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Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Manchester United after 12 years

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Ronaldo has been with Juventus since 2018. He will rejoin, the club with which he established himself as a superstar.

After 12 years in which he has claimed a dozen or more major trophies and broken a string of records, Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Manchester United (in England), where he first established himself as a superstar – one of the finest players – leaving Juventus on a two-year contract.

The team confirmed Ronaldo’s return on Friday, saying the deal was “subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical.”

The rush of people logging on to read the announcement crashed Manchester United’s website.

A reunion that many United fans have longed for over much of the last decade materialized only at the last minute, thanks in part to the public and private interventions of several of Ronaldo’s former teammates, his long-term mentor, Alex Ferguson, and his colleague with the Portuguese international side, and now United, Bruno Fernandes.

On Thursday evening, it appeared that Ronaldo would be returning to Manchester — but to play for the team across the city.

He had informed Massimiliano Allegri, the Juventus manager, that he had no intention of playing for the team again, while his agent, Jorge Mendes, was trying to negotiate a salary package with Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champion.

Ronaldo was a dominant force for Manchester United earlier in his career.

City’s appetite for the deal, though, was said to be tepid at best; the impetus had all been from Ronaldo’s representatives. City refused to countenance paying Juventus a fee for a player it was desperate to offload as it sought to cut costs in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

City’s best offer was a swap deal including Raheem Sterling, the English forward, which Juventus rejected. By Friday morning, the club was distancing itself from signing Ronaldo.

United, though, had been spurred into action by the thought of one of its most beloved alumni playing for a direct rival. Several former United players, including Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, as well as Ferguson, either reached out in private or spoke out in public to urge Ronaldo not to forget where in the northwest of England his loyalties lie.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club’s coach, spoke glowingly of Ronaldo in a news media conference on Friday. “He knows we’re always here,” Solskjaer said.

The club, with permission by its owners, the Glazer family, agreed to a salary package for the next two seasons with Ronaldo’s representatives, and eventually offered Juventus a fee that could rise close to $40 million, depending on the 36-year-old’s success with the team during his second stint.

As the details were being finalized, all Ronaldo could do was wait. He had been pictured, earlier on Friday, boarding a private jet near Turin, Italy, where Juventus is based. At that stage, his destination was unknown. A few hours later, as far as United’s fans, his former teammates and his current manager are concerned, he was heading for the only place he could: home.

New York Times

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Chelsea, Man United tussle over Neymar

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Neymar

Chelsea, Newcastle, and Manchester United could make a move for PSG winger Neymar this summer.

Neymar is highly regarded as one of the best players to have ever graced a football pitch, and the Brazilian has won countless trophies during his time at Barcelona and PSG.

His time at the French champions could be over, however, with RMC Sport reporting that he is considering looking for a move away from the club this summer.

The report also claimed that three Premier League clubs could make a move, naming Newcastle, Chelsea, and Manchester United.

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Due to the likely astronomical wages that come with signing Neymar, not many clubs will be able to afford the Brazilian winger.

Although the report doesn’t suggest the trio of clubs are seriously considering signing Neymar, there’s no doubt there would be interest from all three clubs, simply due to what he can offer to their side.

Neymar has managed 342 goals during his whole career, but that is only a small percentage of what he can provide. His creativity and dribbling ability mean he’s such a handful for opposition defenders, and the prospect of him playing in the Premier League is an exciting one.

A move to Manchester United and Newcastle seems unlikely due to their Champions League status, but linking up with former manager Thomas Tuchel and former teammate Thiago Silva could be on the cards.

EAGLE

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Okoye: My ambition is the Premier League

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Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye is preparing ahead of the new season and has indicated his desire to help the club gain promotion back to the top flight.

Okoye, 22, was a £5m signing from Dutch side, Sparta Rotterdam in January.

He only joined up with the Hornets at the off season having been on loan at Sparta Rotterdam since January.

“I think in every player’s head is going back up to the Premier League,” the former Fortuna Düsseldorf goalkeeper said. Okoye was quoted by Watford Observer as saying;“ It’s important to have ambition.

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“On a personal level, I just want to help fulfill that ambition for the other players and the club. The more playing time the better, but most of all I want to see myself grow as a person and a goalkeeper.”

The German-born goalkeeper said English football has always been a dream and he will work hard to make it come true.

”If I can get playing time and improve then that is fantastic. I grew up watching English football and it was always a dream to play in this country.

“As a kid, it was English football I wanted to play in and now I’m going to put the work in to make that happen.”

EAGLE

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Nigeria win WAFU B U17 Championship in Ghana

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Golden Eaglets

Five-time world champions, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria edged the Young Stallions of Burkina Faso 2-1 in Friday’s WAFU U17 final played at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.

Forward Abubakar Abdullahi had threatened the Burkinabe rear as early as the 8th minute when his low drive streamed away from goal, but in the 22nd minute, he rose highest in the box to powerfully nod Emmanuel Michael’s perfect delivery into the net for Nigeria’s first goal.

In the 34th minute, Abdullahi missed a golden opportunity to make it two for himself and for Nigeria, but he fluffed his lines, allowing the Stallions a respite. The miss would knock hard seven minutes later, when Abdulramane Ouedraogo, also with a header, equalized for Burkina Faso.

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Two minutes into the second half, Abdullahi got his second and Nigeria’s second, taking the Golden Eaglets to a 2-1 lead. However, 12 minutes later, he should have made it a hat-trick and Nigeria’s third but he lost the opportunity.

That loss could once more have proved costly, as the Stallions broke forward, only to see Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh come up with a magnificent save.

In the 67th minute, Ebube Okeke rocked the crossbar from 25 yards, but there were to be no more goals and Nigeria collected a second regional diadem at the youth level five weeks after the U20 boys defeated neighbours Benin Republic in the final to win the WAFU B competition in the Niger Republic.

THE NATION

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