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Cristiano Ronaldo completes Man Utd medical ahead of return to former club

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Man Utd announced they had reached an agreement with Juventus to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday; Premier League club will pay around €15m (£12.87m) plus a further €8m (£6.86m) in add-ons for the Portugal captain, who underwent a medical in Lisbon over the weekend

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his Manchester United medical as he closes on a return to his former club.

United announced they had reached an agreement with Juventus to re-sign the 36-year-old forward on Friday.

Personal terms have been agreed on a two-year contract, with the required aspects of the deal to be finalised before the deadline on Tuesday night.

The Premier League club will pay around €15m (£12.87m) plus a further €8m (£6.86m) in add-ons for the Portugal captain, who underwent a medical in Lisbon over the weekend.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games during his first spell with United between 2003 and 2009.

Ronaldo’s departure from Juventus was confirmed on Friday by boss Massimiliano Allegri, who revealed he was told by the player he had “no intention” of representing the club again.

United’s rivals Manchester City were offered the chance to sign the 36-year-old and considered making a move, but the Premier League champions pulled out of negotiations.

Speaking on Sunday at Wolves where United won 1-0 thanks to Mason Greenwood’s 80th-minute goal, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer welcomed the imminent capture of Ronaldo, telling Sky Sports: “We’re excited by the whole story Cristiano has had at Manchester United.

“Hopefully we can get the paperwork sorted and announce him very soon. He is a winner and a great human being. The players are excited, and l am excited to keep adding to this squad.

“He adds something completely different. It adds more confidence and belief to what we are doing and what we are building.

“We know he is a more experienced player than he was when he was here last time, he has evolved and had an unbelievable career. I’m sure he likes all the talk about ‘he’s too old’. Make it personal and he will show what he can do.”

Solskjaer warned his Manchester United forwards Ronaldo would likely be going straight into the first team.

The Norwegian added: “He is not signing to sit on the bench. He is going to make us a better team.

“We need to get all the paperwork done, hopefully we can get that sorted and we can announce it 100 per cent.

“Then he is away with Portugal, they have three games, his last game is Tuesday (September 7) and then we can get him back to Manchester and involved as soon as possible.”

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane admitted he had been caught up in the excitement of Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford.

“I think it’s great news for United, the fans, the Premier League. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s still a world-class player.

“We have discussed the pluses and minuses, but I see the hunger and the desire there; it’s not a pay-day for him. He is already worth fortunes.

“We saw at the Euros he won the Golden Boot; he’ll have the incentive of the World Cup. He’s a clever guy. He’s coming back to United to win stuff. I don’t think he’ll be the difference in terms of winning the big trophies – Man Utd still have the same problems with or without Ronaldo, and that’s midfield – but an FA Cup or a League Cup is more than possible.”

United midfield balance still needs fixing

Despite the fanfare of Ronaldo returning to bolster Solskjaer’s squad, question marks remain over the midfield.

Paul Pogba dropped back into midfield against Wolves but his partnership with Fred does not look like a long-term solution, argues Adam Bate.

Bate says “With Cristiano Ronaldo’s return imminent, the competition for those forward positions increases. The temptation to fit Pogba in as one of the two midfielders is understandable. But it feels like a fudge.

“The problem is that the switch brings negatives as well as positives – both of which were evident against Wolves.”

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How AC Milan missed out on Ghanaian youngster Felix Afena-Gyan

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Afena Gyan scores brace for AS Roma against Genoa

Afena-Gyan makes Serie A record

Afena-Gyan valued at €20m

Ghanaian youngster Felix Afena-Gyan may be excelling for AS Roma but he could have ended up at rivals AC Milan.

The youngster has risen from the youth side of the Italian giants and taking a spot on the first team where he is in the process of establishing himself as a key cog in Jose Mourinho’s side.

His two goals in AS Roma’s victory over Genoa made him the first player born in 2003 to score in the Italian top flight league.

It has however emerged that Afena-Gyan was once on the books AC Milan and could have had his development in Milan instead of Rome.

Oliver Arthur, the Ghanaian football agent credited with the discovery of the 18-year-old has revealed that Afena-Gyan had trials with AC Milan who were interested in signing him.

Oliver Arthur says the choice of AS Roma as the club for Afena-Gyan was informed by his quest to get a place where the youngster’s development was not going to be impeded.

“He initially had trials at AS Roma, then Sassuolo before going to AC Milan. Milan, just like the other clubs, was very much interested in him. But, we needed to make a decision and look at the best for the player and we settled on AS Roma,” he said Kumasi-based Pure FM.

Oliver Arthur also spoken about how the youngster’s stock has risen since he broke into the first team of AS Roma.

He disclosed that Afena-Gyan is now valued at €20million following his good display for AS Roma.

“It will really be difficult. Very difficult. Range? May be between €15m-€20m. For what he’s done and the abilities he possesses, I think, yes, €20m” he told Angel TV

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Africa to use VAR in World Cup play-offs after Ghana vs South Africa incident

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Ghana defeats South Africa 1-0

South Africa petitions FIFA over penalty in Ghana game

Senegalese referee to be punished by FIFA, says South Africa coach

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be used in the final phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Gianni Infantino, the President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has said.

Infantino has disclosed that FIFA and CAF will use the technology in the play-off to improve officiating in those matches.

Speaking at the extraordinary general assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo, Egypt Infantino said FIFA is making efforts to enhance the quality of matches and introduction of VAR is one of the measures.

“The final stage of the African World Cup qualifiers will see an improvement in refereeing performance due to the use of VAR,” said Infantino.

The President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe who is a South African refused to comment on the specific case of Ghana versus South Africa but promised an investment in officiating.

“We are going to invest in the competitions because our competitions are everything,” said Motsepe.

“That’s why the announcement that we are making today regarding referees is critically important. Africa have got good referees, and we have got world-class referees. We’ve also got referees who are not so good.

“Then we’ve also got referees who are even further from not so good, but they all try. We want to train them, and also pay them good money and look after them. So that they can make a career out of being referees.”

Ghana defeated South Africa 1-0 at the Cape Coast Stadium on November 14, 2021 via a controversial penalty.

Defender Daniel Amartey earned Ghana the penalty which was converted by skipper Andre Ayew on the 33rd minute.

South Africa took issues with the decision by referee Ndiaye and petitioned FIFA to probe what they perceive to be match manipulation.

According to SAFA, the referee was compromised and thus ruled the game in favour of the host team.

The Ghana Football Association has meanwhile disputed the claims and emphasized the Black Stars deserved victory.

It is expected FIFA will issue a verdict on the game in the coming days.

The draw for the play-off will be held in January next year after the Africa Cup of Nations.

The ten countries that have qualified include Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia.

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Forget about replay FIFA, will only ban referee Ndiaye Maguette – Hugo Broos

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It appears that head coach of South Africa, Hugo Broos has given up hope of forcing a replay of the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana from FIFA.

The Black Stars defeated the Bafana Bafana of South Africa by a lone goal to secure the only slot in group G for the play offs of the 2022 World Cup.

South Africa after the game accused the match official of match fixing, match manipulation among others before lodging an official complaint with FIFA.

Ghana had a penalty after Daniel Amartey went to ground in the penalty box following a challenge from Rushine De Reuck although it appeared soft there was a nudge in the back of the Leicester City defender.

The Senegalese referee Ndiaye Maguette who was standing just a few meters outside the penalty box swiftly awarded the penalty without any second thought.

FIFA urged the two Associations that is Ghana and South Africa to present any comments or evidence it deems appropriate latest by 20th November 2021 as they referred the protest to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee who began their work on 23rd November,2021.

FIFA is now due to issue a verdict on that appeal which has created friction between Ghana and South Africa in football circles.

Ahead of the verdict, South Africa’s Belgian tactician doesn’t seem confident.

“Fifa met on Tuesday,” Broos told HLN Sportcast. “We expect a decision in the course of this week. It’s not just about the penalty kick, it’s about the whole game. The referee made 71 decisions, 47 of which were foul. The analysis has shown that. And 90 percent of those 47 wrong decisions were against us.”

“You have to be able to prove something like that in black and white. Was he bribed? Wasn’t he pressured? Or was he just having a really bad day? The numbers are there, but is that enough for FIFA? I personally think that it will remain with a suspension for the referee and that we should not count on a replay.” he said.

The draw for the play offs will come off in January while the matches will be played in March 2022.

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