Louis van Gaal con­firms in­ter­est in Ron­aldo re­turn

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal con­firmed yes­ter­day that he would be in­ter­ested in bring­ing Cris­tiano Ron­aldo back to Old Traf­ford, six years af­ter the su­per­star left for Real Madrid.

Van Gaal, quoted by sev­eral Bri­tish Sun­day news­pa­pers, said: “We are look­ing at all play­ers, not just Ron­aldo. But th­ese play­ers are mostly unget­table. “With Ron­aldo, let’s wait and hope. There is no trainer in the world that doesn’t like him. He plays on the wings and he is fast, and scores goals.”

Ron­aldo cost Real Madrid a then world record fee of £80 mil­lion when he left Eng­land in 2009 but he turns 31 in Fe­bru­ary and was off the boil in Satur­day’s 4-0 de­feat to Barcelona where he cut a frus­trated fig­ure.

The Por­tuguese in­ter­na­tional is a three-time World Player of the Year and is Real Madrid’s all-time lead­ing goalscorer. In Spain, he has won one league ti­tle as well as the 2014 Cham­pi­ons League.

Dur­ing his time un­der Alex Fer­gu­son at Old Traf­ford, he helped United win three Premier League ti­tles as well as the 2008 Cham­pi­ons League. Mean­while, Van Gaal con­ceded United are far from pretty to watch af­ter they ground out a 2-1 vic­tory at Wat­ford on Satur­day thanks to Troy Deeney’s late own goal.

Van Gaal’s side have been crit­i­cised for their con­ser­va­tive style of play un­der the Dutch­man this sea­son, but their lat­est de­fen­sive dis­play paid div­i­dends at Vicarage Road. They had taken an 11th minute lead through Mem­phis De­pay and, al­though Deeney’s 87th minute penalty ended a run with­out con­ced­ing of 10 hours, United snatched the points at the death when Deeney turned Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger’s ef­fort into his own net in stop­page-time.

De­fen­sive

“I have changed the sys­tem,” Van Gaal said. “Our po­si­tional game was not so good and that was dis­ap­point­ing. I know some peo­ple think our po­si­tional game is bor­ing but I think it is a way to dis­or­gan­ise the op­po­nent’s or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“I was very sat­is­fied about our de­fen­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion. We didn’t give more than three chances away, one in the first half and two in the sec­ond. “Mem­phis and Jesse Lin­gard played a very good game. We could have fin­ished the game much ear­lier. I have to say af­ter the penalty, I thought we gave it away but then you see the spirit of the game.

“We cre­ated three chances in a row. It was an in­jec­tion, the equaliser. I am very proud I am the man­ager of that team.” Van Gaal will now as­sess a de­pleted team ahead of Wed­nes­day’s home Cham­pi­ons League clash with PSV Eind­hoven.

Hav­ing been with­out a host of play­ers in­clud­ing for­wards Wayne Rooney (ill­ness), An­thony Mar­tial (foot) and James Wil­son (knee), United also lost An­der Her­rera and Phil Jones at Vicarage Road.

“We are in a lousy pe­riod be­cause there are a lot of in­juries,” said Van Gaal. “We had al­ready in­juries. An­to­nio Va­len­cia has been op­er­ated on. Luke Shaw, you know. Jones and Her­rera are not avail­able for Wed­nes­day. “The first im­pres­sion is they are not heavy in­juries but we have to play Wed­nes­day.

“Jones has a twisted an­kle and Her­rera maybe a ham­string in­jury. Rooney is ill and ill­ness is a mat­ter of days, not weeks. “I do ex­pect that he shall play Wed­nes­day. He is at home. Tomorrow (Sun­day) he comes and then I can say more. “Mar­tial has a foot prob­lem. It is not so heavy but we have to wait and see. “Ev­ery po­si­tion is dou­ble oc­cu­pied. It is only now that the striker po­si­tion is not oc­cu­pied be­cause Rooney, Mar­tial and Wil­son are in­jured.” Wat­ford man­ager Quique Flores was left to rue the own goal that cost his side a point.

“It was very harsh,” he said. “To lose the points is very tough. It was a pity for Troy be­cause he was only in that po­si­tion be­cause he is so com­mit­ted all over the pitch.” —AFP

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