Cristiano Ronaldo returns to training with Portugal

1 Comment

Take that, Ghanan witch doctor!

With the public largely in the dark on the extent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s injuries ahead of the World Cup, we now have a small update.

The Portuguese FA has confirmed that Ronaldo, in addition Raul Meireles, has returned to normal training with the team, although it’s unclear to what extent they are partaking.

While a bit vague, it’s great news for Portugal nonetheless, who have looked utterly lost in two friendlies without their star forward.

Reports have been varied and somewhat unclear, but the most serious ones indicated Ronaldo was struggling with a dual injury – one to his left thigh that could involve a torn muscle, and another to his left knee which was reportedly caused by swelling and/or tendinitis.

Before Portugal’s match with Mexico last night, which they won 1-0 on a winner in stoppage time, manager Paulo Bento was mum on Ronaldo’s injury, saying, “I’m unable to change the prognosis. I’m unable to change what we expect. When he’s ready to play is a decision that’s going to be made the same way it’s always been made.”

Others mentioned in the release include defender Pepe, a teammate of Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid, who is doing side work during training as he looks to return from a calf injury that kept him out of the Champions League final.  Goalkeeper Beto is still unable to participate in training at all and is doing rehab work at the hotel.

Teams have up to 24 hours before their first World Cup match to replace injured players on the roster.  Portugal opens against Germany on June 16th, with the United States starting against Ghana on the same day. Portugal plays the US in Manaus on June 22.

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

[ LIVE: Stream every Premier League game ]

“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.