I cannot wait for the Premier League to get started and I am looking forward to being on the first Match of the Day of the season on Saturday night.

I know I am not the only one expecting a special season. I have never known so much anticipation leading up to a new campaign, and there are lots of reasons people are so excited.

Last year, other than the champions Leicester and, at times, Tottenham, the standard of play was pretty poor.

This time, with all the big-name managers involved and the money they have spent – including a world-record fee for Paul Pogba – I am expecting much bigger and better things.

I agree with MOTD host Gary Lineker that Leicester will not retain their title – but that still leaves six teams who can win it: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

A lot can happen between now and the transfer window but, speaking before a ball is kicked, I think it will come down to a fight between the Manchester clubs.

If you pushed me, I would go with City because of new manager Pep Guardiola and the quality of their squad, but it is going to be very close.

Tottenham’s young side has not peaked yet

Mauricio Pochettino steered Spurs to fifth place in his first season in charge and third place last season

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino spent most of last season playing down his side’s chances even when they were challenging for the title.

He is not the only manager to do that but, whatever any of them say publicly, all six managers will believe they can win it this time.

Pochettino’s side came so close last time out, he will not want them to fall away. He has not spent a fortune in the transfer market this summer, but Spurs were already strong in most positions so there was no need to.

Yes, it will be tough for them to improve on third place but they have a very young team and there is no way they have peaked.

Spurs faded in the final month of last season, which might have been down to pressure. If they are in the same position this time, they will have learned from what happened and be stronger for it.

On top of that, they have got several England players who will be desperate to prove a point after their disappointment at Euro 2016. They will desperate to get back under way and make amends, and I see them challenging again.

I still expect goals from Zlatan at 34

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Highlights: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

Jose Mourinho is not afraid to come out and say United want to win the title because he knows he is at one of the biggest clubs in the world and that success is what they demand.

He has spent a lot of money this summer and it looks like he has got the players he wants and is ready to have a charge at the title.

As well as Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the players I am most looking forward to seeing in the Premier League this season.

I don’t think you can do anything but admire Ibrahimovic for what he has achieved in his career. He has massive belief in his own ability but so he should and I don’t mind him telling everyone about it either because, when you have won as much as he has, you can basically say and do what you want.

His career statistics back up his self-belief and I am really looking forward to seeing how he copes with the Premier League’s intensity, pressure and pace.

Zlatan has been a huge success wherever he has played so I am still expecting him to score goals for United, even though he is now 34.

Guardiola will face a different test every week

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Superstar managers set to do battle in Premier League

Again, it is going to be very interesting to see how Guardiola gets on in English football because the variety of styles you get in the Premier League will be very different to the football he has experienced where he has managed before.

In Spain and Germany the vast majority of teams want to play on the floor but here it changes every week and there are teams who will try to be physical against City or kick it long.

Guardiola will learn what it takes though, and so will Antonio Conte at Chelsea, who is another manager new to the English game.

Conte enhanced his reputation with the way Italy performed at Euro 2016 and he has already made two very good signings in N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi.

Chelsea not having any European football will be a big help because it gives Conte more time to work on the training ground with his players.

It is the same for Liverpool and I can understand the optimism around Jurgen Klopp at Anfield after his first few months in charge.

Klopp might upset one or two rival managers with his touchline antics but he will be great to watch and he has got something about him that makes me think Liverpool will do very well.

Arsenal will be up there again too although, of the teams I have mentioned, they are the ones that need to strengthen the most in the next couple of weeks if they are to be champions for the first time since 2004.

I have been saying the same thing about them for the past five or six years now. Even before they got these injuries to centre-halves Gabriel and Per Mertesacker, I didn’t think their squad was big enough or good enough to win the title.

Everyone will be gunning for Leicester this year

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Leicester City’s comic book season

It all adds up to being the most open title race I can remember but I do not see the champions being in the mix this time.

Leicester were the best team by a mile last season and fully deserved their title but I do not see it happening again and the top four is a big ask for the same reasons.

It will be very different for them this year with Champions League football to contend with and some teams spending a fortune to try to catch them up.

I know from winning the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995 that it is very difficult to do it again the following year. Everyone is gunning for you because you are champions and they all know how you play and have had time to work out how to stop you.

We finished seventh in 1996 and my guess at the moment is that is where Leicester will finish too, even if they avoid significant injuries like they did last season.

When you consider who else they are up against, that would still be a big achievement.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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Aug 132016
Messi has scored 55 goals in 133 appearances for Argentina

Lionel Messi has been named in Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers squad, less than two months after retiring from international football.

Messi, 29, quit after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat by Chile in June.

But in a statement reported by media in Argentina, the Barcelona striker said he made the U-turn for the “love of the country” and “to help from within”.

Argentina play qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezeula at the beginning of September.

Messi missed in the penalty shootout defeat by Chile, as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years.

“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer is reported as saying.

“We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside.”

Messi’s only major international honour is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

As well as losing two Copa America finals on penalties to Chile, he was in the Argentina side beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

The forward, who was been awarded the Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player five times, was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.

Messi is named in new coach Edgardo Bauza’s squad alongside Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo and Ramiro Funes Mori of Everton.

Tottenham’s Erik Lamela made it seven Premier League players in total, with Messi’s Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano also among the 27-man squad.

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Aug 132016

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MOTD’s Gary Lineker on pants and Paul Pogba

Will Gary Lineker keep his promise and present Match of the Day in his underpants when the show returns to BBC One on Saturday evening?

The new Premier League season starts this weekend and former England captain Lineker is rueing a rash tweet