Man Utd Hopeful Key Duo Will Return for Liverpool Clash But Paul Pogba & David De Gea Ruled Out

?Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping for some respite in the treatment room for Manchester United’s upcoming Premier League clash with Liverpool, with Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka pushing for a return to the first-team this weekend.

United have been rocked by injuries all season, with Sunday’s clash no different as they aim to amend a torrid run of form this season that has them languishing in 12th place in the league table.


Martial has been out for six weeks and hasn’t played a league game since their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on August 24. However, despite that spell on the sidelines, his two goals have him second on the overall ?United scoring charts in was has been the worst-ever start to a season for the Red Devils. Meanwhile, summer signing Wan-Bissaka has been suffering with tonsillitis and missed their last three games but the Norwegian boss is hopeful the pair will play some part in the match.

“I can’t tell you 100 per cent [who] is going to be fit as something might happen,” he told ?Sky Sports. “But hopefully Aaron and Anthony will last the training this week and be available for selection. If it’s for half a game or 30 minutes I don’t know but let’s see where they’re at.”

Playing host to the current league leaders at Old Trafford, Solskjaer will have to do it without ?Paul Pogba or David de Gea, after both players ?were confirmed to miss the crucial ?Premier League encounter with ankle and groin injuries respectively.

On the two key senior players, Solskjaer was hopeful on Pogba returning soon, but less so regarding the Spanish goalkeeper.

Paul Pogba,Anthony Martial

“David needs a scan. I think he’ll be out. It certainly looked like it anyway judging on last night so it’s just one of those things,” he added.

“Paul had an injury, he came back, he worked really hard. He came back and played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier. He had a scan after the Arsenal game and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no.”


For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!

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Women’s Champions League Roundup: Hegerberg Equals Record, City Held & Arsenal Net Five

?Is there any stopping the footballing freight train that is Lyon?

Whether it is in European competition or on home soil, the French giants continue to stamp their authority on every football match they play, with Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 first leg clashes no different.


Also in action were English sides Arsenal and Manchester City, who enjoyed contrasting fortunes from their encounters. The Gunners thumped five past Slavia Praha, while the Citizens drew their home clash with Atletico Madrid 1-1 to leave their tie firmly in the balance.

There were also substantial wins for German duo Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, as well as Paris Saint-Germain, while Glasgow City secured a superb 2-0 victory away at Brondby.

All eyes are on Lyon, however, as the six-time Champions League holders aim to secure their fifth consecutive title. It now appears as if qualifying for the quarter-finals are a forgone conclusion, as Ada Hegerberg’s double ensured there were no slip ups against Fortuna Hjorring.

The Norwegian got the ball rolling with a 17th minute penalty, before two goals from Eugenie Le Sommer had the game wrapped up before half-time. Hegerberg still had time to bag a second nine minutes into the second half, in turn becoming the joint-highest goalscorer in the women’s Champions League, equaling Anja Mittag’s tally of 51.


For Arsenal, they appear to have one foot in the quarter-finals, after Vivianne Miedema scored four times against a helpless Slavia Praha. She completed her hat-trick inside just 39 minutes to give the Gunners a 3-0 half-time lead in the Czech Republic, before her fourth and Kim Little’s penalty made it five.

The Czechs did pull two goals back to give themselves the slimmest of hopes ahead of the return leg, but few would back against the Gunners sealing their passage to the last eight.

For City, it wasn’t quite so smooth, as they hosted Spanish champions Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night. Starting well, the Citizens took an early lead through Janine Beckie at the Academy Stadium and held onto their advantage until the final ten minutes of the match.


With just nine minutes left to play, though, Charlyn Corral grabbed a crucial away goal for the visitors, as a lapse of concentration at the back presented her with the chance to net the leveller.

In Denmark, Glasgow City will head back to Scotland with their heads held high after taking a two-goal advantage from their clash against Brondby. Samantha Kerr poked in after less than a minute to hand the visitors a dream start, which was added to in the second half after Brondby ‘keeper Katrine Abel put through her own net to spark jubilant scenes among the SWPL 1 champions.

It was the simplest of nights for German duo Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, who will be able to rest players for their second leg ties after handsome wins in their respective matches.


Die Roten put five past Kazakhstani side BIIK Kazygurt to win 5-0 and all-but assure safe passage to the next round, with Lina Magull scoring twice for the away side. Not to be outdone, Wolfsburg brushed Twente aside at home, scoring six goals without reply in a thumping win.

With Barcelona taking on Minsk tomorrow, the only side left to play on Wednesday was Paris Saint-Germain. Making the journey to Iceland to take on Breidablik, the outcome was assured after just 29 minutes – PSG running out 4-0 winners in the end.


For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!

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Barcelona & Real Madrid Reject El Clasico Venue Switch as La Liga & RFEF Plan Rearrangement

Barcelona and Real Madrid have rejected a proposal to have their upcoming El Clasico fixture switched from Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu, despite heightened political tensions in the Catalonia.

The two are poised to face off on October 26, but after the Spanish government jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders over a failed declaration of independence for Catalonia, there was outrage in the city of Barcelona – with thousands of protestors taking to the streets of the region to oppose the ruling as tensions soar all around Spain.


Initially, the plan put in place by the Spanish football authorities was to have the two ?La Liga clashes between the clubs switched over, with Madrid hosting the first on October 26 before the reverse fixture takes place at Camp Nou in March. 

However, as reported by ?Marca, that proposal was rejected outright by the two sides, with an even more outlandish idea of the game being played behind closed doors also binned.

It’s added by Marca that ?Madrid themselves are fully aware of the ongoing issues, and had planned to put in place added security for the club’s leaders upon their visit, while still opposing a change of stadium; instead, preferring a postponement of the date. Barça, meanwhile, are against the decision entirely.

There has been a further update from Marca, who now claim that the RFEF have found a suitable date for the fixture to be rearranged for. The idea they have come up with is to play the match on December 18 – a Wednesday – which while not ideal, presents the most suitable date for all parties.

Both the RFEF, Spanish government and La Liga strongly oppose the game being played on the scheduled date due to the political and social unrest in the region, and may go ahead with their plan as they do not require either club’s permission to do so.

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The only issue with the aforementioned fixture date is that it falls on the first round of the Copa del Rey. However, the report adds that Barcelona and Real will not be playing on that date due to their involvement in the Supercopa De Espana in January – against Atletico and Valencia respectively.

Barcelona and Real have until Monday to present their rebuttals.

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Tottenham Handed Double Injury Boost as Giovani Lo Celso & Ryan Sessegnon Return to Training

Beleaguered Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has received a timely boost after

Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon returned to training. 

The summer recruits have been working hard to regain fitness during the international break, stepping up their respective rehabilitations following lengthy injury layoffs.

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The Evening Standard report that neither player is in contention for a return to Premier League action against Watford this weekend, but the news is positive at least following a turbulent few weeks in north London.

Spurs have been without the services of Lo Celso since the 23-year-old suffered a hip problem while he was away on international duty with Argentina last month. The highly-rated midfielder, who joined on loan from Real Betis in the summer, has been limited to just three substitute appearances so far this season.

Sessegnon, meanwhile, is yet to feature for his new club following his big money move from Fulham.

The 19-year-old has been out of action with a hamstring niggle, which Spurs’ medical team have been keen to ensure fully heals before he returns to action. He was close to a return last month, but suffered a setback in his rehabilitation programme..

Although his pair of summer recruits will be absent this weekend, Pochettino will hope his players can bounce back against basement club Watford after a number of disappointing results prior to the international break.

They were handed a comprehensive third Premier League defeat of the season by Brighton last time out, having been humiliated at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League earlier that week.


The 47-year-old’s job is not thought to be under threat, but failure to beat the Hornets may increase speculation that Pochettino’s time at the club may be coming to a premature end.

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700 Not Out: Ranking the Best 20 Goals of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Incredible Career

In light of one of football’s greatest-ever individual achievements by one of the best-ever to grace the planet, it seems only fitting to (attempt) to rank the best goals Cristiano Ronaldo has ever scored.

Given the fact that he’s now scored 700 career goals, that is by no means an easy task. But hey, what better research can one be bestowed with than sifting through the shedload of magnificent strikes by on the game’s finest?

Wish me luck, eh?


20. vs Aston Villa (Premier League) 2008

Cristiano Ronaldo

At the stadium where he made a name for himself, this particular goal against Aston Villa in the Premier League demonstrated perfectly the abundance of arrogance, and confidence, Ronaldo had in himself to score from practically anywhere.

A corner was flung in and eventually fell to his feet, well, behind his feet, and he flicked it into the net beyond a despairing Scott Carson to put his side 1-0 up. 


19. vs Rayo Vallecano (La Liga) 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cheeky, cheeky. On this occasion, ?Ronaldo scored the winner for Real with a audacious back heel from around 10 yards out, which eluded the stunned Rayo Vallecano defence to hand his side a vital three points. 

It bamboozled everyone watching on, so much so the Vallecano players appeared to stand still in awe. How can you generate that much power from backheel?


18. vs Galatasaray (Champions League) 2013

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No side across Europe has avoided the Portuguese’s devastation, even those in Turkey.

Leading 5-1 at the time, Ronaldo, being Ronaldo, wasn’t content with his two-goal haul. So, as he does, he weaved his way past three Galatasaray defenders as if they weren’t there, before thundering a fierce effort home that nearly took the net off.


17. vs Sevilla (La Liga) 2013

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Step-over, step-over, cut inside, left foot, boom.

Which foot? Doesn’t matter.


16. vs APOEL (Champions League) 2012

APOEL's Spanish goalkeeper Urko Pardo (L

Disclaimer: There are plenty of free-kicks to come on this list.

Second disclaimer: This one is from a stupid angle and ridiculously pinpoint, and still by far not his best.

Nevertheless, from the corner of the penalty box, Ronaldo demonstrated why few in world football can hit a ball as precisely as he can. I mean, he barely even celebrates, it was that good.


15. vs Villarreal (La Liga) 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo

I told you there were plenty of free-kicks.

This time, in La Liga, he performed his signature knuckleball technique to mesmerising effect from a full 30 yards, across goal and right on the postage stamp. Honestly speaking, there is little more to say. Simply put, you know how he hits a ball, and how well, and this was just another sublime example of that.


14. vs Fulham (Premier League) 2007

Rio Ferdinand,Cristiano Ronaldo

Before the days of Eden Hazard’s outrageous solo goals in the ?Premier League, we were blessed to witness Ronaldo’s.

Picking the ball up in his own half, he beat two Fulham players down the left flank with his immense pace before cutting inside, without breaking stride, before hitting a clean effort low and hard to net an 88th minute winner for his side. Once again, individual brilliance won his side three points.


13. vs Marseille (Champions League) 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo

For eight years, Ligue 1 played host to one of the greatest free-kick takers that football has ever seen in Juninho. During a Champions League tie with Marseille in his debut season with Madrid, Ronaldo treated them to what they were all missing.

Zinedine Zidane’s post-match verdict on the forward says it all: “Cristiano is not just very good, he is phenomenal. Only great players can score such a magnificent goal three minutes into a game. He makes a difference. Some players are different from the rest because they do what others can’t.”

32 yards from goal, dead centre. No matter, unstoppable.


12. vs Manchester United (Champions League) 2013

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This is how you jump. This is how you head a ball. This is why he’s among the best ever.

Taking on his former side while at ?Madrid, Ronaldo leaped a whole 78cm into the air to effortlessly direct Angel Di Maria’s left-wing cross past David de Gea. His kneecap went as high as Patrice Evra’s head. Super-human.


11. vs Arsenal (Champions League) 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo

By no means his cleanest, most beautiful free-kick ever. However, in terms of occasion and audacity, it is among his finest.

Playing away at Arsenal in a Champions League semi-final, from a whole 40 yards out Ronaldo unleashed an absolute rocket beyond a helpless Manuel Almunia (who some argue could have done better) yet nobody saw it coming. Not even the commentator. He hit it so hard.


10. vs Osasuna (La Liga) 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo

A tormentor of many sides in ?La Liga, there were a whole host of efforts to choose from. But his absolute rocket against a hapless Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu was something else.

Showing brilliant vision to open the scoring in the sixth minute, he cut inside from the right and drilled an unstoppable shot from outside the area that dipped and curled before hitting the top corner of the net. Fierce, yet bewildering beautiful to see, there was simply no stopping Ronaldo. Especially not poor, old Osasuna. 


9. vs Barcelona (La Liga) 2017

Toni Kroos,Cristiano Ronaldo

He loved these games. You could tell. His goalscoring record against ?La Blaugrana proved it, and this one was the pick of the bunch.

Running from the halfway line at Camp Nou, he went full Cristiano before cutting inside and bending a magnificent piledriver into the far top corner. The shirt off celebration followed, but everyone inside the ground was busy collecting their respective jaws off the floor. 


8. vs Atletico Madrid (La Liga) 2012

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristia

Most of Ronaldo’s greatest free-kicks are a perfect illustration of technique and execution. That’s why his free-kick against cross-city rivals Atletico was extra special. While the aforementioned traits were on show, the piece of mind to go for the far bottom corner against one of the world’s best ‘keepers in Thibaut Courtois was everything you didn’t expect, but should have. 

Courtois certainly didn’t, stood rooted to the spot as he saw Ronaldo’s glorious effort nestle into the side netting. It was utter genius, and we shouldn’t expect any less. Did I mention is was a solid 30 yards out as well?


7. vs Manchester United (Champions League) 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo

He hasn’t had man former sides during his trophy-laden career, but that doesn’t stop Ronaldo finding the back of the net when they come calling. 

This time for Juventus, a long ball over the top was watched with eagle-like precision all the way into the United box. Leonardo Bonucci knew all he had to do was find his frontman, and let him do the rest.

That, he did. As the ball dropped over his right shoulder, he met it superbly with his laces to guide a volley magnificently beyond De Gea, as if the routine came straight from a video game. That level of technique is unbeatable, you just wouldn’t know it because he makes it look so easy.


6 vs Hungary (European Championship) 2016

Gabor Kiraly,Cristiano Ronaldo

European Championships, Champions League, La Liga, Premier League.

Whatever the competition, Ronaldo remains unfazed. A barmy 3-3 draw with Hungary in the 2016 Euros (which his side won) was memorable for many reasons. 

None more so than his deft flick from Joao Mario’s cross with his instep, that flew beyond the goalkeeper to add yet another style of goal he’s scored to his already excessive repertoire. In doing so, Ronaldo became the first player to score in four different European Championship finals. Legend.


5. vs Valencia (La Liga) 2014

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Losing 2-1 against Valencia in added time, there is one man you call upon to make a difference.

And what he did, sure was different. Latching onto Di Maria’s crossed it from the edge of the box, Ronaldo twisted his body away from goal and backheeled a shot with his studs into the back of the net. It’s crazy how much pace he gets on the ball.

As they say, never miss leg day.


4. vs Spain (World Cup) 2018

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Again, occasion.

In Sochi, he produced one of the 2018 World Cup’s greatest performances by scoring a hat-trick for Portugal against one of the tournament favourites Spain. Because, well, that’s just what he does.

This dramatic free-kick earned his side a 3-3 draw with minutes remaining in what will be remembered as one of the best in World Cup history. Curling an effort up around the Spanish wall, De Gea was left helpless as the outstanding effort had the net rippling.

A man for the moment, no doubt.


3. vs Portsmouth (Premier League) 2008

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The reaction to Ronaldo’s free-kick against Portsmouth is one of glorious parallels. Few goals are met with equal measures of delight and gasps of disbelief. That’s just how good it really was.

That trademark knuckleball shot made its mark on the football world. Every kid tried to replicate it. Nobody can. Not in a packed Old Trafford, at least. And not as well as him, ever.


2. vs Porto (Champions League) 2009

Manchester United's Portuguese player Cr

Out. Of. Nowhere.

It speaks volumes of a player’s unpredictability when the long-range camera switches to a close-up thinking that we may see a burst of pace or short pass.

Instead, what transpired in that Champions League semi-final was a shot at goal that were it out in the open, there is no doubting would still be traveling to this day. A whole forty yards, and still, four goalkeepers wouldn’t have stopped it.

Simply outstanding. And would have been his greatest ever goal, had it not have been for..


1. vs Juventus (Champions League) 2018

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You know it. I know it. No words, just let him say it.

“I don’t remember what happened in the following days but I was very happy.

“It wasn’t just for having won, or for scoring such a great goal, the one detail that made the difference was the reaction of the fans who applauded me.”

We were all applauding Cristiano. Every single one of us.


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