

It’s a damn shame that Nkunku was injured playing on a shoddy pitch in a preseason friendly, because he looked set to take the Premier League by storm this season. The French forward scored 36 Bundesliga goals over his last two campaigns with RB Leipzig and, assuming he makes a full recovery from his recent knee surgery, will be an electric presence at Stamford Bridge.

Verdict: A

Dominik Szoboszlai ?? Liverpool

The deal: Reported €70-million fee ?

Szoboszlai has been tipped for a big transfer the last couple years, and it finally materialized when Liverpool triggered the release clause in his RB Leipzig contract. It’s a hefty fee, no doubt, but the 22-year-old Hungarian has the kind of game-breaking ability that can light up Anfield. His stupendous set-piece delivery will be a wicked weapon for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Verdict: A-

Sandro Tonali ?? Newcastle United

The deal: Reported €69-million fee ?

Tonali is an energetic midfielder who’ll become a fan favorite at St. James’ Park; the Toon Army will love the Italian’s ferocious style of play and the work rate he displayed at AC Milan. Just how much he improves the team relative to his lavish transfer fee remains to be seen, though, as Tonali’s on-ball production from open play is somewhat limited.

Verdict: B-

Goncalo Ramos ?? Paris Saint-Germain

The deal: Loan with €65-million purchase option ?

PSG are putting a lot of trust in Ramos’ breakout season at Benfica and his performances at the World Cup in Qatar. The Portuguese striker is only 22 and should develop into a prolific force who can eventually help replace some of the production lost when Kylian Mbappe inevitably departs. Getting him on an initial loan to skirt FFP regulations was masterful bookkeeping.

Verdict: B+

Mason Mount ?? Manchester United

Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The deal: Reported €63-million initial fee ?

Manchester United are hoping a change of scenery will help Mount, 24, rediscover his best form. His final year at Chelsea was beset by chaos and dysfunction. Don’t let the Blues’ disastrous season cloud your judgment of the versatile Englishman, who’s just one campaign removed from hitting double figures in both Premier League goals and assists.

Verdict: B+

Manuel Ugarte ?? Paris Saint-Germain

The deal: Reported €60-million fee ?

PSG almost definitely overpaid here, but Ugarte will provide the kind of tenacity and bite in midfield that the French club has been accused of sorely lacking for some time. The Uruguayan, 22, showed at Sporting CP that he can kick-start attacks after winning the ball back, and he could supplant Marco Verratti in the center of the pitch as PSG chase an elusive European crown.

Verdict: B

Moussa Diaby ?? Aston Villa

The deal: Reported club-record €60-million fee ?

After watching Diaby shine at Bayer Leverkusen in recent years, it’s not difficult to see why Aston Villa smashed their transfer record to sign him. The rapid winger is a nightmare for opposing full-backs, and his combination of pace, trickery, and composure around the penalty area will add a whole new dimension to Unai Emery’s attack this season.

Verdict: A-

Andre Onana ?? Manchester United

The deal: Reported €55-million fee ?

This one is a balancing act. To play the type of football Erik ten Hag desires and keep moving forward as a club, Manchester United badly needed a new goalkeeper who’s excellent with his feet. Onana emphatically checks that box. But he’s also the third-most expensive netminder in history after his move from Inter Milan and will need to be great for some time to justify that fee.

Verdict: B

Kim Min-jae ?? Bayern Munich

The deal: Reported €50-million fee ?

Knowing Lucas Hernandez was on his way out – he’s since joined PSG – Bayern Munich moved quickly to add another defender. In Kim, they’ve acquired last season’s standout center-back in Serie A, as the South Korean was vital in helping Napoli win the Scudetto. But Bayern have also just spent big on a player who was available last summer for roughly €20 million.

Verdict: B

James Maddison ?? Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur FC / Tottenham Hotspur FC / Getty

The deal: Reported €46-million fee ?

Maddison was always going to leave Leicester City after their relegation from the Premier League – it was simply a matter of where he would land. Tottenham won the race. In doing so, Spurs landed a clever playmaker who fills a clear need; the team was disjointed and lacked a creative midfielder to bridge the gap to the forwards last season.

Verdict: A-

Axel Disasi ?? Chelsea

The deal: Reported €45-million fee ?

On his own merits, Disasi is a very good defender. You don’t crack the loaded France squad and make three appearances at the most recent World Cup by accident. But Chelsea’s backline is getting bloated, even with Wesley Fofana sidelined. For a team not playing in Europe this season, and one that needs to give Levi Colwill significant minutes, this is a steep price to pay.

Verdict: C+

Harvey Barnes ?? Newcastle United

The deal: Reported €44-million fee ?

After his most prolific Premier League season, Barnes, like former teammate Maddison, was destined to leave Leicester. He won’t provide the same type of razzmatazz as dribbling extraordinaire Allan Saint-Maximin, the winger he’s replacing on Tyneside. But his game, while simple and based heavily on the classic give-and-go, is arguably more rounded. A solid deal for the Magpies.

Verdict: B

Lois Openda ?? RB Leipzig

The deal: Reported €43-million initial fee ?

Based on their excellent scouting department and track record in the transfer market, this deal should work out very well for RB Leipzig and eventually net them a healthy profit. The Belgian, 23, is coming off a breakout Ligue 1 campaign in which he led Lens to a second-place finish with 21 league goals. He’ll help fill the scoring void left by Nkunku.

Verdict: B+

Alexis Mac Allister ?? Liverpool

The deal: Reported €40-million initial fee ?

Considering some of the astronomical figures being thrown around in the immediate aftermath of Mac Allister’s successful World Cup campaign with Argentina, this feels like a good bargain for Liverpool, even if the deal ultimately rises to €63 million after add-ons. Mac Allister, 24, profiles as the type of player that Klopp is going to adore.

Verdict: A-

Micky van de Ven ?? Tottenham Hotspur

Yui Mok – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

The deal: Reported €40-million initial fee ?

New manager Ange Postecoglou wanted a left-sided centre-back before the Premier League season began, and he got his wish. But this is a lot to pay for someone who was in the second tier of Dutch football just two years ago and who is yet to feature for the senior national team. The deal, by all accounts, will likely reach €50 million. Spurs need Van de Ven, 22, to develop quickly.

Verdict: C

Jurrien Timber ?? Arsenal

The deal: Reported €40-million initial fee ?

Their proximity on this list makes it even easier to question Van de Ven’s signing. In contrast to their north London rivals, Arsenal have gone out and landed a more versatile defender – Timber can comfortably play multiple positions – who is the same age and has already established himself as a contributor for the Netherlands.

Verdict: B

Lucas Hernandez ?? Paris Saint-Germain

The deal: Reported €40-million fee ?

It’s much better than the roughly €80 million that Bayern Munich reportedly wanted to sanction for the French international’s move, but spending half that is still a big gamble considering Hernandez’s unstable injury history. The 27-year-old defender spent a lot of time on the treatment table in Germany and is still working his way back from a torn ACL suffered at the World Cup.

Verdict: C

Tino Livramento ?? Newcastle United

The deal: Reported €37-million initial fee ?

Our concerns about Hernandez’s deal are echoed here: Spending significant sums on full-backs coming off ACL tears is probably not advisable. Livramento, 20, has shown flashes of excellence in his young career but missed most of last season with a serious knee injury. This deal gets a slightly higher grade because of his potential, but it’s another risky transfer.

Verdict: C+

Nicolas Jackson ?? Chelsea

The deal: Reported €37-million fee ?

Any time a 21-year-old scores 12 La Liga goals in just 26 appearances, people are going to take notice. That breakout campaign at Villarreal earned Jackson his move to Chelsea, who desperately need more firepower after finding the net just 38 times during their miserable 2022-23 campaign. The Blues have spent impulsively under Todd Boehly, but this deal looks a judicious one.

Verdict: B

Lionel Messi ?? Inter Miami

The deal: Free transfer ?

We’re breaking the rules with our final entry to include Messi, who’s taken North America by storm since joining Inter Miami. The Argentine icon has seven goals in his first four appearances for the club, including some vintage free-kicks that came right out of a movie script. Everyone is talking about Messi, and, crucially for MLS, people are tuning in. By every possible metric, this is obviously a slam dunk. An “A+” rating doesn’t even do it justice.

Verdict: A+

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Ranking the 10 best deals of the January transfer window

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With a quiet January transfer window now complete, theScore ranks the 10 best moves made across the game’s top leagues.

10. Gift Orban ?? Lyon

Isosport/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Gent for reported €12M fee

There were some concerns when Gent signed Orban in January 2023. His scoring record of 20 goals in just 21 starts was clearly impressive, but that was in Norway’s second tier. Those reservations were soon forgotten as he amassed nine goals and two assists over 10 Belgian Pro League appearances and struck five times in five Conference League outings. His productivity has since slowed, but €12 million for an intensely competitive 21-year-old striker could prove extremely fruitful business for Lyon. Orban’s outgoing personality should also be a welcome addition to the dressing room.

9. Timo Werner ?? Tottenham

Details: Signed on loan from RB Leipzig with reported €17M option to buy

Like many transfers in the January window, bringing in Werner presented a low-risk deal for Tottenham. If it works out, €17 million is an affordable sum for a forward of Werner’s pedigree. The German was largely ineffective over his first two appearances but was much better in his third outing, setting up Destiny Udogie and Brennan Johnson for goals in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford. His incredible work ethic and pace, paired with Ange Postecoglou’s ability to instill belief in his players, could make this a great move for both parties.

8. Said Benrahma ?? Lyon

Details: Signed from West Ham in deal worth up to €20.4M

Lyon fought for this one, and it should pay off. After battling some administrative issues, the Ligue 1 side completed the deal a day later than expected, announcing Benrahma had joined on an initial €6-million loan deal that could become permanent for another €14.4 million. It’s a low-risk move that should enliven Lyon’s struggling attack. Benrahma’s a functional system player who can break games open and change their pace with the flick of a foot. Though he started just five times for West Ham in the Premier League this season, he hasn’t lost those progressive traits.

7. Marcos Leonardo ?? Benfica

Zed Jameson/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Santos for reported €18M fee

You just know Benfica are onto something here. They always are. Leonardo arrives from Santos in a deal that could look like a bargain in the years to come. Despite playing for one of the worst Santos sides in its 111-year history, the 20-year-old still managed to score 26 goals in 66 league appearances. He’s an old-school striker who loves to hang in the penalty area, and if Benfica can provide him with the right service, he’ll have no issues doubling that goal-scoring return.

6. Tommaso Baldanzi ?? Roma

Details: Signed from Empoli for reported €15M fee

The deal for Baldanzi is perfect in nearly every sense. Roma get a long-term replacement for Paulo Dybala without breaking the bank or running further afoul of Financial Fair Play regulations. The future Italian international also satisfies the club’s long-held preference for central attacking midfielders. Baldanzi even idolized Dybala during his formative years at Empoli. He could’ve waited to go to a club fighting for trophies, but he’ll get far more playing time at Roma, especially if Dybala’s injury issues persist.

5. Adam Wharton ?? Crystal Palace

Details: Signed from Blackburn Rovers for reported initial £18M fee

Crystal Palace are no strangers to fishing in the EFL. They plucked the thrilling double act of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise from the Championship, and it took an impressive loan spell at Swansea City to convince the Eagles to sign Marc Guehi from Chelsea. Wharton is the next to join that contingent. The 19-year-old will bring some much-needed solidity to the midfield, but his admiration of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, and Rodri hints at how much he treasures possession. He displays so much composure while he instigates attacks from the base of midfield.

4. Valentin Barco ?? Brighton & Hove Albion


Details: Signed from Boca Juniors for reported $10M fee

Tipping a player that Brighton & Hove Albion bought to shine usually works out, right? For a modest fee, the south coast club has acquired a cocksure 19-year-old who can play in any position down the left and also appeared across the midfield for Boca Juniors. Barco is a slippery operator, regularly dribbling past opponents and becoming difficult to track down once he’s wriggled free, and he’s constantly trying to ignite attacks with probing passes. It might take time for him to be a regular in Roberto De Zerbi’s lineup, but this signing should be yet another example of the Seagulls’ South American scouting network striking gold.

3. Jadon Sancho ?? Borussia Dortmund

Details: Signed on loan from Manchester United

Sancho is back at Dortmund – albeit temporarily – after leaving for Manchester United for around €85 million in 2021. The winger had a much-documented spat with Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag, and it’s difficult to envision a route back into the first team while the Dutchman’s in charge. By contrast, Sancho has been given a warm welcome in Germany, with club executives claiming he has no disciplinary issues and is in fine condition after being frozen out at United. It seems Sancho is in an ideal environment to revive his career.

2. Claudio Echeverri ?? Manchester City

Details: Signed from River Plate for reported £12.5M fee

Manchester City continue to bet on young talent during the January transfer window. Highly rated midfielder Echeverri follows in the footsteps of Julian Alvarez as the latest under-23 South American to sign for, if not necessarily join, the Premier League champions in the winter. Like Alvarez, whom City also signed from River Plate, Echeverri has been sent back to his boyhood club on loan for the year, allowing him to continue his development in a controlled environment. He’ll then arrive in Manchester in January 2025. City continue to hit the right note, never panicking while other clubs scramble for that elusive extra oomph to end the season.

1. Arthur Vermeeren ?? Atletico Madrid

Angel Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Royal Antwerp for reported €18M fee

At just 18, Vermeeren already boasts plenty of experience. He played more minutes than any other player in Belgium’s top flight over 2023 and even captained Royal Antwerp during this season’s Champions League group stage. The midfielder has already won the Belgian league, cup, and super cup, too. Vermeeren might lack some physicality – and that weakness might not seem ideal when he’s going to play under the combative Diego Simeone – but he has a Koke-esque knack of progressing play while producing more interceptions, blocks, and clearances than the Atletico Madrid veteran. An €18-million deal is a bargain for someone who could become one of Europe’s leading midfielders.

Honorable mentions: Fabio Carvalho (Hull City), Radu Dragusin (Tottenham Hotspur)

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Transfer Deadline Day Live: Breaking down all the major deals, rumors

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Transfer deadline day is in full swing. We’re providing live, quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals and rumors until tonight’s 6 p.m. ET deadline.

Give Chelsea all of your money

Chelsea are the headline act again at the transfer deadline – but playing a different role entirely. Languishing in 10th place in the Premier League standings and without Champions League football on the horizon, the cash-guzzling Blues desperately need funds to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations ahead of the 2024-25 season. Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher are reportedly up for sale, not because they’re angling to leave but because they offer the juiciest profit margin. Chelsea are raising academy graduates for financial slaughter, having pawned off Lewis Hall, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Mason Mount for tens of millions of pounds in pure profit over the last six months. Fulham are interested in taking Broja off Chelsea’s hands, just not at the quoted £50-million asking price, according to BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty. A loan deal could be a welcome compromise.

Bayern getting instant relief

M. Donato / FC Bayern / Getty

Bayern are closing out the window strong. Signing Sacha Boey from Galatasaray for a reported €30 million solves a crisis at the right-back position, where midfielder Konrad Laimer and left-back Raphael Guerreiro have split time as square-peg-round-hole replacements for the injured Noussair Mazraoui. Further injuries to wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman forced Bayern to bring in 22-year-old Granada winger Bryan Zaragoza six months ahead of his expected move to the Bavarians. The deals give Bayern the depth they need to continue competing on all fronts. Given their sputtering form and a surprisingly sustained challenge from Bundesliga title rivals Bayer Leverkusen, they need all the help they can get.

No place like home for Hojbjerg

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s future at Tottenham Hotspur has been up in the air since Antonio Conte left the club in March 2023 – and it’ll be suspended in motion for a while longer. Hojbjerg, one of former manager Conte’s soldiers in midfield, has made just five Premier League starts under Ange Postecoglou. And while he remains on the periphery of Postecoglou’s plans, Hojbjerg remains committed to the cause. He doesn’t lack options – Juventus, Napoli, Ajax, and Lyon reportedly expressed interest in the midfielder – but still feels part of something big in north London. Credit to Postecoglou for making a player with such limited minutes feel connected to the cause.

Forest keep wheeling and dealing

Nottingham Forest are sticking to their usual deadline-day formula. Having closed out the 2023 summer transfer window with an incredible seven signings, Forest are back to juggling negotiations. They’ve completed the signing of highly rated Portuguese striker Rodrigo Ribeiro from Sporting CP and Gio Reyna on loan from Borussia Dortmund. Forest are also reportedly flying in Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels after abandoning talks with Crystal Palace over shot-stopper Sam Johnstone. They’re allowing some departures, too, with Serge Aurier expected to leave for Galatasaray and Orel Mangala heading for Lyon.

Other deals to watch today …

  • Said Benrahma to Lyon
  • Stefano Sensi to Leicester City
  • Tommaso Baldanzi to Roma
  • Hugo Ekitike to Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Antonio Nusa to Brentford
  • Bryan Gil to Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Enes Unal to Bournemouth
  • Serge Aurier to Galatasaray
  • Thomas Meunier to Burnley
  • Rafa Mir to Valencia
  • Maxwel Cornet to Crystal Palace
  • Matz Sels to Nottingham Forest

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The Best FIFA awards: Follow live as Messi, Bonmati eye more trophies

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World football’s top players and managers of 2023 are being recognized at The Best FIFA Football Awards show on Monday. Below, theScore is tracking all the winners of the various trophies handed out in London.

Best Men’s Player finalists

  • Erling Haaland (Manchester City and Norway)
  • Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain and France)
  • Lionel Messi (Inter Miami and Argentina)

Can Messi get one over on Mbappe yet again? The Argentine will look to retain the honor he won last year when he beat out his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate. The two superstars will face stiff competition from Manchester City striker Haaland for FIFA’s top individual prize, which was inaugurated in 2016 following the governing body’s split with Ballon d’Or organizer France Football. For this year’s award, accomplishments from Dec. 19, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, were taken into consideration by voters.

2022 winner: Lionel Messi

Best Women’s Player finalists

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty
  • Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid and Colombia)
  • Jennifer Hermoso (Tigres and Spain)

Bonmati can cap one of the most dominant individual seasons in the history of women’s soccer on Monday. The World Cup-winning midfielder, already having captured the Ballon d’Or and various other accolades over the last 12 months, is looking to succeed compatriot Putellas, who won this award in each of the last two years. The qualifying period for this year’s honor was Aug. 1, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, the date of the most recent Women’s World Cup final, which saw Bonmati’s Spain defeat England.

2022 winner: Alexia Putellas

Puskas Award finalists

One of the sport’s most coveted individual trophies. This year’s Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal, covers the period between Dec. 19, 2022, and Aug. 20, 2023. Finalists include a long-range strike to conclude an excellent team move, a sensational bicycle kick, and a perfect rabona.

2022 winner: Marcin Oleksy

Best Men’s Coach finalists

  • Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
  • Simone Inzaghi (Inter Milan)
  • Luciano Spalletti (Napoli)

A trio of club managers are vying for the men’s coaching award; though Spalletti is the current Italy boss, his nomination came on the back of an enchanting title-winning campaign at Napoli. The two tacticians who were on the touchline for last season’s Champions League final, Guardiola and Inzaghi, square off once again, with the Manchester City boss considered the favorite after his team’s historic treble-winning season.

2022 winner: Lionel Scaloni

Best Women’s Coach finalists

Valerio Pennicino – UEFA / UEFA / Getty
  • Jonatan Giraldez (Barcelona)
  • Emma Hayes (Chelsea)
  • Sarina Wiegman (England)

A mixture of club and international coaches are vying for this prize. Wiegman and Hayes are the two most recent winners. The England manager has taken the award home on three occasions, more than any other bench boss (male or female). Giraldez, meanwhile, is looking for his first FIFA honor.

2022 winner: Sarina Wiegman

Best Men’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Yassine Bounou (Al-Hilal and Morocco)
  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium)
  • Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)

Bounou helped Sevilla win yet another Europa League crown in 2022-23 before departing for Saudi Arabia, while Ederson backstopped Manchester City to a trio of titles during the club’s record-breaking campaign. Courtois is the only finalist to have won this award before.

2022 winner: Emiliano Martinez

Best Women’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham and Australia)
  • Catalina Coll (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Mary Earps (Manchester United and England)

Three netminders who shone brightly at the 2023 Women’s World Cup will battle for this accolade. Coll helped Spain take home the title, while Arnold and Earps have become cult heroes in their respective countries. The latter, in particular, is one of the most popular footballers in England thanks to her combination of on-pitch excellence and off-field personality.

2022 winner: Mary Earps

Men’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

Women’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

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