Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United this summer if the Premier League club receive an appropriate offer, according to multiple reports on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Portugal forward returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last summer but despite being United’s top scorer last season, and third in the Premier League, the campaign was overall disappointing. United finished sixth in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification, leaving the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has a year left on his contract plus an optional year, facing the prospect of playing in the Europa League for the first time.
Manchester United are adamant Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals in all competitions, is not for sale, according to reports, with new manager Erik ten Hag keen to work with him.
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League during six trophy-laden years with United before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009 and Juventus in 2018, collecting more trophies at both clubs. United’s international players are due to report for training in the coming days ahead of flying to Thailand on Friday for the start of their pre-season tour.
UEFA steps up fight against online racist abuse of players
UEFA is to launch a programme to combat online racist abuse of footballers by working with social media companies to remove harmful content from platforms and raising awareness, it said yesterday.
Europe’s soccer governing body added that the programme, which will start at the July 6-31 Women’s European Championship, will work to “actively monitor, report and remedy” cases of online abuse. England’s Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the targets of online racist abuse after they missed penalties in a 3-2 shootout loss to Italy in last year’s European Championship final.
A report published by FIFA last month revealed that more than half of players at last year’s European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) were subjected to discriminatory abuse online. “The respect programme targets concrete actions to prevent abusive online behaviour and discrimination during all of its final competitions, including youth, women’s and men’s competition final matches for the next three years,” UEFA said in a statement. “To ensure that harmful content is removed, UEFA is working directly with major social media platforms such as Twitter, Meta (Instagram and Facebook) and TikTok.”
The programme will include a “Real Scars” campaign featuring footballers Wendie Renard, Jorginho and Alisha Lehmann.
That will “highlight the devastating effects of online abuse” and educate players, coaches and officials on how to defend themselves.
“When you say something on social media, you do not realise how painful it is or the consequences it can have,” Renard said. “It can leave a mark because we are all human, we all have emotions.”
Africa Cup of Nations in 2023 pushed back six months
The Africa Cup of Nations scheduled to be held in June and July next year in Ivory Coast has been pushed back to January-February 2024 in a bid to avoid the rainy season, it was announced Sunday.
Patrice Motsepe, head of the African football confederation (CAF) said the body didn’t want to take the risk of staging the tournament “under a deluge”. Speaking at a CAF executive committee meeting in Morocco, playing host to the women’s Cup of Nations, Motsepe said: “We cannot take that risk. “January is not the ideal time because European clubs are not keen to release some of their best players.