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Give me the ball faster

Cristiano Ronaldo has instructed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Man United have to play faster for him — ESPN’s Insider Pocket book has the most recent. PLUS: Soccer’s push for combined gender matches.

Bounce to: Mixed gender matches in football? | Taekwondo champ signs for Barca | Salah contract saga rumbles on | Lacazette edges to exit door | Phillips in Leeds renewal talks

Ronaldo needs a sooner United

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s demand for the best requirements at Manchester United has led to supervisor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to induce his gamers to maneuver the ball faster in attacking areas with a purpose to get the very best out of the Portugal ahead, sources instructed ESPN.

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Ronaldo has scored 5 objectives in 5 video games for United since returning to the membership from Juventus in the summertime, after a 12-year absence. However sources instructed ESPN that Ronaldo has made it clear to Solskjaer and his coaches that he can additional enhance his objective ratio if United develop into sharper and faster when distributing the ball within the opposition half.

Ronaldo has been deployed in a central attacking place by Solskjaer since making his debut towards Newcastle final month, with Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood used as inverted wingers alongside the 36-year-old.

Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have been used as attacking midfielders behind Ronaldo, however sources stated that United’s teaching workforce need the workforce’s defensive gamers to get the ball to the attackers extra rapidly, which is able to in flip allow them to feed Ronaldo and reap the benefits of opponents being out of practice on the again.

– Wright Thompson: Ronaldo mania and the fight for Man United’s soul

Sources instructed ESPN that United’s teaching employees imagine Raphael Varane‘s arrival from Real Madrid has helped enhance the workforce’s velocity of play, with the France worldwide extra able to transferring the ball ahead with tempo and precision than Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

However work is ongoing on the coaching pitch to get the ball to Ronaldo faster, as Solskjaer makes an attempt to make United extra ruthless in entrance of objective. — Mark Ogden

Trailblazer Fokkema may pave approach for combined gender soccer

Ellen Fokkema made Dutch soccer historical past final week as the first woman to play for a senior men’s team in league play and sources instructed ESPN there’s hope from soccer associations throughout Europe that combined gender matches may develop into extra widespread.

Fokkema, 20, was prohibited from persevering with to play for her workforce, VV Foarut, because the Dutch Soccer Affiliation (KNVB) solely allowed combined gender soccer as much as the age of 19. However after a profitable pilot scheme by which Fokkema performed seven matches below KNVB supervision, the Dutch FA modified its eligibility guidelines in Could 2021. It allowed Fokkema to make historical past when she got here on as a 60th minute substitute in her aspect’s “4e Klasse” (Dutch ninth tier) opener towards Sleat final weekend.

– Hamilton: The day Fokkema made history

Sources instructed ESPN that FIFA and UEFA are in discussions with the KNVB to search out out extra concerning the pilot scheme within the Netherlands that paved the way in which for Fokkema’s landmark look, and the German FA has additionally been in contact to ask for the analysis outcomes. Fokkema’s seven pilot matches within the senior males’s workforce had been watched by a consultant of the KNVB and he or she was interviewed after every match, alongside together with her opponents.

Sources added that novice golf equipment from England are additionally eager to search out out extra from the Dutch FA with a view to taking the Fokkema case to the English Soccer Affiliation to alter its eligibility guidelines.

“I assume it is a milestone for soccer basically,” Fokkema instructed ESPN following her debut final weekend. “Girls will be capable of select by which workforce to play … that is new, that they’ve the selection. I hope I will not be the final, or else it could have all been for nothing.” — Tom Hamilton

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens up on Cristiano Ronaldo’s impression since his return to Manchester United.

Pow! Taekwondo champ is Barca’s new head of participant care

Barcelona have appointed an Olympic taekwondo champion to move up their participant care division as president Joan Laporta continues to make modifications behind the scenes.

Joel Gonzalez, who gained a gold medal at London 2012 and a bronze in Rio de Janeiro 4 years later, has changed Pepe Costa, who has moved to Paris Saint-Germain with Lionel Messi. Costa’s contract expired on June 30 and Barca didn’t provide him a brand new deal, making it simple for him to observe Messi to France. He was identified round Barca as “Messi’s shadow.”

Gonzalez, 31, was really helpful for the position by former handball participant Enric Masip, who now works as an advisor to Barca chief Laporta. Along with profitable gold in London, which noticed him named Spain’s male sportsperson of the 12 months in 2012, Gonzalez can also be a two-time taekwondo world champion within the 58kg (128 lbs) division.

His duties at Camp Nou will embrace constructing and strengthening relationships with the gamers on the membership and supporting them with any issues they could have away from the pitch. — Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens

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Ellen Fokkema explains the choice to permit her to coach and play with the senior males’s workforce.

Salah saga rumbles on

Mohamed Salah‘s contract state of affairs at Liverpool stays unresolved, with the ahead but to agree a deal to switch his present phrases which expire in June 2023, however sources instructed ESPN his focus and dedication amid the uncertainty have additional enhanced his repute amongst his teammates.

Salah and fellow forwards Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who’re all free brokers on the finish of the 2022-23 season, have but to increase their contracts, however Salah’s state of affairs is the one that’s more likely to be essentially the most difficult in response to sources, with talks ongoing.

The previous Chelsea and Roma ahead has beforehand refused to minimize the prospect of a transfer to LaLiga, with each Real Madrid and Barcelona each linked with the 29-year-old up to now, however neither workforce are able to signal Salah within the coming switch home windows because of monetary points at each golf equipment and Actual’s main give attention to signing Kylian Mbappe. Paris Saint-Germain have additionally been admirers of Salah over latest seasons, however the summer time signing of Lionel Messi seems to have closed the door on any doable transfer.

Liverpool are conscious of the restricted choices Salah has in phrases transferring away from Anfield for a price in 2022, however with the Egypt worldwide set to show 30 subsequent June, sources stated the membership should additionally contemplate the monetary implications of committing to a long-term deal for a participant who could be in his mid-30s by the point it expires.

Regardless of the off-field distraction of his contract, Salah has began the season in spectacular type and is the joint high scorer within the Premier League with 5 objectives. Final Saturday’s objective at Brentford noticed him develop into the quickest participant in Liverpool historical past to attain 100 Premier League objectives.

Sources have stated Salah has been “sensational” in coaching and that he has displayed no frustrations throughout the squad or to supervisor Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool made one important summer time signing within the type of RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate, because the membership have spent latest months securing Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to new long-term contracts. — Mark Ogden

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Julien Laurens speaks after Ansu Fati scored on his Barcelona return towards Levante in LaLiga.

Lacazette edges to Arsenal exit door

The possibilities of Alexandre Lacazette leaving Arsenal in January are growing because the striker’s lack of game-time continues, sources instructed ESPN. Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Sevilla are among the many golf equipment who’ve expressed an curiosity in Lacazette, who could possibly be utilized in a player-plus-cash deal. Arsenal have beforehand scouted Sevilla ahead Youssef En-Nesyri.

Lacazette, 30, has made one substitute look within the Premier League this season — in August’s 5-Zero defeat at Manchester City — and the Gunners’ absence from European soccer this season means there are fewer matches and fewer likelihood of rotation.

Supervisor Mikel Arteta has insisted Lacazette stays part of his plans however ESPN reported on Sept. 17 there is no such thing as a contract provide on the desk regardless of his deal operating out on the finish of the season. Lacazette is free to speak to abroad golf equipment from Jan. 1 however wouldn’t be capable of full a free switch till the summer time.

Nonetheless, sources declare the France worldwide is changing into minded to push for a transfer earlier than then — a state of affairs that has monetary attraction to Arsenal given they might be capable of command a switch price if he left midseason.

The Gunners are scouting choices to rework their ahead choices given the state of affairs with Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, who sources at Arsenal had indicated would have joined Crystal Palace this summer time had the participant’s agent not difficult a deal as soon as a switch price had been agreed. — James Olley

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Janusz Michallik speaks after Mohamed Salah turned the fifth quickest participant to attain 100 Premier League objectives.

In-demand Phillips holds Leeds deal talks

Leeds United are in talks with England midfielder Kalvin Phillips over a brand new long-term contract at Elland Highway, sources instructed ESPN, amid curiosity from Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Leeds are conscious of rising curiosity in Phillips within the wake of his spectacular performances throughout England’s run to the Euro 2020 remaining this summer time and are decided to reward the participant with a profitable new deal to keep away from the chance of him being tempted away from the membership.

Sources stated that Liverpool and Metropolis are each monitoring Phillips’s progress with Leeds and England, while reports this week linked United with a transfer as they search for alternatives to West Ham’s Declan Rice.

However whereas talks with Leeds are at an early stage, sources stated they’re assured a deal may be struck with a participant who has develop into a key determine below coach Marcelo Bielsa. — Mark Ogden

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