Cristiano Ronaldo’s nightmare return to Manchester United is over

The nightmare for all parties is finally over

The latest turn in Cristiano Ronaldo’s bizarre second spell at Manchester United has arrived, and it’s a doozy.

Man United announced on Tuesday that Ronaldo “is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.”

The decision to part ways comes after the 37-year-old was emerging as an increasing problem for the Red Devils. He doesn’t fit into Erik ten Hag’s system — or really any modern system, since he doesn’t high-press and is no longer fast enough to lead the line for a counter-attacking team — and has not handled the situation with grace.

Among other examples, Ronaldo left the stadium early after being substituted at halftime during a preseason friendly; openly admitted that he’s keeping a detailed journal of whether he thinks a given reporter is being truthful or not; had a proposed move publicly turned down by numerous big-name clubs; did an interview with Piers Morgan that seemed specifically designed to force Man United to kick him to the curb; and left the bench before full time to storm into the locker room during his team’s game against Tottenham.

With that in mind, Man United’s press release was understandably curt.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future,” read a club statement announcing the news. “Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”

And that was it. One of the all-time great players in the game burned his bridges so thoroughly that a tradition-laden club like Manchester United, known to pay lavish tribute to anyone that played there for a long spell, effectively hustled Ronaldo out the door while most eyes were on the World Cup.

It’s an ugly end for player and club, but then again his entire return to Man United has been a disaster. There was no other way this was going to end.

What’s next for Ronaldo?

Ronaldo made it clear over the summer that if he were to leave Man United, he required Champions League soccer.

The problem is that most of the clubs that can both offer that and and meet Ronaldo’s salary demands have ruled themselves out. It looks like the Portugal attacker is going to have to settle for either a move to a club that can keep him in the best competition in the world, or one that can shell out his wages without going bankrupt. He’s almost certainly not going to get both.

Inter Miami has been floated as a possible landing spot, and Ronaldo being a free agent would certainly grease the wheels on a move to MLS. Over the summer, there were also reports of Ronaldo turning down an offer worth roughly €275 million to play in Saudi Arabia, which is a level of interest that indicates a suitor that could circle back now that their target is without a club.

Wherever he ends up, the team that signs him is going to have to hope that Ronaldo’s ability to score a ton of goals (which, in fairness, is still extremely sharp) will overshadow the problem of fitting him into a new locker room, his disinterest in defensive work, and all the rest of the off-field baggage that seems to come with him.

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Cristiano Ronaldo went on Piers Morgan and self-immolated

Ronaldo claims to love Manchester United, but he’s got a funny way of showing it

There are only two possibilities regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan, and neither of them are good: He either thinks it will make him look better, or he doesn’t care how bad he looks.

Ronaldo, currently struggling with any hint of an idea he’s no longer the player he was in 2010, decided to self-immolate on Morgan’s TalkTV show in an apparent attempt to force his way out of Manchester United.

The problem, among many with this particular interview, is that in order to force his way out, Ronaldo has to have somewhere to go. And who would want the kind of player who flames his coach, his club, and, yes, himself, in such spectacular fashion?

Tears with Piers

Ronaldo decided it would be beneficial to say of his current head coach Erik ten Hag: “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me, If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going have respect for you.”

Really, would anyone blame Ten Hag if he did see some of his respect for Ronaldo ebb away recently? This is a player who has now not once, but twice left the stadium in the middle of a game this season.

The most galling of Ronaldo’s statements though, was when he was asked if the club was trying to force him out.

“Yes. Not only the coach, but the other two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed,” the 37-year-old said.

“People should hear the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too.”

Of course, Ronaldo is the one who has transparently been trying to force his way out for months. The problem, as mentioned, is it’s hard to offload a disgruntled former superstar who still thinks he’s Ballon d’Or quality and makes £500,000 per week.

The timing of the Morgan interview was obviously premeditated. Ronaldo is leaving for the World Cup and, with several weeks before he returns to United, he must be hopeful that an exit can be engineered in the meantime.

But the timing looked even worse after events earlier in the day.

Alejandro Garnacho, nearly 20 years Ronaldo’s junior, scored a dramatic late winner against Fulham to keep United in the top-four race on Sunday. The Argentine looks like a possible future superstar, the kind of player Ten Hag can build his project around.

Later in the day, United wasn’t basking in the glow of a big win, but instead scrambling to contain the fallout from the damage wrought by its former superstar.

“I love Manchester United, I love the fans, they’re always on my side,” Ronaldo said.

He may claim to love United, but the last few months have shown Ronaldo loves Ronaldo more. And about the fans being on his side? That may have been the case before but sooner or later, Ronaldo will be forced to understand the world he occupies has changed.

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Pep Guardiola told Tim Ream he’d be playing for him if he were 24, not 34 (he’s 35)

The Man City boss is a big fan of Ream — now he just needs to get his age right

Tim Ream is winning a lot of new fans with his displays for Fulham this season, including Man City head coach Pep Guardiola.

Now Pep just needs to work on getting Ream’s age right.

Ream was included in the U.S. national team’s World Cup squad on Wednesday, as Gregg Berhalter rewarded the defender for his excellent campaign in the Premier League.

Speaking on ESPN’s “Futbol Americas” after releasing his roster, Berhalter recounted a conversation between Ream and Guardiola after last weekend’s Premier League match between Man City and Fulham.

“Tim Ream just played against Man City and after the game, Guardiola walks up to him and says, ‘If you were 24 instead of 34, you’d be playing for me,'” Berhalter said.

“So Tim said, ‘It’s too bad I’m not 34, I’m 35.'”

‘Have you watched any Fulham games lately?’

Despite his strong campaign with Fulham, Ream was a somewhat surprising inclusion on the World Cup squad because he hasn’t played for the USMNT in more than a year.

Asked at a press conference about selecting Ream, Berhalter responded:  “Have you watched any Fulham games lately? Then you know why we brought him in.

“He was in the Premier League three years ago, and he struggled, the whole team struggled. And he went to the Championship and he started performing better, and they got promoted. And now he’s in the Premier League, and he’s a top performer for his team. It’s really hard to ignore stuff like that.

“And by the way, he’s been a guy that’s been with us since day one. So to me, all the pieces were aligned to bring him back into the squad. Based on what we’re seeing, the level he’s playing at, he’s ready to play in a World Cup for sure.”

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USMNT defender Chris Richards announces he’ll miss the World Cup

The Crystal Palace center back has not played since August due to a hamstring injury

Chris Richards will miss the World Cup due to a lingering hamstring injury, he announced on Instagram on Tuesday.

Richards has not played for Crystal Palace since August due to the injury, and hasn’t played for the U.S. national team since January.

Crystal Palace head coach Patrick Vieira said over the weekend that Richards had yet to resume team training, putting his status for the World Cup in serious doubt with just two weeks remaining until the USMNT’s first match.

On Tuesday, one day before the USMNT announces its World Cup roster, Richards confirmed himself that he will not be going to Qatar.

“Gutted that this injury has ruled me out of the World Cup but I know that the boys will go crazy regardless,” he said. “I’ll be rooting for y’all the whole way. Go out and make history.”

USMNT center back options

Richards was almost certain to make the roster had he been healthy, and was a candidate to start next to Walker Zimmerman at central defense.

The 22-year-old joins Miles Robinson as World Cup roster locks who will be forced out of the tournament with injury. Robinson tore his Achilles in a game with Atlanta United in May.

His absence makes it more likely that either Aaron Long or Cameron Carter-Vickers will partner Zimmerman when the USMNT begins the World Cup on November 21 against Wales.

With Richards out another defensive roster spot will also open up, which could be filled by Fulham’s Tim Ream.

Ream hasn’t played for the USMNT since September 2021, but is in the midst of a stellar campaign in the Premier League. According to a report from the U.S. Fútbol Podcast, Ream has been selected for the World Cup squad in Richards’ place.

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Leeds rollercoaster continues with thrilling comeback win over Bournemouth

Always watch Leeds games

The exhilarating, exhausting Leeds United adventure is showing no signs of slowing down.

A week after breaking an eight-game winless run by beating Liverpool at Anfield, Jesse Marsch’s side trailed 2-1 at halftime, got booed off by the Elland Road faithful, then fell further behind three minutes into the second half, only to emerge with a wild 4-3 win.

The win pushes Leeds three points clear of the drop zone, and depending on Everton’s result later in the day, the weirdest club in the Premier League this season could be sitting as high as 12th.

Initially, it looked like Marsch’s men would build on their stunning win at Liverpool. Rodrigo fired home a third-minute penalty after Crysencio Summerville was taken down within 50 seconds of kickoff.

A perfect start was quickly turned on its head. Marcus Tavernier brought Bournemouth level just four minutes later after some shoddy defending, and Pascal Struijk had to clear Philip Billing’s effort off the line shortly thereafter.

Billing wouldn’t be denied in the 19th minute, finishing off a pass from Tavernier, and the Cherries had Leeds rattled to such an extent that the home fans jeered their team into the locker room at the break.

Leeds responded in the only way they know how, throwing numbers forward, but by the 48th minute things had only gotten worse. A Bournemouth counter ended with Dominic Solanke somehow reaching his left leg back around Tyler Adams to glance Tavernier’s low cross past Illan Meslier.

Backs against the wall once again, Leeds responded in typical fashion. Sam Greenwood, just six minutes after coming on, curled home a stunner on the hour mark, bringing Elland Road to life and giving Leeds some hope of salvaging something from the game.

Barely two minutes later, Summerville slipped Rodrigo in behind, only for the Spanish international to slice his shot into the stands.

Leeds fans didn’t have to wait long for the equalizer. A 68th minute Greenwood corner found Liam Cooper, who towered over Chris Mepham to head past Mark Travers and send the stands into delirium.

Things were truly up for grabs. Jack Stacey missed by inches for Bournemouth moments after coming on in the 73rd minute, and three minutes later, Marcos Senesi just barely blocked Brenden Aaronson’s shot after a smart one-time pass from Adams.

The winner finally arrived, and it was an appropriate sort of goal for a breathless, end-to-end game. Bournemouth were caught with seven men forward, and Leeds burst out from the top of their own box at full speed on the counter. Wilfried Gnoto crucially kept his balance after an attempt to shove him down from behind, preserving a three-on-three break for Leeds.

Adams peeled out right, but Gnoto spotted a sprinting Summerville to split the defense, sending him into the box to thump a shot past the approaching Travers and spark bedlam.

Summerville’s arrival late in the transfer window is proving to be absolutely critical. It was his 89th minute winner last week that gave Leeds the unlikely three points against Liverpool, and his run to score this decisive goal against Bournemouth was everything Marsch and Leeds are about: full speed, full commitment (note how he gets completely taken out by Travers a split-second after shooting), all-or-nothing soccer.

Did we get a lengthy Marsch celebration? Was it a stark contrast to the stereotypical above-it-all manager who puts on a stone face while the entire building is shaking with rowdy fans around them?

You already know the answer.

The Leeds circus fires back up on Wednesday, when they head south to face Wolves in the Carabao Cup.

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Friedel questions Turner transfer to Arsenal: ‘He’s too good to be on the bench’

Should the 28-year-old have found a team where he could’ve become the starter immediately?

Brad Friedel has questioned whether Matt Turner made the right decision with his transfer to Arsenal, saying the U.S. national team goalkeeper is too good to be sitting on the bench.

Turner joined Arsenal this summer after becoming one of the best goalkeepers in MLS with the New England Revolution and breaking through with the USMNT.

In his first season with the Gunners, Turner has served as the backup to Aaron Ramsdale, so far getting minutes only in the Europa League.

Friedel got a firsthand view of Turner’s rise, as he served as head coach of the Revolution for the 2018 season and half of the 2019 campaign before he was let go.

The 51-year-old, one of the best American goalkeepers ever and a veteran of several Premier League teams, understands how Arsenal was appealing for Turner but isn’t sure if it ultimately will be the best move for his career.

“Time will tell if it’s the right decision. When you’re in the MLS, this is what I’ll say – it’s hard to turn down a club like Arsenal coming in for you. But when you move and you’re as good as Matt Turner, I’d like to think that you would move and you’re being told that you were gonna be the number one which obviously wasn’t the case at Arsenal,” Friedel told Fair Betting Sites.

“Matt’s a heck of a nice guy and a heck of a good goalkeeper. I don’t know what kind of deal they have with Arsenal or what, but I hope if he’s not in the team, or doesn’t look like he’s gonna get near the team, then they would allow him to leave or go on loan. I personally think he’s too good of a goalkeeper to be sitting on the bench.”

Turner has impressed in four Europa League appearances so far but looks likely to be consigned to backup status for the near future in north London, as he continues to battle with Zack Steffen for the starting role with the USMNT.

In September, Turner answered some of the critics of his Arsenal move, saying his game has improved “massively” in north London despite a lack of regular game time.

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Raúl Jiménez regresó a los entrenamientos de los Wolves y los fans están enojados

Desde su fractura de cráneo y otras lesiones a los largo de los últimos años, ha caído para volverse en el menos favorito.

Después de casi tres meses de inactividad debido a una pubalgia, Raúl Jiménez finalmente regresó al campo de entrenamientos con el Wolverhampton. El equipo británico festejó su regreso con un tuit y varias imágenes del mexicano practicando.

Sin embargo, entre los aficionados mexicanos su regreso fue visto con mala cara. Los fans alegan que Tata Martino está dando prioridad a mandar a Jiménez al Mundial de Qatar, cuando el mexicano no está ni cerca de regresar a su rendimiento al 100%.

Entre los comentarios del tuit de los Wolves, se desató el debate acerca de por qué Jiménez debería de quedarse en casa y no viajar con el Tri a Medio Oriente.

Jiménez perfilaba para ser el héroe mexicano. Desde su fractura de cráneo y otras lesiones a los largo de los últimos años, ha caído para volverse en el menos favorito. Sin embargo, Tata Martino lo sigue apoyando a ojos cerrados.

El resultado se verá en Qatar. La eterna pregunta, otra vez, ¿y Chicharito?

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Jesse Marsch saved his job by doing the near-impossible: winning at Anfield

Leeds desperately needed a win, but this wasn’t the game they expected to get it

Jesse Marsch needed a victory to save his Leeds job, but this probably wasn’t the game he had circled on his calendar.

Leeds stunned Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday, the club’s first league win since August 21 and a result that got them out of the relegation zone.

There were better chances to get three points for Marsch in an eight-game winless league run: last week against Fulham and the previous week at Leicester come to mind as recent examples.

But both of those games ended in defeat, with Leeds fans calling for Marsch’s head and chanting for his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa. It was getting ugly.

Liverpool, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t lose at home. Its last home defeat prior to Saturday was in March 2021. Before that, the club had a 68-game unbeaten home run snapped in January 2021.

But Crysencio Summerville scored a dramatic winner in the 89th minute in front of the away fans, giving Marsch a stay of execution. He was pretty happy.

It’s hard to blame him. Leeds was on a rotten run of results but has actually been playing fairly respectfully. The club actually had a +1.4 expected goals difference heading into the game at Anfield, suggesting it would soon start getting the rub of the green.

On Saturday that luck finally arrived, though it did take an absolutely massive performance from goalkeeper Illan Meslier and a fluky early goal from Rodrigo Moreno, who was given an empty-net tap-in thanks to a mix-up between Joe Gomez and Alisson.

“I’ve believed in this group,” Marsch told Sky Sports after the game. “We shouldn’t be in this situation if you look at the metrics, but we are. Now we’ve got something like this and now we have to stay strong.”

Whatever criticism you could level at Marsch, it’s clear that his players are still playing for him. With that and a little more luck, he could just keep his job for the long term.

Watch Summerville’s winner at Liverpool

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Antony spun around a couple times and now everyone is Very Mad

Words like “embarrassing” and “ridiculous” were tossed around with reckless abandon

With just a couple twirls, Antony managed to set off something of a firestorm.

The Manchester United winger performed his signature move against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday, which was immediately followed by an errant pass that went out for a goal kick.

Many observers, including his manager Erik ten Hag, didn’t seem to be amused.

Antony was taken off at halftime of United’s eventual 3-0 win, with Ten Hag saying the following day that he wants his flair players to display equal parts fashion and function.

“I do not have a problem with that, as long as it is functional,” the manager said. “So from him, like everyone else, I demand more. More runs behind, being more often in the [opposition’s] box. More pressing. More dribbles against opponents. More playing in the pockets. We demand more dominance.

“Then there is a trick like that which is nice, but as long as it is functional and you do not lose the ball. Then it is OK. But it is a trick and because of the trick, I will correct him.”

Ten Hag may have been measured in his criticism, but Antony’s spin cycle caused several Man Utd legends to lose their minds.

Words like “embarrassing” and “ridiculous” were tossed out by Paul Scholes and others.

Antony, for his part, made a defiant post on Instagram, saying he wasn’t about to stop showing off the kind of skill that earned him a €95 million move to United.

Let’s check just a few of the reaction’s to the 720 heard round the world.

Arsenal defender Pablo Mari ‘not seriously hurt’ after being stabbed at Milan supermarket

One man was reportedly killed in a knife attack at a supermarket outside Milan

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has said that defender Pablo Marí “seems to be OK” after he was stabbed in an attack at a supermarket just outside of Milan on Thursday.

Marí, who is currently on loan with Serie A side Monza, was hospitalized after multiple reports said a 46-year-old man took a knife off a shelf and attacked people at random.

La Repubblica reported that six people, including Marí, were stabbed and a 30-year-old cashier was killed in the attack at the Carrefour supermarket in Milanofiori of Assago, just outside Milan.

Sky Italy reported that the suspect has been arrested.

Speaking after Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to PSV on Thursday, Arteta told reporters of Marí: “I just found out. I know that [Arsenal sporting director] Edu is in touch with his relatives. He’s in hospital but seems to be OK.”

Monza CEO Adriano Galliani said that Marí had been stabbed in the back, but would recover quickly, while also confirming reports that the cashier had died.

“Unfortunately, I received terrible news, the store cashier died,” Galliani told Italian TV station TG2. “As for Pablo Marì he had a fairly deep wound on his back, a penetrating one, which however did not touch vital organs such as lungs or others. His life is not in danger. He certainly has problems but he should recover quickly despite some injured muscles.”

Marí signed for Arsenal in 2020 and made 12 Premier League appearances before heading out on loan, first to Udinese and then to Monza.

Arsenal released a statement after the attack, saying: “We are all shocked to hear the dreadful news about the stabbing in Italy, which has put a number of people in hospital including our on-loan centre-back Pablo Marí.

“We have been in contact with Pablo’s agent who has told us he’s in hospital and is not seriously hurt.

“Our thoughts are with Pablo and the other victims of this dreadful incident.”

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