Man United, Ronaldo terminate contract by mutual consent

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Cristiano Ronaldo is officially a free agent after agreeing to terminate his Manchester United contract, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

In a brief statement, Manchester United closed the book on what turned out to be an ugly, legacy-altering reunion and second chapter with Ronaldo.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future,” the statement read.

“Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”


Ronaldo has finally spoken out about his attempts to leave Manchester United and after months of silence he did not hold back.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Speaking to Piers Morgan, Ronaldo hit out at Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, the club and people within it for not letting him leave this summer.

After starting in United’s 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa last weekend, Ronaldo, 37, has not featured in United’s final two games before the World Cup due to an illness. I think we can now read between the lines and suggest it may have been down to this interview.

Manchester United have responded to the interview by giving the statement below.

Statement from Manchester United after explosive Ronaldo comments

“Manchester United notes the media coverage regarding an interview by Cristiano Ronaldo. The club will consider its response after the full facts have been established.

“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff, and fans.”

Simply put: they are not happy with this.

Cristiano Ronaldo opens up on Manchester United situation

“Not only the coach but the other two or three guys around the club,” Ronaldo said when asked if United are trying to force him out. “I felt betrayed.”

Asked if he felt like they were trying to get rid of him, Ronaldo’s response went as follows.

“Honestly I should not say that. I don’t know. I don’t care. People should always listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed and I felt that some people don’t want me here [at Manchester United]. Not only this year but last year too.”

He went on to say this about Erik ten Hag: “I don’t have respect for Erik ten Hag because he doesn’t show respect for me,” Ronaldo said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I will never have any for you.”

Hen then went on to hammer the club, saying nothing has changed since Sir Alex Ferguson has left. He also said he loves Man United and the fans but said the club has to change many things.

“Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero,” Ronaldo added.

Ronaldo slams Glazers, says club didn’t believe him about sick daughter

The excerpts continue to be released with the full interview not yet released and Cristiano Ronaldo has also hit out at United’s American owners the Glazer family.

“The owners of the club – the Glazers – they don’t care about the club,” Ronaldo said. “I mean professional sport. Manchester United is a marketing club, they get their money from the marketing… The sports, they don’t really care in my opinion.”

He also revealed that he felt United’s hierarchy didn’t believe him when he told them he couldn’t go on their preseason tour due to his daughter being ill in hospital.

“I spoke with the director and the president of Man Utd and they kind of didn’t believe that something was going wrong, which made me feel bad,” Ronaldo said. “And it is something that really hurt me because they doubted my word that I was struggling, especially Bella and Geo [Georgina Rodriguez, Ronaldo’s girlfriend]. We had one week in hospital because Bella had a big problem and I didn’t go to the pre-season because of that. I didn’t want to leave my family to do the pre-season because I didn’t think it was fair to leave my family for a pre-season. This is why I didn’t go.”

City move ‘was close’ as Ronaldo slams young players

“Well, honestly, it [moving to City] was close. They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me,” Ronaldo said. ” But, as you know, my history is in Manchester United. Your heart, you’re feeling the way you did before, and it made the difference. And of course, as well, Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart speaks loud in that moment.

“I think it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think, I did [make] a conscious decision. I don’t regret at some point. And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key. I spoke with him… He said to me that ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’. And I said ‘OK, Boss’.”

Ronaldo then went on to lambast the young players (he did praise United teammates Diogo Dalot and Lisandro Martinez) in the game today and hit out at their lack of hunger to succeed.

“They [the young players] live in a different era. My kid is 12-years-old, the mentality is not the same. The anger [is the difference], they have things more easily. They don’t suffer. And they don’t care. I don’t mean only a few at Manchester United, I mean in all teams. The new generation and the new technologies, they distract them. But they are not the same [in the way] that they listen but this is why we have two ears, as you listen from one side and they go away from another side,” Ronaldo added.

“So, it doesn’t surprise me. But in the same way, it’s a little bit [of a] shame because if they have the best examples in front of eyes, and if they don’t, at least copy what [they] did. For me, it’s kind of weird, because I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, I always looked to see the best players: (Ruud) Van Nistelrooy, (Rio) Ferdinand, Roy Keane, and (Ryan) Giggs – this is why I have the success that I have and longevity. Because I take care of my body, my mentality, my head, because I see these guys and I learn from them.

“I’m not the kind of guy who likes to give advice as I prefer to be an example. Because I’m an example. I’m there every morning and do the same stuff. I’m probably the first one to arrive and the last one to go out. I think the details speak for itself. As I told you before, they listen to one thing and in two minutes they have already forgotten and do what they think is better. This is why I say, I like to lead by example and some ones they follow me – but not much.

“They don’t care – some, yes, but most of them, no. But for me that is not surprising because they are not going to have longevity in their careers. It is impossible. In my generation you see many players reach 36, 37, 38 at a high level and I think this generation you will count on one hand how many will reach that level.”

What next?

After all this, it is clear Cristiano Ronaldo will not play for Manchester United again, even though he has over six months left on his current contract.

How can he?

After talking out against the manager and other club officials for the first time publicly, he knows what he wants to do. United are doing just fine without him (he has three goals in 16 appearances across all competitions this season) and he hasn’t slotted in to Erik ten Hag’s system at all despite United having issues with strikers out injured.

He also seems to have upset his teammates at United. Just look at the reception he received from United’ Bruno Fernandes when they met up on international duty with Portugal. Frosty indeed.

Ronaldo wants out of United after the World Cup and the timing of this interview is perfect as he will now go away with Portugal for the next six weeks and he will want his future and a move away sorted by the time the January window opens.

After scoring just once in the Premier League for United this season, being used sparingly and refusing to come on as a sub against Tottenham and leaving the stadium early during a preseason game, Ronaldo has not played ball and is not in Erik ten Hag’s plans. He wanted out all summer long and is now trying to turn it on the club.

United wanted to keep him and convince him to stay, while none of the so-called ‘super clubs’ seemed to arrive with a serious offer to sign him. After this stunt, you can understand why.

Let’s see if that will change in January as Ronaldo targets a return to the UEFA Champions League and after forcing him to stick around United will now surely be forced to offload him.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second spell at the club where he made his name is set to end in an extremely unsavory manner.

Brentford beat Brighton in top-half battle, as Toney scores two more (video)

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Brentford vs Brighton recap: Ivan Toney scored once from open play and once from the penalty spot to hand the Bees a much-needed 2-0 victory over the Seagulls in west London on Friday.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Toney opened the scoring with a sensational backheel finish in the 27th minute and followed it up with a penalty kick, which he also earned, in the 64th. The 26-year-old now has eight Premier League goals this season, putting him level with Harry Kane for second-most. Erling Haaland remains seven ahead with 15.

The victory sends Brentford (13 points – 8th place) into the top half of the PL table, where Brighton (14 points – 7th) remain stuck in neutral themselves after beginning the post-Graham Potter era with a draw and now two straight defeats.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY


What we learned from Brentford vs Brighton

The difference a marquee striker makes…

It wouldn’t be at all unfair to say that, ever since Graham Potter came to the club in the summer of 2019, Brighton have played a more attractive, entertaining style of football than have the Bees in their season-plus in the top flight. Last season, it produced five more points and a finish four places better in the Premier League table. This season (thus far), just one point and one place.

It’s hard to watch Brentford vs Brighton without thinking, “How good would these Seagulls be if they had a center forward like that guy?” Friday’s game saw two drastically different philosophies produce roughly the same quality of scoring chances (1.56 and 1.79 xG, respectively), with one side prioritizing quality over quantity, and vice versa for the other. David Raya, of course, played his part and made seven saves to keep his third clean sheet of the season.

Not only did Toney score two more goals on Friday (his 52nd and 53rd goals for Brentford in just over two full seasons – all competitions), but he continues to be the player who steps up in the Bees’ biggest moments. For that alone, Toney’s face and name are most synonymous with Brentford’s incredible rise to the PL (and establishing themselves to stay there).

And to think, Brighton have managed to get to where they are without their Toney. Just how good would they be, though?

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How to watch Brentford vs Brighton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET Friday (pregame coverage at 2pm)
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Brentford’s been pretty darn unlucky this season, giving up four more goals than xGA and collecting 2.78 less points than xPTS. Two of its last three matches, however, have been legit beatdowns from Arsenal and Newcastle in both expected and actual goals. But this is Brentford’s first home match since the Sept. 18 loss to Arsenal, almost a month! It should be rowdy in the building.

This will be the first game since Brighton’s sparkplug midfielder Enock Mwepu announced his retirement due to a hereditary heart condition. The Seagulls have shown resilience when hit with the unexpected, like Graham Potter’s exit to Chelsea, but don’t be surprised to see a tribute to Mwepu.


Brentford team news, injuries, starting lineups

OUT: Christian Norgaard (tendonitis), Pontus Jansson (thigh), Keane Lewis-Potter (ankle)

Brighton team news, injuries, starting lineups

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee)

Bruno Guimares, Newcastle feast on wayward Brentford’s errors

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Newcastle United made it back-to-back wins when it — and VAR — shook off an early Brentford goal en route to a 5-1 win over the error-prone Bees at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Bruno Guimares bagged a brace to join Jacob Murphy and Miguel Almiron on the score sheet, while Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier had assists on the day. Ethan Pinnock accounted for a Brentford own goal when Joelinton’s dangerous cross helped end the scoring just before stoppage time.

WATCH NEWCASTLE vs BRENTFORD FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

The Magpies appeared to go behind on Bryan Mbeumo’s 12th-minute goal but Video Assistant Referee asked for a screen review of offside because Ivan Toney made a move on the through ball and the goal was chalked off.

Brentford would later score on an Ivan Toney penalty that was confirmed by VAR that only briefly made the score line 2-1.

Newcastle moves into fifth place for the moment with 14 points, while Brentford’s 10 points have it 12th on the Premier League table.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


What we learned from Newcastle vs Brentford

Bright Magpies take advantage: Newcastle looked very good from Moment No. 1 and continues to play with a confidence of a team on the rise. There’s been little waste from the Magpies in recent weeks and their supporters will be forgiven for believing there’s a strong chance their side can leap into the Top Six ahead of schedule. Bruno Guimares is having an exceptional first full year at St. James’ Park and Sven Botman and Nick Pope were superb additions as well.

Mistakes add to Bees woes: Newcastle surely didn’t need help to win the game. Whatever your opinion on the VAR decision to take away Mbeumo’s goal, there’s little doubt that Brentford errors at the back essentially gifted Newcastle the opportunity to score two straight-forward goals. It was a true comedy of errors by the time Ethan Pinnock turned a Joelinton cross into an own goal.

Howe he’s doing it: Eddie Howe, yes, has received some sensational buys in the transfer market from Newcastle’s owners, but he’s also made some inspired moves with his pre-existing Magpies. Joelinton’s move from forward to center mid has been well-documented — “J7” didn’t start on Saturday — but the rebirth of Fabian Schar as a dependable starter and the reinvigoration of Miguel Almiron and now Jacob Murphy means Newcastle’s depth is going to feel even better once Allan Saint-Maximin, Jonjo Shelvey, and Alexander Isak are ready to start.


Tactical focus

Bruno Guimares is such a good and multi-faceted midfielder that he allows Newcastle’s other midfielders to take chances and its front three to press and attack with abandon (if required). Outside the Bees’ errors, Bruno is a huge part of the game’s story.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Newcastle vs Brentford
fotmob.com

Stars of the show

Bruno Guimares

Miguel Almiron

Kieran Trippier

Ivan Toney


What’s next?

Brentford hosts Brighton on Friday afternoon, while Newcastle will visit Manchester United at 9am ET Sunday, Oct. 16.


Eddie Howe reaction: Bruno, Almiron superb

Eddie Howe on Bruno Guimares: “He was outstanding. We really missed him when he was out. Quality player who helps us in every phase. … If you look where the goals came from today our intensity and pressing, we forced them into errors and we got rewarded for that.

Eddie Howe on Miguel Almiron: “It is all about building consistency to his game but he has performed brilliantly off the ball and now he is adding goals to that.”


Bruno Guimares goal videos: Brazilian stoops to put NUFC in front

Jacob Murphy goal video: Callum Wilson defers


How to watch Newcastle vs Brentford live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Exciting forward Allan Saint-Maximin could return for Newcastle, making an already cohesive unit more dangerous. The 25-year-old has a goal and two assists in four appearances this season and scored in this fixture, a 3-3 draw, last season.

Brentford has scored the fifth-most goals in the Premier League this season — quite good — but only six teams have conceded more than the Bees. Goalkeeper David Raya has made 30 saves, tied for third in the Premier League with… Nick Pope. So perhaps it’s time to expect fireworks.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Karl Darlow (ankle), Alexander Isak (thigh), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh)

Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Keane Lewis-Potter (ankle), Pontus Jansson (thigh), Christian Norgaard (tendonitis)

Brentford on lucky end of Bournemouth penalty decision, scoreless draw

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Bournemouth vs Brentford recap: The Bees were perhaps lucky to escape with a point, thanks to a curious penalty decision, in a 0-0 draw at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

The game’s biggest moment came in the 20th minute, when Brentford defender Kristoffer Ajer appeared to slide through Bournemouth left back Jordan Zemura. Ajer made no contact with the ball (he could have, as it appeared well within his reach) before pulling out of the challenge, leaving his legs high and catching Zemura who tried to hurdle the outstretched defender.

Referee Thomas Bramall initially said no foul, and then maintained that position following his own lengthy video review session.

Ivan Toney made a goal-line clearance at one end of the field and missed the game’s best scoring chance at the other, both in the second half as Brentford controlled possession and looked the likeliest to score in the stalemate affair.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY


How to watch Bournemouth vs Brentford live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Brentford sit 9th in the Premier League table, even after only seven games, is no small achievement for a tiny club that only made its PL debut a year ago. They look like they belong in the top half of the table as well, with their 15 goals scored bested by only Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal — the top three sides in the league heading into matchweek 8. Ivan Toney is back to his goal-scoring best with five in seven games, chipping in a pair of assists as well as he continues to prove himself a complete player at the top level, resulting in his first England call-up (but not appearance, yet) last week.

Bournemouth are trying to replicate Brentford’s top-flight success after returning to the Premier League this season. Without a star center forward like Toney (six goals scored, 4th-fewest in the PL), the Cherries will frequently look to grind out results by keeping clean sheets, only their defensive record (19 conceded in seven games) runs to the contrary.


Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee), Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles) | QUESTIONABLE: Keane Lewis-Potter (knock), Ethan Pinnock (knee)

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Five questions for the USMNT’s September friendlies

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You don’t have to like facts and don’t kill the messenger.

These are the forewarning statements from this writer ahead of this post, which will evaluate the five things to watch closest during September’s United States men’s national team friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia.

[ MORE: Japan vs USMNT preview ]

With red-hot Jordan Pefok surprisingly left off this roster, already-raised are threatening to leave the forehead, so a reminder:

Gregg Berhalter’s decisions are what we’re considering here, not what any individual writer might do (Jordan Pefok, John Brooks, Tim Ream, and Djordje Mihailovic would really like a certain individual’s takes).

So read on, as we evaluate the evaluations that are the final two World Cup warm-ups as the precious tournament approaches with great vigor.

How does Christian Pulisic look (in form and face)?

Christian Pulisic is, basically, too good for CONCACAF. He’s also too good to be a part-time player right now, which he is with Chelsea.

The intense USMNT striker has a permanent chip on his shoulder and should feel unleashed as one of the side’s focal points.

The fact that the modifier “one of” is even included in a discussion about a player who was — and maybe is — the program’s generational talent shows how growth of young players in the program has been golden; Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, and Brenden Aaronson are among the talents who keep rising but haven’t touched their ceilings.

[ MORE: Ranking the 2022 World Cup kits ]

So who is the 24-year-old (as of Sunday) Pulisic right now and what is his frame of mind? Are his 177 Chelsea minutes played out of 900 this season down to bad management, or has it been merited by form in training?

Pulisic has yet to record a goal or assist for Chelsea this season, but he has no such slum,ps in his USMNT career. He has 21 goals and 12 assists in 51 caps and it’s not all CONCACAF dominance despite the new Nations League calendar dictating that most recent games have been against regional foes; Pulisic had two assists in the 3-0 win over Morocco, scored in the 2-1 away win over Northern Ireland.

The American’s play and body language are going to be read as often as his commercial with Roy Kent has aired on television, which is fitting as this time of a World Cup cycle definitely has it’s fill of pressure-pressure-pressure-pressure.

How sharp are Matt Turner and the goalkeepers?

Some would say that Arsenal backup goalkeeper was already No. 1 on the USMNT’s goalkeeping depth chart, but Zack Steffen’s injury problems have very much made the first shirt up for grabs if it wasn’t already.

Turner, 28, has 18 caps for the U.S. and when healthy was first choice for his last three World Cup qualifiers. He’s started every other game since returning for June’s international friendlies and Nations League outings clean sheets against Morocco and Grenada.

He’s been second-choice to Aaron Ramsdale since moving from Arsenal, but Turner made his Gunners and Europa League debuts with a 2-1 win over Zurich in Switzerland.

So now Turner enters September’s camp as a clear No. 1 amongst the current call-ups, in front of Luton Town’s Ethan Horvath and NYCFC’s Sean Johnson.

It’s also an important camp for Horvath, as it feels inevitable that Johnson has secured steady hand third keeper status. Johnson is five years older than Turner and six years older than Horvath and Steffen, and Berhalter’s had plenty of praise for the veteran. Horvath’s been good for the Hatters in the Football League Championship, but what if Steffen is healthy and there’s only one spot left after Turner and Johnson?

Will away dry spell end in Germany, Spain?

A few will dismiss this query given that the rich status of soccer in the United States sure gets a lot of games on U.S. soil, providing limited chances to perform outside of the U.S.

But the Yanks are winless in six-straight away fixtures, drawing El Salvador, Mexico, and Jamaica while losing to Costa Rica, Canada, and Panama since a 4-1 win over Honduras at San Pedro Sula on Sept. 8, 2021.

Throw in the fact that this window’s friendlies are against strong, hungry Asian sides readying for the World Cup, and you’ve got all the makings of proper tests.

Japan thumped South Korea in July and Ghana in June. Losses to Brazil and Tunisia show they can be bested, but Japan’s got wins over plenty of World Cup contributors in their rear view mirror. Austria and Saudi Arabia combined to take only three points off the Japanese in World Cup qualifying (The Saudis won 1-0 in Jeddah).

Captain Maya Yoshia isn’t the only familiar name on Japan’s roster, as Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu, Monaco’s Takumi MInamino, and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Daichi Kamada, and Real Sociedad’s Takefuso Kubo sit behind dangerous Celtic strikers Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda.

As for Saudi Arabia, it went 13W-4D-1L in qualifying and play in a lot of 1-0 contests including recent Spain-based friendly losses to Colombia and Venezuela. The team will also feel at home in Murcia, where it played those matches and where it will tangle with Ecuador four days prior to the tilt against Berhalter’s men.

Put plainly, these are tough tests for the USMNT.Berhalter’s team is the No. 14 FIFA-ranked team and they sit No. 23 in Elo Ratings.

Here’s where those settle alongside their September opponents and World Cup group stage foes:

  • England 5/12
  • USMNT 14/23
  • Wales 19/22
  • Iran 22/25
  • Japan 24/29
  • Saudi Arabia 53/59

Game(s) on.

Who, if anyone, can crash the roster party?

We’ve got a pretty good read of the definites and extremely likelies when it comes for the roster for Qatar.

First let’s use a couple of superifical metrics. Who was used in U.S. Soccer’s official jersey unveiling video? And who was included in the collectible Panini sticker book for the 2022 World Cup?

Sticker book: Turner, Steffen, Dest, Long, Richards, A. Robinson, Yedlin, Zimmerman, Aaronson, Acosta, Adams, McKennie, Musah, Ferreira, Pepi, Pulisic, Reyna, Weah

Jersey unveiling: Adams, Aaronson, Pulisic, A. Robinson, Long, McKennie, Zimmerman, Dest, Richards, Weah, Acosta, Ferreira, Musah, Arriola, Reyna, Long, De La Torre, Yedlin, Morris, Carter-Vickers, Tillman.

Who can crash the party?

Josh Sargent, Johnny Cardoso, Joe Scally, Erik Palmer-Brown, Mark McKenzie, Reggie Cannon, Ethan Horvath, and Sean Johnson are all on the roster this month and not in the above categories. McKenzie, Palmer-Brown, and Cardoso have only been called due to injuries, so this is a huge chance for them.

Where is the forward focus right now?

Barring injuries, we’re positive that Pulisic, Aaronson, Arriola, Ferreira, Weah, and Reyna are set for Qatar.

Doesn’t leave room for too many others, does it?

While positional pools are often drained of also-rans this close to a tournament, what makes the USMNT’s forward ranks so intriguing is that not only is the starting center forward job still in play, but it could come from someone who isn’t even in it right now.

That’s Jordan Pefok, who will be looming over the discussions anyway but will be downright casting his shadow over it if one of the following players fails to seal his own deal.

Ricardo Pepi’s had a pair of bright outings for Groningen, entering the window along with Josh Sargent as in-form now and ultra-bright prospects at some points during their tenure.

Jordan Morris is a proven commodity but Arriola’s seeming favorite status means Berhalter would be keeping very much like-for-like guys over the field. That said, Aaronson and Morris being in this camp means that the September group plus Weah could very well be the group.