A new Nike advert revolving around Cristiano Ronaldo’s career with Portugal has been going viral online this evening.
Ronaldo’s international career began all the way back in 2003, when the then 18-year-old made his debut during his country’s 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan.
And the Real Madrid star has since gone on to amass an incredible 147 caps, as well as racking up a national record 79 goals.
Ronaldo’s storied international career also saw him first captain his country at the tender age of 22, before being handed the armband on a permanent basis two years later.
And the former Sporting CP and Manchester United attacker cemented his place in Portugal’s history books in the summer of 2016, as he captained his country to their first ever major trophy, the European Championship:
Cristiano Ronaldo lifts the Euro 2016 trophy following the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.
‘If you believe, why not?’
Ronaldo will attempt to make it two major trophies in succession for Portugal when he leads his country into battle at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, with Nike having released an advert entitled ‘Cristiano Ronaldo – Born Leader‘ this evening in anticipation of the tournament.
Check out the clip below, which also introduces the ‘CR7 Mercurial Superfly 360 Chapter 6 of 7‘:
Nike Football Presents: Cristiano Ronaldo - Born Leader - YouTube
Portugal are set to take on Egypt and the Netherlands in a pair of friendly fixtures this coming Friday and next Monday respectively, as Fernando Santos’ men step up their preparations for this summer’s Russian showpiece.
According to Spanish outlets Diario Gol and Mundo Deportivo, Serie A giants Juventus and AC Milan have opened discussions with Real Madrid regarding midfielder Dani Ceballos.
Ceballos, a highly-regarded 21-year-old midfielder, was the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between Real and Barcelona last summer, with Atletico Madrid and Juventus having also expressed an interest in his services.
The Real Betis prodigy eventually opted for the Bernabeu, though, with Florentino Perez and co. even agreeing to pay 17 million Euro for Ceballos’ signature, despite the fact that his buyout clause was set at just 15 million.
However, his time in the Spanish capital has not gone exactly according to plan to this point, with Ceballos having managed just 2 La Liga starts thus far this season.
While the Spanish youngster was no doubt well aware that playing time would prove hard to come by based on the presence of the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic at the Bernabeu, reports over the last couple of months have suggested that Ceballos nevertheless expected to receive considerably more minutes on the pitch than he has been afforded to this point in the campaign.
Tensions between the midfielder and Zinedine Zidane came to a head at the end of February, when Ceballos was left visibly angered by the decision of the French tactician to introduce him for a measly 29 seconds of injury-time action during the club’s 3-1 La Liga victory over Leganes.
MADRID, SPAIN – JANUARY 24: Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid looks on during the Copa del Rey, Quarter Final, Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 24, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
As such, unsurprisingly, a number of Europe’s biggest clubs have already been linked with potential summer swoops for Ceballos, with all of Arsenal, Tottenham and, according to countless reports, Liverpool, having made their interest in the creative midfielder’s services known.
But, as per a pair of reports stemming from Spain this evening, the giants of the Premier League could be set to miss out on the Betis youth product, amid claims that both Juventus and AC Milan have entered into negotiations with Real Madrid regarding Ceballos.
Both outlets also suggest that the youngster’s move to Italy could take the form of a two-year loan, with option to buy and counter-option.
Juventus previously took Alvaro Morata to Turin from Real Madrid for 20 million Euro, before Los Merengues exercised their option to repurchase the now-Chelsea man for 30 million Euro.
Bayern sacked Carlo Ancelotti early in the season and replaced him with former manager Jump Heynckes.
Heynckes, who turns 73 in 6 weeks time will leave the club at the end of the season and Bayern will have to search for a new manager once again.
Pochettino is an obvious choice for any top club but as mentioned, the chances of him moving to Germany are fairly slim.
It looks like plenty of managers will be available in the summer and Bayern will have their fair share of candidates to choose from.
What next for Poch?
Daniel levy must be preparing for Pochettino to leave the club. The Tottenham manager is one of the most in-demand men in world football and big clubs have been snooping for his signature for some time.
Pochettino is a solid favourite to take over from Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid and he may be enticed by the far more lucrative offer available to him in Spain.
Premier League outfit Southampton have this afternoon been dealt an injury blow, with news that full-back Ryan Bertrand has been forced to depart the English international camp due to injury.
The Three Lions are currently gearing up for a pair of friendlies with Italy and the Netherlands, as Gareth Southgate’s men step up their preparations for this summer’s World Cup.
England will first travel to the Amsterdam ArenA to take on the Dutch on Friday night, before welcoming Italy to Wembley next Tuesday.
VALLETTA, MALTA – SEPTEMBER 01: England line up prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Malta and England at Ta’Qali National Stadium on September 1, 2017 in Valletta, Malta. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
However, in a blow for both England and, in turn, Southampton this evening, it has been confirmed that defender Ryan Bertrand has been forced to pull out of Gareth Southgate’s squad, after sustaining a back injury.
The seriousness of the problem is yet to be confirmed, with Bertrand having returned to Southampton to undergo further tests over the coming days.
The Saints’ star had started 5 of England’s last 6 World Cup qualifiers, with Danny Rose and Ashley Young the remaining left-back options for Three Lions’ boss Southgate to choose from over the coming week.
First up for Southampton following the international break is a crunch relegation battle with West Ham United on Saturday the 31st of March, before the Saints travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal a week later.
Age Hareide, the manager of the Danish national team, has today lavished praise on Tottenham star Christian Eriksen, revealing his opinion that none of the current midfield options possessed by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing at a higher level than his fellow countryman.
26-year-old attacking midfielder Eriksen made the move to Spurs in the summer of 2013 from Ajax, with the North Londoners having beaten off competition from some of Europe’s biggest clubs to secure his signature.
And Eriksen’s signing has since proven to be an absolute masterstroke, with the 75-time capped Danish international having established himself as one of the Premier League’s most highly-regarded midfielders over recent seasons.
Over the course of the 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns, Eriksen racked up a combined 14 goals and 28 assists in the Premier League alone, and has overcome a slow start to the current season to notch a further 7 goals and 8 assists to this point in the English top-flight campaign.
Eriksen’s sensational form for both club and country over recent years (he led Denmark to this summer’s World Cup finals with a playoff hat-trick vs the Republic of Ireland last November) has seen the creative star inevitably linked with a move to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
DUBLIN, IRELAND – NOVEMBER 14: Christian Eriksen of Denmark celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at Aviva Stadium on November 14, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
And, in the opinion of Eriksen’s international boss Age Hareide, the Dane would be more than capable of holding his own if given the chance to line out for either of La Liga’s biggest sides, also claiming that his fellow countryman is playing at a superior level to that ever managed by Luka Modric in North London.
‘I think he is a type that can adapt to anything. Give him a ball, then the ball will speak for him wherever he is. Christian is a type that just gets better from dealing with better football players.’
‘When looking at the players that play centrally for Real Madrid and Barcelona, none of them are better than Christian.’
‘Luka Modric came from Tottenham to Real Madrid, and he was not as good as Christian.’
Manchester United full-back/winger Ashley Young has today heaped praise on Red Devils’ teammate Luke Shaw, amid heavy rumours that the young stopper is set for a departure from Old Trafford.
22-year-old Shaw arrived at United from Southampton for a hefty £30 million fee in 2014, with many viewing the talented youngster as the natural heir to Patrice Evra at the club.
However, Louis Van Gaal, who was in charge of the Red Devils at that point, claimed that Shaw was overweight on the club’s pre-season tour, before a number of injuries allowed the youngster to make just 16 Premier League appearances during his debut campaign in Manchester.
And things soon went from bad to worse for Shaw at the club, with many claiming that the English international never fully recovered from a horrendous double leg break suffered in a clash with PSV Eindhoven at the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign.
Not seeing eye to eye
Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 saw Shaw struggle to carve out any sort of regular playing time for himself in the months that followed, with Mourinho having publicly scolded the talented youngster for his attitude last season.
This trend had continued for much of the current campaign, before a number of defensive problems for United saw Shaw take full advantage of a rare run of starts between December and February with a string of hugely-impressive performances.
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND – MARCH 19: Luke Shaw of Manchester United arrives prior to the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
However, the English stopper has fallen out of favour once again of late, with Jose Mourinho having turned to Ashley Young in a number of recent crucial fixtures, and dragged Shaw off at half-time of the club’s FA Cup victory over Brighton at the weekend.
‘Get your head down and work’
And Young, who has surprised many with his impressive showings at full-back to this point in the campaign, was questioned on the struggles of his United teammate during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live earlier today, with the veteran explaining:
‘Obviously, he [Shaw] is a player that wants to do well, I want to see him doing well. It’s like all players, you just have to get your head down and work.’
When asked if Shaw is capable of fighting his way back into Jose Mourinho’s first-team plans at Old Trafford, Young quickly backed the former Saints’ star to do just that:
‘Yes, of course. He is a fantastic player. I feel he can be one of the best in the world. You’ve just got to work hard. We’ve got a healthy competition in our squad and when you’ve got world-class players training day in, day out, everybody wants to be in that team. It is tough. I’ve always said, when you join a club like United it’s a tough place to play at.’
‘But if you play and train and give 100%, then get your opportunity – I’ve always said you always get your opportunity there.’
As per a report from TeamTalk this morning, Liverpool are considering a summer move for Stoke City winger Ramadan Sobhi.
Ramadan, a 21-year-old wide-man who also happens to be an Egyptian international teammate of Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, made the move to Stoke in the summer of 2016 from Al Ahly.
The talented African has since gone on to make 36 Premier League appearances for the Potters, though he has managed just 9 league starts to this point in the current campaign.
Ramadan Sobhi runs at Antonio Valencia during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on January 15, 2018 in Manchester, England.
Nevertheless, Ramadan has impressed many onlookers with his direct nature and quick feet, with the aforementioned report from TeamTalk today revealing that the youngster’s showings at the Bet365 have caught the eye of Merseyside giants Liverpool.
The Reds are known to be on the lookout for reinforcements in attacking areas, with Jurgen Klopp keen to add some depth to his options out wide.
And Ramadan, who would reportedly be available for a fee of around £15 million, is said to be one of a number of summer targets being considered by the board at Anfield.
TeamTalk also claim that Liverpool scouted Ramadan before his move to Stoke in 2016, and that Mohamed Salah has provided glowing reports of his international teammate (19 caps for Egypt).
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has today moved to reassure the club’s fans regarding his future, revealing that he feels ‘at home’ at Stamford Bridge.
Rise to stardom
Kante, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Leicester City in the summer of 2016, has proven an absolute revelation since making the move to the Premier League from Caen in 2015.
After playing a starring role for the Foxes on their way to securing a shock English top-flight crown during his debut campaign with the club, Kante was sought out by a number of Europe’s top clubs, with the likes of Manchester United, PSG, Juventus and Real Madrid having all been linked with moves for the diminutive Frenchman.
However, in the end, it was Chelsea who opted to splash out the required £32 million to coax Kante away from the King Power Stadium, a fee which, in hindsight, looks an absolute bargain.
The 26-year-old has gone from strength to strength since his move to London, racking up both the Premier League Player and Players’ Player of the Year awards last season, as he secured his second league title in two seasons in England.
Despite Kante’s absolutely crucial role at Stamford Bridge, however, the Frenchman has actually been persistently linked with a possible exit from the English capital, with Real Madrid and PSG the sides most persistently linked with a bid for his services.
A report from Le 10 Sport back in January even went as far as to state that the latter of these sides (who were Chelsea’s main rivals for Kante before his departure from Leicester) have identified the Blues’ star as their no. 1 summer target, with numerous outlets having since backed this claim.
But Kante himself seems to have other ideas, with the French midfielder having seemingly pledged his future to Chelsea during an interview with Football Focus earlier today.
The 20-time capped international referred to the capital outfit as ‘my club’, before revealing his certainty that Antonio Conte’s men will secure a top-four spot and subsequent place in next season’s Champions League:
‘I am at home. It is my club, I am a Chelsea player.’
‘This is my second year at Chelsea. After what happened last season, it was a very good one for us because we got to celebrate winning the title.’
‘In the second season, I have got to play in the Champions League and we are going again to finish in the top four.’
‘We will fight until the end to finish in the top four and to get in a Champions League position.’
‘We also have the FA Cup to play for – it is a good competition. Last season we failed in the final. It is the only trophy we can win this season, so we have to give everything to get to the final and win it.’