Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure


Juventus’ Italian forward Moise Kean (C) celebrates with Juventus’ Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur (L) and Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juventus pulled themselves out of the Serie A relegation zone on Wednesday after earning their first league victory of the season at the fifth attempt, coming from behind to win 3-2 at Spezia. It was also their first Serie A win since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club. 

Massimiliano Allegri’s side moved up to 12th in Italy’s top flight on five points following the hard-fought win which at one point looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste had put Spezia ahead shortly after the break following Moise Kean’s 28th-minute opener, the Italian’s first goal for Juventus since returning from Everton.

However substitute Federico Chiesa levelled midway through the second half with his first league goal of the season and a few minutes later Matthijs de Ligt struck the winner when the ball fell kindly to him from a Paulo Dybala corner.

It was a far from convincing performance though and Spezia could have levelled late on, with Wojciech Szczesny at his best to push away Giulio Maggiore’s volley with five minutes remaining.

READ ALSO: Verona Inflict First Loss On Mourinho’s Roma


Spezia’s Ghanaian forward Emmanuel Gyasi (2ndL) celebrates after scoring an equalizer during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juve are eight points behind league leaders Inter Milan, who could be joined on 13 by city rivals AC Milan when they host Venezia later on Wednesday.

In the other early match Salernitana earned their first point of the season when they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home with Verona.

Nikola Kalinic put the away side ahead with a deft first-half brace but Cedric Gondo pulled one back just before half-time when the ball dropped to him following Franck Ribery’s free-kick.

Mamadou Coulibaly then struck the leveller with 14 minutes left to send a passionate home crowd wild, although the promoted outfit stay bottom of the league.

Cagliari host Empoli in Wednesday’s other late match.

AFP

 

Ronaldo Scores Third League Goal As Man United Edge West Ham


Manchester United’s English midfielder Jesse Lingard (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on September 19, 2021.
Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Portuguese skipper Cristiano Ronaldo continued his impressive form since returning to England as he netted once in Manchester United’s 1-2 win over West Ham on Sunday, his third league goal for the season.

Ronaldo tapped in to cancel out Said Benrahma’s opener and substitute Lingard appeared to have won the match for the visitors in the 89th minute.

But there was time for late, late drama when the home side were awarded a penalty for a Luke Shaw handball in added time.

Mark Noble came on to take the spot kick but United goalkeeper David de Gea dived to his left to keep it out, sparking a frenzy among United players.

United move into second place in the table, level on points with Liverpool.

Ronaldo was jeered and whistled by the home fans at the London Stadium as he tried his trademark stepovers and feints but proved a handful throughout at the point of United’s attack.

The Portuguese superstar was supported by Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, with no starting place for Jadon Sancho, who has struggled to make an impact since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in July.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still trying to work out how best to juggle his impressive forward resources and United are still seeking fluency despite a bright start to the Premier League season.

West Ham proved a stern test for the visitors just five days after 10-man United crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Swiss side Young Boys in their Champions League opener.

Both sets of players lined up before kick-off as the stadium observed a minute’s applause for England great Jimmy Greaves, who died on Sunday at the age of 81.

READ ALSO: Bayern Hit Seven Past Bochum To Go Top Of Bundesliga

READ ALSO: Former England Striker Jimmy Greaves Dies At 81

West Ham Opener

West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder Said Benrahma (R) skips past the challenge from Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (C) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on September 19, 2021.  Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

West Ham, without suspended forward Michail Antonio, engineered the first clear opening of the game when De Gea was forced to save wth his legs from a Jarrod Bowen shot.

As the game opened up, West Ham goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski got his fingertips to a rasping Fernandes shot, touching it onto the post.

But it was West Ham who took the lead in the 30th when Benrahma’s effort from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off Raphael Varane and completely wrong-footed De Gea.

The goal galvanised the visitors and they were level just five minutes later, with Ronaldo poking the ball past Fabianski after the goalkeeper had saved his initial shot following a Fernandes cross.

Nikola Vlasic went close to restoring West Ham’s lead, flashing over following a cross by Aaron Cresswell.

Fabianski was called into action early in the second half racing off his line to block Ronaldo’s effort when he had seemed destined to score.

Both sides pushed forward as the second half wore on but there were few clear-cut openings.

Lingard, who spent a period on loan at West Ham last season, got a warm reception from the home fans when he came on as substitute alongside Sancho with 17 minutes to go, replacing Greenwood and Pogba.

But he left the home fans with a bitter taste in their mouths when he curled a beautiful shot into the top right corner, which ultimately proved to be the winner.

In the other 1400 GMT kick-off, Brighton beat Leicester 2-1 to move up to third in the table ahead of the late kick-off between Tottenham and Chelsea, both former clubs of Greaves.

Neal Maupay converted from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining of the first half following a handball by Jannik Vestergaard.

Danny Welbeck doubled the lead five minutes after half-time, flicking a near-post header past Kasper Schmeichel following a Leandro Trossard free-kick.

Leicester pulled a goal back through Jamie Vardy but it was not enough.

AFP

Ronaldo’s Man Utd Seek Response, Chelsea Look To Lukaku In Spurs Clash

File photo:  Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match against Young Boys at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, on September 14, 2021. SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

 

All eyes are once again on Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United aim make amends for a shock Champions League defeat to Young Boys when the Premier League leaders head to West Ham on Sunday.

Second-placed Chelsea are behind United only on goals scored and will look to extend their unbeaten start in a London derby at Tottenham.

Liverpool and Manchester City will not expect to be troubled when Crystal Palace and Southampton visit Anfield and the Etihad respectively on Saturday.

But the pressure is on under-fire Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta when the Gunners travel to fellow strugglers Burnley.

 United must do better

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has demanded an immediate response from United after the optimism engendered by Ronaldo’s return was punctured in Bern.

Solskjaer’s side had won three of their first four matches in an unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign, including a Ronaldo-inspired rout of Newcastle on the Portuguese superstar’s Old Trafford return last weekend.

Ronaldo was on target again in Bern, but United succumbed after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card to lose to the lowest seed in their Champions League group.

“Our attitude is like you’d expect; focused, a little disappointed but not too downbeat,” Solskjaer said. “It’s a setback, we have to do better.”

It was Jesse Lingard’s woeful backpass that condemned United to defeat against Young Boys.

Lingard is back at United after shining on loan at West Ham in the second half of last season.

The Hammers were keen to sign Lingard on a permanent basis, but Solskjaer convinced him to stay and retains his faith in the England international.

“We really want to see the best of Jesse this season and we hope to see him, we support him, and we hope to keep him here with us. He’s a Red through and through,” Solskjaer added.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Dealt Shock Champions League Loss As Lukaku Boosts Chelsea

Lukaku v Kane

File photo: Chelsea’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 22, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will go head to head with Tottenham’s Harry Kane in a fascinating shoot-out between two of the Premier League’s leading marksmen.

Lukaku has made a flying start on his return to Chelsea following his club record £98 million ($135 million) move from Inter Milan.

The Belgian has already scored four times in four appearances, including a perfectly-timed header to break Zenit Saint Petersburg’s stubborn resistence in the Champions League in midweek.

After the debilitating struggles of Chelsea’s misfiring forwards last season, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel admits Lukaku has been a breath of fresh air.

“He was the type of player and profile we were missing,” Tuchel said.

“He’s also super humble. He is always open to everybody and that creates a certain energy and atmosphere that we are proud of.”

While Lukaku is living out his dreams at his boyhood club, Kane is having to make do with another season at Tottenham after the England captain’s failed attempt to engineer a move to Manchester City.

Kane, frustrated by Tottenham’s 13-year trophy drought, was desperate to join City, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to grant his wish.

With Tottenham looking to recover from last weekend’s chastening 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace, Kane’s first Premier League goal of the season would be timely for both the striker and his team.

Arteta ‘Sees The Light’

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta on the sidelines during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) /

 

Besieged by calls for his head after Arsenal opened the season with three successive defeats and not a single goal, Arteta earned a modicum of breathing space when the Gunners narrowly beat Norwich last weekend.

But the Spaniard knows that 1-0 win will quickly be forgotten if Arsenal lose to a Burnley side still looking for their first win this term.

Arteta was given more money to spend than any other Premier League manager in the transfer window and is adamant there are better days ahead for his young squad.

“I can really see the light,” he said. “I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time.

“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Newcastle v Leeds (1900)

Saturday

Wolves v Brentford (1230), Aston Villa v Everton, Burnley v Arsenal, Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Manchester City v Southampton, Norwich v Watford

Sunday

Brighton v Leicester (1300), West Ham v Manchester United (1300), Tottenham v Chelsea (1530).

AFP

Ronaldo To Make Second Man Utd Debut Against Newcastle

A cardboard cut out of new signing Cristiano Ronaldo is held by Manchester United supporters during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on August 29, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo, a cardboard cut out of new signing Cristiano Ronaldo is held by Manchester United supporters during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on August 29, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo will make his first Manchester United appearance since his blockbuster move from Juventus when Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Saturday.

Portugal superstar Ronaldo returned to United in a shock transfer just before the transfer deadline.

The 36-year-old striker, who left United to join Real Madrid in 2009, has been training with his new team-mates for the past few days.

United manager Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that Ronaldo would play at least some part in the Premier League clash with Newcastle but it remains to be seen whether the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will start or come off the bench.

“He’s been having a good pre-season with Juventus, he’s played for the national team, he’s had a good week with us here,” Solskjaer said.

“He will definitely be on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure.”

Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League during six trophy-laden years with United, before going on to shine with Real and Juventus.

His status as one of the world’s all-time greats is unquestioned, but initially it seemed United would miss out on a reunion with their former star when Manchester City moved to sign him.

Ronaldo said his relationship with former United manager Alex Ferguson played a key role in convincing him to return to Old Trafford.

Solskjaer, who played with Ronaldo during his first spell at the club, said: “Of course we’ve followed his career from afar since he left here and I think everyone’s very happy to have him back.

“He can speak for himself but he seems like he’s happy to be back as well.

“The mood’s been very good, he’s worked well and we’re looking forward to Saturday, of course.”

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‘No place to hide’ 

Fergusson retired from Manchester United in 2013. Photo: Instagram/Manchester United.

 

Ronaldo’s return to Manchester came after Solskjaer had already strengthened his squad with swoops for England forward Jadon Sancho and France defender Raphael Varane.

United will be expected to challenge champions Manchester City for the title after such a productive transfer window.

Solskjaer believes Ronaldo will add a higher level of quality to the squad, both physically and mentally, as they look to win the first trophy of the Norwegian’s reign.

“We have grown as a group the last few years. The determination, the desire, the focus has improved over time and bit by bit,” he said.

“Even like bringing Raphael (Varane) in, he’s come in with a winner’s mentality, an unbelievable focus.

“Then of course Cristiano comes in as well and there’s no place to hide when you’ve got winners like them. You can’t go into training and give 95 percent or not being focused.”

As a former Manchester United player, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce appreciates what an emotional afternoon it will be for Ronaldo and the club’s supporters on Saturday.

“The goals he’s scored at every club he’s played for is quite remarkable,” Bruce said.

“That, quite rightly in my opinion, makes him the best player in the world. It’s a terrific signing by Manchester United.

“It’s quite an incredible story of him going back and I’m sure they could have sold out Old Trafford 10 times over if they wished.”

AFP

Ronaldo To Wear No.7 Shirt At Manchester United

In this file photo taken on January 01, 2008 Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to take a free kick against Birmingham City during their English Premiership football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, 01 January 2008. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo will wear Manchester United’s iconic number seven again after Edinson Cavani agreed to surrender the shirt.

Ronaldo followed in a long list of United legends to have worn number seven during his first spell with United from 2003 to 2009.

The 36-year-old rejoined United from Juventus last week, but Cavani had the number seven at the start of this season, raising the possibility of Ronaldo having to don a different shirt.

But Cavani has agreed to swap to 21 — the number the veteran striker wears for Uruguay — so Ronaldo can reclaim his old jersey.

It had been reported a club would needed special dispensation from the Premier League to process the switch following the start of the domestic campaign.

“Manchester United can confirm that Cristiano Ronaldo will wear the iconic no.7 shirt after returning to Old Trafford,” the club said on their website.

READ ALSORonaldo Breaks All-Time International Scoring Record With 111th Portugal Goal

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (2ndR) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

 

In his first stint with United after signing from Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo scored 118 goals and won nine trophies, including three Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo, who left United for Real Madrid 12 years ago, is set to make his second debut in the Premier League match against Newcastle on September 11.

George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham are among the other United stars to have worn the famous number seven.

On Wednesday, Ronaldo broke the men’s international scoring record with a late double as Portugal came from behind to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1.

AFP

Ronaldo Says He Is ‘Not Closing The Count’ After Breaking Int’l Record

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (2ndR) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

 

Cristiano Ronaldo signalled his intention to keep playing for Portugal for “years to come” after breaking the all-time international goalscoring record of 109 previously held by Iran’s Ali Daei.

The Manchester United forward scored twice in the dying minutes to move to 111 international goals as Portugal came from behind to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.

Ronaldo, who is the all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League and the leading marksman in Real Madrid’s history, led his country to their only major tournament win at Euro 2016.

The 36-year-old spoke of his pride after his latest milestone.

“From all the records that I have broken during my career — and fortunately there have been a few — this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud,” Ronaldo said in a post on Instagram.

“Scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.”

Ronaldo will not add to his tally during the current international break, though, after leaving the Portugal squad on Thursday.

He is suspended for next week’s qualifier against Azerbaijan after being booked for removing his top while celebrating the winning goal against Ireland.

The Portuguese football federation said he had been “exempted” from playing in this weekend’s friendly with World Cup hosts Qatar.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Breaks All-Time International Scoring Record With 111th Portugal Goal

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

 

Ronaldo became the first player to feature in five European Championships at this year’s Euro 2020, winning the Golden Boot.

And he could equal the record of playing at five World Cups should Portugal make it to Qatar next year.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who secured a return to United from Juventus this week, hinted he has no intention of retiring from international football in the near future.

“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my teammates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable,” he added. “Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come! I’m not closing the count just yet.”

Portugal face Qatar in a friendly on Saturday before travelling to Azerbaijan on September 7.

Thanks to Ronaldo’s rescue act in the Algarve, Fernando Santos’s men top Group A of European qualifying, three points clear of Serbia, who have a game in hand.

AFP

Ronaldo Says Ferguson Was Key To His Man Utd Return

Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. Photo: Instagram/Manchester United.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo revealed his relationship with former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson played the key role in convincing the Portuguese to return to Old Trafford.

Ferguson retired as boss of the Red Devils in 2013, four years after Ronaldo departed for Real Madrid in a then world record £80 million move.

However, he remains a club ambassador and confidant of current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who also played under Ferguson for many years.

Ronaldo looked set for a return to England with Premier League champions Manchester City last week until Ferguson and a host of his former United teammates intervened to reportedly inform him that such a move risked his legacy at the club where he became a world star.

“For me, Sir Alex Ferguson is like a father in football for me,” Ronaldo told the United website.

“He helped me a lot, he taught me many things, and in my opinion of course he had a big role because the relationship that we had, we keep in touch all the time, and he’s an unbelievable person.

“I really like him a lot and he was the main key for me to be in the position that I am, that I signed for Manchester United.”

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Completes Man Utd Medical
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‘The Best Decision’

In this file photo taken on January 01, 2008 Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to take a free kick against Birmingham City during their English Premiership football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, 01 January 2008. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

During his first spell in Manchester, Ronaldo won the first of five Champions League and Ballon d’Or titles, as well as three Premier League winner’s medals, scoring 118 goals in 292 games.

However, United’s fortunes have declined since Ferguson’s retirement.

The English giants have not won the Premier League since 2013 and their last Champions League triumph came when Ronaldo scored against Chelsea in the 2008 final.

Ronaldo will turn 37 in February, but he insists he can still spearhead another era of glory at Old Trafford.

“I think it’s the best decision that I have made it,” added Ronaldo on his move from Juventus.

“It’s a new chapter, I’m so happy and glad, and I want to carry on again, to make history, to try to help Manchester achieve great results, to win trophies.”

Ronaldo is expected to make his second United debut at home to Newcastle on September 11.

AFP

Ronaldo Undergoes Juve Medical Ahead Of Fourth Season In Turin

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Juventus Turin on May 23, 2021 at the Renato-Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna.
ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo underwent a medical in Turin on Monday ahead of his fourth season with Juventus, along with four other returning Euro 2020 participants.

The 36-year-old Portugal international, who has one-year left on his contract, flew back to northern Italy on Sunday night.

On Monday morning the top scorer in Serie A last season arrived at the team’s medical centre for tests where he was greeted by about one hundred cheering Juve fans and signed autographs.

Also returning were European championship participants Dejan Kulusevski, Matthijs De Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot.

Ronaldo was reported to be set to meet coach Massimiliano Allegri and the Juventus management to clarify his future amid speculation linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

READ ALSO: World Bank To Finance Extra COVID-19 Jabs For Poorer Nations

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future had been in doubt after a difficult campaign during which Juventus lost their Serie A crown after nine years, exited the Champions League in the last 16 and only sealed fourth place and elite European football on the final day.

Juventus open the new season at Udinese with Allegri, who signed Ronaldo in 2018, back at the helm two years after his shock departure despite winning five consecutive league titles with the Turin club.

Former Real Madrid and Manchester United star Ronaldo has scored 101 goals in total for the club in 133 games.

AFP

Plot Thickens As Perez Recordings Target Ronaldo, Mourinho

In this file photo taken on December 3, 2018 Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez poses upon arrival at the 2018 Ballon d’Or award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Spanish online daily El Confidencial on Wednesday followed up a batch of audio recordings of Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez disparaging two former club legends with similar outbursts on former star Cristiano Ronaldo and former coach Jose Mourinho.

The latest quotes follow publication by El Confidencial on Tuesday of older recordings dating from 2006 in which Perez called club legends Raul and Iker Casillas “the two biggest Real Madrid frauds.”

In the second set of quotes Perez attacks Ronaldo, who won a huge haul of trophies with  Real between 2009 and 2018, including four Champions Leagues.

“He is mad. This guy is an imbecile, sick. You think this guy is normal — he’s not or else he wouldn’t do all the things he does,” Perez said in the latest comments to an unidentified person, the latest of which dates from 2012.

Perez also hits out at Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes who represents both Ronaldo and Mourinho, who sat in the Real dugout from 2010 to 2013.

“Mendes has no control over him (Ronaldo) and it’s the same with Mourinho — none at all,” said Perez.

“Even for interviews, they don’t listen to him. These are two guys with terrible egos, spoilt the pair of them, who don’t see the reality because they could both earn a lot more money if they did  things were different.

“They are both abnormal because we are talking about a lot of money in image rights.

“Also, it is because of the image they have, their provocative side, the fact that any people don’t like them … It’s the opposite of good publicity,” said Perez, who prides himself on his focus on Real Madrid’s business side and was a prime mover in the attempted Super league.

Many of the quotes appeared in a book by the journalist Jose Antonio Abellan “Assault on Real Madrid” published in 2015.

Perez complained on Tuesday that Abellan had made the recordings secretly and said the timing was related to his role as an organiser of the Super League.

“The quotes are from conversations clandestinely recorded by Jose Antonio Abellan, who has been trying to sell them for years without success,” said Perez, whose second stint as chairman runs to 2025.

“They are loose phrases from conversations taken out of the broad context in which they occur. That they are being reproduced now, after so many years have passed, I understand that it is due to my participation as one of the promoters of the Super League.”

He warned Tuesday that his lawyers “are studying possible actions to be taken.”

AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Top Scorer Trophy At UEFA EURO 2020

Ronaldo led Portugal to victory in the 2016 edition of the competition. Photo: UEFA EURO 2020.

 

Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo today became the winner of the Gold Trophy of the Alipay Top Scorer Awards at UEFA EURO 2020.

Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Ronaldo netted five goals and made one assist at the competition.

Patrik Schick from the Czech Republic was awarded the Silver Trophy, scoring five goals, while France’s Karim Benzema was the recipient of the Bronze Trophy, netting four goals.

The Alipay Top Scorer trophies are the first major international football Top-Scorer trophies to embed blockchain in their design, incorporating a hash code at the base through which scoring records of the tournament’s top three scorers can be uploaded and permanently stored on a blockchain powered by AntChain.

Using the hash code provided, Alipay will upload the trophy data to the blockchain, ensuring a permanent, immutable record of the top scorers’ achievements.

“Our warmest congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo for his phenomenal performances at UEFA EURO 2020, and for winning the Alipay Top Scorer Gold Award,” said Eric Jing, Chairman and CEO of Ant Group, who presented the top scorer trophies via video from Hangzhou immediately after the final game of UEFA EURO 2020.

AFP

 

Portugal Crash Out Of Euro 2020 After Defeat To Belgium


Belgium’s players celebrate their first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Belgium and Portugal at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville on June 27, 2021. THANASSIS STAVRAKIS / POOL / AFP

 

Portugal have crashed out of Euro 2020 following a 1-0 defeat to Belgium on Sunday evening, ending the defending champions’ hopes of another continental triumph.

Thorgan Hazard’s first-half goal gave Belgium a tense win over the holders to set up a quarter-final tie against Italy at Euro 2020.

Belgium held on despite losing skipper Kevin De Bruyne to injury in the second half and will face the Italians in Munich in the last eight on July 2.

Cristiano Ronaldo tested Thibaut Courtois with a dipping free-kick in the first half but the 36-year-old neither broke the international goals record nor added to his five for the tournament.

Raphael Guerreiro went closest to a late equaliser when his shot came back off the post but Belgium were the braver, more fluid team and deservedly edged through.

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) reacts as Belgium’s players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Belgium and Portugal at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville on June 27, 2021. LLUIS GENE / POOL / AFP

 

They will now face Italy in Munich on Friday and possibly without Kevin De Bruyne, who hobbled off injured in the second half but returned to the pitch to join the celebrations at the end.

For all the superstar names on the pitch, it was Eden Hazard’s less heralded brother Thorgan who proved decisive, the Borussia Dortmund winger who Eden once said had even more talent than him.

Portugal, meanwhile, stuck to the defensive approach that served them so well in France five years ago but has perhaps been outgrown by a side that now boasts some of the most creative technicians in the world.

READ ALSORonaldo Equals World Record For Most International Goals 

De Bruyne injury worry 


Belgium’s defender Jan Vertonghen checks on Belgium’s midfielder Kevin De Bruyne reacting in pain during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Belgium and Portugal at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville on June 27, 2021. LLUIS GENE / POOL / AFP

 

Eden Hazard started in Belgium’s front three again after playing 90 minutes against Finland on Monday. Portugal’s Diogo Dalot came in at right-back for the injured Nelson Semedo.

Eden Hazard skied an early shot over after a neat exchange with Romelu Lukaku while Diogo Jota skewed wide, slipped in down the left by the impressive Renato Sanches.

Ronaldo cut an isolated figure up front, his every touch booed early on by the Belgian fans, who then cheered when he was robbed of the ball before being bumped to the ground by Thomas Meunier.

The closest Ronaldo came to an all-time record 110th international goal was a dipping free-kick from 30 yards which Courtois parried away while at the other end, Lukaku was a more dynamic force.

One scintillating break saw Lukaku tear through Portugal’s midfield and with his shirt being pulled behind him, he was just lacking the final pass to Hazard.

An untidy game found its moment of clarity in the 42nd minute. It started with Courtois coolly evading Ronaldo’s press before more excellent work from Lukaku allowed De Bruyne to switch left to Thorgan Hazard.

Hazard cut in and ripped a swerving shot that rocketed towards the centre of the goal before swerving right and past Rui Patricio, who was too slow to adjust.

Belgium played with more verve after half-time and looked set to take charge.

But De Bruyne’s injury checked their rhythm and Portugal came again, Jota firing over and Joao Felix, on as a substitute, heading into the hands of Courtois.

Tempers flared as a crescendo of collisions incensed the crowd and left Pepe lucky only to be booked after he led into his challenge with his arm.

Portugal finally had to push and in a wild last 10 minutes, Guerreiro went closest to an equaliser, his shot hammering against the post. Belgium did just enough.

AFP

 

Spain And Portugal Risk Early Exits At Euro 2020

Portugal’s midfielder William Carvalho (L) vies with Spain’s forward Gerard Moreno during the international friendly football match between Spain and Portugal at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid in preperation for the UEFA European Championships, on June 4, 2021.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Spain and reigning champions Portugal are at risk of a shock early exit from Euro 2020 on the last day of group matches on Wednesday, while UEFA’s refusal to allow Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours has overshadowed a crucial game between Germany and Hungary.

Germany need a draw to reach the last 16 but defeat would see Hungary go through and possibly condemn Joachim Loew’s side to another group-stage exit, just like at the 2018 World Cup.

That is unthinkable for the Germans, who beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 4-2 at the weekend to kickstart their campaign but could be without Thomas Mueller due to a knee injury.

The build-up has been overshadowed by the fall-out from UEFA’s decision to block plans by Munich authorities to light the stadium in rainbow colours. The German city wanted to protest at a law passed by Hungary’s right-wing government banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors.

UEFA refused “given the political context of the request”, but Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter called the decision “shameful” and announced plans to decorate other city landmarks in rainbow colours instead.

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‘Like a bottle of cava’ 

France’s forward Kylian Mbappe (R) greets the fans after the win in the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between France and Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 15, 2021.
Matthias Schrader / POOL / AFP

 

On the field in the same Group F, World Cup holders France take on Portugal in Budapest, where the reigning European champions are in danger.

Portugal will be eliminated if they lose and Hungary win but a draw will definitely take the 2016 champions through to the last 16.

The Portuguese face a France side who have already qualified but will want to win to secure top spot, meaning a theoretically easier tie in the next round.

“We’re guaranteed to qualify and that gives us a bit of peace of mind. From experience I’m not getting caught up in the maths, you have to respect the game,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.

Ronaldo needs just two more goals to match the all-time international scoring record of Ali Daei, who scored 109 times for Iran.

Portugal’s neighbours Spain are in a similarly tricky position heading into their final Group E game against Slovakia in Seville.

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots a penalty kick and scores his team’s second goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Hungary and Portugal at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 15, 2021. Alex Pantling / POOL / AFP

 

The 2008 and 2012 European champions have drawn both matches so far against Sweden and Poland.

They need to win this time to be sure of reaching the knockout phase, although a draw would be enough to qualify as a best third-placed team, provided Poland fail to beat Sweden in Saint Petersburg.

“I have a feeling that we are like a bottle of cava that is about to be uncorked,” said coach Luis Enrique.

“As soon as we put in one complete performance and get a big victory, the confidence will come and you will start to see the best of us.”

Slovakia need a point to be certain of progressing, while Robert Lewandowski’s Poland have to beat already-qualified Sweden to advance.

Modric inspires Croatia

On Tuesday Luka Modric inspired Croatia to a 3-1 win over Scotland in Glasgow as the 2018 World Cup runners-up secured their last-16 berth and ended the hopes of Steve Clarke’s men.

Nikola Vlasic put Croatia ahead only for Callum McGregor to equalise, but a brilliant Modric finish with the outside of his right boot made it 2-1 and he then set up Ivan Perisic to secure the victory.

“That’s what you’re up against at this level,” McGregor said of 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Modric.

Croatia advance as runners-up in Group D and will play a last-16 tie in Copenhagen next Monday, while England secured top spot with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Raheem Sterling’s goal won it for Gareth Southgate’s side, who were already through. They will stay at Wembley in the last 16 but could face France, Germany or Portugal.

“We are not fluent but we have moments where we look a good side,” Southgate said.

The Czech Republic are also through as a best third-placed side.

The British government said more than 60,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley with attendance increased to 75 percent of capacity.

The matches will see the largest crowds assembled at a sporting event in Britain for over 15 months, with numbers previously strictly limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last 18 months have taught us, both on and off the pitch, how integral fans are to the fabric of the game,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road.”

AFP