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Cristiano Ronaldo sends message to Ralf Rangnick in statement over Ballon d’Or snub

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Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted his full focus remains on Manchester United having snubbed the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris on Monday night.

Lionel Messi is expected to be crowned the world’s best footballer by France Football, which would give him two more Ballon d’Ors than Ronaldo has won.

It means the week has gone from bad to worse for Ronaldo, who was dropped to the bench for United’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday, with the Red Devils claiming a surprise point.

The Portuguese superstar had looked unhappy with that decision and stormed straight down the tunnel after referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle at Stamford Bridge.

That game could be the last of Michael Carrick’s spell as caretaker boss, with Ralf Rangnick having been appointed as United’s interim manager until the end of the season on Monday.

Rangnick is awaiting the green light on his work permit before he is allowed to take over at Old Trafford.

One of the challenges facing the German will be how to get the best out of Ronaldo in a way that also allows United as a whole to be successful.

If his permit is approved in time, Rangnick could be in charge for the Premier League clash with Arsenal on Thursday.

That is a game that Ronaldo has insisted has his full focus as he released a statement on social media on Monday.

The 36-year-old was hitting back at France Football’s editor in chief Pascal Ferre, who had claimed Ronaldo had told him the only ambition in his career was to win more Ballon d’Or trophies than Messi.

His statement was also a message to Rangnick that the German does not have to worry about his commitment to United, despite his surprise dropping on Sunday.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.

“I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United’s next game and on everything that, together with my team-mates and our fans, we can still achieve this season.

“The rest? The rest is just the rest…”

Ronaldo also took the opportunity to fire back at Ferre, insisting that he had lied about both Ronaldo’s ambitions and the reasons for his decision to shun the 2021 ceremony.

“Pascal Ferré lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for,” he added.

“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way.

“And he lied again today by justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.

“I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair-play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I’m never against anyone.

“I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against anyone.”

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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