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Ronaldo scores 700th goal for club and country

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Cristiano Ronaldo achieved yet another personal milestone in his star-studded career on Monday evening with a simple penalty kick goal.

With his 72nd minute strike, Ronaldo tallied his 700th goal for club and country in his career. It’s an incredible achievement, and one indicative of his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his long career.

Ronaldo was already leading all active players globally in terms of goals scored, so his 700th is only adding to the list. His former club nemesis, Lionel Messi, still sits a reported 28 goals behind him, according to Soccerway. After them, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest, and he has “only” 542 goals.

The Portuguese icon becomes the sixth male player to score 700 goals in his career. The others include Pele, Romaro, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, and Gerd Muller.

Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the 2002-2003 season as a 17-year-old and quickly was snapped up by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson, where he transitioned from a tricky winger to a clinical striker who couldn’t stop scoring.

The 34-year-old has scored 40-or-more goals on three occasions in his career and he scored 25-or-more goals in all nine years he was at Real Madrid. For Portugal, he’s now scored an incredible 95 goals in all competitions. He had 15 goals in World Cup qualifying alone for the 2018 campaign.

Watch the video of Ronaldo’s breaking goal below. Unfortunately for him, Portugal fell, 2-1 to Ukraine.

Van der Sar: ‘Of course, I’d be interested’ in Man Utd DoF job

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Edwin van der Sar spent six hugely successful seasons at Manchester United (four Premier League titles, one Champions League title and one League Cup) during his illustrious playing career, and the big Dutch goalkeeper-turned-club-executive says in no uncertain terms that he’s open to returning to Old Trafford as the director of football.

[ MORE: Italy qualifies for EURO 2020 with win over Greece ]

“Of course I’d be interested in a position,” Van der Sar said this weekend when asked about rumors of the 48-year-old potentially becoming the chief decision maker at Man United.

Van der Sar, who’s currently the CEO of his first professional club, Ajax, comes across as a true football romantic in speaking about the two clubs with which he’s most commonly associated. While it sounds like Ajax is something of a dream job for him, a job the size of Man United sounds like the real end goal — quotes from Sports Illustrated:

“Besides my family, my wife and kids and everything I have two loves in my life. That’s Ajax, who gave me the opportunity to develop, they scouted me, they gave me the chance to shine in the world of football.

“And the last club of my career (Manchester United) also gave me a lot of attention, recognition and everything, developed at a later stage. And of course, I’d be interested in a position.”

“I need to learn a little more here [at Ajax], develop myself further and eventually let’s see what the future brings. United is a fantastic club, there’s a great following all over the world. Everybody wants to play for them and eventually, work for them.”

United have reportedly been on the hunt for a director of football since the summer of 2018, when chief executive Ed Woodward was said to have conceded some of his power as the club continued to struggle in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s departure. With a squad in desperate need of a top-down rebuild, would United appeal to Van der Sar’s interests in the short-term, or would he rather wait for someone else to clean up the current mess and take over decision-making duties once the club is on more stable footing?

Can Man United buy its way back to glory?

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By all accounts, Manchester United is having a woeful start to the Premier League season. However, the front office reportedly believes it can solve the crisis at the club with strategic purchases over the next two seasons.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Manchester United is looking to make eight signings spread through the next two summer transfer windows. The report claims they’ve already created a shortlist of targets and one may even be acquired in the upcoming winter transfer window in January. Players like Leicester City’s James Maddison and Ben Chillwell have been rumored to be on Man United’s radar in recent days, as it looks to improve its squad.

[READ: Maddison pulls out of England squad]

There’s no doubt that Man United’s team is in dire straights. From the days of Sir Alex Ferguson where the team had Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and many others, the current squad absolutely pales in comparison.

This summer was supposed to be a massive one for the club after another season outside the top four. And yet, the only major signing was Harry Maguire. Ironically, one of the summer’s first signings for current manager – for how long, who knows? – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Daniel James, has been very good when fit.

While on defense Man United is decent, in the final third, the Red Devils are woeful. With Anthony Martial still out injured and the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez this summer, Marcus Rashford looks too under pressure to handle all the responsibility right now. Man United has only scored one goal from open play in the last five games, and it’s not looking like things will improve that much even when Paul Pogba and Martial return from injury.

So it raises the question: Can Man United buy its way out of trouble? The answer, is maybe.

Manchester City spent boatloads of money, and it did end up with a first Premier League-era title in 2012. Only Micah Richards was from the club’s youth system in the squad. The latest smart purchases from Man City has put the club on a path to long-term success.

And yet, it’s not like Man United hasn’t spent a ton of money over the last decade chasing success. Since Ferguson retired, millions were spent on signing so many players, some of whom turned out to be good, but none turned out to be great. There was Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini. Then Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, and Angel Di Maria. Then Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Anthony Martial. Soon after it was Pogba and Eric Bailley and don’t forget Henrik Mkhitaryan. How much did Victor Lindelof, Lukaku and Sanchez cost Man United?

I could go on even further, but the point is made. Man United has spent tons, and it seems like with no plan.

The only way this new plan works is if they buy smart and buy players who fit well in a system, not just the ones who are shining in other systems.

Top Premier League storylines: Week 8

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Week 8 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is upon us, quickly before the second-to-last international break of the calendar year.

[ EUROPA LEAGUE: Man United held to 0-0, Wolves win | Arsenal run rampant ]

Beyond the obvious and evergreen — which one of Liverpool and Manchester City will slip up next? — here’s what to keep an eye on this weekend…


If Leicester can beat Liverpool, they’re really real 

  • Liverpool v. Leicester City, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

There’s no doubt about which side has been the PL’s surprise performer through seven weeks: it’s third-place Leicester. Thus far, the Foxes’ biggest victory came against a struggling Tottenham Hotspur. A victory over unbeaten and perfect Liverpool, at Anfield? Now, that would be a massive statement and a real signal of intent. Throw in the fact that Brendan Rodgers is set to return to Anfield for the first time since departing as Liverpool manager in 2015, and this is easily the most intriguing game of the weekend.


Does it get worse (again) for Man United?

  • Newcastle United v. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Three wins from 10 games (all competitions), including just two in the PL, to start the season: it’s just not good enough for Man United, is it? Teams that United have failed to beat already: Wolves, Southampton and West Ham, among others. Add Newcastle to the list? Any other time, it would be unthinkable to consider it, but these aren’t Sir Alex Ferguson‘s Red Devils, so why not? Newcastle, however, sit 19th and have even fewer wins in the PL (one). Something has to give, probably.


Pulisic to play?

  • Southampton v. Chelsea, Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Christian Pulisic has made exactly one appearance for Chelsea — a 90-minute shift in the Blues’ 7-1 victory over League Two side Grimsby Town in the League Cup — since the start of September. Since making three starts and on substitute appearance in Chelsea’s first four PL games of the season, hardly a sniff of first-team action for the 21-year-old American. He wasn’t even in the team to face Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday. At best, there’s a small disconnect between Pulisic and manager Frank Lampard. At worst, Lampard doesn’t rate him whatsoever and won’t be giving him any opportunities anytime soon. Sunday’s clash with Southampton — Chelsea’s fifth game in 14 days — is as good of a chance as any for Pulisic to play, even if it’s only down to squad rotation.


Newly promoted and already up against it

  • Norwich City v. Aston Villa, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Norwich and Villa were promoted to the PL together, now they appear set to battle relegation together — perhaps against one another. We’re only seven games into the season, but they have just three wins between them and enter the weekend 17th and 18th in the PL table, respectively.

Solskjaer on Man United: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’

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Ahead of Manchester United‘s clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his Red Devils are on track.

Despite sitting 13 points off Premier League leaders Liverpool, the man in his first full season in charge at United is cautiously optimistic about the squad and playing style he is building.

Solskjaer sat down with our partners Sky Sports, and told Gerard Brand that United are just about where he expected them to be right now.

“It’s not like the situation we had last year,” Solskjaer said. “There’s no lack of desire there. For us it’s about building a new culture, building a new team, bringing everybody together. Is it the job I expected? Yes. I never said this was going to be a quick-fix job. It’s step after step after step.”

“Of course, we’ve hit a few bumps in the road, I never said this was going to be a quick-fix job. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We need time, and the attitude of the boys has been great. [We must] keep working on improving the understanding and relationships between all players, and the style we want to play.”

Given the fact Solskjaer inherited an almighty mess last season after Jose Mourinho left, then rejuvenated the squad as they looked likely to finish in the top four before a late season collapse, he deserves more time until he’s properly judged.

Defeats against Crystal Palace and West Ham early this season haven’t helped his cause but neither have costly injuries to Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and now Marcus Rashford.

Context is key in life, and in football.

Solskjaer is slowly trying to create a new culture at United and the younger players he is bedding in (Mason Greenwood, Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Scott McTominay to name a few) will take time to find their feet. There is a clear playing style of counter-attacking coupled with more intense pressing in attacking areas, and it has shown glimpses of working well.

Will Solskjaer be given the time to turn United into a top four team, at the very least, once again?

As he says, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But a decent football team can be built in about 6-12 months. The clock is ticking, Ole…

If United aren’t firmly in the top four battle by January, Ed Woodward and Co. may be getting a little twitchy.

At this point, blaming the manager is probably not the answer. Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and David Moyes have all come and gone since Sir Alex Ferguson retired while the rest of the football structure at the club hasn’t changed at all over the last six years.

That tells its own story and should probably buy Solskjaer at least until the end of this season before he is judged.