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Football Whispers
ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Ronaldo wants seven Ballon d'Or awards; Aubameyang out for Dortmund

Friday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending ...

REAL MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer "worried" about winning individual awards -- but he still wants to win seven Ballon d'Or awards to go with seven children.

- Plus, here's the legitimate case for Zinedine Zidane benching both Ronaldo and Karim Benzema for the Madrid derby on Saturday.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has defended himself after being suspended by Borussia Dortmund, saying he does not "understand" his latest punishment.

- Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not travel with the squad for the weekend's game against Stuttgart after being left out for ''disciplinary reasons."

WATCH: What Aubameyang's omission means for Dortmund

MAN UNITED: Defender Marcos Rojo is targeting a return to the Argentina squad for the 2018 World Cup.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he'd be happy to assume the No. 10 role upon his return to Manchester United.

- Manchester United announced record first-quarter revenue of £141 million on Thursday, but player wages have risen as a result of their Champions League return.

- Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo have improbably gone from whipping boys to fan favourites at Manchester United, writes Andy Mitten.

- Man United correspondent Rob Dawson looks into the contentious rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez that will be renewed at St James' Park on Saturday.

ARSENAL: Who is the key man in Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur and how will the match go? ESPN FC writers and analysts have given their views ahead of the derby.

- Arsene Wenger says his players don't need to be pinned up against a wall to understand the importance of beating Tottenham, insisting they still have the same passion as his legendary teams from two decades ago.

- Arsenal's blueprint for bringing through young players is working perfectly at rivals Tottenham, writes Mark Ogden.

- Wenger has little choice but to attack against Spurs This is not a time for Arsenal to be timid, and Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez should be deployed together again, writes Andrew Mangan.

WATCH: Will Wenger start Lacazette vs. Tottenham?

TOTTENHAM: Mauricio Pochettino wants to match the longevity and success of Saturday's opponent Arsene Wenger but says he will never compromise on having an English core in an attempt to do so.

- Davinson Sanchez opted to join Ajax ahead of Barcelona two years ago, his former coach has told Sky Sports.

- Centre-back Toby Alderweireld is likely to be sidelined until after Christmas with a hamstring injury, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will have to wait to see whether Sadio Mane will be fit for Saturday's match with his former club Southampton.

- Mauricio Pellegrino admits Virgil van Dijk's long-term future at Southampton is uncertain because "everybody has got a price."

- Joe Gomez has been praised for his maturity by Liverpool under-23s boss Neil Critchley after impressing on his senior England debut this week. Gomez earned the Man of the Match award for his performance in the 0-0 draw with Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday.

CHELSEA: Antonio Conte says David Luiz will be back in the Chelsea squad to face West Brom on Saturday.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Premier League clubs have unanimously backed prime-time televised Premier League football on Saturday nights from 2019-20.

- Man City vs. Arsenal and Chelsea vs. Man United are the big matches this weekend. Predict those and the rest of the games in our match polls.

- The trade-off for a lack of aesthetics with Tony Pulis is that you get results, but lately West Brom supporters have only been getting ugly football, writes Nick Miller.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Roy Hodgson will speak to Ruben Loftus-Cheek about managing the increasing expectations around him following the promising start to his England career.

MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola has said Sergio Aguero is available for selection after fainting during half-time of Argentina's international friendly against Nigeria in mid-week.

- Guardiola has been named Premier League Manager of the Month for a second time in succession, with winger Leroy Sane scooping the Player of the Month award.

- Sergio Aguero has been given the go-ahead to play for Manchester City at Leicester on Saturday.

JUVENTUS: Juve are looking to beat a number of Premier League clubs to the signing of Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun, sources in Turkey have told ESPN FC.

AC MILAN: General manager Marco Fassone says the Serie A club would be able to survive without Champions League football next season.

PSG: Paris Saint-Germain are on the verge of making their signing of Fluminense midfielder Wendel official, a source close to the French club has told ESPN FC.

LYON: Nabil Fekir will remain at Lyon until the end of the season and possibly beyond despite claims he is close to a move to Arsenal, the French club's president has said.

BAYERN MUNICH: Jupp Heynckes has confirmed that Bayern Munich are in talks with Hoffenheim about signing Germany international striker Sandro Wagner, and that Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt is considering an offer to return to the club.

CHAPECOENSE: Chapecoense beat Vitoria on Thursday night to retain their place in Brazil's top flight next season, almost a year after having to rebuild the squad following the tragic plane accident that killed most of their team.

MLS: The Portland Timbers and manager Caleb Porter have parted ways, according to reports.

- Sporting Kansas City's Tim Melia was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after running away with the vote.

- The Montreal Impact will renew designated player Blerim Dzemaili's loan for the 2018 season, the MLS club announced on Thursday.

WORLD CUP: Gary Lineker will conduct the World Cup draw in Moscow next month, FIFA has announced.

- Algeria coach Rabah Madjer called a journalist "an enemy of the national team" in a furious tirade when he asked a question about the team's failure to produce top-quality performances.

- The seedings for the 2018 World Cup finals draw can now be confirmed after Peru booked the 32nd and last place at next summer's tournament in Russia.

WATCH: The best and worst World Cup scenarios

CONCACAF: CONCACAF is launching a new national team competition to begin play in September of 2018 that will include the United States and Mexico.

ITALY: Gian Piero Ventura said he had endured a difficult week after being sacked as Italy coach following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.

- FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio says he is seeking a "big name" successor to Ventura.

Daniele De Rossi boarded the Sweden bus following Italy's World Cup playoff defeat in Milan on Monday to apologise for the whistles heard during the Swedish national anthem.

WATCH: Will Italy's qualifying failure impact Napoli, Milan?

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