Patrick Bamford scored a late equaliser to salvage a point for Leeds United against his former club Burnley on Sunday, having gone through a proper tussle at Turf Moor.

Burnley – accused of "wrestling" last week by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – were full-blooded once again as they fell just short of securing a first Premier League win of the season.

"It's always tough coming here because, you don’t want to be disrespectful, but you know what you're going to get when you play against Burnley and they do make it difficult," Bamford, who had an ongoing skirmish with centre-back James Tarkowski, told Sky Sports.

"I was a little bit annoyed at [James] Tarkowski because it was just that tussle on the floor when he tried to do some weird jiu-jitsu thing on me. I don't know what he's doing!"

A Premier League landmark was also reached at Turf Moor, while Arsenal might just have a different kind of fight on their hands after suffering a third successive defeat.

Here are some of the more curious Opta facts from the latest round of games.


Turf Moor tussle sees Premier League milestone

The new initiative for referees to be somewhat more lenient seems to be paying dividends, although Wolves fans will argue otherwise after their late defeat to Manchester United.

Before what unfolded at Molineux, however, Leeds were also on the receiving end of some rather tough treatment at Turf Moor, with the game seeing seven bookings.

There was a Premier League landmark set in the Lancashire sunshine too, as Chris Wood opened the scoring.

Eric Cantona (100), Alan Shearer (4,000), Dennis Bergkamp (7,000) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (25,000) are some of the names to have previously hit the milestone goals in the competition's history, and now New Zealand forward Wood has cemented his name into the record books.

It was not exactly one to remember, Wood just managing to get a toe onto Matthew Lowton's low shot, with the ball rolling off Illan Meslier's shins and trickling over the line for the competition's 30,000th goal. 

Strangely enough, it was just a third assist for Lowton in his last 84 Premier League matches, but all three have set up goals for Wood, who scored for the first time against former club Leeds for Burnley.

Yet Burnley could not hold on, with the Clarets now on a 12-game winless run at Turf Moor in the league, their longest such streak.

Mikel's misery compounded as Arsenal's lack of fight is shown up once more

It has been a humbling start to the season for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who is sure to be under plenty of pressure heading into a fixture with Norwich City – one of the other two teams without a point so far – after the international break.

Arsenal ended the weekend at the bottom of the top-flight table having played at least three league matches for the first time since October 25 in 1974, having suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the champions – Manchester City's third successive 5-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners are only the second team in Premier League history to lose their first three matches in a season and have a goal difference of -9, after Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2003-04, who went on to finish bottom of the table, while Tottenham's win on Sunday means Spurs top the table and Arsenal sit bottom for the first time in top-flight history.

Arsenal's cause was hardly helped by Granit Xhaka's sending off in the first half on Saturday – the 10th time the Gunners have had a player dismissed in the league under Arteta. In fact, since the Spaniard took over in December 2019, that is four more than any other club.

Xhaka has picked up two of those dismissals, with David Luiz leading the way on three. In those fixtures where they have had a player sent off, Arsenal have failed to win a single one, collecting just five points in total and losing the last three league matches in which they were reduced to 10 men.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus has not lost any of the 43 Premier League games he has scored in, a record bettered only by James Milner (54) and Darius Vassell (46).

A long shot for Son as Lage matches De Boer

Son Heung-min's free-kick handed Spurs a 1-0 win over Watford. It did not look intentional, but the South Korean forward's delivery nevertheless curled into the far corner.

Three of Son's last four goals for Tottenham in all competitions have come from outside the box, as many as his previous 43 for the club, while Sunday's effort was his first Spurs goal from a direct free-kick.

Sunday's headline fixture saw Manchester United – buoyed by the impending return of Cristiano Ronaldo – defeat Wolves thanks to Mason Greenwood's late winner.

Referee Mike Dean chose not to award what looked to be a clear foul from Paul Pogba in the build-up, as Greenwood became only the second teenager in Premier League history to score in each of his side's first three games of a season, after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.

It was a tight game, with Wolves creating plenty without converting the chances, and new boss Bruno Lage is the first manager to lose his first three Premier League games without his side scoring a goal since Crystal Palace's Frank de Boer in August 2017.

Known for his creativity and goalscoring, United playmaker Bruno Fernandes often cut a frustrated figure, and he was booked for dissent. He has now been cautioned for questioning the referee in each of his last two games – in fact, the Portugal midfielder is responsible for a third of the six yellow cards handed out for dissent so far this season.

Ruben Dias has signed a new six-year contract with Manchester City, the club announced on Monday.

The centre-back enjoyed a fantastic first year in English football and has been rewarded with a new deal that will keep him with the Premier League champions until 2027.

Dias joined from Benfica for a reported £65million (€89m) in September 2020, with his previous deal having run though 2025-26.

Ruben Dias has signed a new six-year contract with Manchester City, the club announced on Monday.

The centre-back enjoyed a fantastic first year in English football and has been rewarded with a new deal that will keep him with the Premier League champions until 2027.

Dias joined from Benfica for a reported £65million (€89m) in September 2020, with his previous deal having run though 2025-26.

Pep Guardiola does not believe Manchester City would have signed Cristiano Ronaldo had he not opted to re-join Manchester United as the Premier League-winning manager dismissed talk about the superstar forward.

United announced on Friday they had agreed a deal with Juventus, reportedly worth an initial £12.8million (€15m), to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford subject to personal terms, a visa and a medical.

Ronaldo had been tipped to complete a sensational switch to neighbours City before agreeing to return to the Theatre of Dreams for a second spell, having enjoyed a hugely successful first stint with the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009.

Asked if City – who have been linked with Tottenham's Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland following Sergio Aguero's exit – would have signed Ronaldo had United not entered the race, Guardiola told reporters: "Umm, I don't think so."

Ronaldo joined Juve from LaLiga giants Real Madrid in 2018 and he remained an ultra-reliable frontman for the Italian powerhouse, scoring 81 goals in 98 Serie A games.

The 36-year-old scored 29 league goals last season and 36 across all competitions. In 2020-21, only four players across Europe's top five leagues scored more goals than his 36-goal haul.

Ronaldo is also contributing far less in other areas of the pitch than during his prime years. He won just six tackles last season, and only three in the league. Only five strikers with five goals or more in Serie A last season won fewer. In his 60-goal third season at Madrid, Ronaldo won 33 tackles.

The Portugal captain made 73 crosses in open play across all competitions, and 64 came in the league, the fifth-highest total of any five-goal-plus Serie A striker, but that number is far from what the former Sporting CP was producing at his career's peak. In his final season at United (2008-09) he put in 197 open-play crosses, and he topped 100 in each of his first three seasons at Madrid (2009-10 to 2011-12).

He continues to produce excellent figures, but he no longer vastly exceeds his expected goals (xG) totals and has instead almost exactly matched them in each season while at Juventus (2018-19: 28 goals from 28.3 xG; 2019-20: 37 goals from 35.84 xG; 2020-21: 36 goals from 35.34 xG).

Kylian Mbappe is dominating headlines amid Real Madrid's pursuit.

Madrid are keen to prise Mbappe to the LaLiga club, though Paris Saint-Germain are in no hurry to part with the soon-to-be free agent.

Due to PSG's tough stance, Madrid could back out of negotiations.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID GIVE PSG ULTIMATUM

Real Madrid could walk away from their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Le Parisien.

While Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season, Madrid have been attempting to prise the Frenchman from PSG before the transfer window shuts.

The report claims Madrid will walk away from negotiations if a deal is not completed by Sunday.

There has been talk that PSG could target Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland as a replacement for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez has agreed to sign a new contract with Inter, per Gianluca Di Marzio. Out of contract in 2023, the Argentina international – linked with the likes of Barcelona, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United – will re-sign for four to five years at €6million per season.

Willian will join Corinthians on a free transfer after Arsenal granted his release, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also claims Feyenoord are close to bringing United sensation Amad Diallo to the Eredivisie club on loan.

- Widespread reports say Moise Kean is set to undergo a medical at Juventus as he gears up to join from Everton. It comes as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to return to United. Juve are also eyeing PSG forward Mauro Icardi.

Dortmund are working on a loan deal for Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi, according to Sky Germany. Hudson-Odoi has long been coveted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Dortmund are also looking to bring in United full-back Diogo Dalot.

Chelsea are nearing a transfer that will see Jules Kounde arrive from Sevilla after Kurt Zouma departed for West Ham, reports Goal. Chelsea are also reportedly still targeting Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is wanted by United.

Dusan Vlahovic confirmed he is staying at Serie A outfit Fiorentina, despite "top proposals" from clubs across Europe.

Vlahovic enjoyed a breakout season in 2020-21, scoring 21 Serie A goals, and his exploits have sparked reported interest from Premier League champions Manchester City and LaLiga holders Atletico Madrid as well as Arsenal, Tottenham and Inter.

Contracted to Fiorentina until 2023 with a value around €70-80million (£59-68m), Vlahovic opened his Serie A account for 2021-22 with a fine header in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Torino.

Afterwards, the 21-year-old Serbia international pledged his commitment to Fiorentina for at least one more campaign.

"I've received top proposals this summer, really big also for the club but I was never pushing to leave," Vlahovic told Sky Sport.

"I wanted to stay at Fiorentina… and I'm staying, yes."

"The whole stadium was signing my name, I’ve been dreaming something like this since I was a child, I am so thrilled," Vlahovic told DAZN.

"I think I am on the right path, but I need to work hard with humility and determination. I am focused and I can’' think to have already achieved something big, it would be a mistake. There will be highs and lows, but I will give my all for myself, the club, the city and the coach."

Vlahovic is one of only five players to score 18-plus goals in the top five European leagues in 2021, alongside Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (29), Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi (23), RB Leipzig forward Andre Silva (20) and Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland (20).

"I don't like comparisons," Vlahovic said amid Haaland comparisons. "Haaland has been scoring 10 Champions League goals for three seasons.

"I hope I can meet him one day, but I must only work on my capabilities for now. Surely, I am watching the best strikers out there."

Pep Guardiola compared Ferran Torres to Jamie Vardy after his two-goal display in Manchester City's 5-0 dismantling of Arsenal on Saturday.

Just this week City saw long-term target Harry Kane confirm he will not be leaving Tottenham this year despite apparently trying to force a move away and then they missed out on the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United.

The central striker position is an area of the team City have been particularly keen to strengthen given no one scored more than 17 goals for them across all competitions in 2020-21, and Sergio Aguero – who missed much of the season through injury – left for Barcelona.

But Guardiola reiterated that he is perfectly happy with the options he currently has in attack after blowing 10-man Arsenal away – Torres led the way with a brace, while Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri all got one each.

The Spaniard drew much of the focus after the match, with Guardiola shooting down suggestions he was underwhelming last season when his 13 goals across all competitions was bettered by just five City players, all of whom played at least 726 minutes more than him.

Similarly, of those five with more goals, only Gundogan (24.3 per cent) boasted a better conversion rate than Torres (21 per cent), who showed a real clinical streak with his xG overperformance of 3.2 – Vardy, as a base for comparison, only scored 17 from 22.7 xG.

"Last season, the way he played was exceptional," Guardiola said of Torres in his post-match news conference.

"His numbers in terms of goals and assists… he played incredibly well. But in this position, a striker, he made movements like some of the best strikers' movements in behind – Jamie Vardy, these types of players.

"He moves incredibly well. He's a good finisher, so young. We did an incredible job buying him with a nice price and he can play in the three positions up front, and he's an incredible finisher.

"We're pleased for his movements, his work ethic and learning, many, many things. We're pleased for his performance even aside from the goals."

But Guardiola, while happy with his squad, was not getting carried away with the suggestion Saturday's win proves they do not necessarily need attacking reinforcements.

"We don't need a striker if we score five goals, if we don't score five goals then we need a striker," Guardiola added.

"You'll see throughout the season, if we don't score in games people say we need a striker. We tried but it was not possible. This team is still fantastic.

"Thanks to all the people working in the scouting department from day one to now for the players they gave me. The squad is really good and we're very pleased for this result. We scored a goal without deserving, sometimes it happens, and after 2-0 and the sending off the game was completely free."

Granit Xhaka was the man to see red for the Gunners – it was his fourth Premier League dismissal since the start of 2016-17, a joint high for the competition.

But even before that point, City were 2-0 up and cruising, ultimately becoming just the third side in Premier League to win three successive home games by five or more goals (after City themselves in October 2017 and Chelsea, August 2010).

City restricted Arsenal to just one shot, which came in the sixth minute, the Gunners' lowest such tally in a league game since Opta began recording such data (2003-04).

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has backed former colleague Mikel Arteta to turn things around at Arsenal following the Gunners' worst start to a league campaign.

Ten-man Arsenal fell to a 5-0 defeat to City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to make it three losses in a row without scoring to begin their Premier League season.

The Gunners are only the second team in Premier League history to have zero points and a goal difference of minus nine from their first three games, after Wolves in 2003-04.

Wolves finished bottom of the table that season, and that is the position Arsenal found themselves in following their latest humiliating league loss at the hands of City.

Arteta is under increasing pressure heading into the first international break of 2021-22, but Guardiola is confident results will improve for Arsenal once their injury list clears up.

Guardiola, who worked alongside Arteta for three years at the Etihad Stadium before his compatriot took on the Arsenal job, told BBC Sport: "Mikel knows I love him.

"In the two or three years he was here he was important to what we built. People want results right away, of course.

"But many of the players they invested in, like Ben White and Thomas Partey, were missing today. Without those players it is difficult.

"I know his awareness as a manager and as a leader. The moment everyone is back he will do an excellent job. I know this because I know him, I know the job he can do.

"I'm not talking as a friend I'm talking as a professional. Working alongside him I learned a lot. He taught me many things. The team we are now is because of what he's done. 

"I don't have any doubts. He can have a good results, bad results, my opinion about Mikel is beyond what people can imagine. I'm pretty sure he'll be back on track."

Not since 1954-55 have Arsenal lost their first three league games of the season, but Arteta is hopeful of still being in charge for the visit of Norwich City on September 11.

"For me it is pride and more willingness to change the situation," he told BBC Sport. "A lot has happened in the last three weeks we are in a difficult position.

"The international break will do us some good to recover some of the big players we are missing at the moment and hopefully we come back we are in a better place."

Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres scored from City's first two shots of the match in the opening 12 minutes of the one-sided contest, before Granit Xhaka was issued his fourth Premier League red card for a reckless lunge on Joao Cancelo.

Gabriel Jesus and Rodri registered either side of half-time and Torres rounded off the scoring with his second goal late on to make it three straight 5-0 home league wins for City.

Arsenal's best spell came in the opening five minutes, but they registered just one shot in total – their lowest tally in a league match since 2003-04 (when Opta started recording shot data).

Both those early goals came as a result of some shambolic defending from Arsenal, but Arteta has questioned VAR's decision to let Torres' tap-in stand due to a foul on Calum Chambers in the build-up.

"The first goal was the most disappointing as we were in control of the game until then," Arteta said. "We took the game exactly where we wanted to.

"The first action they have, we fail to stop the cross and Gundogan has a free header in the middle of goal. These are the basics you have to do right.

"The second goal we concede is a clear foul because Calum is punched in the face. Once we conceded after the red card you know what is going to happen.

"It's a really quick action from Xhaka. He tries to get his feet off the ground and the ref decided it was a red card."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has called on Arsenal's players to stick together as they aim to "raise the level" after a 5-0 loss to Manchester City leaves them still without a point in the Premier League.

Having already suffered league defeats to Brentford and Chelsea to open the 2021-22 season, the Gunners endured a chastening outing in the early kick-off against the reigning champions on Saturday.

City scored twice inside the opening 12 minutes and were three up by the interval, by which time Arsenal were down to 10 men after Granit Xhaka received a straight red card for serious foul play.

The heavy defeat on the road comes ahead of an international break, during which captain Aubameyang believes the squad need to hold honest talks between themselves, having worryingly played with a lack of courage against Pep Guardiola's impressive side at the Etihad Stadium.

"You have to take risks and you have to be brave on the ball, and we didn't today," Aubameyang said. "After that and the red card, it was a completely different game.

"But, as I said, this is not enough and everyone needs to raise the level, look at ourselves in the mirror and work this out as a team and stick together. This is the only way to go forward.

"We have to play with courage and in this type of game, you have to play with everything. You have to take risks and we just didn't do enough today, and that's it.

"I think we need to talk between us players. I think this is now important because we are Arsenal and we need pride. That's it. We have to talk and say the truth between each other, be honest and as I said, raise the level."

Aubameyang had scored a hat-trick in a midweek EFL Cup thrashing of West Brom ahead of the trip to Manchester, yet Arsenal are still to register a league goal during the campaign.

They mustered just one shot against City, their lowest tally in a top-flight match since Opta started recording such data in 2003-04.

A third straight failure to score means they are stuck on the club's longest run of fixtures without scoring a goal in the competition since a four-game span from January 31 to February 28 in 2009.

"For sure [the rebuilding process] is going to be difficult, but we are a team," Aubameyang, who had just 15 touches against City before being replaced just before the hour mark, continued.

"We have to stick together in this moment. As the senior players, we have to show the way as well to the young players. I know that won't be easy but we will try to do our best."

Arsenal have a fortnight before they get the chance to play again, returning after the international window with a home game against Norwich City.

Football fandom's unofficial laws dictate you must feel a sense of optimism however unrealistic they may be.

But surely even Arsenal supporters were just hoping to keep the score down at the Etihad Stadium before kick-off?

After all, history provided very little cause for positivity given they'd lost their previous six games against whichever team were the Premier League's defending champions and been defeated in each of their past eight top-flight meetings with City.

And, true to form, it happened again.

This 5-0 embarrassment made it nine successive losses to City, a new Arsenal record for the most consecutive defeats to the same opposition in league competition.

While Arsenal and Mikel Arteta relieved the pressure slightly in midweek with their 6-0 thrashing of West Brom in the League Cup, in reality that will carry little importance within the wider narrative of the Gunners' hapless start to the campaign.

Of course, they have had a tricky beginning to 2021-22 with injuries and coronavirus cases, plus Chelsea and now City in their first three matches… though they also lost to promoted Brentford on matchday one, so it's not all just down to facing deeper or better squads.

Against City, much that went wrong initially was more to do with Arsenal being quintessentially Arsenal than City being excellent.

The hosts were in front after just seven minutes, Ilkay Gundogan nodding home after Calum Chambers misjudged the flight of Gabriel Jesus' cross, while Bernd Leno seemed to do his best to get out of the way.

Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in particular were causing Arsenal significant issues with their forays between the lines, City's fluidity and flexibility going forward leaving the Gunners' backline panicking on a regular basis.

City's control in those early stages just seemed to startle Arteta's men – whether by design or not is unclear – into a state of hyper-defensiveness and that too backfired as they fell 2-0 down after just 12 minutes.

Arsenal simply refused to press City after a short free-kick. Bernardo had the freedom to play a cross into the box from deep, and although it wasn't even particularly good, Cedric Soares' feeble attempt to clear just nudged the ball through to Ferran Torres for an easy finish.

At that point, the only thing preventing this from being 'peak Arsenal', as the kids would say, was a red card for Granit Xha…

With half-time approaching, the Swiss midfielder went flying in on Joao Cancelo with both feet off the ground. He may have got the ball and the contact on the City man seemed minimal, but it was dangerous, reckless and a blatant red card.

Of course, he's become accustomed to those, with his four red cards since the start of 2016-17 a joint high in the Premier League.

Eight minutes later, City had their third through Jesus after great work by Jack Grealish and there will surely have been a few Arsenal fans fearing the worst on what was the 10th anniversary of their worst Premier League defeat – that's right, the 8-2 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Ultimately – and this may or may not be a consolation to Arteta – it didn't get quite that bad as City only added two more goals through Rodri and Torres in the second half, but in fairness to Arsene Wenger, at least his team scored two of their own 10 years ago.

At the Etihad on Saturday, just getting a shot away would have been considered an achievement for the Gunners, as they only managed one in the entire match. That sixth-minute Bukayo Saka effort's xG value of 0.11 was higher than their xG-per-shot average of 0.06 going into the weekend, though no team in the division had a poorer record before Saturday.

On top of that, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn't have a single touch in the opposition's box during a game he started for only the fourth time in his Premier League career – three of which have been against City – and the first time since October 2019.

Sure, Arsenal were a man light against a very good City, but it would still be expected to see a little more fight. Instead, they looked resigned to a hammering.

Questions of Arsenal's mentality have been rife throughout Arteta's time in charge, particularly relating to their discipline, and this performance was just another in a long series of no-shows.

Heading into Saturday, so much of the talk surrounding this match wasn't even focused on the fixture, rather City's inability to bring in a new striker – or, more specifically, Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Arsenal's meek performance stole the show. Just as the Premier League table now shows for at least a few hours, this was top versus bottom in every sense, and from Arteta's perspective there's no more damning conclusion to be made than that.

Manchester City inflicted more misery on former assistant Mikel Arteta and his 10-man Arsenal side with a resounding 5-0 win in Saturday's Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners were two goals down inside the opening 12 minutes through an Ilkay Gundogan header and Ferran Torres' strike, before losing Granit Xhaka to a straight red card for a reckless challenge.

Gabriel Jesus and Rodri added to City's goals tally either side of half-time and Torres rounded off the scoring in the closing stages with his second of the contest.

Arsenal have now lost their opening three league games without scoring and remain in the relegation zone, while City have recovered from their opening-game defeat to Tottenham with back-to-back wins without conceding.

After putting five unanswered goals past Norwich City last weekend, the hosts named an unchanged starting line-up in the league for the first time since October 2017 and soon picked up from where they left off.

Bernardo Silva and Jesus combined down the right and the latter sent a cross to the back post for Gundogan to head past Bernd Leno before the Arsenal goalkeeper could properly react.

That was the 10th time in a row City had opened the scoring against Arsenal in the league and they soon had a second goal thanks to Torres' simple finish after Silva's cross somehow made its way through to the unmarked Spaniard.

The goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check for a possible foul on Calum Chambers and Arteta, having also seen Kieran Tierney denied a penalty, had further reason to be annoyed when Xhaka was sent off for lunging in on Joao Cancelo.

Jesus tapped in a third goal for City shortly before half-time after being teed up by Jack Grealish at the end of a flowing move and Rodri sided-footed a fourth past Leno from further out eight minutes after the restart.

Substitute Raheem Sterling was twice denied by Leno after being introduced from the bench, but Torres – who had set up Rodri's strike - converted a Riyad Mahrez cross with a header in off the post to register a third successive 5-0 home win for City in the Premier League.

 

Vincent Kompany says he is humbled after Manchester City unveiled a permanent statue of their former captain at the Etihad Stadium.

Kompany and ex team-mate David Silva have been honoured for their remarkable services to the club with large-scale statues on the east side of the stadium.

Created by sculptor Andy Scott, they were constructed using thousands of welded pieces of galvanised steel, and will be specially illuminated with blue-tinted lighting.

After joining from Hamburg in August 2008, Kompany made 320 appearances during 11 years with City, scoring 20 goals.

The Belgian captained the club to four Premier League titles – including their first top-flight success in 44 years in 2012 – as well as four EFL Cups and the 2019 FA Cup.

Kompany, now the Anderlecht boss, is honoured by the recognition he has received.

"I didn't really expect to be recognised by such a great club in that way," he told City's official website.

"My wife is from Manchester, my kids are born in Manchester, and they go back to a place where they can see something that represents what their Dad has achieved and that is something that I can't describe.

"The first time I saw the statue, I couldn't believe how big it was, but then again, I'm a big boy, so fair enough!

"And then especially the pose, for me it means a lot."

He later added on Twitter: "So grateful, humbled and at the same time sad I couldn't be there today. I am dedicating every minute I have to @rscanderlecht.

"I promise I'll be back to visit as soon as I can. Meanwhile, keep the pigeons away from those arms."

Paris Saint-Germain have lined up several options to replace Kylian Mbappe.

A deal with Real Madrid could create a domino effect. 

Who might be on the move to PSG?

 

TOP STORY – PSG LINE UP MBAPPE REPLACEMENTS

Paris Saint-Germain do not plan to let Kylian Mbappe go to Real Madrid this transfer window without replacing him. 

The French giants have their eyes on multiple players should Los Blancos' reported €180million bid for the striker succeed. 

Two Brazilians currently in the Premier League top the list, as Globo Esporte says PSG want Gabriel Jesus – though Pep Guardiola said he does not expect any more departures from Manchester City. 

PSG also reportedly are weighing up a bid for Everton's Richarlison, says ESPN Brasil. 

And though all indications have been that Erling Haaland will stay put with Borussia Dortmund, the Star says PSG could make another bid if Mbappe departs. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Jules Kounde is ready to move from Sevilla to Chelsea, says Sky Sports News, but the Blues are balking at the Spanish club's €80m asking price and are prepared to offer only about €50m.

- Everton are closing in on a swap deal that would send James Rodriguez to Porto with Luis Diaz joining the Toffees, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles could also be on the move to Everton, reports Sky Sports News, who say the Premier League side have also asked Celtic about Odsonne Edouard

- Meanwhile, Juventus are in talks with Everton about a deal for Moise Kean, who has become their top priority with Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, says Romano.

- Roma could make a move for Atletico Madrid's Hector Herrera, according to Calciomercato. 

- Aston Villa are weighing a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel, reports Tuttosport. 

- Atalanta have their eyes on AZ Alkmaar's Teun Koopmeiners, says Calciomercato. 

Pep Guardiola is not concerned about a lack of attacking options after Manchester City missed out on landing Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Though it appears City will not add a striker in the summer transfer window that ends Tuesday, the manager said there are plenty of players on hand to score goals. 

Jack Grealish will be expected to top that list after his £100million move from Aston Villa, but he will not be alone. 

Guardiola said he also will lean on the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez and mentioned 18-year-old Liam Delap as a potential contributor once he returns from a foot injury. 

"We have not a typical striker like Liam but we can find alternatives," Guardiola said ahead of Saturday's clash with Arsenal. 

"I always believe like in these last years we scored a lot of goals playing with or without a striker. We have to play better, try to achieve the level of intensity of desire and hunger that we had against Norwich and be consistent in every single game doing this.

"This is the target and play better in the process and the high pressing. When we defend deep, be more solid. Improve our set-pieces. That is what we want to do and that is what we are going to try."

While Guardiola did not close the door on City adding another player in the transfer window, he said he does not expect anyone from the current squad to depart in the coming days. 

Either way, Guardiola said the reigning Premier League champions are confident going forward with the players already in the dressing room. 

"We cannot forget how good we have done in the recent past with the same squad that we have," he said.

Cristiano Ronaldo ripped off his shirt and celebrated as though he had netted the winner in a World Cup final, rather than a stoppage-time clincher at Udinese that was disallowed moments later.

That was his farewell moment at Juventus, the performative Portuguese signing off with a magical thumping header that counted for nothing and a yellow card for showing the world that torso once again.

Manchester City awaited him, so it seemed, but incredibly Ronaldo is heading back to the red half of the city, back to Manchester United, providing wages and fitness prove no obstacle. Terms for the transfer have been agreed with Juve.

United have swooped for Ronaldo twice now, as an 18-year-old and at the grand age of 36. Derby day on the first weekend in November is now a red-letter day.

Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid at the end of the 2008-09 season, just weeks before Carlos Tevez swapped red for blue, pointing to a swing in the balance of power in English football.

Twelve years later and he is back in the north west, United pinching him from under the noses of City to lead their attack and the pursuit of Premier League glory.

 

But none of this makes sense...

Ronaldo looked a banker for a City switch before United and Jorge Mendes, the player's agent, held discussions. The Manchester Evening News reported Ronaldo's former United boss and mentor Alex Ferguson spoke to the one-time Old Trafford boy wonder, and that involvement looks to have been a moment that helped sway the now veteran striker from blue to red. Perhaps Rio Ferdinand's phone call also helped.

Pep Guardiola was expected to be cautious about the prospects of Ronaldo joining his City squad when he held a lunchtime news conference, but only out of sensible circumspection. Rather than playing a straight bat, however, he was highly pessimistic, and that was an alert that something had changed dramatically.

The BBC soon reported City had ended their interest in Ronaldo, who had instead begun talks with United, and the hints that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dropped in United's earlier news conference grew in resonance. At shortly before 17:00 BST, confirmation arrived from United of an agreement with Juve. All this within hours of Ronaldo saying his goodbyes at Juve's training ground in the morning.

Why do United need him? They seem well stocked for strikers

Ronaldo is unmistakably in the diminishing returns stage of his career, much like Edinson Cavani whom he joins in the Old Trafford ranks. Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are at the opposite end, striving to become United greats, and Anthony Martial, who should be nearing his peak years, is desperate for a run of games.

Into this battle for places walks one of the two greatest players of the past 20 years – some would say of all-time – and Solskjaer will discover his former team-mate Ronaldo still has a huge appetite for the game. His goal celebration antics at Udinese were easy to mock in light of the VAR outcome, but they showed his passion burns bright.

The data tells us Ronaldo is a fading force, but by most standards he remains a formidable footballer. He scored a decidedly healthy 36 goals for Juventus across all competitions last season, at one every 104.19 minutes. The minutes-per-goal ratio was a slight improvement on his first two campaigns with Juve, but in eight of his nine years at Real Madrid he scored at a rate better than one every 90 minutes.

He is also contributing far less in other areas of the pitch than during his prime years. Ronaldo won just six tackles last season, and only three in the league. Only five strikers with five goals or more in Serie A last season won fewer. In his 60-goal third season at Madrid, Ronaldo won 33 tackles.

Ronaldo also made 73 crosses in open play across all competitions, and 64 came in the league, the fifth-highest total of any five-goal-plus Serie A striker, but that number is far from what the former Sporting CP was producing at his career's peak. In his final season at United (2008-09) he put in 197 open-play crosses, and he topped 100 in each of his first three seasons at Madrid (2009-10 to 2011-12).

He continues to produce excellent figures, but he no longer vastly exceeds his expected goals (xG) totals and has instead almost exactly matched them in each season while at Juventus (2018-19: 28 goals from 28.3 xG; 2019-20: 37 goals from 35.84 xG; 2020-21: 36 goals from 35.34 xG).

At his best with Madrid, Ronaldo hit 55 goals in the 2012-13 season from an xG of 29.49, indicating he was far exceeding expected performance levels based on the quality of his chances.

He remains a tremendous penalty box predator and it would be surprising if he fails to hit 20 goals in the Premier League, but Ronaldo's contribution outside the 18-yard box has fallen away.

His style looked an awkward fit for City, who have sought flexibility from their front players, often favouring a 'false nine' system. Ronaldo has evolved from thrilling winger in his teens to feared targetman, and United's style is far more fitting to his game, so that aspect of the transfer makes sense.

United presumably also very much wanted him so that City couldn't have him.

What it means for United

Ronaldo gave United six years of his young career before being granted his wish to leave in June 2009, making a then world record £80million switch to Madrid.

He departed after a season where United won the Premier League and City finished 10th, with Ferguson's team also lifting the EFL Cup, reaching the FA Cup semi-finals and finishing runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions League.

Much has changed in English football, but Ronaldo is not blind to that. This represents a chance to end his career bathed in glory again in Manchester, with the Old Trafford crowd ready to worship him once more.

City won the Premier League by 12 points last season and they began this campaign as favourites to notch up another title. Signing Ronaldo would not only have hurt United deeply, but it would possibly have made this year's title race a procession.

Consider it game on now.

It was May 10, 2009, when Ronaldo last appeared in a United-City clash, scoring a deflected free-kick before being rested after 58 minutes by Ferguson as the Red Devils scored a 2-0 Old Trafford victory.

Ronaldo left the field in frustration, wanting to play for longer, but days earlier he had been the prime architect of the famous 3-1 win at Arsenal in the Champions League semi-finals, and Ferguson wanted to save his star asset for the tests ahead, particularly the European final against Guardiola's Barcelona.

Now the long-retired Ferguson's influence tells once more. He persuaded Ronaldo to take his United career into extra time during his first stint at the club, and now the man Jose Mourinho describes as Solskjaer's 'big boss' has struck again.


Messi v Ronaldo: The reunion's off!

The great rivalry between the standout players of their generation looked set to be rekindled in the Champions League group stage, with Ronaldo's City taking on Messi's PSG. Scrub that now though. Any such clash will have to wait for the knock-out rounds, with United having Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys to negotiate in their pool.

This announcement tells us United are craving Champions League success again. They have won the competition three times, while Ronaldo has done so on five occasions, once with United and four times at Madrid. In three years at Juventus, he could not drag the Old Lady of Italian football to European glory, however, a disappointment given that had been ostensibly why he was signed.

United's owners, the Glazer family, will expect the investment in Ronaldo to pay off handsomely, given his commercial appeal and United's global reach. And the  Glazers even stand to earn a little rare kudos from supporters who are bound to get misty-eyed at this deal.

Signing a five-time Ballon d'Or winner will be interpreted as taking a short-cut to glory. It is a gamble too though.

Two Scudetti in three years at Juventus was one fewer than Ronaldo may have expected to take away from Turin, given Juventus were on a seven-in-a-row streak when he joined, and the coach who delivered the second of those titles, Maurizio Sarri, recently spoke of the challenges involved in accounting for the Portuguese's imposing presence.

Sarri told Sportitalia in July: "The management of Ronaldo is not easy, he is a multinational that has personal interests to match those of the team. It is certainly a difficult situation to manage."

But Sarri ventured that there were "many positive aspects because at the end of the year Ronaldo brings important results".

The ego has landed, back in Manchester, back in red. It's one-nil to Solskjaer and his big boss in the season's first battle of Manchester, and the rest of the campaign should be a thrill ride.

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