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Portugal star Ronaldo gets away from Man Utd woes

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Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his happiness at being back in Portugal ahead of the international weekend.

The striker, 36, has been able to put his Manchester United woes behind him while training with the national team.

And he has the chance to extend his record international goal tally against the Republic of Ireland and Serbia.

It is no wonder he is smiling from ear to ear in photos he has posted to his various social media accounts.

On Twitter he posted a photo of himself posing with two thumbs up at Portugal training camp.

And alongside the photo, he posted the caption: “Good morning. It’s always extra happiness when I’m back in my country!”

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Meanwhile, over on Instagram CR7 shared a snap of himself working hard in training.

He also posed for the camera alongside long time team-mate and friend Pepe, and captioned his post: “Ready for tomorrow! #letsgowitheverything.”

Portugal are currently second in Group A World Cup qualifying but could overtake group leaders Serbia if they beat them on Sunday.

Ronaldo’s side are unbeaten in qualifying and he will be determined to qualify for yet another World Cup after a disappointing Euro 2020 saw them knocked out in the second round.

CR7 will be hoping to get the winning feeling back too after suffering some bad results with United.

He barely got a kick against Manchester City last time out and will not be pleased to have fallen out of the top four, with the Red Devils now six points off fourth-place City.

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De Gea makes damning assessment; ‘strange’ Rangnick thoughts

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Manchester United keeper David de Gea admits he felt his goal was under constant threat against Chelsea.

De Gea faced 24 shots but was beaten only by a Jorginho penalty as Manchester United battled to a 1-1 draw away at the Premier League leaders on Sunday.

The Spaniard saved from Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger, ensuring Jadon Sancho’s opener was enough for the visitors to earn a point.

De Gea has been openly critical of Manchester United in recent weeks, slamming their performance against Liverpool and eviscerating the display against Watford, which proved to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last as manager.

He was slightly more positive about the Chelsea match but pointed out that there is still plenty of work to be done.

“I think we already improved against Villarreal,” he said. “It was a big game for us, we won, we qualified and now we played against a very good team away from home.

“The effort from the team was very good. They had the best chances, to be honest. For me, a draw is not enough, we want to win all the time, but we are still in a tough moment. I’m proud of the effort of the team.

“On the pitch, in the goal, I was feeling danger for nearly the whole game, but we defended well. They missed big chances to find the target. The one [goal] we have, they gave us a chance and we scored. It’s not enough to draw, but at the moment with the way we are, it’s a big point.

“The games before, we were conceding three or four, now we conceded one from a penalty. We had a clean sheet against Villarreal, but this is just two games. We need to show in the games that are coming – we face Arsenal so it’s a big game again, we need to keep going – that we can stay focused and give 100 per cent.”

On the impending appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim head coach until the end of the season, De Gea added: “It’s a bit strange, but we’re professional players.

Jorginho celebrates scoring

Read Also: EPL: Jorginho penalty earns point for Chelsea after howler gifts Man Utd opener

“We’re training properly, playing properly. We play under the pressure as well and that’s Manchester United.

“We’ll see what happens in the future, but at the moment, we are a team, we feel like we’re all together and fighting for the same things.

“At the moment, it is Carrick and we’re with him. We are still conceding many chances, but the team is together. This will make us stronger.”

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Djokovic ‘probably won’t’ play Australian Open, says player’s father

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Novak Djokovic is currently playing for Serbia at the Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck

Novak Djokovic “probably won’t” play the Australian Open in January over mandatory Covid vaccination rules, the world number one’s father said on Sunday, likening the restrictions to “blackmail”.

The 34-year-old Djokovic, who would be bidding for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne, has refused to say whether or not he has been vaccinated against coronavirus.

But Australian Open tournament chief Craig Tiley has said that all players must be inoculated to take part.

“Of course he would want to go with all his heart,” Djokovic’s father Srdjan told Serbian channel Prda TV.

“Because he is a sportsman and there are a lot of our people, the (Serbian) diaspora, there who would be delighted to see Novak.

“But I really don’t know if that will happen. Probably not under these conditions, with this blackmail and when it’s done that way.”

Srdjan Djokovic also defended his son’s “exclusive and personal right” to be vaccinated or not, and claimed that even he did not know if Novak had received the jab.

Tiley last week revealed that Djokovic “has said that he views this as a private matter for himself”.

Read Also: Russians knock holders Spain out of Davis Cup

“We would love to see Novak here. He knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated to play here,” he added.

Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, is level on 20 Grand Slam singles triumphs with old rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

He contracted Covid-19 during the ill-fated Adria Tour event he organised in the Balkans in June 2020, but said he did not suffer from any symptoms.

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EPL: Conte reacts to postponement and backs Spurs to ‘exploit’ situation

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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said the decision to postpone Sunday’s Premier League game against Burnley was a “big disappointment”, but hopes his side can exploit the situation by using extra time on the training pitch.

Spurs’ clash at Turf Moor on Sunday was postponed 45 minutes before kick-off after heavy snow overnight and throughout Sunday in Lancashire.

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Despite the best efforts of Burnley’s ground staff to clear the pitch, the unrelenting snow continued to blanket the playing surface and the decision to call off the game was made after an inspection led by referee Peter Bankes and in conjunction with respective managers Conte and Sean Dyche.

“A big disappointment because we were ready to play and we prepared for the game, and all the travel,” Conte said afterwards.

“But at same time I think the Premier League made the right decision to save the situation for the players and the fans. For everybody. It’s disappointing but the decision was right.

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Read Also: Leicester City fire four goals past Watford in EPL clash

“Ten minutes before the snow is worse than it was before and in this condition, it’s not football. I want to play football, I want to play. In this type of situation it’s impossible. There’s serious risk of injury and this is not good.

“For sure, we have to exploit the situation, to have a training session tomorrow to prepare for two important games against Brentford and Norwich. We’ll have more time to prepare and need to exploit in the right way.”

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