Cristiano Ronaldo is set to don Manchester United’s famous red jersey at Old Trafford once again, amid ongoing speculation over his future with the English giants.
The Portuguese superstar indicated on social media that he will play in the Red Devils’ next preseason fixture against Rayo Vallecano.
Ronaldo had been heavily linked with European giants Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain after requesting to leave the club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have missed out on signing star centre-back Jules Kounde from Seville in what is undoubtedly a major blow to the club ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
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‘KING’ SET TO RETURN FOR UNITED
Manchester United fans will get to witness the return of Cristiano Ronaldo at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in the club’s next match, after weeks of speculation over his future.
While there are ongoing rumors about where he may play this season, the star striker has said that he’ll feature against La Liga side Rayo Vallecano on Sunday (local time).
Ronaldo, who missed the club’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia for personal reasons, reportedly wants to leave the club he joined a year ago.
The 37-year-old was also left out of United’s squad for Saturday’s friendly with Atletico Madrid in Oslo.
But the superstar, who has 471 million followers on Instagram, commented on a post by a Ronaldo fan page to indicate that he’ll make his return for the Red Devils.
Ronaldo wrote on Friday: “Domingo o rei yoga”, which translates as “Sunday the king plays”.
He had been linked to some of Europe’s biggest clubs after Manchester United missed out on Champions League qualification last season.
Recently, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has reportedly been in talks with a return to his boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, who also qualified for Europe’s biggest football competition.
Manager Erik ten Hag insisted earlier this month that Ronaldo was “not for sale”.
“We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that’s it and I’m looking forward to working with him,” he said.
“I have read it, but what I say is Cristiano is not for sale, he is in our plans and we want success together.”
The former Real Madrid and Juventus player finished as United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals, but the campaign as a whole was a huge disappointment for the club.
United start their Premier League campaign at home to Brighton on August 7.
CHELSEA MISS OUT ON FRENCH DEFENDER
Jules Kounde appeared to be on his way to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea and Sevilla came close to an agreement last weekend.
But the French centre-back has now agreed to a move to Barcelona, with both clubs making the announcement on Thursday.
“FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Jules Olivier Kounde, awaiting the player passing a medical and the signing of contracts,” the Catalan club said in a statement.
According to Spanish press reports, the two clubs have hammered out a deal with 50 million euros, which includes an extra 10 million euros on bonuses.
It will be Barca’s fifth signing of the pre-season after the arrivals of key players including Polish international Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
The 23-year-old is recovering from groin surgery following an operation last month, but is expected to be available for the start of the new season.
MESSI MAY END CAREER ‘IN A BARCA SHIRT’
As reported yesterday, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi could finish his career at his beloved Barcelona.
Messi left the Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain last summer, after 17 years in the Barcelona first team.
But club president Joan Laporta is hopeful that the 35-year-old will be able to return to Barca before he hangs up his boots.
“Messi’s time at Barca didn’t end as we all would have liked,” he told the Spanish press during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.
“I believe that Barca have a moral debt towards Leo Messi. We would like the end of his career to come in a Barca shirt, being applauded at all the grounds, wherever he goes.” Laporta clarified that “nothing has been discussed” with Messi, who has one season left on his PSG contract with an option for an extra year.
“It was a temporary end (to his Barca career) because I believe that we will make this wish a reality.”
MCNEIL RETURNS TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Dwight McNeil is heading back to the Premier League with Everton after being relegated with Burnley last season.
The winger has reportedly set for a five-year stay at Goodison Park, in a deal worth $24 million.
The 22-year-old scored seven goals in 137 Premier League appearances for the Clarets.
McNeil, who started his career at Manchester United before joining the Burnley academy, is looking forward to working for Everton manager Frank Lampard.
“It is an amazing feeling to sign. When I heard about Everton’s interest I wanted to get it done straight away because of the club and how good the team is,” McNeil said.
“I feel playing under a manager like Frank Lampard, he will help me to get my stats up. That is what I want to do and improve my game.
“Speaking to the manager about what they want going forward, it really excited me and appealed to me. I wanted to be part of it.”
Lampard has been keen to revamp Everton’s squad after saving them from relegation, following his arrival to replace Rafael Benitez in the second half of the season.
“I have been a big admirer of Dwight for some time. He has huge talent and is exactly the type of player we want to bring into the squad to help us improve,” Lampard said.
McNeil is Everton’s third close-signing, joining former Burnley team-mates James Tarkowski and Ruben Vinagre.