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Bruno Fernandes sends pointed Harry Maguire message amid Man United war with Cristiano Ronaldo

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Bruno Fernandes’ latest Instagram remarks have done little to stop talk of dressing room rifts at Manchester United.

Mirror Football exclusively revealed on Thursday night that there is growing friction in the United dressing room, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire embroiled in a power struggle over the captaincy.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has called on Ronaldo to mentor the young players within the squad, which is understood to have led to friction with Maguire.

The England international is against the idea of relinquishing his role as club captain and handing the armband over to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the rest of the season.

A United source said: “Originally, Ronaldo was asking players to back Harry. But the problem is the manager now wants Ronaldo to mentor all these younger players.

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“That’s left Harry in no man’s land, as he’s the captain and having to say and follow whatever Ronaldo says, to keep everything sweet.”

Now Portugal international Fernandes has uploaded a picture of himself between central defenders Eric Bailly and Raphael Varane accompanied with a caption that read: “Feeling very safe between these two.”

The snap along with that message, further hints at the escalating turmoil within the dressing room, with Maguire said to feel marginalised in terms of his authority and suggestions that factions are forming – including, most notably, a Portuguese-speaking clique, lead by Ronaldo.

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Many fans on social media have already commented that Fernandes’ caption seems to suggest he prefers both Bailly and Varane as defenders over his current captain – whose recent form has led to questions over his position not just as captain, but in the side’s defence.

Indeed, coming just hours after the news of the growing tension, Fernandes’ upload could be interpreted as a subtle shot at Maguire.

Upon his return to Old Trafford last summer, Ronaldo was quick to urge all of his teammates to get behind Maguire.

When the side struggled to find form in recent months, the 37-year-old doubled down on that message.

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But, in recent weeks, Ronaldo’s support is said to have deteriorated.

United and England striker Marcus Rashford broke ranks on Thursday to hit back at suggestions from Germany of a dressing-room divide which claimed he was unhappy with Ronaldo wanting greater power within the United dressing-room

Rashford wrote: “Are we just making it up as we go along now then? Please stop looking for divides.”

But more rifts in the United dressing room could scupper Rangnick’s brief reign in charge as well as the club’s hopes of Champions League qualification next season.

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

See also  Harry Maguire names big difference at Man United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacking

Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

See also  Rangnick's first potential signing revealed & 3 more big Man United stories you might've missed

To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

See also  Cristiano Ronaldo 'sends four-word message' to Man Utd team-mates ahead of second debut

With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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