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Marcus Rashford send emotional letter after penalty miss and racist abuse following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat

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Marcus Rashford has vowed to come back stronger in an emotional open letter after missing his penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

Also thanking the majority of fans for their support after he was racially abused following the game.

The Manchester United forward – who has raised millions for charity during the pandemic and forced a government U-turn over free school meals – was subbed on deep into extra-time specifically to take a spot-kick.

But the usually nerveless striker dragged his shot against the outside of the post.

Teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka also saw their efforts saved and the trio were all subjected to vile racist abuse on social media afterwards.

While a mural of Rashford was defaced – though the abusive graffiti was later covered with supportive messages and pictures.

Rashford, who has been carrying an injury for much of this year, apologised for not scoring his penalty but stood defiant against the abuse he received, speaking proudly about his roots and thanking fans for the support he has received after a heartbreaking 24 hours.

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‘I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I’m feeling at this exact time,’ he wrote on social media on Monday evening.

‘I’ve had a difficult season, I think that’s been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence.

‘I’ve always backed myself for a penalty but something didn’t feel quite right. During the run up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted.

‘I felt as though I had let my teammates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down.

‘A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels.

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‘Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently.

‘Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout to my teammates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that.

A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.

‘Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently.

‘Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout to my teammates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.

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— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021

‘I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decided to spend my time off the pitch.

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‘I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in, but I will never apologise for who I am or where I came from.

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‘I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing these three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands. I dreamt of days like this.

‘The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.

‘I’m Marcus Rashford, 23 years old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.

‘For all the kind messages, thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.’

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Erik Ten Hag demands Man Utd ‘be fast’ about getting £43m signing over the line

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Erik ten Hag has told Man Utd to hurry up over a potential deal to sign Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez, according to reports.

The Red Devils are looking for a new centre-back this summer to give Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane some competition.

Man Utd have been linked with a number of defenders but a potential transfer for Martinez seems to have legs with a number of respected journalists revealing Ten Hag’s interest in a deal.

See also  Watch: Liverpool fans ironically cheer every touch from Man United players

The Argentina international was one of Ajax’s best players under Ten Hag last season with the 24-year-old playing 37 times in all competitions for the Eredivisie champions.

Ajax have been holding out for €50m (£43m) for Martinez but reports yesterday indicated they are ‘willing to cooperate’ with Man Utd after the Red Devils put an offer of €41m plus €4m in add-ons on the table.

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And that will be music to Ten Hag’s ears with journalist Fabrizio Romano claiming that the Dutchman has told Man Utd ‘to be fast’ over sealing a deal for Martinez with competition coming from fellow Premier League side Arsenal.

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It is understood that Martinez is ‘pushing to leave Ajax’ this summer and Ten Hag wants the Argentine as his next signing after Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia.

Arsenal are described as ‘still there’ in the race for Martinez but Romano adds that Man Utd boss Ten Hag ‘wants him strongly’.

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Barcelona do not want to sign Ronaldo, Lewandowski is the priority

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Following the meeting between Barcelona and super-agent Jorge Mendes on Monday, there has been non-stop speculation that the Catalans have been offered a chance to sign Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 37-year-old is intent on securing an exit from Old Trafford this summer, just a year after returning to his old stomping ground.

The lack of Champions League football and the failure to sign any players so far have been cited as reasons for the Portuguese maverick to seek a move.

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There have been talks with Chelsea, while a move to Bayern Munich has also been mooted. And following the meeting between his agent Mendes and Barcelona president Joan Laporta, it is being heavily speculated that Ronaldo has been offered to the Blaugrana.

However, as per a report from journalist David Bernabeu Reverter, there is zero chance that Barcelona will sign Ronaldo this summer.

The Spanish journalist claims that Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski remains the utmost priority for the Blaugrana this summer and their stance on the matter is non-negotiable.

See also  Watch: Liverpool fans ironically cheer every touch from Man United players

Barça have been pursuing Lewandowski for months and even have a three-year contract agreement in place with the Poland captain.

However, Bayern Munich’s unwillingness to negotiate with the Catalans is proving to be a major hurdle.

In spite of that, the Blaugrana remain intent on signing Lewandowski and are not considering bringing in Ronaldo, as per the aforementioned update.

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Despite being 37, Ronaldo remains in tremendous shape and scored 24 goals in all competitions last season. However, he has a rich history with Real Madrid.

The Portugal captain is Los Blancos’ all-time leading goalscorer and a club legend. So, it is hard to fathom that a move to Camp Nou can materialise.

As things stand, at least according to what David Bernabeu Reverter’s sources are stating, Lewandowski is the absolute priority for Barcelona.

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Barcelona looking to renew La Masia midfielder before loaning him out

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A report from SPORT has offered a fresh update on the future of Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig. The 22-year-old finds himself out of favour at Camp Nou and is widely expected to depart this summer.

Puig has been courting serious interest from clubs in Spain and the rest of Europe. In particular,

Benfica and Fiorentina have been showing the strongest in signing the La Masia midfielder despite his struggles to establish a foothold in the Barça first-team setup.

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Benfica have been long-term admirers of the Spaniard and continue to retain an interest. As for Fiorentina, they are already believed to be in advanced negotiations with Puig over a possible move this summer.

While it was largely expected that Barcelona would sell Puig permanently, the report from SPORT claims otherwise. Indeed, as per the latest update, the Catalan giants do not plan on selling the 22-year-old outright.

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Instead, Barça plan to extend his contract and send him out on loan so that he can play regularly and kickstart his development which has stalled in recent seasons due to a lack of game-time.

Puig’s current contract with the Blaugrana expires in 2023 and the Catalans want to ensure that they extend the deal before he is sent out on loan.

The 22-year-old, for his part, has always desired to succeed at Camp Nou. However, he has accepted that a move away to a team where he can get regular minutes under his belt would be in his best interests.

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A loan move would likely appeal more to Puig than a permanent transfer as it would allow him a chance to return to Barcelona and prove himself next year.

With no shortage of takers for the 22-year-old La Masia graduate, it remains to be seen where he ends up.

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