Axel Witsel could have joined Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain at various points in his career but feels vindicated in his decision to sign for Borussia Dortmund last year.

Witsel is in his second season at Dortmund, having joined the Bundesliga club from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjin on a four-year contract.

He narrowly missed out on the Bundesliga title in his debut campaign. However, Witsel believes he is at the right club after possible moves to other European heavyweights did not come to pass.

Speaking to Goal and DAZN, the former Zenit midfielder detailed how he missed out on joining Madrid from Benfica before electing to return to Zenit ahead of moving to Juve.

"I could have joined Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was there," Witsel said. "But then Real signed Luka Modric, so a transfer to Madrid made no sense to me.

"Shortly before the end of the transfer period Zenit called. I had good discussions with the people responsible and finally agreed. I am an open person and was not afraid of Russia.

"My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus. I had already passed the medical check and actually only had to sign the contract.

"I waited all day in the office and Zenit told me to come back. In retrospect, that was perhaps a twist of fate. Maybe it was just not the right time."

United and PSG were said to be in the running for his signature in 2018, but the prospect of regular first-team football convinced Witsel to choose Dortmund instead.

"First [Dortmund sporting director] Michael Zorc approached me, then [coach] Lucien Favre called me," Witsel added.

"I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait. And I had the feeling that I was the first choice for Dortmund. It is important to feel good when you go to a new club.

"So after the talks with Zorc, Favre and [CEO] Hans-Joachim Watzke, I decided to join BVB. Dortmund is a top club - and I really wanted to join a top European club.

"Maybe it was my last chance at 29 years old. It was the right decision."

Ryan Giggs is pleased Gareth Bale's Real Madrid future has for now been resolved but he still would have picked the forward for Wales had he moved to China.

Bale appeared to be on the brink of a switch to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning amid an apparent breakdown in relations with Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

However, that prospective transfer fell through and Zidane has since indicated Bale will be staying at Madrid beyond the end of the transfer window.

Speaking after naming his squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier with Azerbaijan next month, Wales manager Giggs said: "I kept in touch with him [Bale] to see if he was all right.

"It was a strange situation but hopefully now it's sorted out - Gareth stays and plays games.

"It's obviously positive at the moment, I'm really pleased with the situation and looking forward to meeting up."

Asked what impact a move to China would have had on Bale's international career, Giggs replied: "It wouldn't have been ideal.

"It's a preference for your players to be in Europe with the travelling and the different calendars, but I'd still have picked him."

Former Manchester United star Giggs believes the Red Devils' Welsh winger Daniel James requires more protection from referees.

James was booked for simulation in United's 1-1 draw with Wolves, in which he was persistently fouled.

"You've seen he gets kicked a lot," Giggs added of James.

"Sometimes when you anticipate it, it can look live a dive. The speed he's going at it can look worse, but I'm not worried about that.

"He gets a lot of stick and referees need to protect him."

Prising Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain is proving difficult.

After Barcelona had an offer turned down by PSG, LaLiga giants Real Madrid are the latest club to be rejected.

With the transfer window set to close on September 2, time is running out to meet PSG's demands.

 

TOP STORY – MONEY PLUS BALE, NAVAS AND JAMES NOT ENOUGH FOR PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have rejected €100million plus Real Madrid trio Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez for Neymar, L'Equipe claims.

After Barcelona's initial loan bid was turned down by PSG, Madrid tried to jump the queue, but it was not enough to satisfy the Ligue 1 champions.

PSG spent a world-record €222m on Neymar two years ago and it will take a lot more to sign the wantaway star as Barca and Juventus circle.

 

ROUND-UP

- Talk of Navas being included in a deal comes as Marca reports the Costa Rica goalkeeper has asked to leave Madrid after being told he will be back-up to Thibaut Courtois.

- Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is open to joining Inter Miami in MLS. Miami – owned by David Beckham – are set to enter the league in 2020 and they are keen to make a big-name signing. Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani has been linked, while Mundo Deportivo has now talked up Uruguay team-mate Suarez.

- According to Calciomercato.com and Corriere della Sera, PSG are interested in Paulo Dybala and Juventus team-mate Miralem Pjanic. Dybala has been tipped to leave the Serie A champions, while Pjanic could depart Turin as Juve look to raise funds following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Merih Demiral.

Atletico Madrid have no doubts that they will sign Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia, says Marca. Rodrigo will arrive once Angel Correa completes his protracted move to AC Milan.

Roma are in talks with Juve over a move for defender Daniele Rugani, claims Goal. Initially linked to Liverpool's Dejan Lovren after Kostas Manolas' switch to Napoli, Roma are now keen to bring in Rugani, who is valued at between €20-25m.

- The Sun reports Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea could wait until January before signing a new contract. The Spanish star has reportedly agreed in principal to extend his deal, which expires next year.

- Inter have accepted an offer from Napoli for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. However, Sky Sport Italia and Sportialia insist Icardi is not interested in moving to Napoli as he eyes Juve. With that in mind, Napoli are reportedly pushing to sign free agent Fernando Llorente.

Barcelona and Chelsea are leading the race to sign 16-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Pedri. That is according to Marca, which says Pedri could be available for €10m (£9m).

Romelu Lukaku has hit out at Manchester United for not doing enough to protect him in the media and claims he, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez were continually made scapegoats.

Belgium international Lukaku joined Inter before the close of the Premier League transfer window for a reported fee of €75million, just two years on from his move to Old Trafford from Everton.

The 26-year-old was criticised at times for his all-round play at the head of the attack under former boss Jose Mourinho and he was supplanted as first-choice striker by Marcus Rashford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge.

Lukaku feels there was an unjust focus on his performances as well as those of Pogba and Sanchez, who has been tipped to join him at Inter.

"They have to find somebody," Lukaku told the LightHarted Podcast, apparently recorded prior to his Inter move. "It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It's the three of us all the time.

"They have got to find somebody to blame. I put my hand up, like, this year I don't think I was the only one playing bad. A lot of people were playing bad but they had to find the culprit.

"If they want to put the blame on me, you know what, f*** it, do what you gotta do.

"I think the team has so much potential to do some great stuff. There is a lot of talent. But it is not only talent; you really have to build a team."

Lukaku also took issue with suggestions he did not suit Solskjaer's intended style of play.

"A lot of people don't think I should be part of that system," he said. "That's my feeling from the conversations that I have. I just know.

"For me, the thing that makes me laugh a lot is: how the hell is s*** going bad in my team, but when I play in my national team, it's good? And I'm happy.

"I didn't play the last six weeks of the league, like the last three weeks or something before the end of the season and then I had another three weeks off before I had to play for the national team, and then we go and play with the Belgium team.

"And nobody there complains because I think the perception in my country is changing slightly. A lot of people were saying a lot of stuff. For me, it took years for a lot of people to change their perception. Man U might not get that time. It's s*** that it happens like that.

"When I go and play for my country, we play the style of play that we want to play probably with Man United and I do well over there. So is it me? Four goals in the World Cup, three weeks ago I scored three goals in two games, and before that we played Switzerland and Iceland in September and I scored four goals in two games. I've scored 48 goals for my country.

"We all know that international soccer is different than club football but the playing style we play in the national team is the one we want to play at Man United. So is it me? Or do we need to have a conversation from man to man and tell each other the rules?"

Lukaku added that he felt United did not do enough to defend him when rumours emerged towards the end of last season that he would not be staying at the club.

"I think a lot of stuff has been said where I didn't feel protected," he added. "A lot of rumours, 'Rom is going to go there, they don't want Rom' and nobody came out and shot it down.

"It was for a good three, four weeks. I'm waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn't happen. I had my conversation, told them it was better to go our separate ways. I just wanted you to say, 'Rom is going to fight for his place', but it never happened for four, five months.

"It was all, 'He's got to go, he doesn't deserve to be there'. Well, okay, then I want to go now. There is fighting for your position, but also being somewhere that people want you to be.

"If you're happy, you find a way, it doesn't matter if you're on the bench or starting. But nobody told me that was the situation, so I thought for two, three weeks to analyse, see all this s*** coming out in the media. Who leaks it? Not me. Not my agent. I see it on my phone come out of nowhere.

"I told them, 'It’s not good for me to be at a place where I'm not wanted'."

Cristiano Ronaldo says he discovered he belonged to a "world of stars" upon comparing himself to the rest of Manchester United's strong squad in 2003.

The future Real Madrid and Juventus forward rose to a prominence after moving to Old Trafford from Sporting CP as a skinny teenager.

Then a flashy winger, Ronaldo scored four goals from 29 appearances in his debut Premier League campaign.

Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy were among United's most prominent players at the time and Ronaldo quickly gained belief he too was destined to reach the top of the game.

"When I started playing for Manchester United at 18, 19, because I was as good as the players who were there I realised 'I'm close to achieving great things'," Ronaldo told Portuguese broadcaster TVI.

"Of course, I was a kid and I had a lot to learn – and I learned a lot from them – but I was in that world of stars.

"I saw that they were not doing anything that I couldn't do.

"There were better players than me: Giggs had more experience and was a better player than me at the time, Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer... but I felt that if I worked, with the talent I had, I could be the best player in the Premier League, for example."

Ronaldo spent six seasons at United, winning a first Ballon d'Or the before a €94million (£80m) transfer to Madrid in 2009.

The Portugal captain has since scooped European football's foremost individual honour a further four times.

Barcelona superstar and long-time rival Lionel Messi is the only other player to have claimed the Ballon d'Or on five occasions.

"I know that I am one of the best in my work and that I am in the history of football," Ronaldo said.

"It is no coincidence that only Messi and I have five. It is no accident. And I still feel motivated to try to win collective and individual prizes."

Ronaldo and Juventus commence their Serie A campaign away to Parma on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes a 25-year-old version of himself would be worth up to €300million in today's transfer market.

Juventus splashed out €112m including add-ons when they signed the Portugal captain from Real Madrid in 2018.

Only five players – Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho – have commanded larger fees.

Two members of the quintet made their mega-money moves as teenagers and Ronaldo, now 34, has reservations about the increasing prices for youngsters who are yet to prove themselves at the top level.

"Today there is a lot of focus on potential and the football industry is different," the superstar forward told Portuguese broadcaster TVI.

"I'll put the case of Joao Felix aside. Nowadays any player is worth €100m, even without proof. There is more money in football.

"Central defenders and goalkeepers are worth €70million, €80million.

"I do not agree with it, but this is the world we live in. The market is like that, we have to respect it."

Ronaldo formerly held the all-time transfer fee record after Madrid forked out €94m to prise him away from Manchester United in 2009.

Asked how much he would be worth aged 25 in modern terms, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner replied: "It is hard to calculate.

"If a goalkeeper is worth €75m, a player who has done what I had must be worth three to four times more. Easy.

"But I have no such illusion."

Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

- One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

- Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

- Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

- Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

- Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

Phil Neville has called for the football community to boycott social media for six months after the latest instance of high-profile racist abuse.

England women's manager Neville was reacting to Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba being targeted online after he had a penalty saved in Monday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolves.

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and Reading's Yakou Meite have also been subjected to similar abuse over the past week following their own penalty failures.

United issued a statement branding the slurs directed towards Pogba as "disgusting" and called for social media companies to take action as they work to identify the perpetrators in this instance.

However, Neville has little faith in the likes of Twitter and Instagram making a meaningful difference and called on those within the game to take a stand.

"I've lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, is: come off social media," he said at a news conference ahead of his team's matches against Belgium and Norway.

"Six months – let's come off social media. Let's see the effect that it has on these social media companies, whether they're really going to do something about it."

Neville also spoke out last October after former England and Chelsea star Karen Carney received rape and death threats on Instagram.

"We talk to them all the time because my players get that kind of abuse all the time, whether it’s racist, whether it’s sexist, whether it’s homophobic,” he continued.

"They get that kind of abuse. Nothing gets done about it, but we experienced it earlier in the season.

"It's not going away, I think there’s some fantastic campaigns, initiatives, messaging that goes out, particularly in the Premier League, through the FA, about trying to stamp out racism.

"And at times, you feel as if you're making inroads, and then you get probably a massive reminder that actually we’re probably not.

"It’s a problem not just in football – it’s a problem in society, but football now is at the forefront of everybody’s minds in terms of, we’ve got the power to do something about it. I think the football community will.

"I think we try, but it’s getting to the point now where I think we need to make a real strong message, and I say to every single footballer out there, and to every club, and to the PFA: why don't we make a big stand? Come off social media. Boycott all social media now and see if that makes a big enough impact."

Pogba's United team-mate Harry Maguire called for all social media accounts to be verified and Neville suggested he would support such an approach.

"Maguire said this morning about being verified, giving passport details and addresses to be hold accountable for posting such disgusting things," he added.

"You can be an egg on Twitter and no one knows who you are."

Anti-discrimination pressure group Kick It Out has lamented the "increasingly predictable" nature of online attacks.

"This is a call to action – we want to know what they [social media companies] are going to do to tackle this insidious problem," a Kick It Out statement read.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has urged social media platforms to strengthen identification protocols after "pathetic trolls" aimed racial abuse at Paul Pogba.

United midfielder Pogba became the latest subject of discriminatory posts online after failing to convert a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Wolves at Molineux on Monday.

Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham and Reading striker Yakou Meite faced similar abuse within the past week.

United described the offensive comments as "disgusting" and called on social media companies to take action, supporting the public stance taken by anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out.

England international Maguire took to Twitter to recommend a stricter authentication process for users.

"Disgusting," Maguire wrote. "Social media need to do something about it. 

"Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people."

In a statement, Kick It Out shone a light on the growing volume of "unwarranted and vile racist abuse" directed towards players.

"The number of posts such as these since the start of the season highlights how discriminatory abuse online is out of control," the statement read.

"Without immediate and the strongest possible action these cowardly acts will continue to grow."

Marcus Rashford echoed the sentiment as he backed team-mate Pogba.

Tagging Twitter, the forward posted: "Enough now, this needs to stop. Manchester United is a family. Paul Pogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all."

Manchester United are working to identify the individuals who aimed "disgusting" racial abuse at Paul Pogba following the Premier League match against Wolves.

Midfielder Pogba was the subject of discriminatory posts online after failing to convert a penalty in the 1-1 draw at Molineux on Monday.

It is the third high-profile instance in less than seven days of a footballer in England being targeted with racial abuse on social media.

Chelsea last week condemned "abhorrent posts" aimed at Tammy Abraham after the forward had a spot-kick saved in the UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool.

Reading striker Yakou Meite shared a screenshot of racially offensive messages he received in the wake of a late miss in Sunday's 3-0 victory over Cardiff City.

United pledged to take the "strongest course of action available" in a statement released to the media.

It read: "Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse aimed at Paul Pogba last night and we utterly condemn it.

"The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also.

"Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.

"We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us.

"We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases."

United's urging of social media platforms to stamp out racial abuse comes after Kick It Out lamented the "increasingly predictable" nature of the attacks.

"This is a call to action – we want to know what they are going to do to tackle this insidious problem," the anti-discrimination organisation said in a statement.

David de Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga could be made to share Spain's number one shirt with neither player guaranteed a starting spot under Robert Moreno.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa has started each of the national team's three matches since former head coach Luis Enrique handed the reins to long-time assistant Moreno in March.

Manchester United star De Gea previously owned the position, but a poor World Cup and disappointing club campaign last season weakened his claims for a place in the XI.

Spain return to Euro 2020 qualifying action in September and will do so without a defined first-choice option behind the back four.

"My goalkeepers are De Gea, Kepa and [Roma's] Pau Lopez," Moreno told radio station Cadena SER.

"I like that there is competition. Kepa is not ahead of De Gea, and neither is ahead of Pau.

"I want to get to the Euros with three goalkeepers who are ready to compete. They are all playing at a high level and there are nuances and differences between them. All three have good footwork.

"At Barca, we won the treble alternating goalkeepers."

Despite his limited experience as a head coach, Moreno was appointed to Spain's top job on a permanent basis in June after recording three victories as caretaker.

Luis Enrique was forced to leave the role for family reasons and while little is publicly known about the exact circumstances, Moreno confirmed he has recently been in contact with the former Roma and Barca boss.

"He wants total privacy. There is little else I can tell you. He's fighting," Moreno said.

"Our friendship goes beyond the professional field. If at any time I have questions, I have the freedom, as long as the circumstances allow, to ask them.

"I learned from him how to deal with players. Learn how they think, what they want, what they need.

"Books do not explain it to you. He put me by his side and taught me all that."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed there is interest in Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez, who is strongly linked with joining Serie A side Inter.

Sanchez has endured a miserable time at United since he joined from Arsenal in January 2018 in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to the Gunners.

He has scored four goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, with his spell at Old Trafford heavily affected by various injuries.

Inter are reportedly keen to sign Sanchez on loan, which would allow the Chile international to reunite with his former United team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

While Solskjaer was unwilling to give firm details about the status of a potential move for Sanchez, he accepted the 30-year-old may depart before the European transfer deadline on September 2.

"There's still a couple weeks left of the transfer window," Solskjaer said after Monday's 1-1 league draw away to Wolves.

"There is a chance [he could leave]. Some clubs have shown interest in Alexis and we'll see what happens. 

"We can't update you more than that."

While Sanchez's time at Old Trafford looks to be coming to an end, fellow forward Anthony Martial has started the 2019-20 season in fine form.

The France international hit the opening goal of the game at Molineux to reach 50 in all competitions for United and Solskjaer hailed his impact.

"He's scored two in two now and he'll only improve," Solskjaer said of Martial. "The relationship between him and Marcus [Rashford], Jesse [Lingard] and the other forwards will only improve.

"The more we get him into positions to score, the more he will. He's more between the posts so I'm happy with that.

"It was a wonderful goal."

United were denied the three points that would have taken them top as Rui Patricio saved Paul Pogba's second-half penalty after Ruben Neves had cancelled out Martial's effort.

Nuno Espirito Santo said VAR cannot be allowed to affect goal celebrations after his Wolves side drew 1-1 with Manchester United.

Ruben Neves scored a sensational equaliser at Molineux on Monday to cancel out Anthony Martial's first-half opener for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men.

The midfielder unleashed a stunning curling strike that clipped the underside of the crossbar, scoring his 10th goal from outside the penalty box for Wolves.

But there were lengthy delays after the goal as VAR checked whether or not there was an offside in the build-up to Neves' 20-yard effort.

"I didn't want to lose that moment," Nuno told a news conference. "I don't know how they're going to solve it, I gave my opinion to it, but it's the emotion.

"You celebrate a goal and it's such a beautiful moment, so when you are stood in silence waiting for it, don't take that away from the people, because it's the most important moment in football.

"I was hoping [Neves would score], not expecting, because he's fantastic. He has this technique of kicking the ball, he's done it sometimes before, but he has to do it over and over again because this is what counts."

After Rui Patricio saved Paul Pogba's penalty at 1-1, Wolves became the first team to come from behind and avoid defeat in three consecutive Premier League games against Manchester United.

Nuno's men beat United at home in both the league and FA Cup last term and the head coach praised another high-class home performance from his side.

"I am proud of all the performance because this is what matters in this moment of the competition," he added.

"It was a game of emotion, this is what Molineux enjoys and we have to thank them [the fans] so much because the atmosphere when we get control of the game and create chances, they really push us, amazing.

"Let's do what we do, play with the energy we should play with, embrace the challenge and fight for the game. The boys fought for every single ball, it was so good, I'm very proud of them."

Manchester United were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Wolves after Paul Pogba had a second-half penalty saved by Rui Patricio at Molineux.

Ruben Neves' sublime 55th-minute strike cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener but Pogba had a golden chance to take the points when he was brought down by Conor Coady.

At that point, confusion reigned. Marcus Rashford, who rifled in from the spot during last weekend's 4-0 win over Chelsea, willingly gave up the ball to Pogba after a short conversation.

"This is a Manchester United penalty, not a tombola!" club great Gary Neville shrieked while reviewing the incident on Sky Sports. "Something's not right!"

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained afterwards that both Rashford and Pogba were designated takers but, as the numbers show, United's chances of victory took a dive the moment their record signing grasped the nettle.

Pogba's penalty conversion percentage of 63.6 is the sixth lowest in Premier League history out of players to have taken 10 or more.

Only Juan Pablo Angel, Riyad Mahrez, Steed Malbranque, Dwight Yorke and Kevin Phillips have fared worse than the France international's seven out of 11.

Although he boasts two from two in the Champions League, Pogba's four Premier League misses since the start of last season is the most of any player in the competition.

By contrast, Rashford has scored every penalty he has stepped up to take in his junior and senior career.

The England international converted against the Netherlands in the Nations League finals in June before succeeding in a third-place match shoot-out versus Switzerland. Those exploits are sandwiched by nerveless efforts for the Red Devils against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

Rashford previously scored two penalties for United in the UEFA Youth League and one for England Under-21s.

Martial scored his 50th goal in United colours on Monday and four of those have come from the penalty spot.

In fact, Pogba's compatriot has only missed once for the club from 12 yards, during a 2-0 Champions League win over Benfica in October 2017.

The evidence suggests it is time for United's midfield superstar to pass on the responsibility for good.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford's penalty debate during the game against Wolves was like a "tombola", according to former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.

Pogba and Rashford had a lengthy discussion over who should take a spot-kick – won by the France midfielder following a foul by Conor Coady – at Molineux on Monday.

Rashford scored from the spot in United's win over Chelsea on the opening weekend but on this occasion the England striker threw the ball to Pogba.

Rui Patricio duly saved Pogba's effort and the World Cup winner has now missed four Premier League penalties since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Neville, in an appearance as a pundit on Sky Sports, was furious about the impromptu consultation between Pogba, Rashford, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial over penalty duties.

"There was a debate between Martial, James, Rashford and Pogba," he said after the 1-1 draw. "It was more like: 'Go on mate you have it'.

"This is not right, by the way. Look, here comes Paul Pogba, now Lingard is getting involved. Is Pogba the penalty taker and Rashford has taken it off him?

"I'm holding back on Pogba because he may be the penalty taker here. It isn't right. They should decide before they play. This is not right.

"This is a Manchester United penalty. This is not a tombola. This is not under-fives football on the playground. Rashford throws the ball to Pogba. Something is not right.

"Why is there a debate on who takes a penalty? Pogba has missed four in the last 12 months – so you would think he's had his chance now. Rashford scored last week, take the penalty. 

"But there wasn't a leader on the pitch."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later clarified on Sky Sports that Pogba and Rashford share penalty duties, with the decision over who steps up left down to the players themselves.

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