He is one of six players up for the award, alongside compatriot and Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo, Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger, Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr.
However, Ronaldo’s goal-scoring exploits have not been solely confined to the Premier League, with the Portuguese netting two goals in two Champions League matches so far this season – including a late winner against Villarreal on Wednesday
His latest match-winning contribution left Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singing his praises after the game.
Ronaldo as done that so many times,” Solskjaer said of Ronaldo. “When you saw him against the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago [for Portugal], he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“That’s just what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally. He stays in the game, I’ve seen him all day today, the way he’s built himself up for this game, how focused he’s been and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal. But a true mark of a very good finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.
Ronaldo is so good in front of goal and he has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, everyone.”
The former Red Devils defender was quick to hail his ex-team-mate as the finest to ever play the game, though fellow pundit Jamie Carragher disagreed
Cristiano Ronaldo is “the greatest player of all time” according to former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville, with the ex-right-back giving his former Old Trafford colleague the edge over rival Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese cemented a dream homecoming to the Theatre of Dreams this weekend with a brace on his second debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in a 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle.
Now former Red Devils defender Neville has hailed his ex-team-mate as the finest to ever play the game – and has pointed to his superior flexibility as a goalscorer as the crucial edge he possesses over Paris Saint-Germain attacker Messi.
“Look, there’s no doubt that Messi’s scored an obscene amount of goals,” Neville stated on Sky Sportsahead of Everton and Burnley’s Premier League game on Monday. “He’s a ridiculous player.
“[But] Ronaldo’s scored probably 30 or 40 per cent more with his wrong foot and he’s scored more penalties. So it just took me to a point where he was more complete in terms of the most important part of the game.
“The thing that tips it over the edge even more is that international record, of the most international goals ever. The fact that he’s won five Champions Leagues with teams that aren’t even as good as Messi’s team…”
🗣️ “Ronaldo is more complete in the most important part of the game.” 🗣️ “Messi can run a game, Ronaldo can’t do that.”
“Messi’s won more league titles with that Barcelona team, but I just feel that the international goal record and the Champions Leagues, aligned with the variety of goals that he scores, even though they’re very similar [in overall numbers], takes me to think that he is the greatest player of all time.
Both Ronaldo and Messi will have the chance to further increase their stake for the subjective honour of the world’s greatest player when they get back to Champions League action this week.
The pair will be contesting for Europe’s biggest club crown with United and PSG as this year’s tournament gets under way with the group stage this week.
United will kick off their campaign against Young Boys, while PSG will travel to Club Brugge.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette missed Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford after returning positive coronavirus tests, the club have confirmed.
Aubameyang could be available for Arsenal’s Premier League game against Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, after a bout of coronavirus saw the striker miss the Gunners’ opening Premier League defeat.
The captain has tested negative, will return to training, and be assessed prior to Sunday’s match at the Emirates Stadium.
Meanwhile, the club have said Lacazette is still recovering, and will not be at Mikel Arteta’s disposal for their clash with the Blues.
Willian has also returned a positive test and his recovery is being monitored ahead of Sunday, while back-up goalkeeper Alex Runnarson is also currently self-isolating after catching the virus
Arsenal were without a number of other key players for the defeat at Brentford.
Midfielder Thomas Partey has been out with an ankle problem since their friendly with Chelsea on August 1, but he is working hard with the medical team and is aiming to be back in training by the end of the month.
Eddie Nketiah has also been out since that Chelsea match, but the striker is expected to return to training early next month.
Gabriel, who sustained an injury to his right knee while with the Brazil Olympic squad, is also progressing well and aiming to be back in training before the end of August.
With Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale both close to completing moves to the Emirates Stadium, the pair need to be registered by 12pm on Friday in order to be selected in Arteta’s squad to face Chelsea on Sunday.
Norway international Odegaard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the Gunners, is set to arrive for an initial fee of £30m from Real Madrid, plus bonuses of around £4m, but his prospects of making an appearance on Sunday are slim with his visa application process still ongoing.
Ramsdale, Sheffield United’s Player of the Season last term, is undergoing a medical ahead of a £24m move from Bramall Lane.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are interested in signing Aubameyang from Arsenal, despite the Catalan club’s current £1.15m debt, and are willing to offer Philippe Coutinho as part of an exchange.
Romelu Lukaku left Chelsea in 2014 and earlier in the week instructed Inter Milan to allow him to leave if a suitable offer came in; Inter fans protested against the club’s Chinese owners in 2-0 friendly win at Parma on Sunday
Romelu Lukaku is flying to London to complete his £97.5m (€115m) transfer to Chelsea from Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old underwent the first part of his medical in Milan after the Italian champions agreed in principle a club-record deal to re-sign the striker.
The paperwork is now with club lawyers, and once that is formalised, Lukaku is expected to sign a five-year contract, worth £200,000 a week.
Inter have previously rejected two offers from Chelsea for the Belgium international, the second of which was worth £85m (€100m) plus left-back Marcos Alonso.
Lukaku left Chelsea in 2014 after making just 15 appearances there following his arrival at Stamford Bridge from Anderlecht in 2011.
One of the most prolific strikers in Europe, Lukaku scored 87 goals in 166 games for Everton between 2014 and 2017 and found the net 42 times in 96 appearances during his two years at Manchester United before signing for Inter in 2019.
Barcelona confirmed the departure of Lionel Messi on Thursday and Paris Saint-Germain have already emerged as strong favourites to sign the forward; the 34-year-will hold a press conference at the Nou Camp on Sunday
Lionel Messi has spoken directly with Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino as he moves closer to joining the French club after leaving Barcelona.
PSG are expected to offer Messi a two-year deal next week, worth £25m a year after tax with the option of a further year. The 34-year-old and his father Jorge are braced for the arrival of the offer this weekend.
Messi, who will hold a news conference at the Nou Camp on Sunday, left Barcelona after the La Liga club were unable to fulfil a new contract that had been agreed with the player due to “financial and structural obstacles
PSG, managed by Messi’s compatriot Pochettino, quickly emerged as the frontrunners for his signature, in a move that would reunite him with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
Messi is open to joining PSG, but he and his representatives want to take time to assess their options following his shock exit from the Nou Camp.
Messi, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, had officially been a free agent since July 1 after he failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barca contract expired on June 30.
Messi had spent his entire career at Barcelona, coming through the club’s academy before going on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances after making his senior debut in 2003.
Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to catch Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish in the face in the 89th minute of Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Villa Park; Spain defender will no longer face a three-match ban at start of next season
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has had the red card he was given against Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season overturned following an appeal.
The defender was sent off for violent conduct after appearing to catch Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish in the face in the 89th minute on Sunday at Villa Park.
Azpilicueta, 31, will no longer face a three-match ban at the start of next season.
Chelsea secured fourth place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification despite the 2-1 defeat.
The Blues face Premier League champions Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel takes blame after making seven changes to line-up in Arsenal defeat on Wednesday night: “I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this”
Tuchel suffered only the second defeat since taking charge at Stamford Bridge with the Blues unable to cut through a defensive Arsenal side who hung onto their 16th-minute opener, scored by Emile Smith Rowe after a Jorginho defensive howler.
That defeat, which opens the door for Liverpool to cut their cushion inside the top four to only a point, came less than three days before Tuchel will lead his side out at Wembley in Saturday’s FA Cup final to face Leicester, who will enjoy a day more of rest having played Manchester United on Tuesday.
Having already made five changes to face Manchester City at the weekend from the side that beat Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, Tuchel kept only four players from that game to face the Gunners on Wednesday night – and admitted it had been a step too far.
“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you.
“I felt it a little bit coming yesterday in training. I’m a bit unlucky that it’s proven today on the pitch. I regret… but it’s like this. ‘We could have [done this], we could have [done that]’, and that’s what it’s all about.
“I did not feel us in the same way involved, sharp with intensity and energy like the last game and these are the per cents who are missing today.”
Tuchel further suggested his line-up may have provided a psychological shock to his team ahead of Saturday’s final, telling his post-match press conference: “We all lacked concentration and focus, that is very unusual.
“Maybe I gave some signs to the team that Saturday is on my mind, even if it’s only five per cent, or one per cent, that is not how you approach things and you get punished, because you cannot be naive.”
Chelsea’s result opens the door to both West Ham and Liverpool, who will sit three and one point behind them if they win their respective games in hand, but the manager took solace from the fact his side’s fortunes are still in their own hands with only two games left to play.
“It was always a big fight,” he said. “It’s still in our hands. Another chance missed. But we had some good results so we have to cope now with a loss.”
Manchester United’s Premier League game against Liverpool was postponed after about 200 fans broke into Old Trafford to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club.
The fixture was scheduled to kick off at 16:30 BST on Sunday.
“This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities,” said the Premier League.
Police said two officers had been injured during the protests.
It is the first time a Premier League match has been postponed because of fan protests.
Fans had gathered outside the ground and scores of green and gold flares – the colours of United’s first shirts when they were formed as Newton Heath in 1878, and of the original anti-Glazer protests in 2010 – were set off at 14:00.
The protests follow United’s decision, along with five fellow Premier League clubs, to join the European Super League (ESL) last month, before subsequently all pulling out.
Supporters are currently not allowed into grounds because of the coronavirus pandemic but some United fans got onto the Old Trafford pitch to protest and, even though they were removed, some then made it back onto the grass later on.
“The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance,” added the Premier League.
“We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated Covid-19 breaches.
“We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.”
The Football Association will be liaising with United, the Premier League and safety authorities to find out exactly what happened and the reasons for it.
Both clubs had submitted their team line-ups for the hotly anticipated fixture but neither had left their hotels to go to the ground prior to the game being called off at just after 17:35.
United fans had also gathered at the Lowry Hotel where their side’s players were staying prior to the match.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are currently second in the Premier League and a Liverpool win on Sunday would have handed Manchester City the title for the third time in four seasons.
Talks will now take place about rearranging the game.
Although Manchester City’s official club statement came before Chelsea’s on Tuesday night, the club were the first of the 12 rebels to signal their intent to pull out.
The club’s statement read: “As reported earlier this evening, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, our supporters or the wider football community.”