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Tuesday, Jan 28th

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English football giants Manchester United announced that winger Jesse Lingard has renewed his contract and will remain at Old Trafford at least until 2021. Lingard, 24, will see his salary rise to 100,000 pounds ($125,000) a week under the new contract, which gives the club an option to extend the deal for an additional year.

"I have been with the club since the age of 7 and I feel great pride every time I pull the shirt on. To have scored in two cup finals for my boyhood club were immensely proud moments for me and my family," Lingard said in comments posted on the club's website on Thursday.

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According to auditing giants KPMG, Real Madrid and Manchester United are the most valuable football clubs in the world. Both Manchester United and Real Madrid are valued at $3.09 billion. FC Barcelona are third, valued at $2.9 billion, ahead of Bayern Munich, rated at $2.35 billion according to KPMG's annual report.

The top five is completed by Arsenal ($1.86 billion) with the next three places going to Manchester City ($1.71 billion), Chelsea ($1.6 billon) and Liverpool ($1.39 billion). Juventus, worth $1.05 billion, and Paris Saint-Germain ($900.37 million) complete the top 10.

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Satisfaction was written all over the face of European Club Association (ECA) President and German football legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the organisation rejected plans for a widespread reform of the Champions League and a new European Super League starting from 2018.

An initiative of investors from the US, England and Asia sought the formation of a new 24-club league with 16 permanent teams and eight qualifiers.

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For many years, an unwritten rule in football said a game lasted 90 minutes. The survey by a sports magazine has now revealed that the actual average playing time in the top four football leagues in Europe is less than 58 minutes - even accounting for added time.

While in Germany's Bundesliga, the actual net playing time is 56 minutes and five seconds, in the English Premier League it is also about 56 minutes. The Spanish La Liga only provides its fans with just under 54 minutes. Italian fans are best off with the Serie A's 57 minutes.

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Spain topped France 2-0 in a friendly match that saw a goal for the hosts disallowed and one confirmed based on video replay for the visitors. The value of the video replays was there for all to see, and one can only hope that football finally takes that leap of faith to bring it on par with other sports that is using video evidence to eradicate refereeing errors from the sport - a reality which more often than not alters the outcome of not just games, but careers.

The Spanish controlled the flow of the game throughout the first half on Tuesday, but posed no real threat to the French goal. France, after an anemic first half, mounted a surge at the start of the second and took a 1-0 lead on a header by Antoine Griezmann.

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Legendary former Manchester United head coach Alex Ferguson on Tuesday backed current boss Jose Mourinho saying he is "unlucky" not to see his side competing for the English Premier League title this season.

"He's been a bit unlucky actually because there are home games this season they've been absolutely brilliant in but have drawn them," Ferguson told SiriusXM FC in quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph.

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Brazilian football ace Neymar has put to rest all speculation about his move to Manchester United saying he would stay at FC Barcelona amid rumours in Spain that the mercurial forward might move to England.

A report from the Sport daily in Spain stated that Manchester United will offer Barcelona a world-record breaking transfer fee of 200 million euros (around $217 million) to buy the 25-year-old. It was also reported that the former Brazil captain has been offered in excess of 25 million euros ($27.1 million) per season.

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