Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of Benni McCarthy as first-team coach, joining Erik ten Hag's backroom team ahead of the new season.

The former Porto, Ajax, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham striker was a boyhood United fan and has joined to specialise in coaching attacking plays and positioning.

McCarthy was previously head coach of South African outfit AmaZulu but left his position in March, having guided the side to a club-record second position in the league. That led to him being named the South African Premier League's Coach of the Season for the 2020-21 season.

"I support Man United and always wanted to play for them. I loved players like Mark Hughes, Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs," he told the club's official website.

McCarthy's appointment completes Ten Hag's backroom team ahead of his maiden campaign in charge at Old Trafford, the 44-year-old joining the likes of Mitchell van der Gaag, Steve McLaren, Eric Ramsay and Darren Fletcher.

United's pre-season form ahead of the new season has been varied. They thrashed Liverpool and secured wins against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, before drawing with Aston Villa.

Ten Hag's side lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid on Saturday and will play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday in the club's final pre-season match.

United's Premier League campaign begins at home to Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

Joao Felix scored a late winner and Fred was sent off as Atletico Madrid beat a Manchester United side lacking the goalscoring prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0 in Oslo.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Atleti after making clear his desire to leave United in this transfer window.

The La Liga club have since insisted their business is finished and Ronaldo is due to play for United in Sunday's friendly with Rayo Vallecano.

Saturday's warm-up ahead of the start of the new season next weekend was largely light on incident until the closing stages.

Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga spurned promising opportunities for the Red Devils in the first half.

Saul Niguez failed to hit the target with a header and Harry Maguire did the same at the other end in the second half.

The game looked destined to end goalless until substitute Joao Felix drilled a low shot beyond David de Gea before Fred was dismissed in injury time for a second bookable offence.

Frenkie de Jong has a "strong possibility" of staying at Barcelona despite intense interest from Manchester United, according to Joan Laporta. 

United have been chasing the Barca midfielder since hiring his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag as their new manager, but De Jong is understood not to be keen on missing out on Champions League football by making the switch. 

The Netherlands international is said to be owed €17million in deferred wages and being asked to sign a new contract with a salary reduction of around 40 per cent. 

Selling De Jong would significantly improve Barcelona's hopes of successfully registering new arrivals like Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde and making further moves in the market. 

However, Laporta suggested the most likely outcome is that De Jong will stay put – even if he cannot be tied down to a new contract on reduced terms. 

"The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He's a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay," Laporta told CBS. 

"In football, you never know. I can't say categorically [he won't join United]. It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona. 

"All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can't force him to take a pay cut. It's his decision. 

"We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with [Ousmane] Dembele, and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision." 

Asked what will happen if De Jong refuses a new deal and stays at Barca, Laporta replied: "Then he will continue. He has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he's a Barcelona player. We count on him." 

Barca sold off a percentage of their TV revenue for the next 25 years to help get them out of a financial hole, but their decision to use the funds raised to sign players instead of pay off deferred wages has come in for criticism. However, Laporta feels the approach is justified. 

"The club has a payroll that's 40 per cent higher than our competitors'. We have to reduce this, and it's not easy. But the players we are talking about – who have taken pay cuts – all love Barca.  

"To me, the players we have signed this summer are investments, not expenses. And our existing players understand this perfectly. The new signings adjust their salaries to the new structure that we have created and all we ask is the current squad, where possible, do the same. 

"People outside the club don't have all the information. We have to act this way or the club will probably disappear." 

Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared to confirm he will make his return to the Manchester United side for Sunday's friendly with Rayo Vallecano.

The Portugal international has yet to feature in pre-season amid widespread reports he is seeking a move away from Old Trafford, less than a year on from returning to the club.

Further doubts were raised over Ronaldo's future when he was not included as part of United's 21-man travelling party ahead of Saturday's meeting with Atletico Madrid in Oslo.

However, responding to a tweet from a fan page announcing he would not play in either of United's friendlies this weekend, Ronaldo replied: "Sunday, the king plays".

Should he feature against Rayo, it will be the first time Ronaldo has put on the United shirt since the 4-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on May 7.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner sat out the final game of last season through injury and was not present for the Red Devils' four friendlies on their tour of Thailand and Australia.

Ronaldo was back at United's Carrington training base this week for talks, but widespread reports suggest he is still seeking a move to a team competing in the Champions League.

He scored 18 Premier League goals last season – only Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min (both 23) netted more – but United still finished in sixth with their lowest ever points tally.

The 24 goals Ronaldo scored in all competitions in 2021-22 were 14 more than next-best Bruno Fernandes, with no other United player reaching double-figures in a dire season.

Ronaldo was particularly active on social media on Friday, having earlier responded to a post suggesting his agent Jorge Mendes had held talks with United's hierarchy.

"Impossible not to talk about me [for] one day," he wrote. "Otherwise the press makes no money.

"You know that if you don't lie, you can't get people's attention. Keep going that one day you [get] some news right."

Cristiano Ronaldo remains absent from Manchester United's first-team squad a week out from the new Premier League season.

The United number seven was not included in a 21-man group travelling to Oslo for Saturday's friendly against Atletico Madrid.

That news was confirmed by United on Friday, only nine days before their league campaign begins at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Ahead of that game, Ronaldo is yet to feature in pre-season amid widespread reports he has asked to be allowed to leave the club.

United failed to secure Champions League football as they finished sixth in Ronaldo's first season back at the club in 2021-22 – as close to Aston Villa in 14th as they were to the top four in terms of points.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner seemingly wants to leave Old Trafford for a second time in order to play in Europe's elite club competition, in which he is the record goalscorer.

Ronaldo was back at United's Carrington training centre this week for talks, but progress on a transfer appears no further forward.

United have insisted they intend to keep Ronaldo, while there are few clear suitors for the 37-year-old.

Atletico are among those who have been linked, and they will face a United side missing Ronaldo but featuring the majority of their other star names.

Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen could each make their United debuts.

There remains the possibility Ronaldo could make his pre-season bow this weekend, as United play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

"Some of those absent from the squad will take part in Sunday's game against Rayo Vallecano, while others are ill or injured," United said.

Atletico Madrid will not be signing Cristiano Ronaldo and that decision is final, according to club president Enrique Cerezo.

Speaking at the presentation of Nahuel Molina on Friday, Cerezo said the newly recruited Argentina international was "the last piece" of the jigsaw.

That means Diego Simeone's squad is complete as far as Cerezo is concerned.

Molina has joined from Udinese, and Atletico have also brought in the likes of Samuel Lino and Axel Witsel to plump up their ranks after Luis Suarez, Sime Vrsaljko and Hector Herrera moved on.

"With this incorporation our sports directorate has managed to fit the last piece we were looking for," said Cerezo.

"I repeat, for the journalists, with this incorporation our sports directorate has managed to fit the last piece we were looking for."

The emphasis spoke of how Cerezo wants to move on from the links to Ronaldo, after a group of Atletico supporters declared their steadfast opposition to his potential arrival.

Cerezo had already said any deal to bring Ronaldo to Atletico from Manchester United was "practically impossible".

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who is Real Madrid's all-time record scorer, appears to be set on leaving United after the Red Devils failed to qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League.

It has been reported Sporting CP, where Ronaldo launched his career, could be a possible destination for the 37-year-old, who scored 24 goals across all competitions for United last season.

German champions Bayern Munich have ruled themselves out of contention.

Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes were at United's training ground on Tuesday for talks over his future. 

Atletico will face United in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, with Ronaldo highly unlikely to play any part.

Cristiano Ronaldo has laughed off protests by Atletico Madrid supporters over a potential move to the club, as speculation continues to swirl over the Manchester United star's future.

The Portuguese sat out the Premier League club's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia for family reasons, amid reports he is attempting to secure a departure from Old Trafford just one year into his homecoming. 

Rumours over a move to Atletico have continued to swirl, but a section of their fans have made it clear they are against a move for the former Real Madrid star.

Atletico supporters unfurled a banner stating CR7 NOT WELCOME at their recent pre-season friendly against Numancia.

Ronaldo took to social media to comment on their protests, simply posting a succession of crying emojis to a fan account that posted the image.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner - who is facing a first season without Champions League football since the 2002-03 campaign if he stays with United - also hit out at media coverage about his future.

In another comment beneath an Instagram account reporting on a meeting between agent Jorge Mendes and the United hierarchy - reportedly including Sir Alex Ferguson - the forward suggested such reports are false.

"Impossible not to talk about me [for] one day," Ronaldo wrote. "Otherwise the press makes no money. You know that if you don't lie, you can't get people's attention. Keep going that one day you [get] some news right."

Ronaldo scored 22 goals in all competitions against Atletico during his time with Madrid. Only against Getafe (23) and Sevilla (27) did he find the net more often. He also scored three hat-tricks versus Atletico and tormented them again with another treble for Juventus in the last 16 of the 2018-19 Champions League as the Bianconeri reversed a 2-0 first-leg deficit to progress.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas would like to see Cristiano Ronaldo back in Spain but conceded he was unsure if it was "feasible" for Atletico Madrid to sign the Manchester United star.

Ronaldo is reportedly seeking a move away from United less than a year after returning from Juventus, supposedly because of a lack of Champions League football after the Red Devils' sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season.

The Portugal captain, who scored 24 goals in 38 games in 2021-22, returned to United's training ground on Tuesday having missed the club's pre-season tour of Asia and Australia.

It seems suitors for his services are not as plentiful as anticipated, with Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn appearing to rule out a move, while nothing has yet come of reported interest from United's Premier League rivals Chelsea.

 

Atletico had also been talked of as a potential destination, though club president Enrique Cerezo described it as "practically impossible".

An Atletico fan group called for the club to rule out signing Ronaldo on Wednesday, with Union Internacional de Penas Atletico de Madrid issuing a statement on the matter saying the forward represents "the antithesis" of the team's values.

Tebas would encourage any move to bring the 37-year-old back to Spain, though, telling reporters: "I would like to see Cristiano Ronaldo in LaLiga again.

"Whether it is feasible or not for Atletico Madrid, I do not know. There would have to be some player departures if they wanted to. To sign a player of that level, you must make room."

Ronaldo spent nine years at Real Madrid between 2009 and 2018 and became the club's record goalscorer, netting 451 times in 438 games for Los Blancos.

Juventus have been targeting a deal for Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, hoping he can be acquired for around £20million.

Firmino, 30, has spent the past seven seasons with Liverpool, playing a major role in winning the 2019-20 Premier League and 2018-19 Champions League, but in the past season a series of injuries limited him to his fewest league appearances (20) and league goals (five) since arriving at Anfield.

Corriere dello Sport claims the Brazilian was not Juventus' first choice when weighing up the striker market, but interest grew as it became increasingly unlikely they would be able to bring Alvaro Morata back to the club from Atletico Madrid.


TOP STORY – WITH MORATA UNLIKELY TO RETURN, JUVENTUS PIVOT TO FIRMINO

Darwin Nunez's arrival has given Liverpool an abundance of options up front, and instead of letting Firmino operate as a back-up as his value continues to diminish, the club could elect to cash in, if the price is right.

The report from Italy claims Juventus have also been investigating the possibility of acquiring Chelsea's Timo Werner or Manchester United's Anthony Martial, but securing Firmino would put an end to those pursuits.

Reports from England have indicated Liverpool are not interested in selling for the fee Juventus have so far proposed.

Meanwhile, Marca is reporting that Juventus are also in the hunt for Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo, with Manchester City and Newcastle United their main competition.


ROUND-UP

– Spanish publication Cadena Ser claims Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he has no plans to leave Barcelona in the current transfer period, despite strong interest from Manchester United.

– Cadena Ser is also reporting that Barcelona will look to sell highly paid goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for financial relief if they can not convince De Jong to leave.

– According to The Athletic, Bournemouth are set to sign 23-year-old Middlesbrough winger Marcus Tavernier for £10million.

Roma are reportedly in the final stages of securing Georginio Wijnaldum on a loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain, with negotiations said to be continuing about the percentage of salary the French club will cover during his stay in Italy.

– The Daily Mail is reporting that Ajax have raised their asking price for Manchester United target Antony to £84million, likely indicating they have no intention of parting ways with the 22-year-old Brazil international.

Lisandro Martinez says the lure of reuniting with Erik ten Hag played a big part in his decision to join Manchester United from Ajax.

The Argentine defender has moved to Old Trafford in a £56.7million deal on a contract until June 2027, with the option of a further year.

Martinez caught the eye in the Eredivisie and Champions League with Ajax and Arsenal were reported to hold an interest in landing him, but the opportunity to play under United boss Ten Hag again was difficult to resist.

"I was with him three years at Ajax and I know his style of playing," he told the club's official website.

"With him, I improved a lot, to be honest. He's here in Manchester now, so again the opportunity was there and for sure he’s very important in my [career].

"[He's] very intense, for sure. Good football. Winning mentality, you know? That's the most important [thing].

"Every player needs to have things clear. I think he's very clear also. So I think, with him, every day you can learn and then, in the game, you can understand also fully – tactics and everything.

"How did he help me to improve? In how we can understand fully the situations, the decisions inside the pitch. He’s there in every detail."

Martinez is looking forward to making his debut, with thte Red Devils set to face Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano before kicking off the new Premier League campaign against Brighton and Hove Albion.

"Now I can feel the fire, you know? I want to train right now, with the team. For sure, we will work hard to put the club in the high levels," the new signing said.

"I will give my 100 per cent every game, in every training [session]. For sure, also the team, we will do it. We will play as a team."

An Atletico Madrid fan group has called for the club to rule out signing Cristiano Ronaldo, saying he represents "the antithesis" of the team's values.

The Manchester United forward returned to training on Tuesday, having missed the pre-season tour of Asia and Australia, and is reportedly pushing to leave due to his desire to continue playing in the Champions League.

Suitors for Ronaldo's services have not been forthcoming, however, although Atletico have been linked with bringing the former Real Madrid superstar back to the Spanish capital.

Fans have made it clear they are not keen on the idea though, with Atletico's International Union of Fan Clubs (Union Internacional de Peñas Atletico de Madrid) issuing a statement on the matter.

"In light of the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, if it is more than a simple rumour without any basis, we express our absolute rejection of his hypothetical joining of our club," the statement read.

"The aforementioned player represents the antithesis of the values that constitute the hallmarks of our Atleti, such as the effort, generosity, modesty and humility of those who want to defend our values.

"Even in the highly unlikely hypothetical case that a player in steep decline such as Cristiano Ronaldo could guarantee us a trophy, we wouldn't accept his signing.

"The sense of being a part of our Atletico feeling isn't within his reach, unfortunately for him, and as such he could never receive our affection or recognition.

"As such, we ask the club to reject his possible signing, if it has indeed been considered at any time."

The fans will likely have been pleased to have heard Atletico president Enrique Cerezo declare a move for Ronaldo was "practically impossible" on Tuesday.

Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn has admitted the Bundesliga champions "discussed" the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portugal international is widely reported to be pushing for an exit from Manchester United just one year after re-joining the club from Juventus due to his desire to continue playing in the Champions League, where he is the competitions all-time leading scorer.

Suitors for Ronaldo's services are not forthcoming, however, with Atletico Madrid stating a move was "practically impossible" despite being linked to his services – and Bayern have now also ruled out a transfer.

While the German giants have a spot in their attack to fill following Robert Lewandowski's move to Barcelona, Ronaldo is not the man they're after with Kahn saying he "doesn't fit" the club's ethos.

"We discussed this topic. otherwise we wouldn't be doing our job properly," the former goalkeeper told BILD.

 

"Personally, I think Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest-ever footballers. 

"But we came to the conclusion that, despite the esteem that we hold him in, he wouldn't have fitted our philosophy at the moment."

Ronaldo returned to training with United on Tuesday having missed the club's pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to family reasons and it's reported he will hold talks with the club regarding his future.

The veteran forward was a shining light for United in an otherwise disappointing campaign in the 2021-22 season, finishing as the club's highest Premier League scorer with 18 goals - with only Tottenham's Son Heung-Min and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah netting more (both 23).

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez in a reported €57million (£48m) deal.

An agreement on the fee was reached between the clubs on July 17, and the player has now signed a five-year-deal, with the option of a further year.

The 24-year-old follows former coach Erik ten Hag to Old Trafford in a move that is thought could potentially rise to €67m (£56.5m) with add-ons.

Martinez's arrival marks the latest building block of the Dutchman's restructuring of the English giants, who posted a worst-ever points total in the Premier League era last term (58).

They also conceded the most goals they ever have in a Premier League campaign (57), something Ten Hag will hope the Argentina international can help improve.

Speaking to the club's official website following the announcement, Martinez said: "It's an honour to join this great football club. I've worked so hard to get to this moment and, now that I'm here, I'm going to push myself even further.

"I've been lucky enough to be part of successful teams in my career and that's what I want to continue at Manchester United. There will be a lot of work to get to that moment, but I firmly believe that, under this manager and coaches, and together with my new team-mates, we can do it.

"I want to thank Ajax and their fans for all the support they gave me. I had an unbelievable time there but feel the moment is right to test myself in another environment. Now I am at the perfect club to do this."

Martinez follows Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen through the door at Old Trafford, while Ten Hag has also held crunch talks with wantaway forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The tense Frenkie de Jong transfer saga continues with uncertainty on his Barcelona future.

The 25-year-old Dutchman has two years to run on his Barcelona contract, having postponed part of his deal during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Jong is unwilling to accept another pay cut to remain at Camp Nou, though, amid the club's hefty off-season transfer spending.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG DECISION OVER ENGLISH SUITORS

Decisions will be made on Frenkie de Jong's future at Barcelona after their United States tour, with interest from Chelsea alongside Manchester United, reports Sport.

De Jong is reluctant to leave Camp Nou, particularly for a move to Old Trafford, despite ending last season out of favour.

However, the Dutchman is more open to Chelsea's advances, but the Blues are unwilling to pay as much as United, leaving the Blaugrana in a bind.

 

ROUND-UP

– Leicester City have placed a £70million asking price on Wesley Fofana, who is being courted by Chelsea, reports CBS Sports.

Newcastle United are considering a move for Chelsea's Germany international forward Timo Werner, claims Bild. Juventus are also interested in Werner according to Sky Sports.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that ex-Chelsea midfielder Oscar is pushing for a move from Shanghai SIPG to Flamengo, with talks ongoing.

– L'Equipe believes that Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has agreed to a deal with Ligue 1 club Nice, although Leicester City are yet to approve the move.

– Arsenal and Fulham are in talks over an £8m deal for goalkeeper Bernd Leno, claims Sky Sports.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho is trying to woo Manchester United defender Eric Bailly to the Italian capital, reports The Daily Mail.

Cristiano Ronaldo joining Atletico Madrid from Manchester United is "practically impossible", according to the Spanish club's president Enrique Cerezo. 

Rumours have persisted for the entirety of the transfer window that the former Real Madrid man wants out of Old Trafford after just one season back in Manchester, with the Red Devils having failed to qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League. 

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, 37, has been linked with a host of top European clubs, including Chelsea and Bayern Munich, while more recent reports speculated that he could make a switch to Atletico. 

But that looks to have been put to bed by Cerezo, who told COPE: "I don't know who invented this story about Cristiano Ronaldo to Atletico Madrid. 

"It's definitely not true. It is practically impossible for him to come to Atletico Madrid." 

Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes were at United's training ground on Tuesday for crunch talks over his future. 

Atletico will face off against United in a pre-season friendly on Saturday as they build up to the 2022-23 season. 

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