Rumour Has It: Ronaldo wants Juve exit amid PSG & Man Utd links, Barca make Martinez offer

By Sports Desk March 24, 2020

Is Cristiano Ronaldo's time at Juventus coming to an end?

Ronaldo swapped LaLiga giants Real Madrid for Serie A champions Juventus in 2018.

But the 35-year-old superstar reportedly wants out of Turin.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO EYES JUVE EXIT

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Juventus as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United circle, according to Diario GOL.

The report claims Ronaldo has an offer from Ligue 1 champions PSG, who want to partner the five-time Ballon d'Or winner with Kylian Mbappe.

Ronaldo has also received a proposal from former club United and the 35-year-old wants to restore the glory days at Old Trafford, though it depends on Champions League qualification.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star says Barcelona have made a bid for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as their interest in Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has cooled. Aubameyang has been linked to Barca, PSG and United.

Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign out-of-favour Barca attacker Philippe Coutinho, reports The Mirror. Barca are looking to offload the Brazilian, who is on loan at Bayern Munich. United, Arsenal and Tottenham have also been mentioned as possible destinations.

- El Pais says Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors are keen on signing PSG forward Edinson Cavani, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Declan Rice to return to Stamford Bridge? Sky Sports says Chelsea are hoping to re-sign the West Ham midfielder, who spent most of his youth career with the Blues.

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future at Milan is uncertain. Calciomercato claims a farewell cannot be ruled out amid contract negotiations. Real Madrid, PSG and Everton are among the reported suitors for the Italy international goalkeeper.

- According to Calciomercato, Napoli are preparing for life without star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who continues to be linked with the likes of United, Madrid and Bayern. Freiburg's Robin Koch has emerged as an option for Napoli.

Inter and Juve are interested in former Milan midfielder and current Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli, reports Calciomercato.

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    Ronald Koeman said he hoped the use of VAR in LaLiga would be explained after a contentious Real Madrid penalty turned the tide in his first Clasico as Barcelona coach.

    Madrid ran out 3-1 winners at Camp Nou on Saturday but were on the back foot at 1-1 prior to a spot-kick awarded against Clement Lenglet.

    Sergio Ramos went down in dramatic fashion following a tug from Lenglet in the area, with the VAR then encouraging referee Juan Martinez Munuera to assess the incident.

    He awarded a penalty, which Ramos scored, but Koeman claimed the Madrid captain had first committed a foul.

    "Is it a penalty? For me, it is not a penalty," said Koeman, whose side cancelled out Federico Valverde's opener through Ansu Fati but saw any hopes of rescuing a result late on dashed by Luka Modric's goal.

    "I hope they can explain it to me about the use of VAR here in Spain. The VAR can be very good, but for all teams.

    "I have not spoken with Lenglet about the play. First, it is Ramos foul on Lenglet for taking him by the shirt. Once again, for me, it is not a penalty.

    "It is normal for Real Madrid players to do their best so that the referee awards a penalty.

    "I don't want to talk about this penalty anymore. What is clear is that it has been decisive in the game."

    The victory lifted Madrid above Real Sociedad to the top of LaLiga, while Barcelona sit 12th with two defeats, two wins and a draw from their five league matches under Koeman.

  • Imperious Ramos leaves us wondering exactly what Koeman's Barcelona are supposed to be Imperious Ramos leaves us wondering exactly what Koeman's Barcelona are supposed to be

    The past week showed everyone that Real Madrid are vulnerable. Everyone it seems, except Ronald Koeman.

    Consecutive defeats and some rather loud questions about the future of Zinedine Zidane meant Saturday's game at Camp Nou was one he dare not lose. For Koeman, this was a chance to go for the jugular, to show LaLiga and the watching world what improvements he has made to Barcelona since taking over in August.

    Instead, the first Clasico of the season was a commanding 3-1 win for Madrid, a bruising outing for Lionel Messi and a 90-minute showcase of how unclear the Koeman blueprint seems to be.

    He went, as expected, with Barca's first starting 4-2-3-1 in a Clasico since at least 2005-06, but his line-up was still puzzling. Ansu Fati is a rare talent with a robustness under pressure to match – and, of course, he scored here to cancel out Federico Valverde's opener – but Pedri, another 17-year-old, was chosen ahead of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele as two of Barca's most expensive signings again began on the bench.

    The two France forwards are hardly untouchables in this side, but starting a player of such limited experience as Pedri was a gamble that didn't pay off. He completed 79.5 per cent of his passes, the lowest rate of any starting player for Barca, and failed to have a shot or create a chance. It was a surprise that it took until the 81st minute for Koeman to bring him off.

    By the time Griezmann and Dembele were summoned in the second half, with Barca chasing the game, it was too little, too late. Sergio Ramos, the major-general of Zidane's fiercest battles, had seen to that.

    The Madrid captain can claim to be the most critical asset to either side of this famous rivalry, Messi included. Zidane had insisted this week he would not use Ramos were he not 100 per cent fit, but it sounded a hollow threat. Those chastening defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk had shown the boss that playing Ramos here was worth the risk.

    So it proved. Ramos made four clearances, three interceptions and one crucial block from a Philippe Coutinho effort at 2-1. He misplaced just three of 55 passes and completed all 15 of those attempted in the Barca half. When Clement Lenglet foolishly took a handful of his shirt to concede a penalty, there seemed only one outcome. Not even VAR delays can throw Ramos off his stride.

    He capped his display by stopping a late Messi run with an almost impudent back-foot challenge, the kind that will likely have fan accounts on social media sharing the footage every week until the reverse fixture.

    Still, even with their captain back in the team, this is a flawed and fragile Madrid, with no fit recognised right-backs and who had only scored six goals in five league games, yet Koeman's set-up left them an easy ride.

    After Messi had a shot well blocked by Thibaut Courtois 24 minutes in, Barca did not muster a single effort on target, meaning Luka Modric's composed late finish was scarcely even necessary. It was all too deep, too central and too slow; for Ramos and his fellow defenders, it was a picnic.

    It is still early in the season to write off Koeman's chances, but two wins from five games and a six-point gap to Madrid at the top – albeit with a game in hand – are sufficient warning signs of the task at hand.

    Ernesto Valverde's Barca were too rigid and Quique Setien's frighteningly open, but, after more than two months, we're no closer to knowing what kind of team Koeman's are.

  • Ramos: Pivotal Madrid penalty 'very clear' Ramos: Pivotal Madrid penalty 'very clear'

    Sergio Ramos felt the penalty he won and scored to inspire Real Madrid to a Clasico triumph at Barcelona was "very clear".

    With Saturday's clash at Camp Nou level at 1-1 in the second half after early goals from Federico Valverde and Ansu Fati, Ramos went down in the Barca box.

    It was an extravagant fall from the Madrid captain but caught the attention of the VAR, with replays highlighting a blatant tug on his shirt from Clement Lenglet.

    A spot-kick was subsequently awarded and Ramos found the net before Luka Modric made sure of the points in the 90th minute.

    Barca players were furious with the penalty decision, but Ramos saw no controversy in the call.

    "The penalty is very clear," he said. "For me, the action is clear. The referees and the VAR are there to help us."

    Wins at Barca are always worthy of celebration for Madrid, but this success was especially precious after consecutive home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk.

    Ramos played just 45 minutes across those matches due to a knee problem and was delighted by the LaLiga champions' response in Catalonia.

    "It was a week in which to vindicate ourselves and a Clasico is a unique match in the world," he said. "We faced it with great enthusiasm.

    "You always have to be united and you cannot regret bad streaks or previous results.

    "We are happy with the three points, and emotionally it is very good for the next matches. It is always very rewarding to win at our eternal rivals."

    He added: "A week of crisis at Real Madrid is two games. We have to keep adding three points at a time and keep the good energy of the group.

    "There are points that taste like glory - that is how it is here at our eternal rivals' stadium. This team has won a lot and we want to continue doing so."

    Ramos was influential at both ends of the field, with Madrid requiring their skipper to lead a determined defensive stand between his goal and Modric's.

    The centre-back, who had more shots (four) and shots on target (three) than any team-mate, weighed in with three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block.

    He won seven of his 10 duels and all three in the air as Madrid batted away wave after wave of Barcelona attack over a 25-minute spell.

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