The summer transfer window hasn’t even officially opened yet but that didn’t stop Cristiano Ronaldo from dropping a bombshell and wreaking chaos in the market by angling for a move away from Real Madrid.
After a hugely successful season with the Spanish giants in which he won La Liga and the Champions League, the Portuguese has asked his agent Jorge Mendes to facilitate a move amidst allegations of tax evasion.
Ronaldo left Manchester United for the Bernabeu eight years ago and the Premier League outfit are now tipped as his most likely destination along with Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain.
However, former Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack cannot see the 32-year-old leave Madrid this summer.
The German seems to think that Real remain the ideal team for him and expects him to stay put.
Watch the full video of the former Germany international below.
Manchester United have joined Barcelona in the race to sign Benfica defender Nelson Semedo.
The Portuguese club have reportedly slapped a £48 million price tag on the 23-year-old, which has apparently seen Barcelona hesitate, but United are said to have lodged an offer of £30 million, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Why is the defender rated so highly and what has attracted interest from two of the biggest clubs in Europe?
Semedo plies his trade at right-back, but has also featured at left-back and right midfield in the past.
One of the main features of Semedo’s style of play is his ability and inclination to dribble past players. He was the tenth-best dribbler in the Portuguese league last season, completing an average of 1.6 dribbles per game, a fine feat for a defender.
The youngster has pace to burn and enjoys venturing forward. He regularly gets himself involved in the final third, capable of playing a good short-passing game but also accomplished with his crossing. He registered six assists in the league last season.
He boasts a great work-rate and is disciplined in tracking back while also being strong in a tackle. He averaged three tackles per game last term.
Where he can fall short though – excuse the pun – is in his aerial duels, winning just 0.7 per game on average. At 5ft 8in and weighing approximately 67kgs, he’s hardly an imposing figure and could be a cause for concern, particularly if he ends up in the Premier League.
Semedo only broke into the Benfica first team in the 2015-16 season before becoming a permanent fixture in the last year. He began his career at Sintrense before joining the Portuguese giants in 2012. He spent a season on loan to Fatima before featuring prominently for the club’s reserve side.
He made his international bow in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Serbia. He wasn’t part of the squad that won the tournament but has since made three further appearances.
Antonio Valencia’s strength, commitment and work-rate has made him a relatively solid option at right-back but there have always been chinks in his armour in terms of his reading of danger and positioning.
United have already signed one defender from Benfica this summer in Victor Lindelof and while the Swede is quite capable to fill in at right-back, his natural position remains in central defence and Jose Mourinho will be keen to secure a more long-term replacement for Valencia.
Semedo may have to share playing time with the Ecuadorian initially but would be expected to eventually cement his place in the side.
At Barcelona, the right-back slot is there for the taking. Sergio Roberto currently occupies the role but he has always been a midfielder capable of doing a job at full-back. With Andres Iniesta’s future in doubt, Roberto may finally get more opportunities higher up the pitch next season.
Meanwhile, Aleix Vidal has been less than convincing for the Catalans. He clearly hasn’t earned the confidence of the coaching staff, making just 12 appearances in the past season, although he was ruled out through injury from mid February onwards.
Barcelona would like Semedo to come in and make the position his own. However, they are reportedly also chasing Arsenal right-back and La Masia graduate, Hector Bellerin.
The Portuguese is at his best when striding forward on the right flank and getting crosses in. His pace and dribbling makes him difficult to deal with and has an uncanny knack of picking the right moments to burst forward.
His tackling is also one of his best attributes but he suffers in the air due to his slight frame and his inexperience can be exposed in certain defensive scenarios, getting drawn into a tackle too early.
Bayern Munich on Monday rubbished reports they are set to swoop for world superstar Cristiano Ronaldo — with the German giants’ chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisting it’s pure fantasy.
The 32-year-old Real Madrid star has threatened to leave Spain after running into problems with tax authorities.
Italy’s ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ had speculated that Bayern is set to swoop for Ronaldo so he can link up with the German club’s former Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.
The report by the Italian daily was then carried by several German media outlets.
But Bayern took the unusual step of posting an article on their website to deny the rumours — alongside the picture of a duck — titled ‘Duck of the day’.
“We are accustomed to intensive speculation on possible arrivals and departures during the transfer period,” wrote Rummenigge in the statement.
“As a rule, we do not comment on these rumours. But now in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, we want to clarify once and for all that this rumour has no basis and must be referred to in the realm of fables.”
German daily Bild speculate Ronaldo would cost Bayern an astronomical 200 million euros ($223.6m) transfer, plus an annual salary of 35 million euros per year.
The speculated transfer figure would be more than twice the record 94 million euros Real paid Manchester United for Ronaldo in 2009.
Provided by AFP