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UAE's Omar Abdulrahman crowned AFC Player of the Year

Omar Abdulrahman from Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates has been named Player of the year by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The Emirati midfielder was recognized for his "pivotal roles" in guiding Al Ain to this season's AFC Champions League final, and his home country to within "touching distance" of a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the AFC said on Thursday.

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La Liga Preview: El Clasico dominates weekend card

Reigning champions FC Barcelona will be under pressure to limit the gap at the top of the standings with leaders and traditional rivals Real Madrid in La Liga's showpiece derby football match, the "El Clasico", on Saturday. The game is without doubt the main course of 14th round of matches of the competition.

Although it comes at a relatively early stage of the season, the high-voltage match at Barcelona's home ground, the Camp Nou stadium, could potentially decide this season's title winners, given that Madrid already enjoy a six-point lead from Barcelona. A win would lift them nine clear. Madrid are on top with 33 points from 13 matches, ahead of second-placed Barcelona's 27.

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Ronaldo, Messi and Griezmann nominated for FIFA Best Player Award

World football's governing body on Friday named perennial rivals Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann as the final three nominees for The Best Men's Player Award.

FIFA pruned a list of 23 names down to the elite trio after voting by captains and coaches of national teams, select members of the media and fans on fifa.com. The winner will be crowned on January 9.

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Jose Mourinho delighted with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's return to form

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have turned a corner after a superlative display in Manchester United's English Football League (EFL) Cup 4-1 quarter-final win over West Ham United, manager Jose Mourinho has said. The Armenian set up two goals to pick up the club's Man of the Match award for the second time in a week, as United set up a two-legged semi-final against Hull City at the Old Trafford ground on Wednesday.

"I'm so happy because it was against a Premier League team with Premier League qualities and characteristics," Mourinho told MUTV on Thursday.

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Santi Cazorla to require surgery, out till March 2017

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Arsenal's Spanish midfield maestro Santi Cazorla has been ruled out of action for the next three months at the very least with the club having decided that the 31 year old has not progressed sufficiently from the knock he picked up on his Achilles while playing against Ludogorets in the Champions League and will as a result require surgery.

The veteran attacker, in the final year of his contract at the Emirates, is unlikely to feature before March 2017, and even then it remains to be seen when he actually regains full fitness and what kind of role he will play for the Gunners in the title run-in.

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Ligue 1: Nice, PSG win; Cavani honours Chapecoense

Edinson Cavani was booked for paying tribute to the Chapecoense tragedy in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 win over Angers, while Nice beat Guingamp 1-0 to return to the top of Ligue 1.

The Uruguayan striker netted a landmark goal in the Parisians' rountine victory at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, converting a penalty in the 66th minute after Hatem Ben Arfa was brought down inside the area by Romain Thomas. Cavani then earned a booking for removing his shirt to display the crest of Brazilian side Chapecoense, honouring those who lost their lives in a plane crash in Colombia on Tuesday.

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Arsene Wenger provides injury update on star trio

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger provided an update on Mohamed Elneny, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla after the Gunners' 2-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton in the League Cup on Wednesday night.

Elneny, who started the game against the Saints, was withdrawn in the first half and replaced by Swiss international Granit Xhaka. Wenger shared after the game that Elneny was battling a stomach bug and passed himself fit before the game, but was struggling on the pitch once it got underway.

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