LONDON - A week after signing Angel Di Maria, Manchester United persuaded striker Radamel Falcao to join the faltering club in European football's most eye-catching switch as the summer transfer window closed.
Falcao's season-long loan from Monaco is set to cost United around $25 million for the salary and fee to the French club, although there is an option to then sign the Colombia forward permanently.
LONDON - Liverpool had the look of Premier League title challengers again during an electrifying win at Tottenham on Sunday, while Arsenal's scoring struggles were once more exposed in a draw at Leicester.
Having opened the campaign with a slender win over Crystal Palace and then scrambled a draw at Everton, Arsenal was held 1-1 by a Leicester side playing in the top flight after a decade away.
LIVERPOOL, England - Chelsea showed off its new-found attacking sparkle in a 6-3 win over Everton on a day Manchester City lost its cutting edge to slip to a surprise first defeat in its Premier League title defence.
City's 1-0 home loss to Stoke on Saturday was exacerbated by its title rival's wild victory at Goodison Park, in which Spain striker Diego Costa scored in the first and last minutes to continue the superb start to his Chelsea career.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Former star Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina's record goal scorer for the national team, says he once asked a doctor to amputate his legs to relieve intense pain in his ankles.
Batistuta, speaking in a television interview in Argentina, said the pain suffered after retiring in 2005 became so intense that he "urinated in bed with the toilet only a few steps away. I couldn't move."
Batistuta said he visited a doctor he knew, who turned down his request.
LIVERPOOL, England - Mario Balotelli is in line to make his Liverpool debut against Tottenham on Sunday after impressing manager Brendan Rodgers in the Italy striker's first practice sessions with his new club.
Rodgers says Balotelli "has settled in very well and has looked fantastic in training. . He is engrossing himself into the club and the people, but more importantly into his football."
LONDON - From the World Cup semifinals to a bruising introduction in Britain, Louis van Gaal's fortunes have changed rapidly inside two months.
The coach who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup enters his fourth match as Manchester United manager still searching for his first win.
MONACO, Monaco - Michel Platini won't fight Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, though he still hopes somebody will.
The UEFA president decided Thursday not to challenge Blatter in an election next May, insisting he was not dodging a battle with his former mentor.
Platini denied FIFA critics a potentially bitter contest, but then urged more conflict within the Blatter-led executive committee.
MONACO, Monaco - European greats Real Madrid and Liverpool will meet again in the group stage of the Champions League after a draw on Thursday that promised many reunions.
Aiming to be the first club to retain world football's most coveted club trophy for 25 years, the road for ten-time winner Madrid leads to five-time champion Liverpool on Oct. 22.
MANCHESTER, England - Angel Di Maria will provide an ailing Manchester United with plenty of missing qualities following his big-money move from Real Madrid — pace, energy, incisiveness and goals.
Just don't expect instant miracles from the Argentina midfielder.
"I hope he shall give us good results," Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said at Di Maria's official presentation on Thursday, "but we cannot expect after two days' training that he is the miracle what I already read.
LONDON - Despite an often tempestuous relationship with fans and past concerns over his temperament, Wayne Rooney has received the symbolically-prestigious honour of captaining England.
Taking over the leadership of an inexperienced squad that is recovering from the national team's worst-ever World Cup, Rooney knows the rebuilding process requires unity.
"I hope that I will have the full backing of the fans," Rooney said Thursday. "I am their type of player once I am on that pitch."