England's tactics are similar to those of Liverpool and European champions Chelsea, so says Gareth Southgate.

The Three Lions reached the final of Euro 2020, only to lose on penalties to Italy after a 1-1 draw at Wembley after extra time.

With a squad packed with attacking talent at his disposal, Southgate often faced clamour to find a way to fit as many of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden into his starting XI as possible.

While all those players played their part, Southgate started every game with a holding pivot of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in midfield, with England lining up in a back three in the final itself.

England, who had the tightest defence at Euro 2020, conceding just two goals, were outshot by 19 to six in that match, with Luke Shaw's early goal their only attempt until Harry Kane headed over in the 58th minute.

Southgate's team are back in action on Thursday, facing Hungary in World Cup Qualifying Group I - England sit top with nine points from their three games so far.

Asked once again if he feels he has at times been too conservative with his approach, Southgate told a news conference: "I'm always looking at Chelsea who are the Champions League winners who play three attacking players.

"Liverpool play three attacking players normally. So what is required to win football matches at the very highest level? Most teams will get four in if they played two wide players, a 10 and a nine, or three forwards and an attacking eight.

"I don't see too many teams in world football who win things playing with five attacking players who have no tactical discipline or who have no balance to the team, so of course I understand people want to see exciting players. I get that. I think our goalscoring record is pretty strong compared to other nations.

"The teams that have won tournaments in the past were averaging 12 goals in those tournaments. We had 11, Italy got 13. We weren't far away on that. I think we play good football.

"I think we build the game. We retain possession of the ball. We need to do that better in the biggest matches when we are pressed intensely, without a doubt. But we can't get every attacking player on the pitch and some of them still have a long way to go to being the finished article.

"We have got some big players who have got us to a semi-final and a final, who have proved themselves in the biggest games on the biggest stage.

"We've got lots of guys with good reputations who haven't as yet necessarily won things with their clubs and who still have a lot to prove. That's going to be interesting to watch all those journeys this year, with us and with their clubs."

How did England perform in attack at Euro 2020?

While Southgate will rightly point to reaching a World Cup semi-final and then taking England to their first major tournament final since 1966 as evidence of the outstanding progress made, some questioning of his attacking plan does seem justified, however, based on the numbers from Euro 2020.

England did indeed score only two goals less than Italy at Euro 2020, with the Azzurri joint-top in that regard alongside semi-finalists Spain.

In terms of total chances created, England ranked fifth with 48, way behind leaders Italy (104), with Spain (86), Denmark (71) and Switzerland (52) also ahead of Southgate's team.

However, only Spain created more big chances – those defined by Opta as a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score – than England's tally of 16, with the Three Lions converting half of these opportunities.

A total of 189 passes or crosses into the area also ranked England behind the other three teams to make it to the semi-finals. 

Italy, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland all had more shots than England, despite there of them playing fewer matches, while nine teams scored at a faster rate (England managed a goal every 57.27 minutes, whereas tournament leaders Spain recorded a strike every 41.54 minutes).

Only Belgium recorded a better shot conversion rate than England, though.

Louis van Gaal has warned his Netherlands side that they still have some way to go before they can consider themselves "top of the world".

The Oranje drew 1-1 with Norway in World Cup qualifying Group G on Wednesday in Van Gaal's first match back in his third spell as coach of his country.

Erling Haaland opened the scoring at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo, but Davy Klaassen equalised in the first half.

The result leaves both the Netherlands and Norway a point behind Group G leaders Turkey, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Montenegro.

Van Gaal was not happy with his side's display and urged them to be more creative.

"We may think that this Dutch team is the top of the world, but it is not," he told NOS. "We have to function as a team. Norway has played very well as a team. Then you have to show the creativity that we lacked today.

"We lost the ball too carelessly in situations that we didn't have to. That is because the opposing team has defended in a very compact space. Then it is not so easy. Then you have to be very creative and firm on the ball, but we were not.

"I think Norway did a fantastic job. We were careless and that should not have been allowed, but that is also due to Norway's playing style.

"We have to make sure that we can play the ball around. I also said that at half-time we had to show courage and wait for the moment that we could play in depth, but we didn't succeed."

Van Gaal opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with Steven Berghuis and full debutant Cody Gakpo starting either side of Memphis Depay in attack.

Berghuis was replaced by Donyell Malen at half-time following a disappointing opening 45 minutes that saw the Ajax man fail to register a shot on goal.

Van Gaal was less than impressed by his side's wide players, but insists it is too early to abandon the formation.

"I think it's going too far to say after one game that we can't play 4-3-3," he added.

"That has to do with the form of the day of the players. But I said in advance that we are meagre at the outsides. That has become apparent today.

"If you are careless, you will not reach the goal.

"Working with young people keeps me young, that's why I like it. Also the tension of the competition. Too bad the execution was not so good."

The Netherlands are in action again on Saturday when they host Montenegro. 

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."

Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer in the history of men's international football as his late double saw Portugal beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in World Cup qualifying Group A.

The 36-year-old, who completed a remarkable return to Manchester United this week, had earlier missed the chance to pull clear of Iran icon Ali Daei when his penalty was saved by Gavin Bazunu.

Stephen Kenny's side looked like they would take full advantage of that reprieve after John Egan put them ahead shortly before half-time.

As is so often the case, though, Ronaldo had the final say, drawing his side level with an 89th-minute header – his record-breaking 110th international goal – before sealing a memorable win in the dying embers of stoppage time with another trademark headed finish.

Erling Haaland was on target as Louis van Gaal had to settle for a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Norway in his first match back in charge of the Netherlands.

Haaland opened the scoring with his first goal of Norway's qualifying campaign at the Ullevaal Stadion on Wednesday, but Davy Klaassen equalised in the first half.

Prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland struck the post in the second half in Oslo, where neither side could fashion a winner.

A draw in Van Gaal's first game in his third spell as coach of his country leaves both the Netherlands and Norway a point behind Group G leaders Turkey, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Montenegro.

Cody Gakpo was handed a first Netherlands start and he had two early chances to open the scoring, Andre Hansen palming his header wide before the forward bent a shot wide from just outside the penalty area.

Oranje debutant Justin Bijlow came out quickly and made himself big to deny Haaland when Jens Hauge sent him clear with an incisive pass, but the Dortmund frontman put Norway in front 20 minutes in.

Memphis Depay was at fault, losing possession in his own half, and Haaland controlled a ball over the top from Stefan Strandberg before poking into the far corner with his left foot as returning captain Virgil van Dijk's desperate last-ditch tackle was in vain.

The Netherlands responded well and they were level nine minutes before the break, Klaassen bursting into the box to convert Georginio Wijnaldum's cross from close range.

Depay stung Hansen's palms and Donyell Malen, who replaced Steven Berghuis at half-time, flashed a shot wide as the Oranje dictated the play after the interval.

Haaland ought to have restored Norway's lead on the break after 64 minutes, when he rattled the inside of the post with a left-foot strike after Martin Odegaard slipped him in.

Denzel Dumfries missed a great chance to snatch all three points with the last kick of the game, but a late Montenegro equaliser was a boost for both sides.

 

 

 

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.  

Cristiano Ronaldo is now the leading goalscorer in the history of men's international football after breaking Ali Daei's world record. 

The Portugal star, who completed a stunning return to Manchester United this week, scored late on in Wednesday's World Cup qualifying clash against the Republic of Ireland to bring up his 110th international goal. 

Ronaldo's record-breaking goal came in the final minute of normal time. Moments after he saw a free-kick parried away by Gavin Buzunu, the 36-year-old was on hand to plant a trademark header into the bottom-left corner from Goncalo Guedes' teasing cross.

He scored twice in the Euro 2020 meeting with France on June 23 to match Daei on 109 goals in senior matches for Portugal. 

The 36-year-old, along with Iran great Daei, is one of only two men to score more than 100 times in international matches. 

 

He scored his first Portugal goal back in June 2004, heading in a Luis Figo cross in a 2-1 group-stage defeat to eventual European champions Greece.

Ronaldo's 100th goal came 16 years later when he scored a free-kick in a 2-0 Nations League win over Sweden in September last year.

His favourite opponents are Sweden and Lithuania, against whom he has scored seven times.

France failed to bounce back from their surprise Euro 2020 elimination as they were held to a 1-1 draw in 2022 World Cup qualifying by Bosnia-Herzegovina, finishing with 10 men. 

Les Bleus, who went out in the last 16 of the European Championship after a shock penalty shoot-out loss to Switzerland, fell behind to Edin Dzeko’s 36th-minute strike in Strasbourg on Wednesday but were quickly back on terms following a fortuitous goal for Antoine Griezmann. 

Didier Deschamps' side would have been expecting to push on for a win to go six points clear of second-placed Ukraine, who drew 2-2 with Kazakhstan earlier on Wednesday, in the second half of the Group D clash. 

However, after a deadline-day switch from Sevilla to Chelsea failed to materialise, Jules Kounde was shown a red card for a lunge on Sead Kolasinac following a VAR check and France had to settle for a point. 

Kylian Mbappe missed the decisive penalty against Switzerland but went close to getting back on the scoresheet when his effort from the tightest of angles crashed behind off the near post in the 27th minute. 

Miralem Pjanic warmed the gloves of Hugo Lloris before Dezko seized upon a wayward Thomas Lemar pass and drilled a fine 20-yard effort through Presnel Kimpembe's legs and into the bottom-right corner. 

France were somewhat lucky to restore parity three minutes later. Dzeko headed a corner against Griezmann's back and following a VAR check it was clear Ibrahim Sehic had failed to keep the ball out after a slight touch off Dennis Hadzikadunic. 

Aurelien Tchouameni was sent on for his debut at half-time but France's plan was thrown into disarray following Kounde's late tackle on Kolasinac, who had to be replaced by Eldar Civic. 

Bosnia had a couple of chances to steal a famous win, but Smail Prevljak and Pjanic were unable to find the target with their efforts inside the final five minutes.
 

Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples have been named vice-captains for the 2020 Ryder Cup by United States captain Steve Stricker. 

Stricker's other vice-captains are Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Love, meaning there is no place in the leadership team for Tiger Woods. 

Mickelson will not be a playing member of the team for the first time after 12 consecutive appearances – a record for Team USA – dating back to 1995. He also holds the national record for four-ball points won (nine) and matches played (47). 

Although the 51-year-old became the oldest player in history to win a major at the US PGA Championship back in May, it was his only top-10 finish this year. 

Couples served as a vice-captain to Davis Love III in 2012 and made five appearances as a player, the last of which came in 1997. 

"I've been staying in close contact with both Freddie and Phil, talking about all things Ryder Cup, for a while now," Stricker said in a statement. 

"They provide honest and impactful feedback, and both have such a passion for the Ryder Cup. I'm honoured that they were willing to join our team and help put us in the best position to win in a few weeks at Whistling Straits."

The tournament, which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to be played at Whistling Straits from September 24-26. 

"I'm humbled and honoured to be a part of this year's Ryder Cup as an assistant captain," Mickelson wrote on Twitter. 

"Thank you captain Stricker for including me and I hope to help in any way possible."

South Africa will look to put more off-field disruption behind them when they start a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

The Proteas were rocked by the resignation of assistant coach Enoch Nkwe last week as they prepared to travel to Sri Lanka.

Nkwe's decision to quit was put down to personal ambitions and his concerns about the functioning and culture of the team environment.

Proteas white-ball captain Temba Bavuma is eager to meet Nkwe on his return from Sri Lanka to discuss his reasons for stepping down.

"I haven't had an opportunity to have a formal discussion with Enoch but probably when I get back to South Africa, I'd like to sit down with him and maybe unpack it a bit," Bavuma said.

"I'd like to hear it from him. He is the subject here, at the end of the day. If there is merit [to Nkwe's concerns], as a member of the team, it's something I will take on board and have a discussion amongst the team."

Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has been rested for the ODI series, while paceman Lungi Ngidi misses out for personal reasons and batsman David Miller (hamstring) is also absent.

All-rounder Dwaine Pretorius is set to return at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo in a week that saw legendary South Africa paceman Dale Steyn announce his retirement.

Dinesh Chandimal makes his Sri Lanka return after a five-month absence, with Dasun Shanaka captaining the side in a series that forms part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.

SHANAKA BULLISH AFTER INDIA TRIUMPH

Sri Lanka came from behind to secure a 2-1 Twenty20 series win over India in July.

Skipper Shanaka is eager to build on that triumph at the expense of the Proteas on home soil, with Lahiru Madushanka, Maheesh Theekshana, and Pulina Tharanga in contention to make their debuts.

Shanaka said: "I think we have the winning momentum [following two T20I wins against India], and feel that if our spinners can get a lot of wickets, we should be able to win. We have a lot of advantages in this series.

"We have a lot of options on the spin front. We've got Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya, Maheesh Theekshana, Ramesh Mendis (offspin), Praveen Jayawickrama and other options. They're all in a good rhythm. I'm looking to play three spinners in the team. South Africa always have a good pace attack. But I think I can guarantee that we have the better spin-bowling contingent at the moment. I trust our team's strength."

 

HENDRICKS HOPING TO STRIKE BLOWS AFTER TAKING ONE

There was a scare for South Africa when Beuran Hendricks was struck above the eye by a drive from Pretorius during a practice session.

The seamer passed a concussion test and is determined to make his mark in Sri Lanka.

He said: "It's a dream to play for my country, I'm very proud to play for my country, and that's the patience for me. I don't take anything for granted when I'm at this level. I make sure that I'm fully focused and fully energised when I'm at this level.

"What goes on behind the scenes is out of my control. I've just got to make sure that I've prepared well, when I come on tour I'm fully fit, I need to be ahead of certain guys. Those are the things that run through my mind when I'm in this set-up. Try to make sure that I stay patient."
 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The last time South Africa toured Sri Lanka for a white-ball series was in 2018, when the tourists won a five-match ODI series 3-2. 
- The Proteas have won each of their past four multi-game bilateral ODI series against Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka have scored 40 per cent of their runs from boundaries in ODIs this year. Only Bangladesh have a lower rate (37%).
- South Africa have averaged a boundary every 8.8 balls in the 50-over format since the start of 2021. Only England and India have a better rate in this time (8.1).

India are confident of responding to their Headingley humiliation when they face England in the fourth Test at The Oval.

England levelled the five-match series at 1-1 in emphatic fashion in Leeds last weekend, winning by an innings and 76 runs in the morning session on day four.

India had won the second Test at Lord's in dramatic fashion, but the tourists were brought back down to earth when they were bowled out for only 78 on the first day at Headingley after Virat Kohli won the toss.

They suffered another spectacular collapse in the second innings, folding from 215-2 to 278 all out as Ollie Robinson claimed a five-wicket haul.

India went on to secure a series win in Australia early last year after they were skittled out for a meagre 36 in the first Test and bowling coach Bharat Arun says they can put another embarrassment behind them in London.

"We have been bowled out for 36 earlier and we have bounced back from that," he said during a press conference on Wednesday. 

"We have our ways of doing things and we have done in the past, we take confidence from there and hopefully can give better performance in the next two Tests."

India added fast bowler Prasidh Krishna to their squad on the eve of a fourth Test that starts on Thursday.

Arun said of the paceman's inclusion: "He's been included mainly considering all the workload management issues. Nothing more to it than that.

"Ishant's [Sharma] form in the last game that was a bit of concern but I think we have sorted things out. Prasidh Krishna is just a precautionary inclusion."

Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties with Jos Buttler absent as his wife is due to give birth, while Chris Woakes, Ollie Pope and Mark Wood are vying for a place in the England side.

All-rounder Moeen Ali has replaced Buttler as vice-captain.

 

ROOT ON TOP OF THE WORLD AND EYEING MORE RECORDS

England captain Joe Root is in the form of his life and has returned to the top of the Test rankings for the first time in six years.

Root has scored 507 runs at an average of 126.75 in this series, scoring three centuries in as many Tests. 

Victory at Headingley, where Root made a magnificent 121 in the first innings, made him the most successful England Test captain with 27 wins.

The skipper has reached three figures six times this year in the longest format and another hundred will see him set a new England record for the most in a calendar year.

Root only needs one more century to go past Kevin Pietersen's tally of 23 in Tests, a total only Alastair Cook (33) has bettered for England.

INDIA TO FINALLY UNLEASH ASHWIN?

Ravichandran Ashwin starred with both ball and bat when India beat England in a Test series on home soil this year but the all-rounder has played no part in this series.

Arun did not rule out both Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin playing at The Oval.

He said: "Ashwin, no doubt, is one of the best bowlers we have and its unfortunate that he has not played so far but if there is an opportunity and if we feel that he is going to fit into the scheme of things, they will definitely both be bowling in tandem."

Arun added: "The best thing would be to decide after looking at the track tomorrow morning as anything could happen between now and tomorrow. So we look at it tomorrow morning and decide."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have lost only one of their 13 Tests against India at The Oval (W5, D7), a four-wicket defeat in August 1971. They have won each of the past three matches versus India at the London venue
- Rohit Sharma is 91 shy of becoming the 23rd player to score 3,000 runs in Tests for India. Only against South Africa (678) has the opener scored more Test runs than he has against England (609).
- England are one away from reaching their 50th Test victory against India
- India will be looking to avoid back-to-back Test defeats for the first time since December 2020,

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.

Jerome Boateng has joined Lyon on a two-year deal after leaving Bayern Munich as a free agent.

The World Cup winner was released by Bayern at the end of his contract, departing the club after 10 years in Bavaria.

Boateng played 229 Bundesliga matches at Bayern – a tally only bettered by three team-mates over that period, in Thomas Muller (311), Manuel Neuer (282) and David Alaba (276).

Those four players were stalwarts as Germany's most successful club won nine straight titles.

But Alaba left for Real Madrid as Boateng was also let go, with ardent supporter Hansi Flick quitting as head coach.

Boateng, now 32, did not rush into his next move, yet his arrival at Lyon in France was confirmed on Wednesday following the closure of the transfer window.

He said at a news conference: "I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome.

"I can't wait to write a new chapter in my story. I can't wait to meet my team-mates. I know the team is young and I will try to bring my experience."

Twice a Champions League winner, Boateng will indeed bring a wealth of experience to a leaky defence.

Lyon have conceded seven goals in four Ligue 1 games so far this season, as many as basement side Troyes.

Two of those were own goals, including one from Marcelo, who was later demoted to the reserves for "inappropriate behaviour" in the dressing room.

Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes committed an error leading to a goal, too, as Lyon took only two points from their first three matches before getting back on track with a win at Nantes ahead of the international break.

Boateng will be expected to bring calm in the back line as they look to make up ground, already seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain – opponents Bayern beat in the 2019-20 Champions League final.

"I haven't played since May but I have done everything to stay in shape," he said. "I want to regain my best level as soon as possible and be at 100 per cent to be able to help the team."

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."

Antoine Griezmann says he gave everything for the Barcelona shirt and is upset his time at the club came to an abrupt end after completing a return to Atletico Madrid.

The France international rejoined Atletico on an initial loan with an obligation to buy on Tuesday after spending just two years at Camp Nou.

Barcelona spent €120million to sign Griezmann from LaLiga rivals Atleti in 2019, but the 30-year-old never managed to recapture his best form in Catalonia. 

Former Real Sociedad attacker Griezmann made his 100th appearance for Barca in all competitions two weeks ago and targeted another century of games for the club.

But he went on to appear just two more times for Barca before finalising a deadline-day return to the Wanda Metropolitano.

Commenting on the transfer for the first time on Wednesday, Griezmann took to social media to thank Barcelona fans for their support over the past two years.

"Dear Culers. I say goodbye thanking you for your love," he posted on Twitter. "I gave everything for this shirt. 

"I have been involved with this great club and I am sad that I could not enjoy more of you in the stands, but proud to have been one of yours. Visca Barca!"

 

Griezmann's Barca career may have been largely underwhelming, but only Lionel Messi (85) – who departed for Paris Saint-Germain last month – has been directly involved in more LaLiga goals for the Blaugrana than the Frenchman's 29 since his debut in September 2019.

The 30-year-old played 51 times in all competitions in 2020-21, making 45 starts and clocking up 3,904 minutes in total.

Griezmann recorded 20 goals and added 12 assists last season, while his 20 goal involvements in LaLiga again trailing only Messi in Barca's squad.

He had started in all three of Barca's LaLiga fixtures so far this season, too, but had failed to score, provide an assist or even create a chance in those appearances.

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