Former Red hopes Real Madrid target David de Gea stays at Man United for years to come

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Former Manchester United defender, Quinton Fortune hopes the club will add to their squad in the summer and hold on to Real Madrid target David de Gea for years to come.

“I am sure there will be changes in the summer. The manager will want to strengthen the team and that’s part of being a Manchester United player.

“You want to improve, you want to have competition and I am sure the manager will strengthen his team and try to win the league next year.”

One area that United will struggle to improve is between the sticks.

De Gea has been in outstanding form once again this season, including a standout display that ensured the recent Champions League last 16 first leg at Sevilla would end 0-0.

Fortune is another to have swapped Atletico Madrid for United and the South African continues to be taken aback by the Spain goalkeeper.

David De Gea of Man United

“When he arrived at Old Trafford, he was a bit rocky at the start of his career but the improvement he has made has been unbelievable,” Fortune said at the re-opening of the Red Cafe, supported by United’s official club coffee partner Melitta.

“When you look at the last couple of seasons, he has been player of the year – which is a little bit weird for a Manchester United goalkeeper.

“I think the position we are in the league and all the competition, I think David’s played a big role in that. Look at some of the games this season – he has kept us in games. The Seville game, especially, he was outstanding.

“In my opinion, he’s probably the best goalkeeper in the world at this moment in time and we hope that continues. He’s been absolutely brilliant, and we hope we can keep him here for many years to come.”

Quinton Fortune was speaking at the re-opening of the Red Cafe at Old Trafford, supported by United’s official club coffee partner Melitta.

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Real Madrid wonderkid Vinicius Jr, the latest in Brazil's football talent pipeline

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Everyone’s heard of Neymar but now make way for the latest footballing diamond from Brazil’s seemingly inexhaustible talent mine: Vinicius Junior.

Recruited for $45 million (36.5 million euros) by Real Madrid last year, the rising star from Rio de Janeiro side Flamengo has done everything to persuade fans that he really is the next big thing. And he’s only 17.

When the Spanish giant put down that kind of money last May for Vinicius it looked like a gamble. After all, he’d played just two professional games at the time.

Nine months later, his performances for Flamengo has eased any fears and as soon as he turns 18 in July he’ll be on a plane to join the reigning European champions.

He says he’s ready.

“I talk from time to time to (fellow Brazilian players at Madrid) Casemiro and Marcelo. I went to Madrid at the end of last year and I got to know more players, like Cristiano Ronaldo,” he told AFP.

“It’s a fantastic club, but everything in its good time. For now, I am focused on Flamengo,” he said in emailed comments.

With his horizons rapidly expanding, Vinicius hopes he can even get called up for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. After all, the great Ronaldo went at 17 with the Cup-winning team to the United States in 1994, even if he didn’t play.

Another Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho, gave him the idea.

“We met not long ago and he told me that they often take a younger player so he can get close to the others. He told me to stand by,” Vinicius told Globoesporte.com last week.

With Neymar now facing an anxious wait to be fit for the finals, Vinicius’s chances might have risen.

Although Brazil coach Tite has not yet called him up, Vinicius has made waves in the national under-17 team.

Brazilian television played a highlight over and over last year — just before Real Madrid announced they had signed him — where the youngster tormented Paraguay with three successive flicks over the heads of opponents.

“He’s always been incredibly fast with the ball at his feet, had great technical quality and an unrivalled capacity for improvisation,” said Marcio Torres, who coached him for two years at Flamengo’s under-17s.

This month, Vinicius got his first taste of professional silverware when he helped win the Taca Guanabara, the first phase of the regional Rio championship.

He also showed his theatrical side when he celebrated his goal in defeating Botafogo 3-1 in the semi-finals by rubbing his eyes — imitating opposition supporters’ tears.

That caused a ruckus, with Botafogo retaliating by refusing to allow its Olympic home stadium to be used for the final in which Flamengo under-17s beat Boavista 2-0 — again with a Vinicius goal.

None other than Neymar came to the young player’s defense, tweeting that “football becomes boring” when you can’t make fun of opponents.

However, apart from great talent, there’s not much similarity between the star and the star-to-be.

To many, Neymar is something of a spoiled kid, while Vinicius is down to earth. “Even if he has always been the best of the lot, he has never posed the slightest problem. I never saw him even arrive late for training,” said Israel Falcao, in charge of youth players at Flamengo when Vinicius arrived aged 11.

“He’s a great kid because he has a good entourage. His family is from modest background but his father never tried to turn him into a product.”

There was certainly every opportunity. At just 13, Vinicius was on the wish list of Corinthians and then a year later Cruzeiro even tried offering his father a job. English Premier League club Arsenal lurked.

But Vinicius stayed at Flamengo until Real Madrid scored the deal.

“It’s a bit sad to know he’s going to leave us soon, but with that kind of offer the club had no choice,” said Torres. “With his talent and character, he has every chance of succeeding in European football.”

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PSG star Neymar leaves hospital to begin rehab on broken foot

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Neymar is recovering from a foot injury.

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar was to leave hospital Sunday after a successful operation on his broken foot, but it will be six weeks before doctors know when the world’s most expensive player can train again.

Neymar was due to be discharged early in the morning from the Mater Dei hospital in Belo Horizonte, 24 hours after surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

The operation was declared a complete success.

Now the question is whether the 26-year-old can catch any of PSG’s remaining season, and even what kind of shape he’ll be in at the start of Brazil’s World Cup campaign in Russia this June.

“The recovery time will depend on the player’s evolution. In six weeks we will make a new evaluation,” Lasmar said after performing the operation.

Gerard Saillant, the French doctor representing PSG at the hospital, told journalists that the timing of Neymar’s return to full training could only be given at the six-week mark.

“It is absolutely impossible to give you the slightest detail before those six weeks,” he said.

On Thursday, Lasmar said the star player — whose transfer from Barcelona cost PSG a record 222 million euros ($264 million) last August — would need at least two and a half months, maybe three, to return.

This would put him uncomfortably close to the start of the World Cup on June 14, including missing two friendly warm-up games.

After his one hour and 15 minute operation, Neymar spent his Saturday afternoon in a hospital bed watching live TV coverage of PSG’s Ligue 1 game against Troyes, Saillant said.

PSG won 2-0, but Neymar’s absence will be keenly felt during Tuesday’s Champions League showdown against Real Madrid.

The striker has scored 28 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for the club — a prolific tally that came to a halt February 25 when he broke his foot during a 3-0 drubbing of Marseille.

Amid reports of tensions between PSG and Brazil’s footballing authorities over Neymar’s medical treatment, PSG insisted that it would be in charge of his recuperation.

“The post-operation rehabilitation will begin immediately under the control of the club’s physiotherapist,” PSG said in a statement on their website.

Earlier, Paris newspaper L’Equipe reported that PSG believe Lasmar lied about Neymar’s condition.

The report said that Neymar was initially found to have suffered a minor fracture at the Marseille game and that PSG were shocked when Lasmar declared it was a serious break requiring longer than expected recuperation time.

However, doctors stressed Saturday that there was no friction between PSG and Brazil’s federation, the CBF.

“Contrary to what might have been written or said…, decisions already taken and those to come have had the complete agreement of Neymar of course, and of his family, all the staff at PSG, the medical staff, the organization and management of PSG, and the representatives of the CBF,” Saillant said.

“There is absolutely no split, despite what was written.”

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