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Man Utd learn that Ronaldo’s goals alone won’t suffice in Champions League

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Man Utd learn that Ronaldo's goals alone won't suffice in Champions League
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Man Utd learn that Ronaldo’s goals alone won’t suffice in Champions League

It was a bad night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Bern

Cristiano Ronaldo has wasted no time in showing how valuable he will be to Manchester United but Tuesday’s shock Champions League defeat at the hands of Young Boys in Bern was a reminder that the Old Trafford side have not been a major player at this level for a long time.

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Ronaldo got his third goal in two matches since returning to United as the visitors took an early lead at the Wankdorf Stadium, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s sending-off shortly before the interval was what swung the Group F opener.

Young Boys, the Swiss champions whose most notable performance in the European Cup remains their run to the semi-finals back in 1959, made the most of their extra man as Cameroon’s Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu got a 66th-minute equaliser.

USA forward Jordan Siebatcheu then won it deep in injury time after latching onto Jesse Lingard’s misjudged back-pass.

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Man Utd learn that Ronaldo’s goals alone won’t suffice in Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are now already on the back foot, with Young Boys theoretically the weakest side in a section also featuring Atalanta and Villarreal, who beat United in last season’s Europa League final.

“You need 10, maybe 12 points. You need to win your home games and maybe one away. We have lost an opportunity to get three points but we have two home games next,” Solskjaer said.

Last season United won their first two matches in a difficult group against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, but still ended up finishing third.

Indeed it is a decade since the Old Trafford club were a genuine force in the Champions League, something they are desperate to put right this season.

Since losing to Barcelona in the 2011 final, United have won two knockout ties in the competition, one against Olympiakos and an infamous victory against PSG in the early days of Solskjaer’s reign.

A club that remains the fourth-richest in the world according to Deloitte’s most recent Football Money League continues to live on past glories that won them three European Cups.

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There has been no Premier League title since 2013 but signing Ronaldo is supposed to get them back to the top and the Portuguese veteran returned to Old Trafford in the belief that United are a better bet than Juventus if he is to win a sixth Champions League medal.

This was the 36-year-old’s first Champions League appearance in a United shirt since the 2009 final defeat against Barcelona in Rome.

It was another record-setting occasion as he made his 177th appearance in the competition, equalling the all-time mark set by Iker Casillas.

His goal that put the visitors in front in the 13th minute was his 135th in the Champions League, edging him 15 ahead of old rival Lionel Messi at the top of the all-time scorers’ charts.

There were fans dotted all around the ground in Bern — where West Germany beat Ferenc Puskas’s Hungary in the 1954 World Cup final — in red United shirts with Ronaldo’s name and number seven on the back.

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They saw him score and he also thought he could have had a penalty early in the second half when he went down under pressure from Mohamed Ali Camara.

Nothing was given, and Ronaldo went off along with Bruno Fernandes in the 72nd minute, with Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard replacing the Portuguese pair.

“The game had gone 70-odd minutes, they had been running a lot, both Saturday and today. The astroturf takes its toll as well, and we wanted Nemanja’s experience on the ball, and Jesse’s legs,” said Solskjaer, who offered a glowing appraisal of his striker.

“You can never be surprised by the man. He scored another goal and he should have had a penalty.
“He’s exceptional but we have to look after him as well and it felt like the right moment to take him off.”

It was maybe, in hindsight, a mistake.

Solskjaer must hope this defeat turns out to be a mere blip but his record is not encouraging — United have now lost seven of their 11 Champions League matches under the Norwegian.

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Karim Benzema has scored as many goals as the entire Barca team

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Karim Benzema has scored as many goals as the entire Barca team
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Karim Benzema has scored as many goals as the entire Barca team

Karim Benzema’s start to the season has been stunning. The Frenchman is just two assists off his tally for last season and he has scored the same numbers of goals as the entire Barca team.

Karim Benzema’s start to the season has been stunning. The Frenchman is just two assists off his tally for last season and he has scored the same numbers of goals as the entire Barca team.

Real Madrid beat Mallorca on Wednesday after another Karim Benzema masterclass. The Frenchman has once again been showing that he is crucial to Real Madrid’s attack and the club would be in a much worse position without his goals.

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His brace meant he reached the milestone of 200 La Liga goals and he has now scored eight this season. The Frenchman has made seven appearances, scored eight goals and given seven assists. Unbelievable stats.

Karim Benzema has scored as many goals as the entire Barca team

To highlight how good Benzema has been, the French forward has scored more goals than all of Ronald Koeman’s side put together. It is true that Madrid have played two more games than Barcelona, but those stats are unbelievable.

Without Leo Messi, the man who seems to be leading way is Benzema after Barca’s goals have dried up following the Argentinian’s departure.

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With regards to the La Liga goalscoring charts, Benzema is top with eight, Vinicius is second with five, Oyarzabal of Real Sociedad is third with four goals and Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio is fourth with three goals.

Benzema is also well clear when it comes to assists. He has seven while Villarreal’s Yeremi Pino is next with three.

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Xavi could join Barca almost for free

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Xavi could join Barca almost for free

Barcelona have Xavi on their list of candidates to replace Ronald Koeman if, he is finally dismissed. According to ‘AS’, the Al Sadd coach has a clause in his contract which allows him to go for a paltry amount to the Catalan side.

Barcelona have Xavi on their list of candidates to replace Ronald Koeman if, he is finally dismissed.

According to ‘AS’, the Al Sadd coach has a clause in his contract which allows him to go for a “paltry” amount to the Catalan side.

All eyes are on Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman’s job is on the line after Barca’s start to this season, which has had more negatives than positives.

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Xavi Hernandez is one of those who could succeed Koeman as Barca coach. According to the latest reports, his signing is not easy, but it is possible.

Xavi could join Barca almost for free

What’s more, according to ‘AS’, a clause in his Al Sadd contract would help him move to Barcelona. This newspaper says that when he renewed with the Qataris until 2023, he was told he could leave without a problem if Barca came calling.

The amount Barca would have to pay to get hold of Xavi has not been revealed, but ‘AS’ says that club sources have called it a “paltry” amount. In other words, the Catalan club would get him almost for free.

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It would be an entirely different matter if a different club wanted Xavi. In that case, that club would have to talk to Al Sadd and reach a financial agreement as his clause only lets him leave for Barcelona.

In any case, Laporta is who will have the last word. At the moment, Koeman is still on the bench and Xavi is one of the candidates to potentially succeed him.

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Remove Pride From Your Undoubted Talent – Antonetti Tells Mbappe

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Remove Pride From Your Undoubted Talent - Antonetti Tells Mbappe
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Remove Pride From Your Undoubted Talent – Antonetti Tells Mbappe

French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe was told Wednesday that he needs to add a dose of humility to his undoubted talents in front of goal “if he wants to be loved”.

The advice came from Metz coach Frederic Antonetti after the mega-rich Ligue 1 champions needed a stoppage time winner to beat the bottom side 2-1 and preserve their 100 percent start to the domestic season.

“Kylian Mbappe needs to behave better if he wants to be loved,” said Antonetti.

“I love this player, he is very, very strong but he’d benefit from having a more humble side.”

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Antonetti was responding to a question on the yellow card handed to his goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja who confronted Mbappe over his celebration when the winning goal was scored.

“In the game, Mbappe was non-existent,” said Antonetti.

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