Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to Manchester United demonstrated a lack of respect towards Juventus and could have been handled differently, according to former players Alessio Tacchinardi and Sergio Brio.

The Portugal captain completed a sensational return to Old Trafford at the end of the transfer window.

Having told Massimiliano Allegri he wished to leave Juve, Ronaldo looked as though he would be heading to Manchester City, only for United to swoop in and complete a sensational move last Friday.

Ronaldo, who became the leading international goalscorer of all time on Wednesday, is set to link up with United following his early withdrawal from the Portuguese camp.

The forward scored 101 goals in 134 appearances during his three-year stint with Juventus, where he also won two Serie A titles.

However, the manner of his departure came under scrutiny from the Italian media, who felt his sister Katia Aveiro made a mockery of the Bianconeri after she posted on Instagram: "Welcome back to United, a club worthy of you."

Meanwhile, former Juve midfielder Tacchinardi, who made over 400 appearances during 13 years with the Turin giants, feels Ronaldo should have shown more respect towards the club.

"He should have made a different exit, not leave with his private plane while Allegri spoke on the eve of the match against Empoli," he told Tuttosport.

"I would have expected a press conference to greet the fans. The Juventus people praised him; they deserved a different [goodbye].

"To be told by Cristiano that he would go to a place where he felt like his home was not a beautiful image."

Ex-defender Brio, who played over 300 times for the Bianconeri, concurs: "Juve deserves more respect.

"I did not expect Cristiano to snub the Juventus club in this way; it is not nice on his part. 

"For heaven's sake, Cristiano remains a great player and professional, but the farewell could have taken place in another way and with other words."

Real Madrid have not given up on their hopes of adding Kylian Mbappe. 

He will be a top priority for Carlo Ancelotti following the 2021-22 season.

But could Los Blancos add two stars for the price of one? 

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE MBAPPE-HAALAND PAIRING

Real Madrid will be the favourites to land Kylian Mbappe following the season if he does not reach a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, but they will not be content adding only him. 

According to Marca, Erling Haaland is also a prime target at the Santiago Bernabeu and Madrid could pursue both players. 

Mbappe would be available on a free and Haaland could be had from Borussia Dortmund via his €75million release clause. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Declan Rice expects to leave West Ham after the season, according to 90min, which reports he has asked the club to include a release clause in any new contract offer the Hammers might make. 

- Juventus declined the opportunity to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo's move in the other direction, the Mirror reports. 

- Former Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier prefers to remain in the Premier League and could end up at Arsenal, according to Sky Sports. The Ivory Coast international and Spurs terminated his contract by mutual consent this week. 

- Nicolas Nkoulou could be an option for Lazio if they cannot sign David Luiz, reports Calciomercato. 

Manchester United have confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will wear the number seven shirt for the 2021-22 season.

Ronaldo, who broke Ali Daei's long-standing record of international goals with a double for Portugal against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, re-joined United in a sensational transfer from Juventus at the end of the transfer window.

The superstar forward, who on Thursday was released from international duty, wore United's iconic number seven during his first stint at Old Trafford, which ended in 2009.

He wore the number nine during his first season at Madrid, before taking the number seven shirt after club legend Raul left for Schalke in 2010.

Ronaldo has since worn the number seven in every season for both Madrid and Juventus, as well as for Portugal.

However, there was some doubt over whether he would be able to take the seven shirt upon his return to Manchester, with United having already confirmed their squad numbers for the upcoming campaign.

Edinson Cavani previously wore the number, and the Uruguay forward made his first appearance of the season against Wolves last time out.

Reports suggested United would seek special dispensation from the Premier League to alter their squad numbers, however, and Ronaldo has now been handed the famous number previously worn by greats such as George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

In turn, Cavani has taken the number 21 shirt, which was vacated by Daniel James when he completed a move to Leeds United on Tuesday.

He has worn the 21 shirt for Uruguay since 2010-11.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been granted an early release from the Portugal squad, meaning he has time to rest before a second Manchester United debut. 

Portugal captain Ronaldo made history on Wednesday when he became the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football, with the first of his double in a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland taking him clear of Iran great Ali Daei's haul of 109 goals. 

The 36-year-old's milestone effort was an 89th-minute header and he followed it up with a dramatic winner deep into stoppage time, removing his shirt as he celebrated completing a turnaround 2-1 success. 

Ronaldo was consequently shown a yellow card that ruled him out of Tuesday’s trip to Azerbaijan through suspension. 

With a friendly against Qatar on Saturday being Portugal's only other fixture during the international break, he was allowed to leave the camp early. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo was released from the national team camp this Thursday," read a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). 

"The yellow card received against Ireland, being his second in this stage of qualification, made him suspended for one official game, which will come against Azerbaijan. 

"This morning, the Portugal captain was part of the group of players who carried out recovery work at the hotel. 

"Fernando Santos also directed a training session in the morning on a pitch next to the hotel used by the national team during their stay in the Algarve." 

Ronaldo completed a return to United from Juventus this week and could be in line to make his first appearance for the Red Devils in 12 years at home against Newcastle United on September 11. 

Manchester United had a busy window in the transfer market.

The Red Devils landed Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.

But their plans will not stop there, as the Red Devils set their sights on re-claiming silverware.

 

TOP STORY - HAALAND TO BE UNITED'S TRANSFER PRIORITY

Manchester United's priority transfer target in mid-2021 will be Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland despite their recent spending spree, claims ESPN.

Haaland can trigger a release in his Dortmund contract at the end of the 2021-22 season that is reportedly set at €75 million.

ESPN's report cites sources who claim United's capture of Ronaldo came outside of their transfer budget, meaning it will not impact their 2022 recruitment plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims that Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne may be willing to leave the club next off-season on a free transfer to join Inter if they cannot agree to a new deal.

- Injured French forward Ousmane Dembele is set to be offered a new deal by Barcelona according to RAC. Barca have seen Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave over the past month.

- Barcelona will also look to sign Dani Olmo from RB Leipzig in January after missing out with their deadline day claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea defender David Luiz is weighing up options with Lazio , Benfica and Flamengo as a free agent reports Sportitalia.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes he is physically capable of playing at the highest level for another five years after making history with Portugal on Wednesday. 

The 36-year-old sent another record tumbling at the Estadio Algarve by becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football, surpassing Ali Daei’s previous high of 109. 

Ronaldo scored a pair of late headers to bring Portugal from behind in a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland and secure a 2-1 win, taking his tally for his country to 111 goals in the process. 

Despite turning 37 later this season, Ronaldo, who completed a return to Manchester United from Juventus this week, still believes he can continue to shine into his 40s. 

"I don't know what records are left. But what I want the most is to keep playing. I feel motivated and still have the strength to be able to put on a show for another three, four, five years," Ronaldo told Sport TV. 

He added to TNT Brasil: "It was a record I really wanted to break. After missing the penalty, I was a little sad for 10 minutes. But that's what football is about. We have to believe until the end. 

"The fans helped us a lot but the work of the team that believed prevails in the end."

Ronaldo was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt when celebrating his second goal, which came in the 96th minute, and will consequently miss Tuesday's meeting with Azerbaijan through suspension. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to convert a first-half penalty and admitted the ban looming over him had slipped his mind as he wheeled away to celebrate at the end of an historic outing. 

"I forgot. It's the emotion of the game," said Ronaldo. "Maybe the coach will give me a hard time, but it doesn't matter. The important thing was to help the team. I’m sorry, but the emotions speak louder."

Portugal are scheduled to take on Qatar in a friendly on Saturday and Fernando Santos could decide to release Ronaldo from the team early due to his suspension. 

"We'll decide whether Ronaldo stays or leave. We have 24, 25 players. He won't go to Azerbaijan, it doesn't make sense," said Santos, who compared the United attacker to another Portugal great in an interview with RTP after the match. 

He said: "Ronaldo has always done this. Great players I like that when games sometimes don't seem to be going well. 

"Many years ago there was a coach called Jimmy Hagan [the Benfica boss when Santos was a youth player there]. I once asked him 'Why doesn't Eusebio go off when he isn't playing well?'

"And then when he's needed, where was Eusebio? This is what the great players do. They may not be doing well, but they show up with everything they have and solve games."

Cristiano Ronaldo declared that surpassing Ali Daei as the most prolific player in men's international football is "another record for the museum".

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner drew level with Iran great on 109 international goals during Euro 2020 but had to wait until Wednesday to make top spot his own. 

After seeing a first-half penalty saved in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Estadio Algarve, Ronaldo restored parity with his landmark goal in the 89th minute. 

The Portugal captain then steered home a header deep in second-half stoppage time to complete a 2-1 turnaround win for the hosts. 

"It's another record for the museum," Ronaldo told RTP, as quoted by Diario Record. 

"I don't know if anyone has more records than me, but this is mine and it's unique. I'm extremely happy. 

"The secret is the motivation and the desire to continue playing football. It's getting up every day with a desire to do better, to make the fans, the family, my children happy. 

"I dedicate it to all Portuguese people, to the team, to my family."

John Egan put Ireland ahead on the stroke of half-time after 19-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu made Ronaldo wait for his crowning moment by keeping out his spot-kick. 

But the 36-year-old was not to be denied and guided in two headers in the space of seven minutes to make history.

"The team believed until the end. I believed until the end," said Ronaldo. 

"Ten minutes from the end, I asked for the support of the fans because when you're playing at home and the team are not combining on the pitch, the help of the fans is essential. They gave us strength. 

"I'm happy to score two goals, very happy to break the record, but the most important thing was the team."

Ronaldo was making his first appearance since his return to Manchester United from Juventus was confirmed, and he is looking forward to getting back to Old Trafford.

"I am very happy to be returning home, to a club I've always loved," he added. "I have a few more years left in my career and I still want to shine and get back to the best football, which is in the Premier League."

Another record went tumbling on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer in the history of international men's football.

Ronaldo, who completed a remarkable move to Manchester United this week, surpassed the tally of 109 set by Iran great Ali Daei.

The 36-year-old pulled level with Daei during the recent Euro 2020 tournament, but he reached 111 with a dramatic late double during the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at Estadio Algarve.

To mark the Portuguese superstar’s latest record, Stats Perform looked back at some of the milestone goals of his incredible career...

 

GOAL 100 – MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 Tottenham (FA Cup, January 2008)

The first century of goals was completed in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, with a 22-year-old Ronaldo doubling his tally for the match with a deflected effort that squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

GOAL 200 – REAL MADRID 2-0 Valencia (LaLiga, December 2010)

Again, Ronaldo was on target twice in this match but it was his first strike – a measured left-footed finish from Mesut Ozil's assist – that took him onto 200 career goals.  

GOAL 300 – Granada 1-2 REAL MADRID (LaLiga, May 2012)

Madrid were behind in this game with only five minutes gone but levelled late on when Ronaldo converted a penalty that he had won. There was still time for title-winning Madrid to seal all three points courtesy of an own goal.

GOAL 400 – REAL MADRID 3-0 Celta Vigo (LaLiga, January 2014)

At the double once more, it was his second goal in injury time that brought up a quadruple century for the irrepressible Ronaldo, who turned home a fine cross from Gareth Bale. 

GOAL 500 – Malmo 0-2 REAL MADRID (Champions League, September 2015)

The first of two goals on an otherwise uneventful night in Sweden was the one that took Ronaldo to a tally of 500. Through one-on-one, the outcome was never in doubt as he confidently chipped the ball over Johan Wiland.

GOAL 600 – REAL MADRID 4-1 Juventus (Champions League, June 2017)

What a stage on which to make history, the Champions League final. Having already opened the scoring, Ronaldo struck again when he turned in Luka Modric's near-post delivery on a glorious night in Wales for Madrid. 

GOAL 700 – Ukraine 2-1 PORTUGAL (Euro 2020 Qualifying, October 2019)

The first of his landmark goals that has failed to help his side to victory, but an astonishing personal achievement nonetheless, Ronaldo slotted home his penalty and probably started thinking about reaching 800 soon after.

Of all the individual achievements in Cristiano Ronaldo's career, this one may well rank the highest. 

The Portugal star is now the leading goalscorer in the history of international men's football, having reached 110 against the Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday despite seeing a first-half penalty saved.

Ronaldo surpassed the tally of 109 set by Iran great Ali Daei, a figure once thought unlikely ever to be beaten, in the 89th minute and moved onto 111 with a stoppage-time header in the Algarve to complete his double.

To honour the new Manchester United forward's latest record, Stats Perform picked out perhaps the 10 greatest goals he has scored in his remarkable career... 

 

Manchester United v Portsmouth: January 30, 2008

Perhaps the finest free-kick Ronaldo has struck in his career.

The Portuguese developed his reputation as a set-piece master at United and he lashed a phenomenal 25-yard effort past David James as part of a double to send Alex Ferguson's side to the top of the Premier League.

His knuckleball technique sent the ball swirling into the top-right corner for one of his defining Old Trafford moments.

Porto v Manchester United: April 15, 2009

He had absolutely no right to score this one.

Back in his homeland for a Champions League quarter-final against Porto, Ronaldo picked up the ball in the middle of the opposition half, got it out of his feet and sent a searing strike flying past Helton to seal a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

 

Almeria v Real Madrid: April 15, 2010

Ronaldo has developed into more of a penalty-box poacher in recent seasons, but this effort against Almeria was a reminder of how devastating he could be when starting with the ball outside the area. 

Rafael van der Vaart won back possession in the Almeria half and the ball was worked to Ronaldo, who accelerated past two challenges, left a third defender for dead with a stepover and then drilled home with his left foot. The visitors would go on to win 2-1.

 

Sevilla v Real Madrid: December 17, 2011

Sevilla grew sick of the sight of Ronaldo during his time in Spain – he did score 27 times against them, after all – but this strike in a 6-2 thrashing is perhaps the best of them.

Collecting Karim Benzema's pass 30 yards out, Ronaldo took advantage of the time and space given to him by the defence to blast a shot into the top-right corner, the swerve on the ball making it totally unstoppable. It was one of three he scored that day at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

 

Real Madrid v Valencia: May 4, 2014

It was not enough to keep Madrid's title chase alive, but this was another goal that showcased Ronaldo's killer instinct and dexterity. 

In second-half injury time, with Valencia 2-1 ahead, Angel Di Maria volleyed over a cross from the left and Ronaldo swivelled to score a backheel volley and snatch a point.

 

Real Madrid v Espanyol: January 31, 2016

Although his game had become more refined from those buccaneering early days, Ronaldo showed here he was not quite done when it came to solo runs and spectacular finishes.

With Madrid already 3-0 up in what would prove to be a 6-0 thrashing, James Rodriguez's pass was deflected into Ronaldo's path and he did the rest, showing brilliant footwork to skip beyond three challenges before rifling home from the edge of the area with his left foot.

 

Hungary v Portugal: June 22, 2016

Portugal thrice fell behind to Hungary in Lyon during Euro 2016, and Ronaldo brought them level on the second occasion with a display of fine skill.

The captain added a deft flick with his trailing leg to Joao Mario's right-wing cross to make it 2-2, and he cancelled out Balazs Dzsudzsak's second with a double of his own. It was enough to send Portugal into the knockout stages and from there they claimed a maiden international title.

 

Juventus v Real Madrid: April 3, 2018

Arguably the finest goal Ronaldo has produced.

Moving away from goal as Dani Carvajal dug a cross towards the penalty spot from the right, the Portuguese rose into the air and connected with a stunning overhead kick. His leg was at a right angle to his body as he struck with the sweetest of volleys that flew past an idle Gianluigi Buffon.

Portugal v Spain: June 15, 2018

Having twice given his side the lead, Ronaldo found Portugal 3-2 down to their Iberian neighbours in their thrilling opener at the 2018 World Cup. 

While there was a sense of inevitability when he stood over an 88th-minute free-kick, the execution was sheer perfection – power and dip combined to leave David de Gea with no chance.

 

Juventus v Manchester United: November 8, 2018

Another decorated Portuguese was celebrating at full-time when Jose Mourinho watched his United team complete a 2-1 comeback win.

But Ronaldo struck first with a sumptuous and technically brilliant strike, watching Leonardo Bonucci's raking ball over his shoulder to volley home.  

The transfer window does not close. It slams shut, and on Tuesday, it slammed shut with a flurry of late activity.

LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid were heavily involved, with Antoine Griezmann re-joining the club on loan from Barcelona while Saul Niguez left for Chelsea.

It marked the end of a difficult window for Barca, who of course lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, who rounded off a stellar three months by not only keeping Kylian Mbappe, but also adding promising left-back Nuno Mendes.

Earlier in the day, Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational return to Manchester United had been confirmed, perhaps putting the Red Devils right in the mix for the Premier League title, while Chelsea - buoyed by Romelu Lukaku's comeback - cannot be ignored.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the winners, and losers, of what has been a chaotic transfer window.

 

THE WINNERS

Paris Saint-Germain

Let's start with the obvious. Achraf Hakimi, Mendes, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georgino Wijnaldum and, of course Messi. Oh, and PSG kept hold of Mbappe, too, rebuffing three bids - the final one reportedly worth €200m - from Real Madrid for the 22-year-old superstar who is out of contract next year. Speaking of out of contract players, Ramos, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Messi were all brought in for combined fees of €0, although their wages are sure to be astronomical even by PSG's standards. In Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, PSG have, on paper, what could be the most feared attacking trident of the modern era, not to mention Angel Di Maria in reserve. Mauricio Pochettino's side look suspect defensively but have Ramos to come in, while Donnarumma will compete with Keylor Navas. If they do not win the Champions League this season, will they ever manage it?

Manchester United

It remains to be seen whether United really needed to go out and buy Ronaldo, but the temptation – and reportedly, the requirement to get one over on noisy neighbours Manchester City – was just too much. However, there is no doubting Ronaldo brings a focal point you could argue was still missing from the Red Devils' attack, though with so much quality at his disposal the pressure will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjer to deliver a trophy. United spent big on Jadon Sancho and also brought in a world class defender in Raphael Varane. A title tilt might not be expected just yet, but silverware in some form must be the goal now. After fan protests during the botched Super League proposals earlier this year, the Glazer family seem to have gone all out to prove they want success.

Chelsea

When it comes to Premier League title contenders, Chelsea have surely put themselves well in the running. The European Champions have brought in two major additions in the form of Lukaku and Saul, both players with a wealth of experience at the highest level, and both on the back of title-winning campaigns last season. The Blues did sell Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma, among others, but the strength in depth Thomas Tuchel has to play with is remarkable. A deadline day move for Sevilla's Jules Kounde did not materialise, but Saul adds another fantastic option in midfield to go alongside N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and the in-form Jorginho.

Tottenham

For a long while, it looked as though Tottenham would be one of the big losers from this window. A prolonged managerial search eventually resulted in Nuno Espirito Santo's appointment, but the main saga was over Harry Kane's future. City reportedly made one bid, during Euro 2020, which was dismissed out of hand. The champions never did return with an improved offer, despite huge speculation, and Kane ultimately stayed put. Older players such as Joe Hart, Toby Alderweireld, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko were moved out, while Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal – a deadline day arrival from Barca – arrived to fill the gaps. Serge Aurier's contract was terminated, while three wins from three means Spurs sat top of the league heading into the international break.

Atletico Madrid

While Saul was a deadline day exit, Atleti have given themselves a great chance of retaining their LaLiga title. With rivals Madrid failing to land Mbappe, as well as losing two of their stalwarts, and Barca seemingly in disarray, there has never been a better opportunity for Diego Simeone's team to really assert themselves as top dogs in Spain. Griezmann's arrival, on a season-long loan with the option for either club to extend the switch, has bolstered a fearsome attack that already included Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, new signing Matheus Cunha and Joao Felix - though the latter may now find chances to play in his preferred position, nominally off the front man, even harder to come by. Saul was struggling to nail down a regular spot in the first team, but Atleti showed greater desire to keep Kieran Trippier, who stayed despite interest from the Premier League. Rodrigo de Paul also arrived from Udinese.

 

THE LOSERS

Barcelona

The chickens have finally come home to roost at Camp Nou. Years of mismanagement, and the impact of COVID-19, has left the club's finances in a shambolic state. Barca had agreed to a new deal with Messi only to then announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles". Barca ended the window by selling promising youngster Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig and shipping off Emerson to Spurs. Then, late on Tuesday, Griezmann, who cost Barca €120m in 2019, was sent back to Atleti. Luuk de Jong, a target man Ronald Koeman worked with during his stint as the Netherlands' coach, was drafted in from Sevilla as a replacement. Memphis Depay seems ready to step up after his arrival from Lyon, while Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero also came in on free transfers, though Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were among the players who took pay cuts in order for Barca to register their latest acquisitions.

Inter

Serie A champions Inter were dealt a blow when, just after ending their 11-year trophy drought, coach Antonio Conte left the club. Financial difficulties meant the Nerrazurri had to cash in on prized assets, and Hakimi and subsequently Lukaku followed Conte out of the door. Lautaro Martinez did stay, however, with Inter reinvesting some of the funds to sign Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries, Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Lazio forward Juan Correa. Hakan Calhanoglu, meanwhile, joined from rivals Milan on loan, though it is difficult to see that being enough for Inter to challenge on all fronts this season.

 

Juventus

While Inter were weakened, it has to be said that Juventus – surely their closest rivals in the Scudetto hunt – also had a disappointing window. Like many European clubs, they have been hit hard by COVID-19, though appeared well set to challenge again after reappointing Massimiliano Allegri. However, Ronaldo decided he wanted out late in the window, and Juve did not stand in his way. An initial fee of £12.86m (€15m), payable over five years, was agreed with United, and Ronaldo left just like that. Moise Kean returned from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy as a replacement, while Manuel Locatelli was their other major acquisition and Weston McKennie's move from Schalke was made permanent. Based on the performance in Sunday's defeat to Empoli, however, Juve are far from the force they were during Allegri's last spell in charge.

Real Madrid

For a time last week, it really did look as though Madrid were going to end the window in sensational fashion. Three bids were lodged for Mbappe, but PSG did not buckle. Madrid did move for another French youngster – Edouardo Camavinga, who joined from Rennes on Tuesday – but overall it must be considered a poor window. Los Blancos allowed Ramos to leave on a free and sold long-time defensive partner Varane - just the eight Champions League winners' medals between them. Martin Odegaard was deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti and sold to Arsenal, though no buyers were found for fringe players Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos. David Alaba's arrival on a free transfer from Bayern Munich at least softened the blow of Ramos' departure, and Mbappe may well be on board in 2022.

Manchester City

City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, who in turn have made smart acquisitions such as Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia. While another attacking midfielder was more of a luxury than a necessity, City did miss out on Kane and then seemingly saw Ronaldo snatched from under their noses by United, though the club have claimed it is they who pulled out of the deal. Pep Guardiola went into the window wanting an out-and-out number nine following Aguero's departure, but for now the Premier League champions will have to carry on with makeshift forwards, it seems. Not that it did them much harm in 5-0 routs of Norwich City and Arsenal last month. Meanwhile, wantaway playmaker Bernardo Silva is still at the club, though he will remain a first-team regular.

Liverpool 

Unlike their league rivals, Liverpool never seemed focused on spending big. The Reds instead turned their attention to tying down the futures of key players, with Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Fabinho and Andrew Robertson signing new deals. Ibrahima Konate came in from RB Leipzig to boost the defence – a clear area of weakness last season during an injury crisis – though Jurgen Klopp's squad does seem weaker. They have started the season well, but it remains to be seen how they cope without Wijnaldum and even Xherdan Shaqiri should injuries trouble them again.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest footballer of all time and will have a "huge impact" on Manchester United after rejoining the club, according to Red Devils captain Harry Maguire.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo sealed a shock switch from Juventus to United on Tuesday, returning to the club where he spent six seasons earlier in his career.

The Portugal captain scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for United the first time around, helping the club to eight major honours during that successful period.

He remained prolific across nine years with Real Madrid and three with Juventus, scoring a combined 551 goals in 572 matches in all competitions.

Ronaldo is set to make his second United debut against Newcastle United on September 11 and Maguire cannot wait to link up with the superstar forward.

"It's amazing," Maguire said at a news conference on Wednesday while away on England duty. "Obviously I'm here at the moment so my focus on is on tomorrow's game.

"But for him to sign back for the club, for me the greatest player to play the game, it's amazing to have him and I'm sure he's going to have a huge impact on and off the field.

"Many players can look and learn and improve and then obviously it's going to improve our team as well with this goal scoring record, so it's amazing to have him in the club.

"I'm looking forward to meeting him in a few days."

Maguire is set to start England's World Cup qualifying clash with Hungary in Budapest on Thursday – the Three Lions' first match since losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy.

Gareth Southgate's men have won all three Group I matches so far but Maguire has warned his team-mates they must be ready for the showdown with second-placed Hungary.

"We need to be because it's going to be a tough test away to Hungary," he said. "If we're not ready mentally we won't perform our best and we won't get the result we need.

"The mentality of the squad will be tested and we need to overcome that and can show what we're about."

England are unbeaten in their past 13 matches against Hungary, winning 11 of those, since losing four in a row between 1953 and 1962 by an aggregate score of 17-5.

The Three Lions have only lost one of their past 50 matches in qualifying for the Euros and World Cup, meanwhile, going down 2-1 to the Czech Republic in October 2019.

Cristiano Ronaldo is relishing the chance to play in front of Manchester United fans again and says former boss Alex Ferguson is the main reason he returned to Old Trafford.

The Portugal captain finalised a shock move to United from Juventus on Tuesday for an initial fee of £12.9million (€15m), signing a two-year contract with the option of a third.

Manchester City appeared favourites to bring Ronaldo back to the Premier League, but United made a late push to re-sign their former forward and swiftly completed the transfer.

Ferguson was involved in luring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford and Ronaldo has now opened up on just how big a part the legendary manager played in his decision.

"As everybody knows, since I signed for Manchester [United] at 18, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key," he told United's official website. 

"I remember when we played against Manchester when I was at Sporting Lisbon. For me, Sir Alex Ferguson is like a father in football for me. 

"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.

"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."

 

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for the Red Devils under Ferguson, during which time he won the first of his five Ballon d'Or trophies.

That individual success translated to team glory, with United winning eight major honours across Ronaldo's six years at the club.

Ronaldo has since gone on to score a further 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid and another 101 times in 134 outings for Juventus in all competitions.

Asked why he felt the time was right to leave Juve to start a new journey, Ronaldo said: "I think it's the best decision that I have made. It's right on point in my opinion. 

"I moved from Juve now to Manchester, it's a new chapter. I'm so happy and glad.

"I want to carry on again, to make history, to try to help Manchester achieve great results, to win trophies and number one of them, to win great things."

Plenty has changed in the time Ronaldo has been away from United, not least the fact that former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now in the Old Trafford dugout.

Ronaldo, who finished as top scorer in Serie A last season with 29 goals, is hoping to pick up from where he left off by helping Solskjaer get off the mark with a first trophy as United boss.

"We had a chat, but of course I'm going to have time to speak with him face to face, to know what he expects," Ronaldo said. 

"As you know, I played with him for two or three years at Manchester United so I have a good relationship with him but now with a different role, I'm a player and he's a coach. 

"But it doesn't matter, my relationship with him is great and as I say before, I'm there in Manchester to help the team achieve his results and the coach can count on me for whatever he wants. So I'm available for everything."

 

Ronaldo is in line to make his second debut for United when they take on Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11.

"I have a fantastic history with this amazing club. I was here at 18 years old and of course I'm so happy to be back home after 12 years," he said. "I'm really glad and looking forward to my first game.

"With all the stadiums full of supporters, it's not the same that we had one year ago, those empty stadiums. The fans, they are the key, and I'm so glad. 

"The Manchester United fans, they are special, I know, I remember very well. I know they still sing my music which has made me feel even more happy.

"My commitment is to give everything on the pitch, like I did before, like I do it all the time, and try to do my best, help the team score goals, make assists, win games, and I hope to see them very, very soon."

The transfer window officially closed on Tuesday, meaning clubs across Europe must now make do with the players available to them until at least January.

It has been an eventful few months, with Lionel Messi ending his 21-year association with Barcelona by joining Paris Saint-Germain and Cristiano Ronaldo sealing an emotional return to Manchester United from Juventus.

The drama continued to unfold right through until the final stages of the window as Antoine Griezmann rejoined Atletico Madrid on an initial loan and Chelsea snapped up Saul Niguez from the Spanish champions, while Real Madrid brought in rising star Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes.

With Kylian Mbappe staying at PSG and Harry Kane still a Tottenham player, Jack Grealish's £100million switch to Manchester City from Aston Villa was the biggest deal in monetary terms, followed by Romelu Lukaku's £97.5m (€115m) move to Chelsea from Inter.

Stats Perform takes a look at the best deals that went through.

Hakan Calhanoglu: Inter to Milan (free transfer)

After failing to agree new terms at Milan, Calhanoglu completed a shock move across the city to rivals Inter, signing a three-year deal.

While not necessarily the most popular transfer, getting a player who created 98 chances last season – the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues – for free is quite something.

The Turkey international got a goal and an assist on his debut in the 4-0 win over Genoa, prompting coach Simone Inzaghi to proclaim the player "doesn't realise how good he is".

Manuel Locatelli: Sassuolo to Juventus (loan with €25m obligation)

One of Italy's most prized young assets, Locatelli secured a move to Juventus on a two-year loan that includes an obligation to buy for an initial €25m.

Among midfielders in Serie A last season, the 23-year-old made the most touches (3,304), passes (2,749) and tackles (81). He then impressed as Italy won Euro 2020, scoring twice in the group-stage win over Switzerland.

For a club looking to strengthen while saving money, this could prove a shrewd deal for Juve.

 

Danny Ings: Southampton to Aston Villa (£25m)

Villa appear to have invested the money they received for Grealish in shrewd fashion, signing Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendia and striker Ings.

While the Ings deal materialised very quickly in early August, he certainly did not seem to need much time to adjust to new surroundings, scoring twice in his first three league games this season.

With 34 goals across his final two league campaigns with Southampton, there is reason to think the 29-year-old could be one of the smartest signings of the window.

Lionel Messi: Free agent to Paris Saint-Germain

The most spectacular free transfer of all time came after Barcelona had agree a new contract with Messi only to be forced to admit they could not let him sign it due to financial restrictions.

A tearful Messi bade farewell to his boyhood club before securing a move to PSG, who now boast a frankly terrifying forward line of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe.

Describing it as a 'free' transfer is somewhat misleading given the various costs involved in the different aspects of the deal, but for PSG to sign arguably the greatest player in history without paying a transfer fee is pretty amazing business.

 

Romelu Lukaku: Inter to Chelsea (£97.5m)

Chelsea smashed their transfer record to bring back Lukaku, whose last action in his first spell at the club was to miss a penalty in the UEFA Super Cup shoot-out loss to Bayern Munich in 2013.

Lukaku plundered 24 goals and 11 assists in 2020-21 to fire Inter to the title and claim Serie A's MVP award, after which he pushed for a return to Stamford Bridge, where he felt he had unfinished business.

It might have been a serious financial outlay, but Lukaku showed in the 2-0 win at Arsenal what a difference he could make to a Chelsea side who are extremely tough to beat but not exactly free-scoring.

Eduardo Camavinga: Rennes to Real Madrid (€30m)

Madrid may have missed out on top target Mbappe, but they managed to get a deal over the line for fellow Frenchman Camavinga, bringing an end to 18 months of speculation surrounding the young midfielder.

It is the first time Madrid have spent money on a transfer fee since 2019, when they signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea for €100m, and in Camavinga they are signing a player for the here and now rather than the future.

Since making his debut for Rennes in April 2019, no player in Ligue 1 has attempted (230) or won more tackles (139) than the three-cap France international, who will now provide competition for Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Federico Valverde.

 

Saul Niguez: Atletico Madrid to Chelsea (loan with option to buy for £30m)

After being regularly linked with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in recent years, Saul will finally get a chance to play in the Premier League with Chelsea this season.

A box-to-box midfielder, the Spain international is at his best operating in a central role, though his versatility and workrate have often seen him deployed out wide by Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

He made just 22 league starts last season, his lowest figure since 2014-15. However, since August 2019, Real Madrid's Casemiro (190) is the only midfielder to have attempted more tackles than Saul (159) in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann: Barcelona to Atletico Madrid (loan deal with an obligation to buy)

Two years after leaving Atletico in a big-money transfer, Griezmann has returned to the Spanish capital to boost an attack that already includes Luis Suarez, Joao Felix, Angel Correa and fellow new recruit Matheus Cunha.

Griezmann's Camp Nou career never truly took off and he failed to score or create a single opportunity across Barca's first three league games this season.

But Simeone will be confident he can get the Frenchman, who scored 94 LaLiga goals in 180 appearances in his first stint at the club, operating at somewhere close to his former glory.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus to Manchester United (£12.9m rising to £19.7m)

Twelve years after departing Old Trafford, Ronaldo is once again a Manchester United player after completing a surprise return to the club where he won the first of his five Ballons d'Or.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances under Alex Ferguson in his first spell, 42 of those goals coming in the 2007-08 season alone, and he remains a prolific forward despite his all-round game changing with time.

The Portugal captain scored 29 league goals in his third and final season with Juventus to win the Capocannoniere, making him the first player to finish as top scorer in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League.

What does the future hold for Juventus post-Cristiano Ronaldo?

Moise Kean arrived following Ronaldo's return to Manchester United but it was a relatively quiet transfer window in terms of incomings.

Juve, though, are reportedly planning for 2022 already and they are targeting a pair of forward stars.

 

TOP STORY – DUO EYED BY JUVE

Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic or Paris Saint-Germain's Mauro Icardi are in Juventus' plans for 2022, according to the front page of Wednesday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Juve had a quiet end to the transfer window after Cristiano Ronaldo left Turin for Manchester United.

But Juve are reportedly set to target either Vlahovic – also linked with Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Inter – or Icardi at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Staying in Turin and Tuttosport says Juve will do everything to re-sign star Paulo Dybala. He has been linked with United, Tottenham and PSG previously.

 Lyon are expected to complete the signing of former Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng on a free transfer, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Sky Sport Italia reports free agent Franck Ribery is in negotiations with Hellas Verona. Ribery is without a club since leaving Fiorentina at the end of 2020-21.

 Lautaro Martinez will sign a new deal with Inter until 2025 worth €6million per year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Barcelona, City and Tottenham have been linked.

Cristiano Ronaldo will play in all three of Portugal's fixtures during the international break following his return to Manchester United, head coach Fernando Santos said.

Ronaldo completed his United comeback on Tuesday, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner re-joining the Red Devils from Juventus for a second spell following his successful first stint at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.

Amid the hype in Manchester, Ronaldo's attention has swiftly turned to matters with Portugal as Santos' men prepare to face Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

Portugal will also meet Qatar in a friendly on Saturday before resuming their road to Qatar 2022 against Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

As Ronaldo stands on the cusp of breaking his tie with Ali Daei for the most international goals in men's football (109), Santos confirmed the 36-year-old's availability.

"I am interested in [Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes'] motivation while playing for the national team. You're a British journalist, you can ask them about Manchester United when they are back at their club," Santos told reporters.

"For me, the important thing is that they will be focused on the national team. I can say that they are motivated for the three matches we have ahead of us.

"There is no doubt that Ronaldo and all the players are able to play against Ireland. I understand all the attention we get because of him. He is going to play in three matches.

"We will have to manage some things, mostly in the second match, we will have to manage things. It will not be easy for the players to play three matches in seven days.

"We have to manage them across all the games, but mostly the second. It is always important because it is a national team match."

Formerly a dazzling winger but now a penalty-box poacher, Ronaldo has netted 674 times across 895 club games in all competitions, averaging a goal every 108 minutes.

Those 674 goals break down into 122 with his supposedly weaker left foot, 110 with his head and 440 with his favoured right boot.

Following his arrival as a fresh-faced teenager from Sporting in 2003, he scored 118 times for United across 292 appearances before his departure in 2009.

Between his entrance on the Premier League stage and his final appearance in May 2009, Frank Lampard (131) and Thierry Henry (124) are the only two to have a hand in more English top-flight goals than Ronaldo (118) – Henry (92) the only one to outscore Ronaldo's 84.

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of the Champions League, leading the all-time scoring charts with 134 goals in 176 games – 14 ahead of second place, and eternal rival, Lionel Messi.

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