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Out now: World Soccer, August 2023

Jamie Evans
Jamie Evans

The latest issue of World Soccer is now available to buy online and in shops.

From the editor

Usually, the start of a new season is cause for optimism and enthusiasm. This one is the same, of course, but there is also a sense of trepidation at the growing power in the Middle East, and a question: is football on the verge of another seismic change?

The Saudi Arabian league’s ambitious expansion has dominated the summer, affecting almost every major club in Europe either directly or indirectly. In the space of a few short months, it has gone from being dismissed as a “retirement league” to one that is able to attract players with plenty left in the tank to offer at the highest level.

It has certainly shaken the confidence of those who considered Europe’s position at the top of football to be invulnerable. The Champions League and “Big Five” of course remain the elite level of the game for now, but there is a tipping point at which there are so many great players in one place that it simply has to be treated as one of the world’s premier competitions. Other leagues have tried and failed to reach that point — the Chinese Super League never got close, while MLS remains a work in progress — and the Saudi Pro League still has a long way to go. Yet, with elite-level stars continuing to join the league as the summer goes, it shows no sign of slowing down. Keir Radnedge and John Duerden have both taken a closer look at the league and its potential, and what this summer means for the rest of the world.

For now though, Europe remains home to the best and most competitive leagues on the planet, and we have expert analysis of all the major ones in this souvenir season preview edition. There’s plenty more crammed into this bumper issue, with a full review of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a look at plenty of summer transfers including the latest Galactico, Jude Bellingham, plus loads more.

Jamie Evans, Assistant Editor

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CONTENTS

THE WORLD THIS MONTH

13 The month in numbers
14 Keir Radnedge Saudi ambitions
16 Jonathan Wilson Liverpool’s rebuild
18 Ins & Outs
20 Obituaries Luis Suarez & Craig Brown

HEADLINERS

22 Arda Guler Turkish wonderkid joins Real Madrid
23 James Trafford England Under-21s’ hero and Burnley’s new goalkeeper 
24 Ludogorets Europe’s most dominant domestic club team
25 Grant-Leon Ranos Borussia Monchengladbach’s new young forward

EYEWITNESS

32 United States St Louis, the first city of US soccer
36 GuernseyThe Island Games

SEASON PREVIEW

56 England
60 Spain
64 Germany
68 France
72 Italy
76 Netherlands
78 Portugal
80 Belgium
81 Czech Republic
82 Scotland
83 Switzerland
84 Turkey
85 Ukraine

FEATURES

26 Special Report Saudi Pro League
40 Spotlight Ilkay Gundogan
46 Player Biography Jude Bellingham
86 Special Feature Paris Saint-Germain’s rbeuild
90 Special Feature Norwegians in the Premier League
96 Silvio Berlusconi tribute
100 6 of the Best Under-23 AFCON starlets

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

102 Snakes & laddersThe ups and downs of the women’s game

WORLD SERVICE

108 United States 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup review
114 South America Copa Libertadores group stage review
116 Colombia Liga Apertura review
118 CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield & Cup preview
120 CONCACAF Central American Cup preview
124 Georgia & Romania European Under-21 Championship review
126 Madagascar Indian Ocean Games preview

MY BIGGEST GAME

146 Luka Modric

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