Cristiano Ronaldo hits out at Real Madrid’s transfer moves

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Over the summer Real Madrid brought in World Cup stars Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas, while they also loaned in Javier Hernandez on Deadline Day.

Adding the top scorer at the World Cup, Rodriguez, arguably the best all-around player, Kroos, and one of the top ‘keepers, Navas, isn’t bad going, right? Ask Cristiano Ronaldo what he thinks…

[RELATED: Transfer window grades]

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On Monday the Real star gave an honest assessment of the transfer dealings Carlo Ancelotti and his staff have done this summer and the reigning World and European Player of the Year didn’t seem too happy.

Real sold Angel di Maria to Manchester United and Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich over the last week, as two of Real’s most important cogs in their machine were cast aside.

[RELATED: How Manchester United might line up with its new stars]

Here’s what Ronaldo had to say about those deals when asked by reporters, while he hung out at a racetrack with sponsors on transfer Deadline Day.

“My opinion is very clear but I can’t always say what I think…If I was in charge I wouldn’t have done things like this…But if the President thinks the best thing for the team is to sign the players he signed and let others leave you must respect and support his decisions. With the new players the style will change, but it could change for the best or the worse. Hopefully it is for the best as they are players of a very good level.

“Di Maria and Xabi were very important for us, but they are no longer here and we must be happy with the new players. I’m sure it will all go well. Ancelotti has a lot of experience and knows what the team needs and doesn’t need. We lost but there is no need for alarm, we have to let the boss work in peace.”

Well, tell us how you really feel, Cristiano.

The Portuguese star obviously felt some affinity towards Alonso and Di Maria and is therefore stating their departures are big deals. Which they are. However the part where the 29-year-old says “I wouldn’t have done things like this” seem to be more about where Real strengthened. With Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karem Benzema on board, did they really need an attacker like Rodriguez on board for $107 million? With a slightly porous defense, that’s being kind, you’d think Real would have worked hard to bring in defensive reinforcements this summer.

[RELATED: Latest transfer window news]

Over the weekend they were stunned 4-2 by Real Sociedad after leading 2-0 early on, as Real’s defense was shambolic and huge questions marks remain over the summer transfer policy of stardom over substance. That said, that has never been the way Florentino Perez has run the club as Los Galacticos continue to roll in the stars at the expense of having a balanced squad.

Speaking openly about a number of topics, Ronaldo also had plenty of praise for his former club, Manchester United, as the winger hailed Falcao’s arrival at Old Trafford.

[WATCH: Ronaldo’s distance blast highlights La Liga openers]

“He is a very good player, I think Manchester have done well to sign him,” Ronaldo said. “We are talking about a top player here and a fantastic signing.”

Does Ronaldo wish Falcao would have arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu instead of Rodriguez and Kroos?

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.

Renard, Morocco ‘very proud’ of unlucky national team

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If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.

Queiroz: Iran has one ‘match point’ left in World Cup group stage

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Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…