Ronaldo Scores As Man United Record Morale-Boosting Win Against Brentford

Ronaldo: Source: [email protected] Utd

 

Manchester United took the sting out of their fans’ latest protest against the Glazer family as they eased to a 3-0 win against Brentford on Monday.

Ahead of a summer of change for troubled United, Ralf Rangnick’s side won for just the second time in seven games to keep the atmosphere from turning toxic at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes struck early in the first half and Cristiano Ronaldo converted a second half penalty before France defender Raphael Varane bagged his first goal for United.

Despite winning their last home game of the season, United remain in sixth place in the Premier League with two games left.

They sit five points adrift of the top four with no realistic hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Fittingly, it was under grey, rain-filled skies that fans protested against despised owners the Glazers for a third successive home match.

Outside the stadium before kick-off, a group of supporters held up anti-Glazer banners, set off red smoke bombs and made offensive chants about the club’s owners.

United fans had been urged by the protesters to leave the stadium with 17 minutes left in the match — one minute for every year the United States-based Glazers have owned the club.

But that idea proved a damp squib as only a handful left their seats.

There were more empty seats by the time United embarked on a post-match lap of appreciation, but no overt signs of dissent towards their underachieving stars.

“In possession that was one of our best performances this year. It was the type of performance we wanted to show to our supporters,” Rangnick said.

Regardless, there is no doubting the overall level of frustration at another trophyless season for United, who haven’t won the Premier League since 2013 and last lifted a major trophy five years ago.

 ‘Lacked Consistency’ 

Aside from a few scathing comments about the club’s direction, Rangnick has done little to jolt United out of their malaise since replacing the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

“In the end I’m not happy with the results, especially in the last four or five weeks. In general we have lacked consistency,” Rangnick said.

“It’s obvious quite a few players will leave and there is a need for top quality players.

“Other clubs only needed two or three transfer windows to challenge. I strongly believe that if everyone works together we can bring Man Utd back to where we need to be.”

Rangnick was in charge of his last home game as United interim manager before the recently-hired Erik ten Hag arrives from Ajax to start his rebuilding job next season.

After such a wretched run, United needed a fast start to lift the gloom a little and they took just nine minutes to go in front.

Anthony Elanga beat Brentford’s offside trap as he raced onto Diogo Dalot’s pass.

He reached the ball just before it went out for a goal-kick and whipped a superb cross towards Fernandes, who volleyed home from six yards for his first league goal since February.

After several listless displays, this was a more energetic effort from United and Juan Mata fired narrowly wide from Ronaldo’s flamboyant pass.

Ronaldo won a penalty in the 60th minute as he powered past Rico Henry and was crudely barged to the turf by the Brentford defender.

Picking himself up, Ronaldo sent David Raya the wrong way from the spot.

The Portugal striker has scored nine of United’s last 11 league goals, taking his tally for the season to 24 in all competitions.

With the United fans’ much-hyped walk-out just seconds away, Varane volleyed the third goal from a corner in the 72nd minute.

That appeared to take the sting out of the revolt, with Mata and Nemanja Matic — both likely to leave in the close-season — departing to standing ovations when they were substituted.

It was a rare feelgood moment in a season of strife at Old Trafford.

AFP

Manchester United ‘Improved’ Despite Loss To Arsenal – Rangnick


Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes misses a penalty kick during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 23, 2022. Ian Kington / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United have improved despite the loss to Arsenal. He also thinks his team were unlucky against the Gunners on Saturday.

“Improved performance but poor result, I think we created enough chances to score more than that one goal, we bounced back well to that early goal that we conceded where again we didn’t defend well inside and around our own box,” he said after the defeat at the Emirates.

“This was the only negative issue regarding today’s game but after coming back from 2-0 down we had numerous chances, the penalty, the crossbar, we hit the post twice, and a few VAR decisions and that’s putting it in an extremely mild way, we were unlucky. That’s why we are very disappointed about the result but our overall performances were much better.”

READ ALSO[FIRST 11] Serena Williams’ Chelsea Ownership Push+Top Sports Stories This Week

Rangnick also admitted Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League football next season are over after the 3-1 loss

Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka, and Granit Xhaka struck for Mikel Arteta’s men to move them three points clear of Tottenham, who face Brentford later on Saturday.

Sixth-placed United are six points adrift of the top four and could miss out on European football completely for only the second time since 1990.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 22nd goal of the season on his return to the United side after missing Tuesday’s 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool due to the death of his newborn son.

However, Ronaldo will regret letting Bruno Fernandes take a second-half penalty with the game finely poised at 2-1 to the Gunners.

“For me, even before that game it was not very likely, but after today’s result the top four is gone,” said United interim boss Rangnick.

The German described his side’s display at Anfield as “humiliating” and “embarrassing”.

United reacted to that defeat by formalising the appointment of Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as the man to take charge at Old Trafford from next season.

However, the Dutchman will not have been impressed by another shambolic start from the side he will inherit.

It took just two minutes for the visitors’ defence to be breached as David de Gea’s fine save from Saka’s initial effort counted for nothing as Tavares swept home the rebound.

Support For Ronaldo 

Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo looks on during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 23, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. 

 

There was another show of support for Ronaldo as just as at Anfield in midweek the entire stadium applauded during the seventh minute.

On the field, the Portuguese was receiving little help from his teammates.

De Gea stood up well to parry a piledriver from Eddie Nketiah from close range.

Seconds later, Nketiah found the net from another one-on-one.

A VAR review found the England under-21 international offside, but Saka was fouled by Alex Telles as he played the ball into Nketiah’s path.

Saka took responsibility to send De Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot to double Arsenal’s lead.

Ronaldo hit back within two minutes as he swept home Nemanja Matic’s cross for his 100th Premier League goal.

Arsenal’s nerves began to show and United should have been at least level by the time Xhaka fired home the final blow.

Tavares needlessly handled a corner into the Arsenal box on the hour.

Ronaldo stood aside to let Fernandes take the penalty, but his compatriot rolled the ball onto the post.

“Goals change games,” said United midfielder Scott McTominay.

“There is a whole load of problems, but we have to have pride when you go onto the pitch. Go home and take a look at yourself in the mirror. The last four games are about pride for us.”

Ronaldo had another instinctive finish ruled out for offside before he teed up Diogo Dalot’s shot which was turned onto the post by Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal had lost three consecutive games prior to a much-needed 4-2 win at Chelsea in midweek that revived their top-four ambitions.

The relief around the Emirates was palpable when Xhaka restored the two-goal cushion with a powerful shot that flew past De Gea from 25 yards.

“You can’t expect to win every match as that is only afforded to one or two teams in the league,” said Arteta.

“We have to earn our right to win games and need a bit of luck, and today we had it.”

AFP

FIRST 11: Serena Williams’ Chelsea Ownership Push+Top Sports Stories This Week

 

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.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Bidders Set To Discover Their Fate

Condolences Pour As Ronaldo Loses Baby

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.

‘It’s The Greatest Pain’: Ronaldo Loses Baby

In this file photo, Cristiano Ronaldo leaves with his Spanish girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez after attending a court hearing for tax evasion in Madrid on January 22, 2019. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

 

Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, has lost his baby boy, the Portuguese star said on Monday.

The 37-year-old’s partner Georgina Rodriguez had given birth to a twin boy and girl. But a brief statement released by the duo confirmed the death of the boy.

READ ALSO: African Players In Europe: Emmanuel Dennis, Awoniyi, Mane Steal Show

“It is with the deepest sadness that we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” they said in a statement posted on Ronaldo’s social media handle. “It’s the greatest pain any parents can feel.

“Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness. We would like to thank the doctors and nurses for all the care and support.

“We are all devastated at this loss and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time. Our boy, you are our angel. We will always love you.”

Ronaldo revealed in a social media post last October that the couple were expecting twins.

They met during Ronaldo’s time at Real Madrid and have a four-year-old daughter together while Ronaldo has three other children.

Police Investigate Ronaldo For Smashing Everton Supporter’s Phone

Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on April 9, 2022. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Police have launched an investigation after Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly “assaulted” a supporter by smashing a phone out of his hand following Manchester United’s defeat against Everton on Saturday.

Merseyside Police on Sunday appealed for witnesses after footage on social media showed Ronaldo knocking the phone away from the Everton fan as he left the pitch immediately after United’s 1-0 loss at Goodison Park.

“We can confirm that we are liaising with Manchester United Football Club and Everton FC following reports of an alleged assault at the Everton v Manchester United football match at Goodison,” a spokesperson for Merseyside Police said.

“As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30 pm, it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch.

“Inquiries are underway and officers are currently working with Everton Football Club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness enquiries to establish if an offence has taken place.

“Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact centre quoting reference number 228 of 9 April 2022.”

READ ALSOModric, Kroos Rested As Real Madrid Sail Past Getafe

The 14-year-old supporter’s mother told the Liverpool Echo that her son, who is autistic and has dyspraxia, was left with a bruised hand after the incident.

Ronaldo issued an apology for his “outburst” on Saturday and invited the boy to watch a game at Old Trafford to make amends.

“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient, and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.

“I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship.”

The Football Association said: “We are aware of the incident and will be seeking observations on the matter from both clubs and the player involved.”

AFP

Ronaldo Apologises After Knocking Phone Out Of Fan’s Hands


Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northwest England on April 9, 2022. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday apologised for knocking a mobile phone out of the hands of a supporter as he left the pitch following Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Everton.

Footage on social media emerged which appeared to show the Portugal star clashing with an Everton supporter as he headed for the tunnel at Goodison Park.

READ ALSO: Man United Do Not Deserve European Football, Says Rangnick

“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” 37-year-old Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

“Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient, and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.

“I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship.”

United’s lacklustre performance at relegation-threatened Everton left them in seventh place in the table, six points adrift of the Champions League places.

AFP

Portugal Beat Turkey, Through To World Cup Qualifying Play-Off Final

[email protected]

 

Portugal are through to a decisive World Cup qualifying play-off final next week after beating Turkey 3-1 in Porto on Thursday, but only after Burak Yilmaz missed a crucial late penalty for the visitors.

The home side were cruising at the Estadio do Dragao thanks to first-half goals by Brazilian-born midfielder Otavio and Liverpool forward Diogo Jota.

But Turkey’s veteran skipper Yilmaz pulled a goal back in the 65th minute, setting up a tense finish.

Turkey were then awarded a late penalty when a foul on Enes Unal was detected by the German referee following a VAR review, but Yilmaz put the spot-kick over the bar and Matheus Nunes secured Portugal’s victory in stoppage time.

The 36-year-old Yilmaz may now never get the chance to play at a World Cup as Turkey’s wait to return to the finals goes on.

They have not appeared at the World Cup since coming third in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

Portugal have not missed out on the tournament since 1998 and they will now expect to secure a spot in Qatar when they host North Macedonia in a play-off decider next Tuesday.

At 37, Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of World Cup glory remains alive and few sides in international football can match the attacking threat of Fernando Santos’s team.

READ ALSO: Italy Miss Second Straight World Cup After Shock Defeat To North Macedonia

Here Santos left Joao Felix on the bench and handed a surprise start to Otavio, the Brazilian-born Porto winger.

The 2016 European champions started strongly and went ahead on the quarter-hour mark as a Bernardo Silva shot hit the post and Otavio, winning just his third cap, netted the follow-up.

The second goal arrived three minutes before the interval at the end of a flowing move, as Otavio clipped a cross from the edge of the box for Jota to head in at the back post.

Portugal were cruising but then Turkey pulled one back in the 65th minute as Cengiz Under slipped a pass in for Lille forward Yilmaz to score.

The home side, missing their first-choice centre-back pairing of Pepe and Ruben Dias due to Covid-19 and injury respectively, began to look shaky and Turkey took advantage.

Jose Fonte’s contact with Unal in the box was initially missed by referee Daniel Siebert but he awarded a penalty after reviewing the images, despite the Turkey player clearly exaggerating the impact of the challenge.

Yilmaz could have forced extra time but his 85th-minute kick grazed the bar and flew over, to the relief of the home crowd.

Substitute Nunes, also born in Brazil, made it 3-1 in the fourth minute of stoppage time, in which all-time top international goal-scorer Ronaldo also hit the bar as Portugal progress.

AFP

Ronaldo Hits Form In Time For Another Go At Familiar Foe Atletico

In this file photo, Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo makes a rare appearance as captain during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 3, 2022.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Manchester United fans a glimpse of what they thought they were getting from his second coming at Old Trafford with a trio of thumping finishes to see off Tottenham 3-2 on Saturday.

The 59th career hat-trick of Ronaldo’s career was just his second for United and a first in 14 years as his second spell has failed to match the hype around his signing in August.

United go into Tuesday’s finely balanced Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, after a 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital, knowing European glory is their only remaining chance of silverware this season.

Ronaldo has tended to save his best for the Champions League this season, scoring six goals in the group stage just to ensure United did not suffer the ignominy of a group stage exit for the second consecutive season.

However, his subdued performance as a frustrated and isolated figure up front the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago was more reflective of the problems Ralf Rangnick has faced during his interim spell as United manager.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Hat-Trick Sets All-Time Scoring Record As Man Utd Beat Spurs

The German is credited as the Godfather of the high-energy, pressing style of play that has inspired the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel to go on to be Champions League winners as coaches.

Rangnick has not been able to implement the same verve to United, much of which has been blamed on a 37-year-old Ronaldo’s inability or unwillingness to press.

The Portuguese has also been pointed at as the source for stories of dressing room disquiet that seem to leak out after every poor result.

Amid reports he was set to be dropped for last weekend’s Manchester derby, Ronaldo jetted back to his homeland to rehab a hip injury that was given as the official reason for missing a 4-1 thrashing at the Etihad.

 ‘Keep Playing’ 

In this file photo, Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates after scoring their second goal, his 800th for club and country in his career during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 2, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Rangnick joked that maybe he should sanction that trip more regularly after Ronaldo returned to Manchester in scintillating form to put Spurs to the sword.

But he also did not hold back in his assessment of Ronaldo’s work off the ball in recent weeks.

“Today he showed for sure that he is physically capable to do that,” Rangnick said of Ronaldo’s defensive contribution.

“We also have to admit that it has not always been like that in the past weeks and months.

“Today showed exactly that he is still in physical shape to perform at that level.”

Ronaldo’s performance impressed the watching Tom Brady as the seven-time Super Bowl winner told his fellow superstar to “keep playing” as they embraced on the Old Trafford pitch after the game.

Whether he stays for the second year of his contract at United will depend heavily on if the Red Devils make it into the Champions League next season.

Into the twilight years of his career, he can ill afford a season off the biggest stage where he shines brightest.

Atletico know that only too well. Between 2014 and 2019, Ronaldo was on the opposite side for all five of their exits in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, twice inflicting the ultimate blow in final defeats to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo’s treble on Saturday set another goalscoring record as he now has the most goals in men’s professional football according to FIFA’s records with 807.

Only Sevilla have suffered more in that total than the 25 Atletico have conceded.

As United’s struggles have laid bare, Ronaldo may not be the force he once was.

But he is still the one Diego Simeone’s men will fear most coming back to haunt them on the big occasion.

AFP

Ronaldo Hat-Trick Sets All-Time Scoring Record As Man Utd Beat Spurs

Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on March 12, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on March 12, 2022.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick admitted managing Cristiano Ronaldo is “challenging” after the 37-year-old rolled back the years with a hat-trick to beat Tottenham 3-2 and keep Manchester United’s chances of playing in the Champions League next season alive.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had scored just once in his previous 10 games, but three fantastic finishes took him clear as the highest scorer in professional men’s football history according to FIFA’s records with 807 goals for club and country.

Ronaldo’s second spell at Old Trafford has so far proven to be an anti-climax with his poor form sparking debate over whether his powers are waning.

He missed United’s thrashing in the Manchester derby last weekend and was criticised for a perceived lack of commitment as he jetted off to Portugal to rehab a hip injury rather than watch his teammates lose 4-1 at the Etihad after reports he would have been dropped by Rangnick even if fit.

READ ALSO: US, Allies To End Normal Trade Relations With Russia

“It is challenging with players like him but he showed today he still has the quality to play for Manchester United,” said Rangnick. “He’s part of the team and if we want to be successful we have to do it together.”

“Today it was his best performance, at least since I arrived. Not only because he scored three goals, but he was also energetically good today and part of the whole team when we had to defend. A top performance by him, but also the rest of the team.”

Victory lifts United back into fourth, although they are just two points ahead of Arsenal who have four games in hand.

A fifth defeat in eight league games is another blow to Tottenham’s hopes of a top-four finish as they remain seventh, now five points behind United.

“It’s difficult to explain this loss,” said Spurs manager Antonio Conte. “I think we didn’t deserve to lose, but at the same time we need to understand how we can improve.”

Ronaldo ‘decisive’ 

In front of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, Ronaldo was keen to show his own greatness as he was restored to Rangnick’s starting line-up as one of five changes with Bruno Fernandes the notable absentee due to illness.

It took just 12 minutes for him to make his mark with a stunning strike into the top corner from outside the box.

However, United failed to build on the early goal and were instead forced back in a familiar pattern to previous home games this season against stronger opposition.

A Tottenham equaliser seemed only a matter of time and was gifted to them when Alex Telles handled Dejan Kulusevski’s cross for a clear penalty.

Harry Kane smashed home the resulting spot-kick to continue his fine form for his sixth goal in as many games.

Within three minutes, though, United were back in front thanks to a landmark goal for Ronaldo.

He turned home Jadon Sancho’s inviting cross to surpass Austria-Czech striker Josef Bican as football’s all-time record goalscorer according to FIFA’s records.

United’s defensive deficiencies meant Ronaldo’s work was not done to win the game as Spurs enjoyed the better of the second half.

When a second equaliser arrived for Conte’s men it was thanks to more misery for United captain Harry Maguire.

Consistent errors from the England international have played a huge part in his side’s struggles this season and he turned into his own net from Sergio Reguilon’s cross.

Conte screamed for focus from his side on the sideline, but they succumbed again to Ronaldo’s predatory instincts.

“You have to know when you play against this type of player they are decisive,” added Conte. “Without Cristiano Ronaldo tonight for United, it wasn’t a good night.”

Ronaldo rose highest to meet Telles’ corner nine minutes from time to power a header into the top corner for just his 59th career hat-trick but just his second in United colours.

AFP

Rangnick Says He Doesn’t Know If Ronaldo Is Happy At Man Utd

In this file photo, Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo makes a rare appearance as captain during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 3, 2022.

 

Ralf Rangnick admits he does not know if Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Manchester United as the Portugal star prepares to return from injury against Tottenham on Saturday.

Ronaldo was missing from United’s dismal 4-1 defeat against Manchester City last weekend after suffering a hip problem.

The 37-year-old reportedly flew home to Portugal rather than stay in Manchester to support his team-mates in the derby, sparking renewed speculation that he is unsettled at Old Trafford.

The former Juventus striker, in the first season of his second spell with United, has shown signs of frustration after being dropped or substituted at various times.

READ ALSO: [‘We’re More Than Capable’] Maguire Demands Man Utd Response After City Demolition

He was understood to be underwhelmed by United’s decision to hire Rangnick as an interim boss rather than appoint a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when the Norwegian was sacked in November.

Asked on Friday whether his star man was unhappy, Rangnick told reporters: “Well, I don’t know —  I haven’t asked him if he’s happy at Manchester and at this club.

“For me, it’s important that he’s fit again and that he resumed training yesterday (Thursday). We will see with which formation and with which line-up we are going to play the game tomorrow.”

Ronaldo is United’s top-scorer this season, with 15 goals in all competitions, but he has only netted once in his past 10 games and Rangnick’s team have slipped down to fifth place in the Premier League.

Rangnick refused to clarify whether Ronaldo had gone to Portugal, saying: “It doesn’t make sense to look back on what was happening in the last six or seven days.

“For me, it’s important what is happening today and tomorrow. For me, it doesn’t make sense at all to go through all this again.

“What’s important is that he and Edi (Cavani) are both back in training and they’re both available for tomorrow.”

Rangnick has also struggled to get the best out of Marcus Rashford, who has scored just five goals this season and has fallen behind youngster Anthony Elanga in the United pecking order.

The German challenged the England man, who started on the bench against City despite the absences of Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, to replicate the form he shows on the training ground in matches.

“Marcus is training well, he’s got abundant talent, he’s got almost everything that you need as a modern striker,” he said.

“For him it’s only about transforming the performance of the training sessions into the regular games.”

AFP

Portugal’s Road To Qatar World Cup Now ‘Difficult’ – Ronaldo

File photo: Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification group A football match between Portugal and Serbia, at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, on November 14, 2021. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Portugal and Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview broadcast late on Thursday there are “difficult battles” ahead if his country are to qualify for the World Cup for the sixth successive time.

Portugal, the 2016 European champions, face Turkey in a play-off semi-final in March before a potential final against Italy, the team that succeeded them last year as kings of the continent.

“It would be very sad if we did not reach our objective, which is the World Cup,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner told ESPN Brasil.

Ronaldo has not missed a major international tournament since making his debut for Portugal in 2003.

He has played in four World Cups and five Euros, also reaching the final in 2004.

“In football and in life we go through difficult moments but what matters is the ability to get back up,” the 36-year-old said.

“We know we have difficult battles, first against Turkey. And if we win, I think it will be against Italy. We will see. In March we will be prepared, it will be a battle, it will be great for football fans.”

Portugal host Turkey on March 24 while Italy entertain North Macedonia, with the final five days later.

At least one of the last two European champions will not make it to the World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

“That’s life, there are no perfect scenarios. We have to face things as they are,” said Ronaldo, who has experienced a mixed return to Old Trafford this season.

While his personal return of 14 goals in 21 games in all competitions is impressive, the United are struggling down in seventh place in the Premier League, although they have reached the Champions League last 16 and FA Cup fourth round.

FULL LIST: Mbappe, Ronaldo, Chelsea + All Winners At 2021 Globe Soccer Awards

globe-soccer-award-winners-2021
Mbappe had a sterling year with club and country.

 

French forward Kylian Mbappe has won the Best Men’s Player of the Year at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards on Monday.

The 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star scooped the prize in a ceremony at the Armani Hotel.

He beat six-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo; Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema, and Lewandowski to the award.

“It is a big achievement for me. I want to say thank you to my club Paris Saint-Germain, who believed in me these past five years, even better this season,” he said after he was handed the award.

“To my national team; to all the people who nobody knows who work with me, who help me a lot; to my family, they are there with me, always with me.”


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Last season, Mbappe scored 27 to emerge as the highest goalscorer in Ligue 1 although his form did not stop PSG from finishing as runners-up to Lille.

Mbappe also helped France win the UEFA Nation’s League.

Aside from him, other winners at the 12th edition of the awards include Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, and Ronaldinho.

Globe Soccer Awards 2021 Winners 

Below is a full list of winners at the Globe Soccer Awards 2021

Fan’s Player of the Year – Robert Lewandowski

Men’s Player of the Year – Kylian Mbappe

Maradona Award – Robert Lewandowski

Top Scorer of All Time – Cristiano Ronaldo

Best National Team of the Year – Italy

Best Agent of the Year – Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year – Txiki Begiristain

Best Men’s Club of the Year – Chelsea

Best Defender of the Year – Leonardo Bonucci

Best Goalkeeper of the Year – Gianluigi Donnarumma

Women’s Club of the Year – Barcelona

Women’s Player of the Year – Alexia Putellas

Innovation Award – Serie A

Best eSports Player of the Year – Msdossary7

Best Youth Academy in Africa – ZED FC