May 242016

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo limped off towards the end of a training session on Tuesday, prompting speculation about his fitness for Saturday’s Champions League final.

The former Ballon d’Or winner has been plagued by a thigh injury that forced him to miss three games in April.

He came off at half-time during Real’s final La Liga game of the season.

Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid in Milan this weekend in a repeat of the 2014 final, which Real won.

Portuguese international Ronaldo, 31, has scored 51 goals for Real this season.

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Mourinho in talks over Man Utd job

 Posted by at 3:31 PM
May 242016
Mourinho was surrounded by media outside his London home on Tuesday

Jose Mourinho’s representatives will meet Manchester United officials on Tuesday as the Portuguese moves closer to becoming the club’s next manager.

Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, flew into London on Tuesday morning and will lead the discussions.

A deal is unlikely to be announced on Tuesday but confirmation that Mourinho will take over is expected this week.

Louis van Gaal, 64, was sacked as United boss on Monday, two days after winning the FA Cup.

The Dutchman could only steer United to fifth in the Premier League this season and failed to get them past the Champions League group stages.

Van Gaal also came under fire for his lack of attacking play, with United only scoring 49 goals in the top flight this season.

Three key members of Van Gaal’s coaching team have also departed but the future of assistant boss Ryan Giggs remains unclear.

The United legend has been offered a role by the club, who are keen for him to extend his 29-year association with the Old Trafford club.

However, Giggs, 42, is known to be unhappy at the way he and Van Gaal have been treated in recent weeks.

The Welshman also has reservations about taking a reduced role after twice now being passed over for the manager’s job.

He took over in a short-term capacity following the sacking of David Moyes in 2014 only for Van Gaal to be given the full-time job.

Giggs felt his time at United had given him the perfect grounding to eventually replace the Dutchman but the club have opted to go for Mourinho.

Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel says a lot of people would like Giggs to become manager one day but said he should leave Old Trafford now.

“For him to become the manager, it would be so good for him to get somewhere else,” the Dane told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Get a job where he has to stand on his own two feet, learn the trade and then come back.”

Mourinho, who has been available since Chelsea sacked him in December, is one of the game’s most successful coaches.

He won three league titles in two spells at Stamford Bridge, and guided Porto and Inter to Champions League victories in 2004 and 2010 respectively.

The Portuguese also led Real Madrid to the Spanish title in 2012, and his appointment would see a resumption of his rivalry with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who takes over at Manchester City this summer.

Is Mourinho the right choice?

Schmeichel thinks so but said the club will have had reservations over the 53-year-old’s appointment.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after they made a poor start to their title defence, losing nine of their first 16 matches.

He was also involved in a high-profile dispute with club doctor Eva Carneiro, who was dismissed and pursued a constructive dismissal case against the club.

“Mourinho has fallen out with a director of football at a club, a president, a team doctor,” Schmeichel, 52, told BBC Radio 5 live.

“He has done things that are not in the way Manchester United want their football club to run.”

However, the Dane thinks Mourinho can turn United into a major force again.

“He will be prepared and ready to do it, but he has to go back to the values of the football club – a very strong team consisting of exciting players who create chances and score goals,” said Schmeichel.

“All that has been missing. Now they have a guy that is supposed to be the biggest manager in the world, the one that really could save Manchester United. It has been a brave decision but one that is long overdue.”

Schmeichel also thinks former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and club legend Sir Bobby Charlton will have been consulted and given their approval to Mourinho.

“Without them saying ‘yes’ to him, it would not happen,” said Schmeichel.

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Jose Mourinho: How it went wrong at Chelsea

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May 242016
Marcus Rashford became the youngest scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era in March

Marcus Rashford could make his England debut against Australia on Friday, but manager Roy Hodgson says the striker has little time to make an impact.

Rashford, 18, played his first Manchester United game in February and has scored eight goals in 17 matches.

“The amount of time we’re going to have with him is very, very short,” Hodgson, 68, said.

Hodgson has until 31 May to name his final 23-man squad for Euro 2016, which starts in France on 10 June.

Rashford scored twice on his Red Devils debut in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland after being drafted into the starting XI following an injury to Anthony Martial.

Rashford scored twice on his Manchester United debut in February

He also found the net twice in a 3-2 win over Arsenal and became the youngest scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era with his winner against City in March.

England beat Turkey 2-1 on Sunday and have two more friendly matches – against Australia and Portugal on 2 June – before their first Euro 2016 Group B match against Russia on 11 June.

Hodgson added: “There is no doubt I think I made the right decision putting him in this large group because the lad has enormous talent and you will know from my past record that I’m not afraid to give young players a chance. I don’t dismiss them on the basis of their age.

“But you will also know full well that where he is playing we actually have a lot of competition for places and there isn’t an awful lot of chance for him to stamp his authority on myself and the coaching staff, because there is such a short period of time.”

Who do you think should start at Euro 2016? Step into Roy Hodgson’s shoes and pick your XI – and then share it with your friends using our brand new team selector.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere played 66 minutes in the victory over Turkey, despite starting just once for Arsenal all season having suffered a broken leg in September.

“With Arsenal I’ve been playing out wide, which is not me,” Wilshere, 24, said.

“I’m not a wide man, but Roy seems to have faith in me in the middle, so I’m happy with that. I like to play anywhere in the middle.

Meanwhile, Leicester striker Jamie Vardy ended the season with a Premier League winners’ medal and scored 24 league goals in the club’s remarkable campaign.

The 29-year-old scored the winner against Turkey, but will miss the match against Australia because he is getting married on Wednesday.

“It will be a very quiet night on Wednesday,” Vardy said. “Obviously I hope all the guests have a good time but I will have a quiet one.

“I’ve not got a curfew but at the end of the day I’m a professional and understand what has to be done, so I will be making sure I get plenty of sleep ready to come back in.”

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May 242016
Louis van Gaal was dismissed as Manchester United manager just two days after winning the FA Cup

Louis van Gaal was sacked as Manchester United boss because of the poor quality of football played this season.

The Dutchman said he was “very disappointed” not to continue his “intended three-year plan” after he was dismissed on Monday.

Van Gaal’s possession-based style of play – this season’s 49 goals is their lowest ever Premier League total – is the main reason for his departure.

Ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is expected to be named manager this week.

BBC Sport reported on Saturday that United’s FA Cup win over Crystal Palace would be Van Gaal’s last game as boss.

“I believe that the foundations are firmly in place to enable the club to move forward and achieve even greater success,” said the Dutchman, 64.