Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has ruled out the possibility of the Portuguese superstar making a return to Sporting CP this summer.
The Juventus forward’s future has been the source of constant speculation over recent months, despite notching his 100th goal in just his 131st outing for the club in their recent win over Sassuolo.
The Old Lady’s squad is in desperate need of reinforcements at the end of the season, though their current financial plight means a summer overhaul looks highly unlikely.
One of the reasons the club is being forced to tighten the purse strings is Ronaldo’s eye-watering wages – €31m per year after tax – leading to rumours they could be looking to part ways with the 36-year-old.
Said speculation was further intensified recently when Ronaldo’s mum told Sporting CP fans she would ensure he returned to his former club this summer, though super-agent Mendes has immediately quashed the suggestion, despite admitting the Juve man was delighted they’d managed to secure the Portuguese title this season.
“Cristiano is proud of the title won by Sporting, in fact, as he has publicly demonstrated,” he told Portuguese media outlet Record. “But at the moment his career plans do not go through Portugal”.
Despite ruling out the possibility of a return to Portugal, Mendes stopped short of insisting his client would not be leaving Juventus at all this summer.
A whole host of teams have been mentioned with regards to where Ronaldo could move to if he does depart the Allianz Stadium, with another former club in the shape of Manchester United regularly touted as a potential destination.
However, the Juve hierarchy have remained publicly steadfast in their desire to maintain the services of the Portugal captain, though it remains to be seen whether there’s work going on behind the scenes to move him on.
Manchester City set a new English record of 12 straight away victories with a thrilling 4-3 win over Newcastle United.
Pep Guardiola took his foot off the gas for this game, giving appearances to fringe players like goalkeeper Scott Carson, but an inspired hat-trick from Ferran Torres was enough to fire City to victory.
It was City’s 12th consecutive away victory in the league. Not only has no Premier League side ever managed that, but it has never been done in the history of the English Football League. Not bad.
It’s a run which dates back to December 2020, when City rocked up to St Mary’s Stadium and beat Southampton.
Southampton 0-1 Man City Everton 1-3 Man City Chelsea 1-3 Man City West Brom 0-5 Man City Burnley 0-2 Man City Liverpool 1-4 Man City Arsenal 0-1 Man City Fulham 0-3 Man City Leicester 0-2 Man City Aston Villa 1-2 Man City Crystal Palace 0-2 Man City Newcastle 3-4 Man City
Since then, they have come out on top against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, scoring 32 goals and conceding just seven – three of which came in the chaotic Newcastle game.
The last side to stop City winning away from home this season were Manchester United, who played out a 0-0 draw with their cross-town rivals.
As of now, City’s only away defeat this season came courtesy of Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur, who battled to a deserved 2-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 21 November, 2020.
Guardiola’s men will hope to make it 13 straight wins when they travel to the AMEX Stadium to face Brighton in their final away game of the season on Tuesday, before they conclude their season on home turf against Everton.
With England’s big clubs seemingly desperate to forget all about their tradition in a bid to make a quick dollar, sometimes it’s just nice to look back at the things that really matter in football.
Alright, so the FA Cup may not come with a £500m broadcast deal or a £700m cheque for the winners, but that’s not to say we should forget about the oldest and grandest competition in football.
We’ve been treated to some fantastic FA Cup finals down the years, and 90min has taken a look back to pick out our top ten before ranking them all the way down to the best of them all…
Arsenal’s 2014 clash with Hull may not be an FA Cup final that immediately springs to mind – which is weird considering it was fairly recent – but it was an absolute blockbuster.
The underdogs took an early lead in the showpiece event with goals from centre-back pairing James Chester and Curtis Davies seeing Hull race into a 2-0 lead with just eight minutes gone.
Santi Cazorla immediately hit back to halve the deficit, though Arsenal had to wait until 20 minutes from time to draw level thanks to Laurent Koscielny’s goal, and with just ten minutes of extra time remaining Aaron Ramsey arrived late into the box before slamming the ball past Allan McGregor to hand Arsene Wenger’s side the trophy.
You may well read about a few finals you’d never even heard of in this article, but this one is a game we all remember.
The 2006 FA Cup final saw big favourites Liverpool take on underdogs West Ham at the Millenium Stadium.
Against all the odds, Alan Pardew’s side took a 2-0 lead thank to an own goal from Jamie Carragher and a Dean Ashton strike just a few minutes later.
The Reds fought back and goals from Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard looked to have them back on track, though Paul Konchesky’s cross somehow managed to loop over Pepe Reina and into the back of the net.
With just minutes remaining, captain fantastic Gerrard stepped up to rifle and unstoppable 30-yard drive into the bottom corner, leaving the West Ham side crestfallen as the Reds went on to win the penalty shootout that followed extra time.
Arsenal and Manchester United are two of the most decorated clubs in England so it’s probably no surprise to hear they’ve met each other in the FA Cup on the odd occasion down the years.
Their 1979 meeting was one of the best of the lot, with Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton firing the Gunners into a 2-0 first-half lead.
The contest looked to be dying out before United pulled a rabbit out of the hat late on, with goals from Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy in the final five minutes looking like being enough to force an unlikely period of extra time.
However, there was another late twist to come as Terry Neill’s side launched an attack straight from the kick-off, with Alan Sunderland’s back-post strike enough to secure victory with just one minute left on the clock.
In terms of all out entertainment this final may not be particularly high on most people’s list, but it’s impossible to ignore it.
The so-called ‘Crazy Gang’ were given absolutely no chance as Wimbledon took on the mighty Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final.
The Reds had recently been crowned English champions once again, while Bobby Gould’s side had enjoyed a good campaign themselves despite being well off Liverpool’s level.
Lawrie Sanchez’s first-half header gave Wimbledon the lead before John Aldridge’s second-half penalty was kept out by Dave Beasant to hand Gould’s men the most unlikely of victories.
Tottenham were huge favourites heading into their 1987 FA Cup final with Coventry, and things seemed to be going to plan when Clive Allen’s powerful header edged Spurs ahead early on, though the Sky Blues hit back just a few minutes later through Dave Bennett.
Gary Mabbutt yet again handed Tottenham the lead on the stroke of half-time, but yet again Coventry refused to lie down as Keith Houchen equalised.
With the scores locked at 2-2 the game entered extra-time and Lloyd McGrath’s seemingly timid cross was turned into his own net by Mabbutt to hand Coventry a sensational victory.
Very much in the same vein as Wimbledon’s triumph over Liverpool, this one may not have been full of goals but that’s not to say it’s any less brilliant.
As second division Sunderland headed into the 1973 FA Cup final they were looking to become the first second-tier side to lift the trophy since West Brom all the way back in 1931.
In front of them stood the mighty Leeds, though Ian Porterfield’s first-half strike handed the north east side an unlikely lead.
Of course the winning goal was memorable, though the double save pulled off by Jimmy Montgomery will never be forgotten as he ensured Sunderland would be crowned FA Cup winners for only the second time in their history.
Speaking of memorable FA Cup moments.
While Spurs’ 3-2 win over Manchester City in 1981 was an enthralling watch, the game will forever be remembered for Ricky Villa’s moment of magic.
The Argentinian weaved his way through the City backline before slotting past Joe Corrigan to hand Tottenham the trophy.
The memorable goal actually came in the FA Cup final replay after the two sides had played out a 1-1 draw just five days earlier, but we just couldn’t leave it off our list.
Crystal Palace’s run to the 1990 FA Cup final is one of the most memorable domestic cup runs in English football.
Not many people gave Steve Coppell’s side a chance up against Manchester United – despite the fact the Eagles had knocked out Liverpool in an equally dramatic semi-final – though they started brightly and took the lead through Gary O’Reilly.
Bryan Robson levelled the scoring, before goals from Mark Hughes and Ian Wright saw the game head into extra-time with the scores level at 2-2.
Wright looked to have grabbed the winner with a typical poacher’s finish at the back post in extra time, but Palace’s party was to be spoiled as Hughes popped up yet again to make the score 3-3 and send the final to a replay.
United triumphed in the replay with a 1-0 win thanks to Lee Martin’s goal, but Palace at least have the consolation prize of being involved in one of the best ever finals – not that it’ll ease the pain at all.
Everton’s clash with city rivals Liverpool in 1989 is memorable for so many reasons.
First of all, the two sides met at Wembley Stadium just five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans tragically died, with both sets of supporters taking part in a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ prior to kick off.
The Merseyside clubs went on to produce a brilliant final, with Aldridge handing Liverpool an early lead before Stuart McCall’s dramatic last minute equaliser took the game into extra time.
Ian Rush restored Liverpool’s advantage before McCall yet again drew Everton level, though there was to be no reprieve for the Toffees late on as Rush bagged his second of the game to bag Liverpool’s fourth FA Cup.
A memorable and brilliant final for so many reasons.
As previously mentioned, there may be some finals on this list that you’re not totally aware of given they may have happened before you were even born, but you have to know about this one regardless of your age.
Known as the ‘Matthews final’ (named as such because of the stellar performance from winger Stanley Matthews), Bolton faced Blackpool in front of roughly 100,000 people at Wembley.
Goals from Nat Lofthouse, Willie Moir and Eric Bell for Wanderers were cancelled out by Stan Mortensen’s hat-trick for Blackpool, and the game looked to be heading for extra-time with the scores level at 3-3.
However, Bill Perry’s 92nd minute goal saw Blackpool triumph – an FA Cup trophy which remains their only one to this day.
Matthews was truly unplayable on the day – hence the nickname the ‘Matthews final’ – and some even argue the game to be the greatest match ever.
The 2021 season of MLS has already made headlines with stunning goals and dynamic plays.
After only four weeks, speculation of who is the best player is already on the rise. The competition for the title will be difficult this year, with so many breakout stars on the horizon – these are the players to watch out for in the coming weeks.
Goalkeepers are rarely considered as players to watch out for, making Turner that much more special.
He was a key factor in enabling the New England Revolution to break into the top 10 in the Eastern Conference. After being named a finalist for the Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, spectators began to take notice of the young star. Fans should expect another great year for him.
Dos Santos will play a vital role in the success of LA Galaxy, largely because of his immense ability the game through strategic passing and strong runs with the ball.
His partnership with Chicharito could be a sight to see, while his creativity and dynamic mind always make an impact.
Diego Rossi stands as arguably the best scoring winger in the league.
He maintained his side afloat last season amid Carlos Velas’ injury spell, and individually the Uruguayan international led the league with 14 goals in 19 matches. With Vela back at his side, Rossi’s creativity as a striker is bound to explode.
The Atlanta United forward is no stranger to being one to watch.
Martinez first proved his worth in 2019, standing out with 27 goals scored in 29 games. He’s valued for his consistency from the 18-yard box as he scored in 12 consecutive matches during his breakout year.
Though he missed most of last season with an ACL tear, Martinez is angsty to get back to his goal-scoring ways.
LA Galaxy’s newest allstar is on the rise with no end in sight. After a disappointing and injury-fuelled first season, Chicharito has returned this year with a thirst for success.
He’s already scored 6 goals in the first 4 matches of the 2021 season, and his performance against rival LAFC displayed the side of Chicharito that fans are excited to keep watching.
In just 25 years, MLS has inspired some phenomenal rivalries.
Some derbies might be newer than others, but the clashes always deliver fiery action.
Here’s the top modern rivalries in Major League Soccer, ranked.
This rivalry goes back decades – the teams first played each other in 1975, predating MLS.
It wasn’t until their meeting in 2009, however, that their modern rivalry truly began. The two sides have faced each other a total of 99 times, with Seattle holding the upper hand by winning 53 derbies.
Off the pitch, the clashes often get personal quickly as loyal supporters don’t shy away from confrontation.
The Canadian Classique is a crowd favorite.
A rivalry spanning beyond MLS or NHL, this is political and cultural. These two sides will fight to intense depths to be crowned Canada’s best MLS team.
The derby began in 2010, after the Montreal Impact was founded, and intensified in 2015 when Toronto FC edged out their competitor and defeated the Impact in the Eastern Conference finals.
It is almost impossible to write about MLS rivalries without considering D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls. As founding members of the league, these two teams have clashed since day one, literally.
Spanning 25 years and 97 meetings, drama is still guaranteed at every match. D.C. United stands superior with 44 wins over the Red Bulls’ 36 (17 draws shared).
The two have yet to face each other this season, but fans can expect a fiery clash with unparalleled action.
Though this might be MLS’ newest rivalry, it is by far the most anticipated.
It started in 2018 after the inception of LAFC threatened Galaxy’s stance as the only major team in the city. Though located merely miles apart, the city’s chaos during each meeting inspired the nickname El Trafico.
Beyond the streets, the supporters contribute immensely to the game’s atmosphere. Both sides boast some of the most passionate fans, creating a fiery dynamic on game day.
This derby has seen the likes of Chicharito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic face Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. With 10 meetings total, LA Galaxy remains in front with four overall victories.