Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire have received the most Twitter abuse of any Premier League players, a report published Tuesday has found.
Analysis by British media regulator Ofcom of 2.3 million tweets in the first half of last season found nearly 60,000 abusive posts, affecting seven in 10 top-flight players.
Half of that abuse was directed at just 12 individuals – eight from United.
Twitter was chosen due to its popularity with players, and because it makes data available for research but the study does not take into account the safeguards that are in place.
Ofcom is preparing to regulate technology companies under new Online Safety laws aimed at protecting users.
“These findings shed light on a dark side to the beautiful game,” Ofcom group director for broadcasting and online content Kevin Bakhurst said. “Online abuse has no place in sport, nor in wider society, and tackling it requires a team effort.
“Social media firms needn’t wait for new laws to make their sites and apps safer for users. When we become the regulator for online safety, tech companies will have to be really open about the steps they’re taking to protect users. We will expect them to design their services with safety in mind.”
The report identified two peaks in the frequency of abusive tweets.
The first came on the day Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United — August 27 2021 — generating three times more tweets than any other day (188,769), of which 3,961 were abusive.
The volume of posts can largely be explained because of Ronaldo’s 98.4 million followers.
On this day, the Portugal forward was mentioned in 90 percent of all tweets aimed at Premier League footballers and 97 percent of abusive tweets.
The second peak came on November 7 when Maguire tweeted an apology following Manchester United’s 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City, with many posts using insulting language towards the England defender.
Twitter said it also removed more than 38,000 abusive tweets, with a spokesperson telling Britain’s PA news agency they were “committed” to combatting abuse and did not tolerate harassment on grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
At an Ofcom event at the National Football Museum in Manchester on Tuesday, Manchester United women’s player Aoife Mannion said using social media was a particular “deal with the devil” for female footballers.
“We do need it because we need the exposure and visibility we get from it, we don’t need the abuse,” she said.
With the sanctions on Russian businesses biting harder, the quest for a new Chelsea owner has been ramped up. This time, tennis icon Serena Williams and F1 great Lewis Hamilton, are the ones pushing to own a stake in the Premier League club.
The Super Eagles also knew their opponents for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers just as the team’s former coach Gernot Rohr awaits FIFA’s verdict over his sack. These and more are some of the top sports stories covered in First 11 this week.
We kick off from England where torrents of condolence messages have been poured in for Cristiano Ronaldo following his son’s death. The former Real Madrid star and wife confirmed their baby boy’s demise in a social media post.
Manchester United, his former clubs, players, and fans thronged social media to comfort the multiple Champions League winner over the sad incident.
The Portuguese star was excused from United’s tie with Liverpool earlier in the week. He, however, was available for selection as the Red Devils lost to Arsenal on Saturday.
Maguire Gets Bomb Threat
Still in Manchester United. Team captain Harry Maguire received a bomb threat but it was unknown who was behind it.
Cheshire Constabulary swept the 29-year-old’s home to ensure his safety. Maguire was up for selection against the Gunners.
The English defender, who stays with his fiancee and two kids, is having a turbulent campaign and has been the subject of stinging criticism from pundits and jeers from fans.
Man United Name Coach
Meanwhile, Manchester United has appointed Erik ten Hag as their manager next season.
The 52-year-old, who has signed a three-year contract, faces a huge task to revive the Red Devils’ fortunes after a fifth consecutive trophyless season. The Dutchman becomes the fifth permanent manager at Old Trafford since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 sent the 20-time English champions into decline.
Drogba, Others Inducted Into EPL Hall of Fame
Equally, Manchester United legend, Paul Scholes was in the news this week. The Englishman joined Didier Drogba and Sergio Aguero as the latest inductee into the EPL Hall of Fame.
Vincent Kompany, Ian Wright, and Peter Schmeichel alongside Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira are also in the “Class of 2022” inductees.
Serena, Hamilton Join Chelsea Bid
For Man United’s rivals, Chelsea, the sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich over Russia’s war with Ukraine are set to cause major changes in the team. The club has been up for sale and tennis icon Serena Williams as well as Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton have expressed interest in having a stake in the London side.
They will be investing about £20m into a consortium to buy Chelsea and both are part of a group of investors backing the European champions’ takeover offer spearheaded by Sir Martin Broughton.
Serena and Hamilton have each pledged £10m to the bid. Lord Coe is believed to be part of the British-led consortium.
Russia, Belarussian Players Banned From Wimbledon
Aside from football, the Russian-Ukraine war is creating ripples in other sports. Earlier in the week, Russian players were barred from Wimbledon. Belarussian players were also affected, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) said.
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev; Aryna Sabalenka, and women’s four Victoria Azarenka are some of the top players affected. The move drew wide criticism from players, fans, and others stakeholders in the tennis world.
But Russian officials have rejected the ban, describing it as “unacceptable”.
Nigeria Paired For AFCON Qualifiers
In Nigeria, the Super Eagles were paired with Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, and either Sao Tome or Mauritius in the qualifiers for next year’s AFCON. The draws were held in Jo’burg, South Africa, and qualifications for the tournament will start in May.
The Super Eagles, who failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, will also be aiming to make amends for their early exit at the last AFCON. The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 editions and won bronze in Egypt in 2019.
Rohr Awaits FIFA Verdict
The development came as a former coach of the team, Gernot Rohr, awaits FIFA’s verdict over his sack. Rohr had reported the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the football body for breaching contractual terms.
Reports suggest that FIFA had concluded their investigations and are set to deliver judgment on the $1m claims being made by former Niger Republic gaffer. The Franco-German had met all conditions in his contract but was sacked with one year left in the deal. While the NFF said it would pay Rohr his salary until the end of his contract, the ex-Niger boss took the NFF to FIFA. He is seeking compensation for his ‘unfair’ dismissal.
Kano Pillars Sanctioned, Banished
On the local scene, Kano Pillars were sanctioned for fans’ hooliganism. The former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions were fined N9m and banished to Abuja for the rest of the season following the incident which took place last weekend. The club’s fans have, however, condemned the attack which led to the destruction of the visiting team’s bus.
Pele Hospitalised Again
Away from Nigeria, football great Pele was hospitalized in Sao Paulo as part of his treatment for colon cancer.
But the clinical condition of Edson Arantes do Nascimento is “good and stable, and he should be discharged from hospital in the next few days,” the Albert Einstein Hospital said on Tuesday.
Before his diagnosis of colon cancer, which led to Pele being hospitalized for a month last year, the former star of Santos and the Brazilian team was hospitalized in Paris in 2019 and transferred to Sao Paulo to have a kidney stone removed.
Five years before then, he was in intensive care due to a urinary tract infection that forced him to undergo dialysis on his left kidney. The right one was removed in the 1970s due to an injury when he was still a player.
Maradona Shirt Auction Opens
The auction for the jersey worn by Pele’s late friend, Diego Maradona, when he scored twice against England in the 1986 World Cup, including the infamous “hand of God” goal, kicked off with a bid of over $5 million.
Sotheby’s is selling the blue number 10 Argentina shirt in an online sale that runs until May 4. Hours after bidding opened, the site showed that the first offer of £4 million ($5.2 million) — matching the low end of the auction house’s pre-sale estimate — had been registered. That would set a new record price for a football jersey at auction.
The record for a game-worn shirt from any sport is $5.6 million, set in 2019 for a jersey Babe Ruth wore while on the New York Yankees.
Harry Maguire says Manchester United must respond to their chastening loss at Manchester City by going on a relentless winning run if they are to have any chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
After finishing second last term and losing the Europa League final on penalties, the acquisitions of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, and Cristiano Ronaldo brought renewed hope that United could end their trophy drought.
But the season is turning into a nightmare, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer exiting in November and Sunday’s 4-1 loss at City leaving Ralf Rangnick’s Red Devils 22 points behind the Premier League leaders.
United have dropped to fifth in the table and while they are just a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, Mikel Arteta’s men have three games in hand.
Captain Maguire, who said the players were “devastated” following their humiliating loss at the Etihad Stadium, is under no illusions about United’s uphill battle,
“We know it’s an important end to the season that we’ve got and a run of games where we’ve got to know that we’ve got to go on a run, and we’ve got to go and pick up win after win after win,” the centre-back told MUTV.
“We’re more than capable of doing it but we’ve got to show it on the pitch.”
Next weekend’s clash with fellow top-four rivals Spurs is followed by the Champions League last-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid — matches that could see things unravel further for United.
Kevin De Bruyne goals either side of a Jadon Sancho leveller put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead at half-time on Sunday, before the hosts cruised in the second half, with Riyad Mahrez scoring twice.
“It’s a disappointing result for the players, for the club, for the fans, for everyone involved,” said Maguire.
“We come into these games full of emotion, we give everything, we work tirelessly in the preparation, we look forward to the games and we had great belief that we could come here and get a result.”
Manchester United survived blowing another half-time lead to open up a four-point advantage in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League with a thrilling 4-2 win at relegation-threatened Leeds.
Harry Maguire responded to questions over his status as captain of the Red Devils by opening the scoring on 34 minutes before Bruno Fernandes added a second on the stroke of half-time.
Lost leads have been a feature of Ralf Rangnick’s interim spell in charge and United were punished by another slow start to a second half as Rodrigo’s fortunate cross and substitute Raphinha brought Leeds level.
However, United this time bounced back to find a winner when Fred smashed in 20 minutes from time before Anthony Elanga sealed the points late on.
This was United’s first league visit to Elland Road in front of a capacity crowd in 19 years and the visitors were met with a hostile atmosphere and a tricky pitch due to incessant rain.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa described keeping his club in the top-flight as “an obligation” this week but took the bold decision to drop top scorer Raphinha to the bench after subbing the Brazilian at half-time in last week’s 3-0 defeat at Everton.
Another ragged defensive display leaves Bielsa’s men still just five points above the relegation zone and with a daunting trip to Liverpool to come in midweek.
Stories that Cristiano Ronaldo was set to replace Maguire as United captain for the rest of the season were dismissed as “nonsense” by Rangnick this week.
Ronaldo ended his worst goal drought for 13 years in midweek against Brighton and missed a glorious chance to open the scoring when Ilan Meslier spread himself brilliantly to deny the Portuguese a tap in from point-blank range.
Instead, it was Maguire who broke the deadlock and United’s run of failing to score from a corner for over a year with a powerful header from Luke Shaw’s delivery.
Leeds have conceded 11 goals in their two visits to Old Trafford in the past two seasons and their wide-open style was allowing United to slice through with ease on the counter-attack once more.
Five minutes into time added on at the end of the first half for a head injury to Robin Koch, the visitors doubled their lead when Jadon Sancho’s inviting cross found Fernandes unmarked to head down past Meslier.
United had blown a half-time lead in three of their last four games, but on each occasion, it had been a single-goal advantage.
Bielsa swallowed his pride at the break to introduce Raphinha and Leeds were level within nine minutes of the restart thanks to two goals in 60 seconds.
Firstly Rodrigo’s cross flew over the head of David De Gea into the far corner.
With the crowd still on their feet, Leeds scored again when Adam Forshaw’s strong challenge on Bruno Fernandes was not penalised and Daniel James’ cross was swept home by Raphinha at the back post.
As conditions continued to worsen under a torrential downpour, Rangnick turned to his bench in what appeared a bid to tighten up his midfield with the introduction of Fred for Paul Pogba.
But it was the Brazilian who struck the winner as a wild game had another swing when he drilled home Sancho’s pass at the near post.
Another of Rangnick’s substitutes then ensured there would not be a second Leeds comeback with a calm finish after Fernandes had robbed Pascal Struijk on the edge of his own box.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire hailed the huge progress the Red Devils have made in his 18 months at the club but said much more improvement was needed to deliver major trophies.
United extended their unbeaten league run to 12 matches and their away record to 16 without defeat with a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday to remain top of the Premier League.
A mammoth 33 points divided the sides last season as Liverpool romped to their first league title in 30 years.
However, a much tighter fight for the title is in store this season, with just five points separating the top six.
“You can see how much we have improved since I’ve been here,” said Maguire, who joined for a world-record fee for a defender from Leicester in August 2019.
“As a team we are on the up but there is loads of improvement we need to make, and make a lot more progress to get to where we want to be.
“We wanted to win the game but we keep the momentum going of not losing, especially away from home.”
United’s last domestic defeat away from home came at Anfield a year ago, when they were comfortably beaten 2-0.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his side were not at their best on Sunday, but they showed a maturity to keep Liverpool at bay and could have won the game late on, with Alisson Becker denying Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
“Last time we played here we didn’t have any confidence or momentum,” said Maguire. “The first half felt like we didn’t play well, we felt we could have been brave and hurt them a bit more.
“We didn’t play with belief and courage and I felt the second half was much more like ourselves.
“We are improving but we still need to do better with and without the ball.”
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been arrested on the Greek tourist island of Mykonos for an alleged assault and attacking officers, police said Friday.
United said in a brief statement they were “aware of an alleged incident involving Harry Maguire in Mykonos last night.”
“Contact has been made with Harry, and he is fully cooperating with the Greek authorities.
“At this time we will be making no further comment,” the club added.
A police officer in Syros, the capital of the island group that includes Mykonos, confirmed that the suspects are “three British men, including a British football club player” but did not name Maguire.
The Syros officer said four Mykonos officers had sustained slight injuries in the fracas. The suspects are also accused of resisting arrest and verbally insulting and threatening the arresting officers, he said.
He said Mykonos police had been called to break up a fight between two groups late on Thursday.
Greek state agency ANA said a fight had broken out between British tourists outside a bar.
The agency identified the suspects as Maguire, his brother and a friend.
ANA said the police had asked the suspects to follow them to the police station with the van but when they arrived, they attempted to flee.
They will appear before a Syros prosecutor later Friday, the Syros officer said.