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Rangers received £4.25million from Aston Villa in compensation for former manager Steven Gerrard, the Ibrox club’s annual accounts revealed on Wednesday.

The cinch Premiership club posted a record turnover figure of £86.8million last season and it helped them return an operating profit of £5.9m – a vast improvement of the 27.6m operating loss registered last November for the 2020-21 campaign.

Rangers outlined the figure received from Villa in relation to Gerrard’s departure, noting: “Compensation income relates to amounts received following the departure of the previous football management team.”

The former England midfielder departed Glasgow last November to take up the post of head coach at Villa. He was sacked by the midlands club last month.

The money received from Gerrard’s exit contributed towards Rangers recording healthy financial results, which were also boosted by their excellent run to the Europa League final and fans returning after the behind-closed-doors period due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of £17.3m of Rangers’ £86.8m revenue was from UEFA prize money and solidarity fees.

It helped the club return an operating profit of £5.9m. New equity of £10.1m was also raised while a new debt of £3.6m was taken on “to strengthen our financial position”.

“Off the field, and allied to performance on the pitch, we have continued to make enormous strides,” chairman Douglas Park said.

“The past year has provided many highs and lows, along with challenges both on and off the park, but ultimately, I believe we are continuing to grow stronger as a club.

“This time last year, I repeated my belief from 2015 when this current Board took control of the Club, that this would be a 10-year recovery project.

“While there have been moments in the last year that have exceeded both my own and the board’s expectations (with specific reference to the Europa League run to the final) we cannot, and will not, stand still and continue to have so much more to do.”

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Frank Lampard suffered an embarrassing Carabao Cup exit as his Everton side were thrashed 4-1 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

The Toffees were made to pay for a number of defensive mistakes as Bournemouth ended their run of four successive Premier League defeats to ease into round four.

Jamal Lowe, Junior Stanislas, Emiliano Marcondes and Jaidon Anthony were on target for the hosts, with Demarai Gray replying.

Lampard made 11 changes following the Premier League defeat at home to Leicester, while Mark Travers and Chris Mepham were the only survivors from Bournemouth 4-3 loss at Leeds.

Lowe took just seven minutes to fire the hosts in front as his shot deflected off James Garner and looped over the stranded Asmir Begovic.

Tom Davies wasted a gilt-edged chance to equalise just four minutes later. Abdoulaye Doucoure slipped the ball through to send Davies clean through but the midfielder blazed high over the crossbar.

Travers made a smart save in the 14th minute to tip behind Garner’s vicious strike.

Everton had another good opportunity to level a minute later when Anthony Gordon headed over from six yards with the goal gaping.

Gordon was lucky to escape with only a yellow card a minute before half-time following a poor challenge on Jordan Zemura.

Mason Holgate gifted the Cherries the chance to double their lead two minutes into the second half. He was robbed by Ryan Christie after slipping on the edge of the penalty area and Christie then set up Lowe to fire the ball across the six-yard box for Stanislas to tap home at the far post.

Lampard reacted with a triple substitution, bringing on Gray, Alex Iwobi and Dwight McNeil – with Gordon amongst those replaced.

It would have been 3-0 in the 56th minute but for Begovic making a good save at his near post to keep out Anthony’s shot.

Lowe should have had his second in the 64th minute after being picked out at the far post by Zemura’s teasing cross – but he could not keep his header down.

Gray got Everton back in the game in the 67th minute when he curled into the top left corner from just inside the penalty area to reduce the deficit.

Bournemouth had squandered two-goal leads to lose each of their last two Premier League games and there was anxiety among the home fans.

However, the nerves were eased when Emiliano Marcondes tapped in from close range in the 78th minute after Begovic could only push Anthony’s initial shot into his path.

And it was game over four minutes later as Bournemouth cashed in on more terrible Everton defending to score their fourth.

Nathan Patterson was caught in possession by Siriki Dembele and the ball eventually came for Anthony to slot into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

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A much-changed Arsenal side crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Brighton as debutant goalkeeper Karl Hein had a night to forget.

The Gunners sit top of the Premier League and qualified as winners of their Europa League group, but Mikel Arteta made 10 alterations for the tie and Brighton came from behind to win 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Eddie Nketiah finished off a fine move to put the home side ahead before Hein fell over and conceded a penalty all in one motion as former Arsenal man Danny Welbeck levelled from the spot.

Two breakaway goals after the interval, firstly through substitute Kaoru Mitoma and then Tariq Lamptey, saw Brighton advance to round four.

It was a first home defeat in 12 games for Arsenal, the last also coming at the hands of the Seagulls, who have now lost just one of their last five visits.

With only William Saliba retaining his place from Sunday’s win at Chelsea, it was no surprise Arsenal started in a disjointed fashion, allowing Brighton several long-range chances on goal.

Welbeck saw a shot blocked before Jeremy Sarmiento fired just over and Julio Enciso also missed the target for the visitors.

Brighton were made to rue their inability to capitalise on a slow start from their hosts, falling behind to a fine finish from Nketiah, who curled home having been picked out by Reiss Nelson.

This is Nketiah’s competition for sure, the former England Under-21 international having now netted 11 goals in 12 League Cup appearances.

But Hein then had his moment to forget, slipping over as Welbeck ran through and picking himself up only in time to bring down the marauding forward, who duly sent the beleaguered goalkeeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

Nketiah hit the post soon after the restart, his low strike tipped onto the woodwork by Jason Steele before the Brighton goalkeeper made a fine stop to keep out Nelson’s header moments later.

Brighton turned things around just before the hour as Mitoma, off the bench at the break, coolly finished past Hein before Arteta reacted by throwing on Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes.

He was soon turning to his bench again, this time Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko were introduced after Lamptey has doubled Brighton’s lead following a driving run into the box.

With Granit Xhaka also coming on late on, Arsenal finished the game with half the outfield players who had started the 1-0 win at Chelsea – but it was not enough to bring about a late comeback.

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Boubacar Traore’s late winner sent Wolves through to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup.

The substitute struck with five minutes left to down much-changed Leeds and seal a 1-0 victory for the hosts.

It settled an uneventful game which looked to be heading to penalties and gave new Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui and his coaches food for thought.

Lopetegui is due at the club’s Compton training base on Friday, ahead of watching Saturday’s visit of Arsenal, before officially taking charge on Monday.

The former Spain manager’s lieutenants were at Molineux having already briefly introduced themselves to the squad and they would have been concerned and encouraged in equal measure early on.

Confident Leeds – buoyed by successive Premier League wins – went at their hosts and Matija Sarkic beat away Jack Harrison’s deflected free-kick before parrying Leo Hjelde’s header.

The visitors threatened to overrun Wolves but the hosts rode out the storm to regain some composure, with Ruben Neves curling a free-kick wide and Adama Traore drilling across goal.

From then, though, the excitement levels died down with neither team able to pin down an advantage as the game cried out for some quality.

It was too scrappy to maintain any kind of momentum and a subdued Molineux needed to be patient.

Max Kilman was comfortably denied by Joel Robles soon after the re-start and better was to come from the former Everton goalkeeper when he kept Connor Ronan’s improvised effort out.

The unpredictable Adama Traore, who all too often flatters to deceive, began to at least stretch Leeds but could not find any end product.

That has been Wolves’ problem all season. They sit second bottom of the Premier League having scored just eight times and, as the game meandered to the final 10 minutes, the hosts’ ideas looked to have dried up.

Harrison curled wide for Leeds but Boubacar Traore pulled out a stunning winner from nowhere with five minutes left.

Nathan Collins won the ball on the right and fed Daniel Podence who found the substitute to crash in a fine strike from the edge of the box.

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Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has been left out of Brazil’s 26-man squad for the World Cup as Arsenal duo Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli are included.

Brazil head coach Tite had a wealth of attacking options at his disposal meaning 31-year-old Firmino, who has not featured for his country since the Copa America final in July 2021, missed the cut.

Jesus’ place was in question following a nine-game goalless run for Arsenal, while club colleague Martinelli has been rewarded for his fine form with the Gunners having notched five goals and two assists already this season.

Another Gunner has missed out, though, with defender Gabriel overlooked in an attacking squad named by Tite.

Manchester United’s Antony and Tottenham’s Richarlison are among the forwards, with Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Raphinha and Rodrygo also part of the enviable options at the head coach’s disposal.

United midfielders Casemiro and Fred will be hoping to earn starting roles, with competition from Liverpool’s Fabinho, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes and West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta.

Defensively could be where Brazil’s weaknesses lie, with 39-year-old former Barcelona full-back Dani Alves included alongside Chelsea’s 38-year-old Thiago Silva.

Liverpool’s Alisson and Manchester City’s Ederson will battle it out to be number one.

Antony reacted to his inclusion on Twitter, posting a video of him celebrating with his family alongside the caption: “For you!!! Thank you, God!! Thank you everyone… friends, family, mom, dad, brothers!! Love you!!! Too much emotion!!”



Lewis Hamilton has become an honorary citizen of Brazil following a ceremony in Brasilia on Monday.

The seven-time Formula One world champion traces his desire for motor racing back to watching Brazilian great Ayrton Senna during his youth.

Last year following his victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Englishman completed an additional lap while holding the Brazil flag – mimicking Senna at his home race in 1991.

It was that gesture which helped see Hamilton, 37, bestowed with the honour by the president of the chamber of deputies, Arthur Lira, ahead of this weekend’s race at Interlagos.

“When I was five years old, I saw Ayrton race for the first time, and that was the moment when I knew I wanted to be world champion,” Hamilton said at the event.

“Many people said it was impossible, but fortunately, the fact that I’m here today is proof that persistence and hope can make everything possible.”

Hamilton, born in Stevenage, is currently fifth in this season’s drivers’ championship and has won the Brazilian Grand Prix on three occasions.

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Premier League footballer Benjamin Mendy has told a court he enjoyed “having sex with a lot of women”.

On Monday, the player, who is accused of seven counts of rape, told his trial at Chester Crown Court it was “honestly, so easy” for him to meet women to have sexual activity with.

But the 28-year-old French international player said being in prison while on remand for the charges had made him “learn lots of things about life”.

Mendy, wearing a navy blue suit, white shirt and tie, said he began to receive attention from women when he was 18 and playing for Marseille.

When asked by Eleanor Laws KC, defending, if he realised why, he said: “At the beginning, no, but after, yes. Because of status.”

When he joined Manchester City in 2017, he said, the attention became “10 times more”.

He said: “The way they came to me, it’s not because of my look, it’s because of football.”

Asked about his attitude to having sex with women he did not know particularly well, he said: “At the time I was not thinking like how they were feeling or they can be upset because, for me, if they wanted to have sex and I wanted to, everything was fine, and I would carry on my partying.”

He said he was enjoying “having sex with a lot of women”.

But, he said if a woman said “no” he would “be fine, I’d accept it and I’d stop”.

The World Cup winner said he “didn’t worry” about using contraception although he “knew the risks”.

He said sleeping with different women on the same night was “normal” for him.

When asked why he carried on having parties with women he didn’t know after his initial arrest, Mendy said: “I did nothing wrong so I was just like, carry on.”

Ms Laws said: “Is that something you regret now?”

Mendy replied: “Yeah.”

He said: “When I was in prison it made me realise a lot of things.

“The partying I was doing, inside I had some pain.”

He told the court he had been injured a number of times while at City.

When asked to speak up during his evidence, Mendy said he was “ashamed” to talk about sex.

He said: “More embarrassed, like when you ask me the question I can’t scream ‘yeah I love sex’ because it would seem weird.”

The jury was told Mendy was in prison on remand from August last year until January.

He said: “All my life I have never had the time to really think about what I was doing.

“When I went there I was alone, you’re sat down all day, the only thing you can do is think.”

Asked what he thought now about women, he said: “I didn’t know I can hurt their feelings if we were both OK to have sex.”

He said he realised the way he would sometimes speak about women was “disrespectful”.

Mendy told the court prison was the first time in his life he was working on something other than football and would earn £4 a day which he would spend in the canteen.

He said: “For the first time I was really careful, like ‘I need to buy this but if I get that I can’t have that’. The life I had before, everything I wanted to have I just bought it.

“So it taught me the value of money.”

He added: “I was sad and upset to be going there but at the same time I learn lots of things about life and the way I was.”

Mendy denies seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault against six young women.

His friend and ‘fixer’ Louis Saha Matturie, 41, of Eccles, Salford, denies six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women.

The trial, which began in August, will continue on Tuesday.

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Fenway Sports Group remains “fully committed to the success” of Liverpool amid claims the club has been put up for sale.

A report on Monday suggested the American-based owners had produced a sales deck and investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were assisting the evaluation process.

However, while FSG admits it is open to accepting new shareholders, it has not gone as far as to say the Premier League club as a whole is on the market.

“There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumours of changes in ownership at EPL clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool,” said a statement.

“FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool.

“FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club.

“FSG remains fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch.”

FSG, then New England Sports Ventures, bought Liverpool for £300million in 2010, completing their purchase after the dysfunctional management of predecessors Tom Hicks and George Gillett had left the club on the brink of administration.

Forbes now value the club at around £3.5bn, and a weak pound currently makes the Premier League club more attractive to overseas investors.

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Southampton are searching for a new manager after sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl on Monday.

Here, the PA news agency picks five contenders for the job.

Nathan Jones

Bookies’ favourite Jones has impressed with Luton on a tight budget in the Championship, taking the Hatters to within two points of the play-offs with a game in hand. The former Brighton full-back, who originally took over at Kenilworth Road in 2016 and had a brief spell at Stoke before returning, would probably jump at the chance of a crack at managing in the Premier League.

Rafael Benitez

The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle boss could find a route back into the English top flight after he was sacked following a disappointing spell at Everton in January. Spaniard Benitez may find the prospect of managing a progressive club like Saints tempting and his CV will surely impress the St Mary’s hierarchy.

Sean Dyche

After nine years of swimming against the tide at Burnley, Dyche has a proven record of keeping a club above water and seems ready to return to management having finally left Turf Moor in April. The 51-year-old may not be the left-field choice Southampton have a habit of going for, but if they want a quick fix, he may be the perfect fit.

Marcelo Gallardo

Widely considered River Plate’s most successful coach in their history, Argentinian Gallardo is leaving the club in December when his contract expires after eight years in charge. The 46-year-old certainly fits the Saints mould but whether he fancies a relegation battle remains to be seen.

Mauricio Pochettino

Talking of Argentinians, what about a return for former boss Pochettino? Available after leaving Paris St Germain in July, Saints could try to tempt the man who guided them to eighth in his first full season in charge back to St Mary’s. But the former Tottenham boss may have his sights set a little higher.

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Last season’s Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Liverpool have been paired together in this season’s last 16.

The Reds finished runners-up in their group behind Napoli and will host the reigning European and LaLiga champions at Anfield in February.

Real beat the Reds 1-0 in the 2022 final in Paris in May, a match marred by organisational chaos which led to the kick-off being delayed.

Premier League champions and 2021 Champions League finalists Manchester City have been drawn to face German side RB Leipzig – fourth in last season’s Bundesliga – in the last 16.

Tottenham, who sealed top spot in their group with a last-gasp winner from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg away at Marseille, have been drawn to face Italian champions AC Milan with the first leg at San Siro.

Chelsea, winners of the competition in 2012 and 2021, will be up against Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.

The first leg ties will be played on February 14, 15, 21 and 22, with the second legs on March 7, 8, 14 and 15.

German champions Bayern Munich – who did not drop a point in the group phase – are up against French league champions Paris St Germain, who they beat in the 2020 final of the competition.

Inter Milan, who finished runners-up behind Bayern in Group C, face Portuguese champions Porto while Club Brugge take on Benfica.

Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt will go up against Napoli for a place in the quarter-finals.