Sir Alex Ferguson gives Fulham boss René Meulensteen his support

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René Meulensteen has had a rough time of it since officially taking over the reins at Fulham at the start of December. While Martin Jol didn’t leave him much to work with – the Cottagers had just notched their sixth straight defeat and were sitting 18th – Meulensteen hasn’t done much to put Fulham back on track. The side are now sitting dead last in the Premier League, four points from safety, and have lost their last four in a row, outscored 11-1.

As if having to watch his side fail to score in their last three outings wasn’t enough, Meulensteen now has to deal with the threat of Alan Curbishley, currently the club’s technical director, taking over at the helm. Oh, and he has to do it all while looking ahead to Sunday’s match at Old Trafford, where Fulham need a result against his former club Manchester United.

Fortunately, Meulensteen has someone in his corner: former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, whom the Dutchman worked under while coach at the club. According to Meulensteen, Ferguson is still mentoring him: “Sir Alex Ferguson was the first man to reassure me and say ‘stick to your beliefs and know what you’re capable of'”.

The Fulham manager seems to be taking Sir Alex’s advice. Meulensteen, in an interview with the Telegraph, talked about building upon Ferguson’s managerial style to encourage his players. He wants his side to have the same sort of winning mentality found at United under their former manager: “We are standing at the bottom of the mountain. The players can say: ‘Let’s make sure we get to that first base and we are all right.’ I say: ‘Hold on a minute, if you go a bit further, there’s the best restaurant on the mountain, with the best view you can get, and it’s even better.’ That’s the mentality: look beyond.’’

Meulensteen may want his side to be able to admire the view from the top of the mountain, but the fact is, there’s still a steep incline to hike. And while United may not be flourishing under David Moyes as they were under Sir Alex Ferguson, going to Old Trafford will not be an easy stroll through the park for Fulham. But if Meulensteen pulls off a result on Sunday, he’ll likely have the support of more than just Sir Alex behind him.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

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Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.