Hussein El-Shahat matched the exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale by scoring at a third Club World Cup as Al Ahly beat Auckland City 3-0 in the first round.

El-Shahat opened the scoring with a low 25-yard drive on the stroke of half-time in Tangier on Wednesday, before neat one-on-one finishes from Mohamed Sherif and Percy Tau made Al Ahly's victory safe.

The winger's effort took him to three goals in three editions of the tournament, having also found the net for Al Ain in 2018 and with his current club in 2021.

Ronaldo, Messi and Bale are the only other players to net at three separate Club World Cups, while Ronaldo is the competition's all-time top scorer with seven goals.

Ronaldo is also the only player to score for two separate champions at the tournament, doing so for Manchester United in 2008 and Real Madrid in 2016 and 2017, while Messi found the net during Barcelona's triumphant 2009, 2011 and 2015 campaigns.

Wednesday's game was also notable for referee Ma Ning announcing the rationale for his decision to send off Auckland's Adam Mitchell to the crowd after being sent to the VAR monitor, as part of a 12-month trial across FIFA tournaments.

Al Ahly's reward for their comprehensive win is a second-round tie against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, the winners of which will face European champions Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

Morocco's Wydad Casablanca will face Al Hilal in the other second-round fixture, with the victors going on to face Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo for a spot in the final.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored many famous goals.

Undoubtedly, though, one of his most celebrated strikes came 15 years ago, on January 30, 2008.

On a winter evening at Old Trafford, Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth rocked up in fine form on the road, having won seven of their 12 away games in the Premier League.

Yet Ronaldo, in the midst of a 31-goal season in the top tier, was the difference. 

Having put Manchester United ahead in the 10th minute, Ronaldo stepped up, just under 30 yards out from goal, three minutes later.

His free-kick, taken in what would become his trademark style, went up, over the wall and swerved remarkably into the right-hand corner. David James, the Portsmouth goalkeeper, had no chance.

That goal is often thought of as the typical Ronaldo free-kick. Power, panache and pinpoint accuracy.

But is Ronaldo actually as good as a free-kick taker as that goal might suggest? Using Opta data, Stats Perform has taken a look.

Quantity, not quality?

Since that goal against Portsmouth up until the day his second spell at United ended (November 23, 2022), Ronaldo had more shots from direct free-kicks than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.

Of the 645 shots Ronaldo had, 41 resulted in a goal. That is from 700 club games, across stints at United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

On the face of it, that goal tally does not stand out as particularly impressive, at least given the fact that Ronaldo netted 619 times in total.

Yet he is behind only Lionel Messi (who else?) when it comes to goals from direct free-kicks, with the Barcelona great scoring on 51 occasions from such situations.

That gives Messi an 8.1 per cent conversion rate from free-kicks in that timeframe, in contrast to Ronaldo's 6.3 per cent.

 

Naturally, given their status in the game, Ronaldo and Messi will almost always pull rank when it comes to set-pieces, especially at a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Miralem Pjanic, who ranks third for direct free-kick goals and was a club-mate of both players at Barca and Juve respectively, boasts better conversion rate than either (nine per cent).

Neymar's 13 goals from 147 attempts gives him an 8.8 per cent success rate, while James Ward-Prowse's 12 per cent (15 from 125, though this figure of course does not account for his strike against Everton earlier in January) is close to double what Ronaldo managed.

Indeed, when ranked against players from Europe's big five leagues that scored 10 or more direct free-kicks between January 31, 2008 and November 23, 2022, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Dani Parejo had lower conversion rates than Ronaldo.

Club by club

So, having established that Ronaldo's free-kick finishing was somewhat erratic following that stunner against Portsmouth, let's check on how he stacked up at each club.

Across his career in Europe's top five leagues, Ronaldo netted 48 free-kicks in all competitions, from 782 shots (6.1 per cent).

 

Thirteen of those goals came at United, with five each in his final two seasons of his first spell at the club.

Indeed, Ronaldo's peak when it came to free-kicks was definitely between the 2007-08 season and the 2013-14 campaign, when he scored 35 times from that type of dead-ball situation.

His best single season tally was six, in the 2009-10 season – his first at Madrid.

From 2014-15 onwards he did not manage more than three free-kick goals during a season, while he scored only twice from 86 such attempts while at Juve, and managed no goals from four free-kicks in his second stint at United.

One of the greats?

As well as his effort against Portsmouth, Ronaldo has many other memorable free-kicks in the bank.

His stunning, 40-yard strike against Arsenal in the 2009 Champions League semi-final; a mesmerising hit from even further out in a Madrid derby in 2012; and who can forget that spellbinding, hat-trick sealing effort that secured a last-gasp draw for Portugal against Spain in a 3-3 thriller at the 2018 World Cup.

Ronaldo might have gone off the boil from dead balls since the halcyon days either side of his move from Manchester to Madrid, yet there's no doubting that when he hits them true, there's not much any goalkeeper can do.

While he may not go down as one of the greatest free-kick takers in history statistically, he has definitely been a scorer of some great free-kicks down the years.

And who knows, maybe there'll be more to come in Saudi Arabia.

Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to send Al Nassr into the Saudi Super Cup final as they went down 3-1 to Al Ittihad.

Goals for Romarinho, Abderrazzaq Hamed Allah and Muhannad Al Shanqiti saw Al Ittihad, coached by former Wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo, set up a showdown with Al-Fayha in Riyadh.

Ronaldo played the entire match on Thursday, coming close to an equaliser in the first half when he headed straight at Al Ittihad goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe.

Al Ittihad compounded his frustrations by racing down the other end to make it 2-0, though Talisca pulled one back for Al Nassr after the break.

Ronaldo drilled a free-kick just over prior to Talisca's strike, yet despite piling on the pressure, Al Nassr were opened up again late on, with Al Shanqiti sealing Al Ittihad's progression.

It means Ronaldo's wait for a first official goal in Saudi Arabia will stretch into a third match.

It may have been 2am, but Atletico Madrid fans were in no mood to sleep anyway – 15,000 of them showed up at Madrid's Plaza de Neptuno to celebrate Los Colchoneros' thrilling Copa del Rey win.

It was so much more than a win, though. It was their first Copa triumph in 21 years, and to top it off, victory came against their great enemy.

When Real Madrid and Atletico tussled at the former's Santiago Bernabeu home on May 17, 2013, Diego Simeone's side had not beaten their bitter rivals since 1999.

But success for Atletico signalled their return as a major force in Spanish football.

They will lock horns in the Copa again on Thursday in their quarter-final at the Bernabeu, and for many supporters, the build-up will evoke memories of that iconic and feisty encounter.

Overcoming history and financial muscle

Success had already returned to Atletico. They'd won the Europa League and European Super Cup twice apiece over the previous three years.

And even though Atletico eventually finished a commendable third in LaLiga that season – their highest finish since winning the title in 1996 – there was no getting away from the overwhelming sense of pessimism, which had long been the attitude most associated with the club.

No fewer than 25 derbies had passed since Atletico's last win over Los Blancos, and even that was a relatively hollow victory as they'd ultimately be relegated for the first time since 1930.

Atletico weren't trying to kid themselves into believing they possessed the same weapons as Madrid.

"We have an opponent against whom we cannot make mistakes," Simeone said. "When we talk about the chances that Real Madrid or we have in the final, they are better than us, without a doubt."

Even Atletico striker Radamel Falcao noted Madrid as the favourites because of the "budget they have, and the players they have". He had a point.

"But over one game, everything is different," Simeone added.

For Madrid, the gravity of the occasion couldn't be much more different. Expectation rather hope dominated the build-up as Los Blancos had already missed out on the league title and lost in the Champions League semi-finals.

Only the Copa del Rey could salvage some pride for the season – but not even that would have saved Jose Mourinho's job.

The win that sparked a golden era?

Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia dubbed it "Mourinho's last supper". The Copa del Rey showpiece wasn't technically his last game in charge, but it was his last final with Madrid and a match that many Atletico fans will consider to be up their with their most historic wins.

It was thrilling, gruelling, brutal, but certainly not pretty.

In typical Atletico fashion, Simeone's side did everything they could during the early exchanges to get the faces of Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo – who put Mourinho's side ahead with a 14th-minute header – was a target for a few meaty challenges.

But then Madrid started to return the favour. Ronaldo, too. He clattered Filipe Luis. Raul Albiol let Diego Costa and then Falcao know he was there.

Those two soon combined for the equaliser, however. Falcao's brilliant pass released Costa and his lethal left-footed finish beat Diego Lopez in the Madrid net.

The cards began to fly after half-time, among them a red for Mourinho after protesting a yellow shown to – surprise, surprise – Sergio Ramos.

Madrid dominated, hitting the post twice after also striking it in the first half, but Atletico held on to force extra time, and eight minutes into the additional 30 came the decisive blow.

Koke's right-wing cross to the near post was perfect for Miranda, whose glancing header left the net bulging and Atletico suddenly within touching distance of a famous victory.

Ronaldo's dismissal for kicking out towards Gabi's face made things a little easier once the subsequent touchline brawl settled. The Atletico captain soon followed him for a second booking, but by that point the game was into its fifth minute of stoppage time. Madrid's race was almost run.

A final throw of the dice saw Lopez go up for a last-gasp corner, but Atletico survived and the referee's whistle followed their clearance, sparking bedlam.

Fourteen yellow cards and three reds summed up the bruising nature of the game, though it was Atletico's fight and spirit that came to define it.

Belief takes root

"Mourinho, stay!" came the chants from Atletico fans at full-time.

The Madrid coach was quintessential Mourinho in the aftermath, simultaneously declaring it the worst season of his career while also noting that "for many coaches that would be a good year".

But this was not about Mourinho. No, if anything he was a mere footnote in this tale.

"If you had made the fans an offer in which you'd said: 'we won't win against them for 14 years but when we do, it will be in the Copa final at their stadium, with them scoring first, hitting the post three times and us winning in extra time,' they'd have signed up for that'," Simeone surmised with absolutely surety.

For some – not Atletico fans – this game may have been lost somewhat in the abyss of time given it's nearly 10 years since the occasion.

But that's arguably only the case because of the successes that have come since for Atletico. That Copa triumph was monumental in the moment, but breaking the duopoly of Madrid and Barca in LaLiga – 12 months later and again in 2021 – will be the legacy of Simeone once his chapter as coach ends.

Of course, it's impossible to definitively tie most successes in football to a singular event, one thing that changes the course of history.

But there was clearly a sense of the 2013 Copa victory taking Atletico to another level mentally. They'd finally overcome two great barriers: domestic success and Madrid's derby dominance.

If this glorious era with Simeone is summarised by Atletico upsetting the status quo, then it all leads back to that day.

Nearly 10 years later, Atletico certainly aren't the team they were then, but they'll go into Thursday's duel with belief that took root on the night of May 17, 2013.

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in his first appearance in the Saudi Pro League but led Al Nassr back to the top of the table.

Following a suspension, Ronaldo made his Al Nassr debut on Sunday against Al Ittifaq, captaining his new side.

The first match of his highly lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia ended in a 1-0 victory, but Ronaldo was not the goal hero.

Talisca, the Brazilian former Benfica and Besiktas forward, headed the only goal before celebrating with the new boy.

Ronaldo appeared to be sporting a black eye, having received a blow to the face in a challenge with Keylor Navas during this week's exhibition between a Riyadh All-Stars team and Paris Saint-Germain.

Victory in Ronaldo's bow ensured Al Nassr finished the weekend ahead of Al Hilal, having been briefly knocked off top spot by their rivals earlier on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo was handed a debut for Al Nassr against Al Ittifaq on Sunday as the veteran striker made his first Saudi Pro League appearance.

Real Madrid's record goalscorer is set to play out the final years of his club career in Saudi Arabia, having signed a lucrative contract through to 2025 in December.

His debut for Al Nassr was delayed as 37-year-old Ronaldo served a two-match ban imposed by the English Football Association for an incident that saw him slap a phone from the hand of a young Everton supporter in a game at Goodison Park last season.

However, he was cleared to make his Al Nassr bow at last, with a new chapter beginning for the player who began his career at Sporting CP and also starred for Manchester United and Juventus.

Ronaldo was handed the captain's armband, having already featured for a Riyadh All-Stars team – scoring twice – against Lionel Messi's Paris Saint-Germain this week.

A staple of the European game for the best part of two decades, seeing Cristiano Ronaldo make his Al Nassr bow in Saudi Arabia will undoubtedly be strange for many.

His move was completed in December following widespread reports linking him with a Saudi switch ever since he and Manchester United parted ways the previous month.

Ronaldo featured in a kind of Saudi all-star XI match against Paris Saint-Germain during the week but will make his official Al Nassr debut on Sunday to essentially bring the curtain down on one of the greatest careers in the history of European football.

While writing off Ronaldo is always unwise, a combination of the striker's age and the unsavoury nature of his second spell at United make a return to elite European football seem improbable.

Nevertheless, as a five-time Champions League winner and the top scorer in the history of European football's premier club competition, Ronaldo's legacy as one of the all-time greats is secure.

But with seven top-flight league titles and a plethora of other trophies to his name, Ronaldo's impact on the continental game went beyond his goals on the grandest club stage.

Ahead of Al Nassr's clash with Al Ittifaq, Stats Perform looks back on his seismic impact in European club football.

Ronaldo's Premier League emergence

Ronaldo's return to the Premier League may not have gone to plan – the 37-year-old only scored once in the competition this term before an explosive interview with Piers Morgan led to his Old Trafford exit.

However, the three-time Premier League winner certainly made his mark in England, scoring 103 goals in 236 top-flight games for United.

Having burst onto the scene as a tricky winger, Ronaldo recorded 37 assists in the competition for the Red Devils, who he also helped to their third European title in 2008.

He also claimed his first Ballon d'Or while in Manchester in 2008 after scoring 31 goals in their title-winning 2007-08 campaign – that single-season tally has only been bettered by three players in the competition's history.

Making history with Madrid in LaLiga

Given the way his United spell ended, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will be remembered as an Old Trafford legend or not. But there's no doubt about his legacy at Real Madrid, where he really made his name as one of football's greatest as he became Los Blancos' top scorer with 450 goals in all competitions.

Incredibly, the Portugal forward averaged over a goal per game throughout his trophy-laden spell in Spain, hitting the net 311 times in 292 appearances in LaLiga.

Ronaldo scored with 16 per cent of his shots for Madrid, a higher percentage than he managed in the Premier League, Serie A or the Champions League. 

Madrid may be famed for their Champions League accomplishments, but Ronaldo also helped them to two domestic title triumphs in 2011-12 and 2016-17, netting 46 times as Jose Mourinho's side earned 100 points in the first of those campaigns.

Serie A success with the Bianconeri

Given Juventus' failure to win the Champions League, few consider Ronaldo's time in Turin to be an unmitigated success. The raw numbers, however, suggest otherwise.

Managing 81 goals in 98 league appearances for a club in perpetual crisis – with a conversion rate of 15 per cent – tells the story of how Ronaldo evolved in Serie A, honing his game as the ultimate penalty-box forward in his advancing years.

Despite a tumultuous period that saw Maurizio Sarri replace Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus stretched their incredible run of Scudetto success to nine consecutive seasons.

That stint ended in Ronaldo's final full campaign at the Allianz Stadium, though he still finished as Serie A's top scorer with 29 goals. 

The Champions League master

For those who believe Ronaldo to be the greatest to have played the game, the Portugal forward's exploits in the Champions League are always the crucial factor.

Ronaldo's record of 140 goals in the competition is unmatched, though his great rival Lionel Messi (129) may have something to say about that if he declines to follow his fellow forward's lead in exiting Europe.

Averaging almost a goal contribution per game (180 in 183 appearances), Ronaldo won an astonishing 115 games in the Champions League, lifting the trophy five times – a joint-high tally.

As Madrid cemented their status as European masters by winning three consecutive titles between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, Ronaldo top-scored in the competition every season, consolidating his legacy as the ultimate big-game player.

Vincent Aboubakar is poised to join Besiktas for a third time after the January transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wout Weghorst set up a Super Lig opportunity for the Cameroonian.

Al Nassr announced Aboubakar's exit, before Besiktas on Saturday confirmed they were in talks with the striker.

A pair of transfers involving Manchester United have paved the way for the deal.

Al Nassr pounced when United released Ronaldo in November, and the Premier League club then plumped for Weghorst as they sought a replacement, prising him away from his loan from Burnley to Besiktas.

With Besiktas seeking a player to take Weghorst's place, they struck on Aboubakar as the man for the job, knowing exactly what he will bring.

Now 30, Aboubakar spent a season on loan from Porto to Besiktas in 2016-17, and he joined the Istanbul giants again in September 2020 after leaving Portugal.

He left at the end of the 2020-21 season after Saudi club Al Nassr came in for him, but his Pro League stint has come to an end following Ronaldo's arrival.

Besiktas confirmed in a statement that they are in the process of signing Aboubakar.

"Negotiations have started with the player regarding the transfer of professional footballer Vincent Pate Aboubakar," Besiktas said.

Aboubakar captained Cameroon at the World Cup in Qatar. He was sent off after tearing off his shirt when celebrating his winning goal in a group game against Brazil, with the result not enough to carry the Indomitable Lions through to the knock-out stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice yet Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe helped Paris Saint-Germain defeat Riyadh All-Stars 5-4 in a thrilling friendly.

The exhibition at King Fahd International Stadium on Thursday saw 21 shots on target, nine goals, a red card for Juan Bernat and a penalty miss from Neymar.

Having had his debut for new club Al Nassr delayed due to a domestic ban carried over from his time at Manchester United, Ronaldo's first game since moving to Saudi Arabia came for a hybrid XI that also contained players from Al Hilal.

It set up a reunion with long-time rival and fellow multiple Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi in what was their first meeting on the pitch of any sort since Juventus beat Barcelona 3-0 in the Champions League group stage in 2020.

Messi came out on top in terms of scoreline in this 37th encounter between the pair, with PSG pulling away in a game that the hosts levelled on three occasions, but Ronaldo outscored the 2022 World Cup winner.

Neymar, Mbappe and Messi all combined for the latter to open the scoring inside the opening three minutes, but Ronaldo equalised from a penalty he himself won after being caught in the face by Keylor Navas.

PSG lost Bernat to a straight red card for his last-man challenge just inside the opposition half, though they were soon back in front through a close-range Marquinhos finish from Mbappe's assist.

Neymar missed the chance to extend PSG's lead when having a tame penalty saved, and that proved costly when Ronaldo glanced in a trademark header on the stroke of half-time.

PSG still could not shake off their opponents after Sergio Ramos' strike, teed up by Mbappe, was cancelled out by Jang Hyun-soo's header less than three minutes later.

Mbappe capped an impressive display with a goal of his own from the penalty spot on the hour mark. He was then subbed off, along with Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo.

The tempo of the game dropped from that point but the entertainment continued until full-time as Anderson Talisca pulled back a late goal after Hugo Ekitike had seemingly put PSG out of sight, though the Riyadh All-Stars could not equalise for a fifth time.

New Manchester United signing Wout Weghorst is adamant his willingness to press makes him a good fit for Erik ten Hag's style of play at Old Trafford.

The Netherlands international completed a loan move from Burnley on Friday after United secured his release from a temporary stay at Besiktas in Turkey.

Weghorst was in the stands the following day as United came from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford in the derby, with Bruno Fernandes scoring the equaliser before Marcus Rashford got the winner.

Victory moved Erik ten Hag's men to within a point of second-placed City, highlighting the remarkable improvement instigated at the club by the new manager, who is seemingly maximising the team's potential.

Nevertheless, they have often been stretched in terms of their attacking options, particularly since Cristiano Ronaldo's acrimonious November exit, and Weghorst emerged as a surprise target earlier this month.

While some supporters may not have been enthused about the arrival of a forward who only scored twice as Burnley were relegated last season, the fact he engaged in the fourth-most pressures (54.1) per 90 minutes in the league (minimum 1,000 minutes played) in 2021-22 saw him dubbed a "pressing monster" in the media.

He believes this approach aligns itself to that of his new manager, as he told United's official website: "I think [pressing] is something that's one of my strengths. Especially without the ball, to put pressure on an opponent [and] be active.

"That's something I am capable of and that's also something in the way the trainer [Ten Hag] wants to play.

"He wants to play aggressive; he wants to go high on the pitch, try to recover the ball there, as quickly as possible, and I think I can help the team with that."

Weghorst was considered a disappointment following his brief spell in the Premier League with Burnley, as his poor goals return did not match the expectations that came with his reputation.

The Clarets reportedly paid £12million (€14m) to Wolfsburg for the striker, but he averaged only one Premier League goal every 10 appearances and was loaned to Besiktas when Burnley dropped into the second tier.

He is desperate to prove a point upon his return to England.

"For me, it was not done, it was not finished," he continued. "It didn't work out the first time as I hoped and I'm really hungry to show myself, to help the team.

"Of course, we are on a really good track now. The last couple of weeks, months actually, it's going really positive [at United] and I just want to contribute and give my best and give my all for the club and try to be a part of the successful [direction] we are going."

In terms of the direction United are going, Weghorst has no doubt where he sees the destination being.

"Trophies. That's quite easy. Trophies, and that's also what the manager told me about, the expectations that are there.

"Also my role, that's also something I want to bring. Like I said, I'm just going to give everything I have for the club to be successful, to win the games and, of course, to win trophies.

"We are still active in four competitions, so four trophies to go, that's the only thing that's counting, and I think also that fits for a big a club as United is."

Cristiano Ronaldo must accept "he is not 25 years old" anymore and follow the examples of veterans Ryan Giggs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paolo Maldini.

That was the message from Manchester United great Eric Cantona, who referenced the leading role Ibrahimovic has played at Milan despite his status diminishing to a squad role.

Ronaldo parted ways with United in an acrimonious exit after stating he felt "betrayed" by the club and had little respect for Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag and former interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

The Portugal forward started just 10 of United's 21 matches prior to his departure, though Cantona suggested the 37-year-old should have handled the situation in a different manner.

Ibrahimovic played through injury as Milan ended an 11-year wait for the Scudetto last term, scoring eight goals in 23 Serie A games to support Stefano Pioli's regular starters Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao.

Cantona told CalcioMercato: "There are two types of veterans: those who want to play every game because they still think they're 25 and those who realise they're not 25 and are here to help young players, they know they won't play every game, but they're aware that they'll have their moment.

"There are players who help new players: Ibrahimovic still does it with Milan, Ryan Giggs or Maldini himself when he was at Milan. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't realise he's not 25 years old. He's already older and doesn't know that, instead of being unhappy about not having played all the time, he should accept the situation."

Ronaldo could make his debut for Al Nassr against Ettifaq next Sunday after missing clashes with Al Tai and Al Shabab due to a two-match ban from the English Football Association.

Bruno Fernandes insists he was not taking a swipe at Cristiano Ronaldo when describing Manchester United as "a proper team" following the superstar forward's exit.

Portugal international Fernandes struck a controversial equaliser against Manchester City on Saturday before Marcus Rashford earned a 2-1 comeback victory for United at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag's side have now won nine matches in a row – seven of those since Ronaldo's high-profile exit in November – in what is their best league run since January 2017.

It has been quite the turnaround for United, who lost their opening two matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion but are now up in third place.

Speaking to BT Sport after United's latest win, Fernandes said: "We used to be individuals, now we are a team. You can see a proper team that works for each other."

Those comments were perceived as being a dig at international colleague Ronaldo, but Fernandes took to Instagram later on Saturday to clarify what he meant.

"I know it's difficult to see Manchester United doing well, [but I] don't have anything to [say] about us apart [from] good things," he posted. "Don't use my name to attack Cristiano.

"Cristiano was part of our team for half the season and as I said in many interviews, everyone since [the win against] Liverpool has been amazing and acting like a proper team."

Fernandes, who now has four goals and four assists in 26 games this season, added: "You can see the results. We carry on!"

Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr earlier this month after his United contract was terminated by mutual consent following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has yet to make his debut for his new club due to a two-match domestic ban carried over from his time with United.

Ten Hag's in-form side are back in Premier League action on Wednesday with a trip to Crystal Palace.

Cristiano Ronaldo will make his Al Nassr debut next Sunday, but he will do so without team-mate David Ospina, who fractured a bone in his elbow on Saturday.

Al Nassr are preparing for Ronaldo's Saudi Pro League bow at home to Ettifaq in their next match.

But they head into that January 22 game on the back of a goalless draw at Al Shabab.

Although the result maintained a three-point gap between league leaders Al Nassr and their third-placed hosts, it came at a cost.

Goalkeeper Ospina, who starred in Europe with Nice, Arsenal and Napoli, faces six weeks out, the team announced.

Ospina has been a key part of an Al Nassr defence that has conceded a league-low six goals this season. Only Al Shabab's Kim Seung-gyu can better his seven clean sheets.

Manchester United have secured the arrival of Netherlands striker Wout Weghorst on loan from Burnley until the end of the season.

Weghorst had been playing for Besiktas, but United have taken over that arrangement, with the Turkish club confirming they received €2.8million (£2.48m) for the inconvenience.

Erik ten Hag was in the market for a new striker following the acrimonious split with Cristiano Ronaldo, whose contract was terminated in November after he criticised the manager and club in a controversial interview.

The United boss was open about his desire to bring in attacking reinforcements and seemed to confirm the club's interest in Weghorst when acknowledging Anthony Martial could not handle the physical demands of being their only striker.

Links with Weghorst surprised many given the 30-year-old's lack of impact – he scored two goals in 20 top-flight games – with Burnley in the Premier League last season.

But he has netted eight goals in 16 Turkish Super Lig outings this term and scored twice for the Netherlands in a lively cameo against Argentina at the World Cup.

Weghorst's arrival is the continuation of a pattern in the transfer market for United, who have largely relied on signing either ageing or cheap centre-forwards for over a decade, with Romelu Lukaku – who lasted only two years at Old Trafford – arguably the only exception since acquiring Robin van Persie from Arsenal in 2012.

United confirmed the signing on their official website on Friday, though the former AZ player will not be eligible for Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

"I feel privileged to be joining Manchester United," Weghorst said. "I've played against the club in the past and it's a fantastic feeling to now have the chance to pull on the famous red shirt.

"I've seen United's progress under Erik ten Hag this season and can't wait to start playing my part in pushing the team towards its aims.

"Whatever happens in the next few months, I can promise to give everything to the club for as long as I am here.

"I thank everyone who has played a part in getting me to this stage, and now I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting involved straight away."

Cristiano Ronaldo paid old friends a visit on Friday, dropping in on Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid ahead of the Supercopa de Espana final in Riyadh.

It may have been rude of Madrid's record goalscorer not to show his face, given Los Blancos were training at the facilities of his new team, Al Nassr.

The 37-year-old was nevertheless warmly received as his former team were put through their paces, training in the build-up to Sunday's trophy game against Barcelona.

Ronaldo watched the session and met with Madrid's players, the club said, with the Portuguese perhaps hankering for a slice of the action.

He also chatted with fellow former Madrid star Roberto Carlos, with the Brazilian making an appearance at the session as well.

Ronaldo last featured in a Supercopa for Madrid in August 2017, scoring in a 3-1 first-leg win against Barcelona at Camp Nou before Madrid won the second game 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to seal a 5-1 aggregate rout over their fiercest rivals.

Ronaldo has yet to make his competitive debut for Al Nassr, who face Al Shabab in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday.

He is expected to miss that game, having also sat out a fixture against Al Tai last week, due to a two-match ban handed down by the English Football Association after Ronaldo slapped a mobile phone out of a young Everton fan's hand at the end of Manchester United's defeat at Goodison Park last April.

Ronaldo has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Al Nassr, the deal seemingly ending his long and successful career in European club football.

He scored 451 goals in 438 games for Madrid in a staggering nine-year stint with Los Blancos, before moving on to Juventus in July 2018.

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