New Zealand winger Ronaldo Mulitalo is hoping to emulate his namesake Cristiano Ronaldo – who he is named after – when the 2021 Rugby League World Cup gets under way this month.

The Cronulla Sharks winger is making his tournament bow with Michael Maguire's Kiwis, as the world number one-ranked nation look to dethrone holders Australia and hosts England among others over the next few weeks.

While New Zealand will raise the curtain on their campaign in Group C against Lebanon at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium, it is up the road at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, where the final will take place.

Mulitalo is aiming to guide his side to the November 19 showpiece, revealing his name is indeed inspired by the Portuguese talisman who calls it home, though he admits it is a moniker he struggles to relate to.

"My mum loves him," he stated. "I don't like telling people around here because they are looking at my like 'you are a fake Ronaldo' ... the bush version. So I don't really tell everyone my name around here.

"But it would be a bit of a surreal moment [to play at his ground]. It would be nice. Before we even think about getting to Old Trafford we have a bit of work to do."

Following their opener against Lebanon, New Zealand will face tournament debutants Jamaica at Hull's MKM Stadium before wrapping up their group campaign against Ireland at Leeds' Headingley Stadium.

Any path to the final is likely to see them have to go through Australia to get there, with the Kangaroos on their side of the knockout draw, while England, Tonga and Samoa make up the major contenders on the other pathway.

Erik ten Hag is confident Cristiano Ronaldo will hit his stride after scoring his 700th club goal – and his first of the 2022-23 Premier League season – in Sunday's 2-1 win at Everton.

Ronaldo had endured a frustrating campaign prior to his outing at Goodison Park, a ground on which he had never previously scored a Premier League goal, but he proved decisive after entering the fray in the first half. 

Antony cancelled out Alex Iwobi's opener before Ronaldo replaced the injured Anthony Martial, and the 37-year-old quickly made his mark by firing a left-footed finish beyond Jordan Pickford.

That strike was Ronaldo's 700th in club football and his 144th across two spells at Old Trafford, and ensured United bounced back from last week's derby thrashing by Manchester City.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Ten Hag congratulated Ronaldo on his landmark and backed him to hit a rich vein of form in the coming weeks.

"That is really impressive, when you score 700 goals," Ten Hag said. "It's a huge performance, I'm really happy for him. 

"I congratulate him on that performance and I'm also happy it's his first goal this season in the Premier League. He had to wait for it and I'm sure there will be more goals.

"I think every player needs it, even when you are the best in the world, you need it, you need the goals.

"I worked with many goalscorers, especially them, they need goals in every season to have that feeling, to have the confirmation of their intuition. 

"Once they have some goals, they come in the flow and games go easier. That will happen with him as well."

United had lost eight of their previous 10 away league games ahead of their trip to Merseyside – including last Sunday's dismal loss at the Etihad Stadium, and Ten Hag was pleased with the improvements on display.

"First of all, criticism is normal when you have a defeat, especially in a big game, in a derby, so we have to deal with that and you learn lessons," Ten Hag added.

"In this moment, we collect the points, it's not looking at the table, we have to win every game – it's our aim. 

"We have to improve every game, we have to improve the process, we have to prepare every game 100 per cent and we demand from the players that in every game they give their best.

"You see in this game, the spirit is really good in the squad – it's not only the 11 players. 

"Again, a sub coming on and scoring a goal, you see Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Raphael Varane coming in, so we use more than 11 players and I am happy with that process."

United goalkeeper David De Gea also praised Ronaldo following the win, hailing him for maintaining a professional attitude despite starting just one league game under Ten Hag.

"He's never been in this situation before, but the way he works and trains, it's just unbelievable," De Gea told BT Sport. "It's not easy times for him, but he showed he's a great player."

With De Gea's United contract expiring at the end of the season – although the club has an option for an extra year – the Spaniard also revealed he would like to commit his future to the club.

"I'm just very focused on the games, helping the team as much as I can," he added. "Of course, I would like to be here for more years, so let's see what happens in the future. I'm really, really happy here."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 700th goal in club football as Manchester United came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Ronaldo reached the latest landmark of his spectacular career after coming on as a first-half substitute for the injured Anthony Martial, ensuring United returned to winning ways in the Premier League after the dismal derby defeat to Manchester City.

Elsewhere, Arsenal's young guns continued their stunning start to the season as Bukayo Saka's double and Gabriel Martinelli's early strike secured a thrilling 3-2 win over Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.

Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Leeds United 2-1 at Selhurst Park, while West Ham roared back to overcome Fulham 3-1.

Here, Stats Perform picks out the best data from another day of mouth-watering Premier League action.

Everton 1-2 Manchester United: Ronaldo hits yet another landmark

Ronaldo did not start on United's visit to Merseyside, but a first-half injury to Martial paved the way for him to create yet another slice of history.

The 37-year-old, who has also scored a record 117 international goals, has now taken his overall tally for United to 144 across two spells at Old Trafford, adding to a combined tally of 556 from his time at Sporting CP, Real Madrid and Juventus.

United had started sluggishly at Goodison Park and fell behind early on to Alex Iwobi's superb strike from 25 yards. The Nigerian has either scored or assisted in three consecutive Premier League appearances for only the second time in his career (also April 2016).

The Red Devils levelled soon after when Antony latched on to Martial's pass and beat Jordan Pickford, the Brazilian becoming the first United player to score in each of his first three appearances in the Premier League for the club.

Ronaldo then ensured United became the first team in Premier League history to have won 100 games after conceding the first goal.

Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: Young guns pile on misery for Reds

This stirring victory meant Arsenal have won at least eight of their first nine league matches in a top-flight campaign for only the fourth time, after 2007-08, 2004-05 and 1947-48.

This latest triumph helped them sit atop the table nine or more games into a season for the first time since December 2016 (15th game).

Their three goals came from Saka (2) and Martinelli, who are both 21 years old. The Gunners have now scored 54 goals courtesy of players aged 21 and under in the Premier League under manager Mikel Arteta – 22 more than any other side since the Spaniard's first game in charge.

Liverpool are yet to win away from home in the Premier League this season (D2 L2); this is the first time since 2010-11 under Roy Hodgson that they have failed to win any of their opening four away games in a Premier League campaign.

With 10 points from eight games so far, it is their worst return at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2012-13 (nine points), when they ultimately finished seventh.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Leeds United: Eagles bounce back as Yorkshiremen continue to struggle on the road

Eberechi Eze's fine strike helped Palace earn their first Premier League win since August (3-1 v Aston Villa), another game in which they conceded first. In this one, Pascal Struijk put Leeds ahead, but Odsonne Edouard soon got the Eagles back on level terms.

Palace have now won as many Premier League home games when conceding first this season as they did across the 2019-20 and 2021-22 campaigns (two). 

Leeds, meanwhile, are winless away from home in the Premier League this season (D1 L3), losing each of the last three in a row.

It is the second time in 2022 that the Whites have lost three consecutive away games, with the previous occasion coming in March.

West Ham 3-1 Fulham: In-form Scamacca strikes again for the Hammers

West Ham recovered from conceding Andreas Pereira's early strike to make it back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since January, having beaten Wolves last time out.

Jarrod Bowen pulled the Hammers level from the penalty spot, before Gianluca Scamacca put them ahead with a cool lofted finish over Bernd Leno.

The Italian became the ninth player to score in both of his first two home starts in the Premier League for West Ham, and the first since their move to the London Stadium, with Diafra Sakho the previous player to do so at Upton Park in October 2014.

Michail Antonio added a late third to move level with Carlton Cole as the top scorer for West Ham in London derbies in the Premier League (14).

Bruno Fernandes credited Cristiano Ronaldo's hunger after his fellow Portugal international scored his 700th club goal in Manchester United's 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday.

Ronaldo was introduced as a first-half substitute for Anthony Martial, who suffered a back injury, and brought up the landmark by firing under Jordan Pickford after racing onto Casemiro's pass.

Alex Iwobi's long-range strike had initially handed Everton an early lead, but Antony became the first player to score in his first three Premier League games for United to level the scores.

Ronaldo's 700th goal in club football arrived 20 years and two days after his first (for Sporting CP against Moreirense on October 7 2002), and saw him get off the mark for the Premier League season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had endured a frustrating campaign prior to his outing at Goodison Park, only starting one league match under Erik ten Hag, and Fernandes was delighted to see him find the net.

"It is tough still counting goals for Cristiano because every week it seems like a new record," Fernandes told BT Sport.

"We're really happy because he has been working hard to get this goal, we saw it last Thursday, it was tough for him. Today he got the goal and the win.

"That's most important for Cristiano, I think, that the team wins, and obviously as a striker he wants to score goals and we are really happy for that."

United's comeback makes them the first team to win 100 Premier League games after conceding first, and Ten Hag was impressed by the Red Devils' response to Iwobi's fifth-minute strike.

"We were quickly 1-0 down but the reaction of the team was good," Ten Hag told BT Sport. "One of our aims is to deal better with setbacks and they stayed composed. It was quite impressive from our side.

"In the first half we were pressing well. Everton did not come out and it was difficult for them to get a lot of crosses in, we didn't allow them and I am happy with that.

"Casemiro will anticipate quickly, and we saw during the game how important he is, winning a lot of balls. He also played the ball for the goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. He grew into the game.

"Once again, we were happy with all the subs, Ronaldo coming on and getting the winning goal, and Rapha [Varane] showed his importance with his organisation and heading capacity."

United's victory moved them into fifth in the Premier League table, while their total of 38 wins against Everton in the competition is now their joint-most against any opponent (also Tottenham).

Cristiano Ronaldo's 700th goal in club football helped Manchester United come from behind to beat Everton 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.

Ronaldo, introduced as a first-half substitute following an injury to Anthony Martial, found the net with a low, left-footed strike at the end of a back-and-forth opening period at Goodison Park.

Alex Iwobi had earlier taken advantage of Casemiro's error to put Everton ahead with a long-range strike, with Antony levelling to maintain his fine start to life in England. 

Erik ten Hag's men produced a controlled display following Ronaldo's intervention, keeping Everton at arm's length to go fifth in the Premier League table, one point adrift of the top four.

Casemiro's first Premier League start turned sour when he was caught in possession by Amadou Onana five minutes in, allowing Iwobi to curl a brilliant effort beyond David De Gea and into the top-right corner.

Everton's lead lasted just 10 minutes, however, as Antony darted onto Martial's well-timed pass to tuck a neat finish into the bottom-left corner.

An injury to Martial led to Ronaldo's introduction shortly before Casemiro squandered a golden opportunity, heading wide when racing onto Bruno Fernandes' in-swinging cross.

Casemiro did register an assist on the stroke of half-time, but the plaudits will go to Ronaldo after he coolly fired between Jordan Pickford's legs to bring up his landmark.

Marcus Rashford was denied a late third goal following a VAR review when he appeared to handle the ball before rounding Pickford, before De Gea kept Joe Garner's effort out with a stunning fingertip save to secure the win.

What does it mean? United bounce back from derby blues

A run of four consecutive Premier League wins appeared to have given lift-off to the Ten Hag era at United ahead of last week's trip to Manchester City. However, the Red Devils were a distant second-best in an emphatic 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, and they looked to be experiencing a derby hangover when Iwobi struck.

However, United showed the necessary composure to respond to that setback, earning just their third win in their last 11 away Premier League games and ending the Toffees' six-match unbeaten run.

Another landmark for indomitable Ronaldo

Ronaldo's struggles this season have been well-documented; following his failure to secure a move away from Old Trafford, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner entered Sunday's match having scored one goal in all competitions this campaign – a Europa League penalty against Sheriff.

However, he led the line effectively following his early introduction on Merseyside, scoring the 700th goal of his club career 20 years and two days after the first, in what was his 945th club appearance.

Ronaldo will now hope to kick on after opening his Premier League account for the season – on a ground at which he had never previously scored in the competition (in seven appearances).

Antony makes United history

Although Ronaldo stole the headlines with his strike, Brazilian winger Antony continued his strong start to life in the Premier League on Sunday, cutting inside to bend home a crucial leveller.

The former Ajax man's goal makes him the first player to score in each of his first three Premier League appearances for United in the competition's history.

What's next?

United host Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday, while Everton travel to Tottenham for their next Premier League match on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo reached another milestone as he scored his 700th goal in club football during Manchester United's Premier League clash with Everton on Sunday.

Ronaldo hit the latest landmark of his glittering career after coming on as a first-half substitute for the injured Anthony Martial, racing onto a ball from Casemiro before firing past Jordan Pickford to give United a 2-1 lead at Goodison Park.

The Portugal captain has struggled to find his best form this season and this was just the second goal of a campaign in which he has been starved of regular game time, having netted his 699th club strike from the penalty spot during a 2-0 Europa League victory over Sheriff on September 15.

He had failed to score in eight games before then, his longest run without a goal in all competitions at club level since a run of 10 matches between March and May 2006.

The 37-year-old, who has also scored a record 117 international goals, has now taken his overall tally for United to 144 across two spells at Old Trafford, adding to a combined tally of 556 from his time at Sporting CP, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Ronaldo's 700 goals, club by club

Ronaldo's most prolific spell came at Madrid, where he scored an incredible 450 goals in 438 appearances to become Los Blancos' all-time leading marksman.

His best individual season also came with Madrid, netting 61 times from an expected goals (xG) value of 47.9 in 54 games across all competitions in 2014-15. In that campaign, Ronaldo registered the best minutes-per-goal ratio (76.1) of any player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored at least 10 across all fronts.

Across his nine-year stint in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo hit the 60-goal mark twice (2011-12, 2014-15), with his lowest-scoring campaign coming in the 2009-10 season, his first at the club. He still managed 33 goals in 35 appearances.

Prior to becoming a legend at Madrid, Ronaldo of course made his mark at United. His best season in England was in 2007-08, when he scored 42 times across all competitions.

Playing predominantly as a winger for Alex Ferguson, and dovetailing with the likes of Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo left United in 2009 having found the net on 118 occasions for the club, having previously scored five times for Sporting.

His time at Juve did not yield the Champions League title he was bought to help the Bianconeri win, though they still won Serie A twice, and the Coppa Italia. Ronaldo plundered 101 goals in 134 matches during his three years in Italy, averaging one every 114 minutes.

Ronaldo made a flying start back in England last year, scoring twice on his second United debut against Newcastle United. Though he went on to score a further 22 times across all competitions, the Red Devils could only manage a sixth-placed finish.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United remains uncertain after he reportedly tried to leave in the offseason.

The Portugal great has struggled to break into United's starting XI in the Premier League this term.

And Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure in United's 3-2 win over Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday.


TOP STORY – MLS CLUB TO OFFER RONALDO A WAY OUT

David Beckham-owned MLS club Inter Miami are set to offer Cristiano Ronaldo a way out of Manchester United with a contract worth £30million per year, reports The Daily Star.

Ronaldo, who is a regular visitor to Florida, could make the move in January, with Phil Neville's Miami planning to replace Gonzalo Higuain, who announced his retirement last week.

One stumbling block, however, is that the deal is on the condition Ronaldo joins Inter on a free transfer, with United - who insisted on a fee when clubs enquired in the last transfer window - seemingly content to retain him for now.


ROUND-UP

– The Mirror claims Leeds United have agreed personal terms with PSV's Cody Gakpo, beating Manchester United in the pursuit for the 23-year-old Dutch forward. Leeds still need to thrash out a transfer fee with PSV for Gakpo to move in January.

Paris Saint-Germain have joined the long list of clubs pursuing Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk reports Fichajes. Arsenal, Newcastle United and Real Madrid are also keen on him.

PSG are also chasing a deal for Adrien Rabiot who is set to exit Juventus when his contract expires in mid-2023, according to Fichajes.

– El Nacional claims Real Madrid are interested in Benfica's 18-year-old centre-back Antonio Silva. Manchester United are also monitoring the Portuguese stopper.

– Manchester United's Diogo Dalot is being considered by Barcelona, who need to bolster their right-back options, reports Sport.

Cristiano Ronaldo must "stay patient" and take his opportunities when they arise if he is to reignite his career, according to former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney.

Portugal international Ronaldo has endured a difficult time of things in his second season back at Old Trafford, having started just one of United's seven Premier League games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner led the scoring charts for United in the previous campaign with 24 goals, but his only goal in nine outings this term was a penalty against Sheriff.

That came in the Europa League, a competition Ronaldo – the Champions League's all-time record scorer – is now having to use to prove himself to manager Erik ten Hag.

Rooney, who played alongside Ronaldo between 2004 and 2009, says his former colleague will be finding life on the substitutes' bench tough but can still turn things around.

"The manager's obviously gone a different way in terms of how they're playing and been successful," said D.C. United head coach Rooney.

"Cristiano... him and [Lionel] Messi are two of the greatest players to ever play the game, but ultimately time catches up with us all. 

"He's obviously not the player he was when he was 22 or 23, for instance. It's a tough one for him.

"Knowing him, it'll be very difficult to sit on the bench. I'm sure if he stays patient, his chance will come and it's then him taking those chances and trying to force his way back in."

This is the first season since 2005-06, during his first spell at United, that Ronaldo has failed to score in his opening six league appearances.

The Sporting CP academy product has had 12 shots across 207 minutes without scoring in the top flight this season, generating an expected goals (xG) value of 0.8.

Only playmaker Christian Eriksen (1.2) has a higher xG among United players who have yet to score in the league this term.

Ronaldo is expected to be part of United's squad for Sunday's trip to Everton, against whom the Red Devils have won just one of their past seven league matches.

Manchester United are reportedly in the market for defenders in the January window, and are said to have interest in Inter trio Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni and Denzel Dumfries.

Skriniar is considered a hot commodity at centre-back and was recently the subject of a €60million bid from Paris Saint-Germain. Inter rejected that bid, but with the Slovakian's contract set to expire at the end of the season, this will be their last opportunity to cash in if they believe Skriniar will not sign an extension.

Bastoni, 23, has already banked 16 international caps for Italy and is a rising star in his own right, while Dumfries boasts 37 caps for the Netherlands and is flexible enough to play both right-back and in the middle of defence.

The trio are at the centre of Inter's goals this season, but sitting ninth in the Serie A with four wins and four losses from their first eight games, the potential cash injection from selling one or more could fund significant improvements elsewhere.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN PLUNDER OF INTER'S DEFENSIVE STOCKS

InterLive reported United's interest in Skriniar, while Calciomercato believes the Red Devils are preparing an offer for Dumfries, with the idea being to use him at right-back.

Gazzetta dello Sport claims the Old Trafford side will have to contend with Tottenham and Manchester City in their chase for Bastoni, and Calciomercato adds that Chelsea also have interest in the Italian.

United's hunt for defenders is not limited to Serie A, with The Express reporting that they are also seriously looking at Bayer Leverkusen's 21-year-old Dutch right-back Jeremie Frimpong, stating that manager Erik ten Hag sees him as "the ideal signing" in that position.

 

ROUND-UP

– Foot Mercato is reporting Chelsea will not stand in the way of Paris Saint-Germain if they come with a reasonable bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

– According to ESPN, United feel confident Cristiano Ronaldo will stay through the January transfer window due to the lack of interest in the 37-year-old.

– Football Insider claims Arsenal are considering a move for United's Marcus Rashford at the end of this season.

Newcastle United have met with Vasco da Gama representatives to discuss a potential deal for 18-year-old Andrey Santos, who is expected to cost more than £30m, according to The I.

Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham both have interest in Chelsea's N'Golo Kante if the 31-year-old does not sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge, per L'Equipe.

Kylian Mbappe has been named football's highest earner in the world by Forbes magazine, overtaking Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi and Ronaldo had locked out the top spot since 2014, but Mbappe's new deal with Paris Saint-Germain has seen him overtake his PSG team-mate and the Manchester United star.

The France international had been linked with a move to Real Madrid as his previous deal in Paris was set to expire at the end of last season, only for him to sensationally agree to a three-year extension in May to stay at his hometown club.

Forbes' highest earners in football list also takes into account a player's earnings off the field, and Mbappe is not short of significant sponsorship deals, while also starting his own production company in the last year, Zebra Valley.

Messi and Ronaldo are in second and third place as they continue to earn plenty in the autumn years of their careers, while a third PSG player, Neymar, completes the top four.

As well as Ronaldo, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (fifth) and Manchester City duo Erling Haaland (sixth) and Kevin De Bruyne (10th) are the three other Premier League representatives on the list.

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski (seventh) and Madrid's Eden Hazard (eighth) are the only two players from LaLiga.

Former Barca star Andres Iniesta is in ninth, despite leaving Europe to play in Japan in 2018.

2022 Forbes highest earners in football top 10 list

1. Kylian Mbappe - PSG: $128m (£115.2m/€130.9m)

2. Lionel Messi - PSG: $120m (£108.0m/€122.7m)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - Man Utd: $100m (£90.0m/€102.3m)

4. Neymar - PSG: $87m (£78.3m/€88.9m)

5. Mohamed Salah - Liverpool: $53m (£47.7m/€54.2m)

6. Erling Haaland - Man City: $39m (£35.1m/€39.9m)

7. Robert Lewandowski - Barcelona: $35m (£31.5m/€35.8m)

8. Eden Hazard - Real Madrid: $31m (£27.9m/€31.7m)

9. Andres Iniesta - Vissel Kobe: $30m (£27.0m/€30.7m)

10. Kevin De Bruyne - Man City: $29m (£26.1m/€29.7m)

Club Brugge's Ferran Jutgla has put himself on the radar of some Europe's richest clubs after a terrific start to the Champions League, with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid said to be keen.

Jutgla, 23, appeared to be on an upward trajectory after leaving Espanyol last year to join Barcelona, but despite working his way up from the B team and scoring on his first-team starting debut against Elche in December, he was shipped off to Brugge after one season for a modest €5million.

It is looking like a shrewd investment from the Belgian side, with the Spanish forward contributing six goals and three assists in his first 10 league games, but it is in the Champions League where Jutgla has really made his mark.

TOP STORY – BRUGGE BREAKOUT STAR JUTGLA BURSTS ONTO THE WORLD STAGE

Brugge have been arguably the most surprising team from the first three matchdays in the Champions League, collecting three wins and three clean sheets as they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 1-0, FC Porto 4-0 and Atletico 2-0 to sit atop Group B.

Jutgla collected a goal and an assist in both the Porto and Atletico games, and according to Media Foot, the latter liked what they saw.

The report also mentions Arsenal as a team with keen interest, and claims they will keep a close eye on his progress with the aim of making an offer at the end of the season.

ROUND-UP

– According to Turkish outlet Fotomac, Galatasaray are interested in signing Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in January.

– A Bola is reporting Arsenal have strong interest in 30-year-old Porto forward Mehdi Taremi, who is expected to play a big role for Iran at the World Cup.

Real Madrid are monitoring 18-year-old Benfica defender Antonio Silva, according to Calciomercato.

– Calciomercato is also reporting Milan could look to sign 21-year-old Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen in January after sending scouts to see him score in a 2-2 Europa League draw against Feyenoord.

– Jeunes Footeux believes West Ham and Sevilla are both interested in Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka, with West Ham hoping to get him for free when his contract expires in June, while Sevilla could make a bid in January.

Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial fired Manchester United to a 3-2 Europa League victory against Omonia Nicosia.

The hosts took the lead after 34 minutes in Cyprus on Thursday when a quick counter-attack ended with Karim Ansarifard rifling into the roof of the net.

But Erik ten Hag rang the changes for the second half and Rashford helped himself to a double either side of a Martial strike to give the Red Devils all three points, with Nikolas Panagiotou scoring a late consolation.

United have now won six of their last seven Europa League away games and remain second in Group E, three points behind leaders Real Sociedad.

Cristiano Ronaldo came close to scoring his 700th club goal with a fierce drive in the first half and Bruno Fernandes hit the crossbar. Fabiano made a great stop to tip Antony's effort wide at full stretch, before Omonia punished United for their profligacy.

Tyrell Malacia was caught in possession and the hosts steamed forward on the break. Bruno perfectly played in Ansarifard, who fired past David de Gea.

Rashford was introduced at half-time and levelled for United within eight minutes of coming on, latching onto a sublime Fernandes diagonal before cutting onto his right foot and smashing home.

Martial put the visitors in front just a minute after making his way onto the pitch, as a clever Rashford flick teed him up to lash into the bottom corner.

Ronaldo hit the woodwork late on, but provided an assist as his cross-shot picked out Rashford at the back post to tap in for his second.

Omonia grabbed a goal back through Panagiotou, but United saw the game out to earn an important victory.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag insists the fact he has overlooked Cristiano Ronaldo in recent matches is not indicative of the forward's future.

Ronaldo remained on the bench in United's harrowing 6-3 defeat to rivals Manchester City on Sunday, with Ten Hag stating after the match he did not bring him on out of "respect" to the player.

The attacker was widely reported to be pushing for an exit from the club during the recent transfer window and, while that did not materialise, recent reports suggest an exit in January is on the cards.

However, ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Omonia Nicosia, Ten Hag made it clear that Ronaldo's absence from the side is not an indication that his future lies away from Old Trafford.

"I can't see that relation, that he's not coming on when we're 4-0 down, 5-1 down, 6-1 down and I don't bring him on out of respect," he said.

"It's nothing to do with what is happening in the future, what is happening in January or next year.

"I don't see him as unhappy, he's happy. He's training well, everyone is training well. There's a good spirit.

"He's not happy that he didn't play Sunday, don't get me wrong, but the question was about his mood in training, where he's happy.

"Of course, he wants to play and he's p***** off when he's not playing.

"When you are here, when you are happy, satisfied on the bench, this is not the club you have to be.

"Cristiano is really competitive - he is not happy when he is not playing, but I have to repeat, maybe you didn't hear, he is training well, he is in a good mood, he is motivated.

"He gives his best and that is what we expect."

Ten Hag also outlined what he expects from his attacking players, who he expects to contribute both offensively and defensively in his set-up.

He said: "Everyone knows what you expect from strikers - first production, second is defend, 11 defend, 11 attack, so everyone has to contribute."

Chelsea and Liverpool are reportedly both interested in Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer, who could become available at the end of this season.

Bennacer, 24, spent time at Arsenal's academy before heading to Empoli, where he impressed enough to earn a €16million move to Milan in 2019.

He already has 42 international caps for Algeria after debuting as an 18-year-old, and he has started in seven of Milan's eight Serie A fixtures to begin this campaign, but his contract situation could accelerate his exit from Italy.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE HEAVYWEIGHTS CIRCLE BENNACER

Bennacer's contract expires in 2024, at the end of next season, but the more time that passes before signing an extension, the more pressure Milan will be under to cash in as opposed to letting him leave for free.

According to Calciomercato, Milan value him at €50million as Chelsea, Liverpool and Serie A rivals Juventus all keep a close eye on his progress.

The report says to pry him away from Milan in January would take a "sensational offer", but if Milan decide to see out the rest of the season their leverage in negotiations will be significantly weakened.

Both Bennacer and team-mate Rafael Leao have high levels of interest from elite clubs, and Milan will likely not have the budget to hand out two big extensions.

ROUND-UP

– The Telegraph is reporting Manchester United will not stand in Cristiano Ronaldo's way if he wishes to leave in January.

– According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are interested in signing Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli.

– 90min is reporting Chelsea are also trying to push RB Leipzig into accepting deals for centre-back Josko Gvardiol and forward Christopher Nkunku as soon as possible.

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of getting Lionel Messi to agree to a new contract with his deal set to expire at the end of this season, although they will hold off on negotiations until after the World Cup, per Mundo Deportivo.

– January will mark 18 months remaining on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's contract with Lazio, and according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's top clubs are all keeping a close eye on the 27-year-old's availability.

Erling Haaland shares many of the same qualities as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to Peter Schmeichel, who has described the Manchester City man as several top strikers "put into one player".

Haaland produced an incredible display as City swatted aside Manchester United for a 6-3 derby win on Sunday, scoring a treble and teeing up two goals for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

The Norwegian – who has scored 14 goals in his first eight Premier League appearances – has now scored a hat-trick in three successive home league games, becoming the first player to do so in the competition's history.

After watching Haaland tear United apart at the Etihad Stadium, Schmeichel picked out similarities between the 22-year-old and several striking legends.

"The biggest part of a good striker is patience. I played against some of the best strikers, and when they go missing is when you really have to concentrate," the former United and City goalkeeper told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The Cristiano Ronaldos, the Filippo Inzaghis of this world – they disappear then all of a sudden they get the chance.

"When you look at Haaland, you see different players. That Zlatan-like goal, and Ronaldo is in there too. You see top, top strikers in one.

"That is why he is so dangerous. He has the luxury of seeing many top strikers and they are all put into one player."

Haaland's dominant display on Sunday saw him become just the 25th player to record five goal involvements in a Premier League game – and the youngest to ever do so (22 years, 73 days).

In Haaland and team-mate Kevin De Bruyne, meanwhile, City have the highest goalscorer and top assist-maker in Europe's top five leagues this season (in all competitions).

Haaland has already found the net 17 times this season, with five of those strikes being laid on by De Bruyne, who has a total of 10 assists in 2022-23.

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