EPL

Ronaldo to be involved in all three Portugal fixtures after Man Utd move, says Santos

By Sports Desk August 31, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo will play in all three of Portugal's fixtures during the international break following his return to Manchester United, head coach Fernando Santos said.

Ronaldo completed his United comeback on Tuesday, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner re-joining the Red Devils from Juventus for a second spell following his successful first stint at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.

Amid the hype in Manchester, Ronaldo's attention has swiftly turned to matters with Portugal as Santos' men prepare to face Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

Portugal will also meet Qatar in a friendly on Saturday before resuming their road to Qatar 2022 against Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

As Ronaldo stands on the cusp of breaking his tie with Ali Daei for the most international goals in men's football (109), Santos confirmed the 36-year-old's availability.

"I am interested in [Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes'] motivation while playing for the national team. You're a British journalist, you can ask them about Manchester United when they are back at their club," Santos told reporters.

"For me, the important thing is that they will be focused on the national team. I can say that they are motivated for the three matches we have ahead of us.

"There is no doubt that Ronaldo and all the players are able to play against Ireland. I understand all the attention we get because of him. He is going to play in three matches.

"We will have to manage some things, mostly in the second match, we will have to manage things. It will not be easy for the players to play three matches in seven days.

"We have to manage them across all the games, but mostly the second. It is always important because it is a national team match."

Formerly a dazzling winger but now a penalty-box poacher, Ronaldo has netted 674 times across 895 club games in all competitions, averaging a goal every 108 minutes.

Those 674 goals break down into 122 with his supposedly weaker left foot, 110 with his head and 440 with his favoured right boot.

Following his arrival as a fresh-faced teenager from Sporting in 2003, he scored 118 times for United across 292 appearances before his departure in 2009.

Between his entrance on the Premier League stage and his final appearance in May 2009, Frank Lampard (131) and Thierry Henry (124) are the only two to have a hand in more English top-flight goals than Ronaldo (118) – Henry (92) the only one to outscore Ronaldo's 84.

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of the Champions League, leading the all-time scoring charts with 134 goals in 176 games – 14 ahead of second place, and eternal rival, Lionel Messi.

Related items

  • Keegan Bradley putts his way to first round lead at the BMW Championship Keegan Bradley putts his way to first round lead at the BMW Championship

    Keegan Bradley rode a hot putter to the outright lead after 18 holes of the BMW Championship, finishing Thursday's play with a seven-under 64.

    Bradley entered the week ranked 44th in the FedEx Cup standings, outside the top-30 who will qualify for next week's Tour Championship, but put himself in a great position thanks in large part to his work on the greens.

    He collected six birdies on the front nine, and according to Data Golf's strokes gained stats, Bradley was the top overall putter in the opening round, picking up 4.00 strokes with the flat stick, while also coming in seventh in the approach category (2.02 strokes gained).

    It was a similar story for Adam Scott in outright second at six under, finishing third in putting (3.30 strokes gained) and 11th in approach shots (1.82 strokes gained).

    In a tie for third at five under is the trio of Harold Varner III, Shane Lowry and Justin Thomas – but they all made it there in different ways.

    Varner excelled in the tee-to-green category, putting a gap on the field as he gained 5.28 strokes, with Lowry in second-place at 3.32. While Varner was the third-best driver on the day, Lowry was actually a negative off the tee, but led the field in the approach category.

    Meanwhile, Thomas was solid just about everywhere, finishing on the fringe of the top-10 in tee-to-green, around the green and putting categories – despite lipping out a four-footer for his only bogey on the 15th hole.

    The logjam at four under includes Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Cameron Young, and there is a star-studded group one further back at three under featuring Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. McIlroy will be left ruing a calamitous showing at the par-three 15th hole, where he found the water to triple-bogey when he was one stroke off the lead.

    U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick headlines the group at two under, Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris are at one under, and recent 20-year-old winner Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim is at even par.

    Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm will be disappointed with their rounds at two over, and the previously red-hot Tony Finau is likely out of the hunt as only two players shot worse than his six-over 77.

  • Ajax defender Timber ends transfer speculation with new contract through 2025 Ajax defender Timber ends transfer speculation with new contract through 2025

    After plenty of transfer speculation, Ajax have decided to lock up 21-year-old defender Jurrien Timber on an improved contract, adding one extra year to tie him to the club through 2025.

    Timber, who already has eight international caps for the Netherlands, has been with Ajax since 2014, and tallied 50 Eredivisie appearances across the past two seasons, netting four goals.

    He was one of three Ajax players that Manchester United and former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag showed strong interest in, having secured Lisandro Martinez and being priced out of a move for Antony.

    Timber was the recipient of last season's Marco van Basten Award for AFC Ajax Talent of the Year, following in the footsteps of recent winners Ryan Gravenberch, Sergino Dest and Matthijs de Ligt, who all proceeded to leave the Eredivisie in search of bigger challenges.

    He will be 24 when his new contract expires, and he will have another chance to impress in the European spotlight this season during Ajax's Champions League campaign.

  • West Ham 3-1 Viborg: Scamacca opens account as Hammers take command of ECL play-off tie West Ham 3-1 Viborg: Scamacca opens account as Hammers take command of ECL play-off tie

    Gianluca Scamacca scored his first West Ham goal as the Hammers established a commanding 3-1 lead over Viborg in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off clash.

    Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio were also on target for the hosts at the London Stadium, with Jakob Bonde's header providing a consolation for the visitors ahead of next week's return leg in Denmark.

    The Hammers' fortunes were overseen by first-team coach Billy McKinlay, with manager David Moyes serving a touchline ban following his red card in last season's Europa League semi-final defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Vladimir Coufal wore the captain's armband in the absence of Declan Rice and Aaron Cresswell – both also serving continental suspensions – but the hosts took the lead in the 24th minute; Scamacca rising to head home Maxwel Cornet's inviting cross.

    They doubled their lead after 64 minutes as Bowen collected a loose ball, before brilliantly drilling low past Lucas Lund from 30 yards. The visitors halved the deficit five minutes later when Bonde arrived at the far post to nod home Christian Sorensen's centre.

    But substitutes Antonio and Said Benrahma combined to restore the hosts' two-goal buffer in the 78th minute. Benrahma embarked on a jinking run from the left flank, before squaring for Antonio to tuck into the empty net.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.