Cristiano Ronaldo is confident Ralf Rangnick will do a "good job" as interim manager, but the Portugal forward will not accept Manchester United aiming for anything less than third place.

Rangnick's appointment – until the end of the season before taking on a consultancy role – was initially praised as evidence United were attempting to modernise as a club, implementing a brand of football and identity that has been so successful elsewhere.

The German had been deemed the so-called "godfather of gegenpressing" and was seen by many as a shrewd hire given his reputation of developing clubs in the past both as a coach and a director.

But, even though United have only lost one of his seven matches in charge across all competitions, their performances have left a lot to be desired, and the idea of a collective and concerted pressing effort appears to remain foreign.

Prior to Rangnick's first game, United averaged 7.6 high turnovers per game in the Premier League – in his first two matches they recorded 12 and 11, respectively.

A trend emerged there, as the only occasion this season United had previously recorded more than 12 (13) was in Michael Carrick's first match against Chelsea. It would seem to be the classic 'new manager bounce' as they soon fell back into their old ways.

United's high turnover average under Rangnick in the league remains virtually identical (7.6) to what it was before, while they managed just three in Monday's fortunate 1-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa, suggesting his ideas in that regard simply are not getting across.

But Ronaldo is calling for patience, telling Sky Sports: "Since he arrived five weeks ago, he changed many things. But he needs time to put his ideas across to the players.

"It takes time, but I believe that he is going to do a good job. We know we aren't playing the best football, but we have many games to improve.

"Since he arrived I think in some points we are better, but he needs time. It's not that easy to change the mentality of players and the way they play, the culture, the system like that. I believe that he is going to do a good job.

"We have to be together. We're in the same boat. We have to believe that it is possible but like I said we have a long way to go."

United face Villa again on Saturday in the Premier League – a victory could potentially see them end the weekend three points behind fourth-placed West Ham, who have played two extra games.

Missing out on the top four would be a major blow to United given the amount of money spent in pre-season, though Ronaldo feels even fourth would be unacceptable.

Asked if they can reach the top four even without the correct attitude, Ronaldo said: "Impossible – I think it's the main point.

"I don't accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League.

"I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that we can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.

"We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I'm not going to mention it here because I don't think it's ethical on my part to say that.

"What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester United belongs to important things, so we have to change that.

"I don't want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I'm here to try to win, to compete.

"I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has matched a European top-five league 21st-century record, set by Cristiano Ronaldo last month, after scoring for Milan against Venezia.

The veteran forward tucked in from close range inside two minutes at Stadio Pierluigi Penzo on Sunday, bringing up his eighth Serie A goal of the season and his first of 2022.

It means Ibrahimovic has now found the net against 80 different clubs across Europe's big five leagues (Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, LaLiga and Ligue 1).

Since 2000, the only other player to have achieved that feat is Ronaldo, who reached the milestone with a goal in Manchester United's 3-1 win over Burnley at Old Trafford on December 30.

Ibrahimovic has now also scored in every calendar year since 1999, when he made his debut for Malmo in Sweden.

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid at the end of this season.

The 23-year-old attacker has stalled on a new contract offer at Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been circling for Mbappe's signature for a long time and had multiple bids rejected in 2021.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE COULD STILL RE-SIGN WITH PSG

Mbappe could spring a surprise and renew his current PSG deal prior to the end of this season, claims Le Parisien.

The 2018 World Cup winner had been expected to become a free agent when his contract expires on June 30 and join Madrid .

Le Parisien claims that PSG have hope that Mbappe may pen an extension to force a transfer fee from Los Blancos, should they pursue a move. Mbappe is still undecided on his future, according to the report.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United 's superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo has held crisis talks with his agent Jorge Mendes as he considers his future with the Red Devils, according to The Sun. Ronaldo reportedly may leave United depending on their choice of a new permanent manager.

- El Nacional claims that Liverpool are ready to offer Barcelona teenager Gavi a deal worth £80,000 (€96k) per week to secure his signature, while Manchester City are also interested. Barca have a £42m (€50m) release cause in the 17-year-old's contract.

- Arsenal want to sign a new midfielder in January with Lyon's Bruno Guimaraes on their radar while a loan deal for Arthur Melo was discussed but has not advanced to talks with Juventus yet, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Argentinean forward Dario Benedetto is set to return to his homeland to join Boca Juniors from Marseille although the deal may take several days to complete, reports Cesar Luis Merlo.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Newcastle United have opened discussions with Sevilla on a four-year deal to sign Brazilian defender Diego Carlos .

- West Ham United and Newcastle may be priced out of their pursuit for Marseille's Boubacar Kamara,  who wants a £150,000-per-week (€180k) deal according to The Sun.

Ralf Rangnick's start at Manchester United has been rather underwhelming.

There have been reports this week that stars in the United dressing room have not fully taken to the German, who was appointed as interim manager in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal.

United plan to move Rangnick into a consultancy role after his short spell in charge of the team, with a new, permanent manager their target ahead of next season.

However, whoever the club picks must reportedly gain the approval of Cristiano Ronaldo.


TOP STORY – RONALDO'S UNITED RETURN TO COME TO AN END?

United need to get their next appointment right, with Mauricio Pochettino supposedly high on their list of targets.

Yet another factor in the decision seems set to be the feelings of Ronaldo, who may yet have input in the appointment.

According to the Daily Star, Ronaldo could cut short his second stint at Old Trafford should he disagree with the club's managerial selection.

 

ROUND-UP

- Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is Manchester United's top transfer priority in January, according to Fichajes.

- Liverpool have declined a £7million bid from an unspecified Premier League club for defender Nathaniel Phillips, according to the Daily Mail.

- The Sun, meanwhile, claims Liverpool are moving in on a £60million deal for Porto's Luis Diaz. The Colombia winger was close to joining Everton in August.

- Sky Sports says Newcastle United want to buy Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell.

- Fabrizio Romano has reported that Manchester United are not interested in signing River Plate's young striker Julian Alvarez in this window.

Joao Moutinho's late strike downed an insipid Manchester United as Wolves recorded a 1-0 win in the Premier League on Monday.

Wolves had not played since December 19 due to COVID-19 issues but dominated the opening proceedings at Old Trafford, United only holding on thanks to David de Gea repeatedly thwarting Bruno Lage's side.

Substitute Bruno Fernandes and Roman Saiss traded second-half strikes against the woodwork, either side of Cristiano Ronaldo – stand-in captain in the absence of Harry Maguire – seeing a goal ruled out for offside.

Moutinho then struck with eight minutes remaining to condemn Ralf Rangnick to his first defeat in charge of the Red Devils, who sit seventh in the league – four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Wolves had not scored in their last 13 league games against United, dating back to 2004, but pinned back Rangnick's languid side for much of the first half.

Daniel Podence twice forced smart stops from De Gea, while the Spain international produced an expert save to tip over Ruben Neves' thunderous volley as Lage's side headed in at the break with nothing to show for their efforts.

United picked up the pace after the interval, Fernandes slamming onto the crossbar following Nemanja Matic's cross before teeing up Ronaldo's header past Jose Sa, which was disallowed for offside.

Saiss curled a free-kick against the woodwork, with Moutinho then delivering the decisive strike as he fired into the bottom-left corner. 

Jose Sa kept out Fernandes' stoppage-time free-kick as Lage's side played out an eighth straight league game with less than one goal scored in it.

Ralf Rangnick insisted Manchester United must develop as a "whole team", adding that a partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes was not his priority.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford in early September and has since netted 14 goals across all competitions as he leads the Premier League and Champions League scoring charts.

The 36-year-old found the net and assisted another in a comfortable 3-1 win over Burnley that moved United up to sixth on Thursday – the forward registering double figures for goal involvements in a 17th consecutive league season.

But there have been questions about whether Ronaldo and compatriot Fernandes, who missed the Burnley game through suspension, can fit into the same team together and work effectively.

Former United captain Gary Neville aimed criticism at the pair following a disappointing 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Monday, labelling the duo as "whingebags" who were having a "devastating" impact on United's underwhelming season thus far.

Rangnick previously commented on the body language of United players in the slender win over Norwich City, while he has also insisted that the Red Devils will not solely rely on the Portugal pair.

"Against Burnley, we had to play without Bruno and again we did well, we played with two strikers, two wingers, two number sixes, every player in his best possible position," he told Sky Sports.

"This is another thing we are trying to achieve, no matter which formation we are trying to play we have every player in his best possible position.

"So it is not only about the partnership between Cristiano and Bruno, it is about partnerships between other players.

"Yesterday [Thursday] it was about a partnership between Edinson [Cavani] and Cristiano and it worked well. Edinson was the player with the highest distance [covered] in the whole team.

"Since we will change the team and starting line-up every game it is about different partnerships and developing the whole team.

"They should play with the same mindset and principles when we are in possession of the ball or when the other team is in possession."

Fernandes was an integral figure in propelling United to Champions League qualification last campaign as he netted 28 times for United in all competitions. 

That was the best return by a midfielder for a Premier League club in a single campaign, surpassing Frank Lampard's 27 for Chelsea in 2009-10, but he has failed to hit those lofty heights this term with five top-flight goals to his name so far.

Whether Fernandes comes back into the team for the visit of Wolves on January 3 remains unclear, but Rangnick is aware that man-management will be key to his success in Manchester.

He added: "This is always about man management, having a good relationship with the players. But also be aware that you're the one to take the decisions.

"Who is going to play, who will be substituted, who will be on the bench or possibly not even make it into the squad for the next game."

United spent heavily in the last transfer window, bringing in Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, though that does not necessarily rule out further transfer activity in January.

Anthony Martial has also stated his desire to seek new pastures away from United, but Rangnick believes it is too soon to start thinking about potential signings and departures with an abundance of first-team players to choose from already.

"[It's] too early now," he responded when asked about transfer dealings in the new year. "The current squad is big enough, with a lot of competition in the squad.

"To speak about future players coming into the club doesn't make sense at this stage when we have to find out which player is in which position, the best possible solution for every game.

"Right now for me, it doesn't make sense to think about future players. My full focus is on the current squad and to find for each game the best possible formation and line-up."

Cristiano Ronaldo is "very happy" at Manchester United despite reports of a lack of chemistry in the Red Devils dressing room, according to the player's agent Jorge Mendes.

Ronaldo ended a three-year association with Juventus to return to Old Trafford and has since scored 14 times in all competitions to lead the Premier League and Champions League goal charts.

On Thursday, the 36-year-old scored one and assisted another in a 3-1 Premier League win over Burnley – the forward registering double figures for goal involvements for a 17th straight league season.

That victory moved United up to sixth in the league amid speculation that there is a lack of cohesion within the dressing room, but Mendes is sure that Ronaldo is entirely settled back in Manchester.

"Cristiano is very happy at Manchester United," Mendes told Sky Italia.

"He will continue with his solid and great performances, as he has always done in his career.

"It will be a great season for him. I'm sure of it."

Mendes' comments come after Sky Sports pundit and Ronaldo's former team-mate Gary Neville criticised the "devastating" impact "whinge bags" Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes were having on the United ranks.

Neville took aim at the pair after an underwhelming showing in a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United on December 27.

"Yeah, it's annoyed me for about two months," Neville said on the Portugal duo's attitude.

"Your best players in your team, it's devastating when those players are giving that look and body language towards the other ones. They have to help them and be the father and the grandparent in the team.

"I think there's something wrong in there. Bruno's whingeing all the time. You've got to be there when your team-mates need you in the most difficult moments."

United next face Wolves on Monday in their first fixture of 2022 as they look to gain ground in their pursuit of the top four.

Gianluigi Buffon believes some Juventus players were not ready for the increased demands that came with Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival.

Ronaldo brought an end to a three-season stay in Turin when he returned to Manchester United early in 2021-22.

He scored 101 goals across 134 matches in all competitions for the Bianconeri.

During Ronaldo's stint, Juve won the Scudetto in his first two seasons but missed out to Inter in 2020-21, despite the 36-year-old's league-high 29 goals.

That made Ronaldo, who is also the all-time leading scorer in men's international football, the first player to finish top of the scoring charters in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League.

Buffon previously suggested Ronaldo somewhat hampered his former side, but the Parma goalkeeper has retracted that opinion as he questioned whether some Juve players were ready for Ronaldo's arrival.

"I said that a certain DNA had been lost with him because I think so, and on deeper reflection, I can say that clearly it's not Cristiano’s fault," Buffon told Italian outlet Corriere della Sera.

"He is a top player and when you sign a player of that calibre you know what you're getting into.

"You have to understand if the others are prepared and in my opinion, many players weren't ready to share a certain type of experience. Whether you like it or not, this should never happen, especially in a club like Juve.

"When he arrived in Turin, I went to Paris. And when I came back I saw something different, that didn’t remind me of what I had left behind."

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has managed 14 goals for United on his return in all competitions this season. Indeed, after scoring one and assisting another against Burnley on Thursday, the Portugal international has now reached double figures for goal involvements in his last 17 league seasons.

Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala have faced the thankless task of replacing the evergreen Ronaldo at Juve, but Buffon believes the latter's progress has been stunted due to ongoing injury issues.

"He is definitely a technical leader because he is Juve's best player and then in recent years he has matured a lot," Buffon said of Dybala.

"To be able to play this role, however, you have to be there and in the last two years he has been absent a lot because of injuries. The moment he finds consistency, he will be consecrated as a leader of Juve."

Manchester United ended 2021 with a comfortable 3-1 win against Burnley at Old Trafford in the final Premier League game before the new year.

Ralf Rangnick's side were looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle United last time out, and first-half goals from Scott McTominay and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of a Ben Mee own goal ensured that they did just that, despite Aaron Lennon reducing the deficit before half-time.

It was Burnley's first game since December 12, having seen their last two fixtures against Watford and Everton postponed due to COVID-19, and the visitors lack sharpness at times at Old Trafford, particularly at the back.

The Red Devils move up to sixth in the Premier League table, while Sean Dyche's men remain 18th.

Both teams had early chances as Chris Wood headed wide for the visitors before Ronaldo surprisingly fired over after being put through on goal.

United were ahead shortly after as McTominay placed a shot past Wayne Hennessey from the edge of the box as Ronaldo looked to set himself up for a left-footed effort.

The lead was doubled on 27 minutes when Luke Shaw linked up with Jadon Sancho, before the former Borussia Dortmund man cut inside to shoot, with his effort being deflected just inside the far post off the boot of Mee.

It was three just eight minutes later after a McTominay strike was tipped onto the post by Hennessey, only for the ball to fall kindly for Ronaldo for a simple tap-in, but the Clarets pulled one back shortly after as Lennon went on a mazy run before placing the ball low into the far bottom corner.

A less eventful second half saw Eric Bailly hobble off with an injury, while Hennessey made a fantastic save with his face from Edinson Cavani after a Ronaldo knockdown to prevent further damage to the scoresheet, but United saw out a confidence-boosting victory.

What does it mean? United finally express themselves under Rangnick

While it was always too early to judge the Rangnick era at Old Trafford, questions were being asked as to why United looked so uninspired in attack at Newcastle considering the wealth of ability in their ranks.

Ronaldo had no reason to storm off in a huff here, though, as the Red Devils created plenty against an uncharacteristically disorganised Burnley, having 12 shots in the first half.

Bruno Fernandes was missing through suspension this time and, after a more promising showing from the team, there are no guarantees that he will walk back into the side for the next encounter.

Shaw, he (sometimes) won't let you down

When the England left-back is at the top of his game, he can influence things as much as anyone, and that was the case here as he caused Burnley all sorts of problems down his side.

He made three key passes, more than anyone else, including a terrific throughball for Ronaldo early on and playing in Sancho in the build-up to the second goal, while also boasting the highest passing accuracy in the opposition half (90 per cent), and put in the most crosses (11).

If this was a response to the threat to his place from Alex Telles since Rangnick arrived, then it appears to be a tactic that has worked for the German coach.

Burnley need wins quickly

It won't quite be panic stations yet for Dyche. His team is in the relegation zone but have games in hand after several recent postponements, although they must convert that ostensible advantage into points.

After 16 games, the Clarets have won just once in the league this season (D8 L7), and despite those games in hand, will be concerned to see only two teams above them who they could catch if they won those games.

They are now without a win in their last 10 Premier League away games (D4 L6), since winning 2-0 at Fulham in May. They last had a longer run without a win on the road between August 2016 and April 2017 (17 games).

What's next?

Manchester United are at home to Wolves on Monday, while Burnley travel to Leeds United on Sunday.

Dusan Vlahovic matched Cristiano Ronaldo's momentous 33-goal year with Juventus as the Fiorentina striker scored again – leaving him a hat-trick short of an all-time Serie A record.

The 21-year-old Serbian scored for the sixth game in succession on Sunday, helping Fiorentina battle back from two goals down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Sassuolo.

Vlahovic will match a calendar year goals record set by Gunnar Nordahl in 1950 if he nets three times against Hellas Verona on Wednesday.

That is Fiorentina's last game of the year, as Serie A goes on its winter break, but Vlahovic has already equalled Ronaldo's 21st century record, which was established just last year.

Nordahl's epic 36-goal year for Milan marks the last time any player scored more than 33 in the Italian top flight across a calendar year.

 

Only one player has scored in more than six consecutive Serie A games for Fiorentina, with Argentine great Gabriel Batistuta netting in 11 straight fixtures in 1994.

Vlahovic has 16 league goals in the current season, and he was eager for more before being substituted in the 88th minute against Sassuolo, a decision that left him unimpressed.

Despite making his feelings known to coach Vincenzo Italiano, the pair were soon back on good terms.

"He wasn't happy to come off, but we made up, he'll buy me a dinner," Italiano later said, according to Sky Italia.

Ronaldo scored 33 Serie A goals in 2020 for Juventus, at an astonishing rate of one every 76.24 minutes.

Vlahovic has matched the haul but not the regularity, with his 33 coming along at one per 111.67 minutes on the pitch.

They have come from an expected goals (xG) total of just 22.4, however, pointing to razor-sharp finishing from a player who has been linked with Europe's elite amid his impressive run of form.

Only three players in Serie A history have scored more than Vlahovic in Fiorentina's first 18 league games of a season, Opta said. Those players were Miguel Angel Montuori (17 in 1958-59), Batistuta (17 in 1998-99) and Luca Toni (16 in 2005-06).

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain each have four nominees in the 23-man shortlist for the FIFA FIFPRO Men's World 11 for 2021.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are also included, although there is no place for Mohamed Salah.

PSG's attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are among the forwards, as is Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Veteran Dani Alves also won enough votes to make the list, even though the 38-year-old, who recently rejoined Barcelona, only played 16 times in domestic competition in Brazil this year.

Professional footballers across the world were asked to vote for the three players they considered to have the best seasons during the 2020-21 season among goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards.

FIFPRO said: "For the first time in 17 years, FIFPRO is updating the announcement about the most-voted players, reducing the shortlist from 55 to 23. This has been done to resemble a real-life 'squad' which, usually for international competitions, is the number of players involved. 

"The three goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and six forwards with the most votes earned a place in the 23-men World 11 'squad'. To complete this elite selection, the two remaining outfield players with the most votes were added."

The keeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards with the most votes will be chosen for the World 11, with the remaining spot assigned to the outfield player with the next highest number of votes.

The final 11 will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony on January 17.

 

FIFA FIFPRO MEN'S WORLD 11 23-PLAYER SHORTLIST:

Goalkeepers:
Alisson (Liverpool, Brazil)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan/Paris Saint-Germain, Italy)
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea, Senegal)

Defenders:
David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid, Austria)
Jordi Alba (Barcelona, Spain)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, England)
Dani Alves (Sao Paulo/Barcelona, Brazil)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus, Italy)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City, Portugal)

Midfielders:
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona, Spain)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United, Portugal)
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona, The Netherlands)
Jorginho (Chelsea, Italy)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea, France)

Forwards:
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United, Portugal)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund, Norway)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland)
Romelu Lukaku (Inter/Chelsea, Belgium)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil)

Wantaway forward Anthony Martial can revive his Manchester United career if he shows the same aggressive mentality as Cristiano Ronaldo.

That is according to former United striker Louis Saha, who also told Stats Perform it is down to new interim manager Ralf Rangnick to get the best out of Paul Pogba.

Martial's agent revealed last week that the France international, who has spent the past six years at United, is eager to leave in January due to a lack of playing time this season.

Former Monaco forward Martial has played just 358 minutes of football for the Red Devils in all competitions this season – the 20th most in the squad – and only started four times.

He scored 17 goals under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer two seasons ago, but found the net just four times in all competitions last season and only once so far this term.

But Saha does not believe it is too late for Martial – who has not featured in a matchday squad in Rangnick's three games in charge – to get his career back on track at United.

"He needs a big switch in his mentality," Saha said of his compatriot. "I heard that he doesn't listen to any critics, he just protects himself and his self-belief and all that.

"Sometimes you must listen. You need to hear the critics and understand you have so much potential and that's why you've been criticised – because you can do much more. 

"The mentality that Cristiano is showing, that's something that you need to have as a number nine. And the number nine at the moment is Martial. 

"So he really needs to be very aggressive. And this is what I want because I think he's a terrific player and it's not because he's French. 

"I love his potential when he's playing with full confidence, it's just unstoppable. I can see him being part of this squad when there's a proper aggressiveness in his approach to games. 

"Maybe you can last four or five games, 70 minutes because you can't do anymore, but then you go to 80 minutes and then 90 minutes." 

Martial is not the only Frenchman facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford, with midfielder Pogba now into the final six months of his contract.

Rangnick stated last week it is not his job to persuade Pogba, who is out until 2022 with a thigh injury sustained last month, to sign a new deal.
 
Despite featuring in just 13 of United's 22 games in all competitions this term, Pogba's tally of seven assists is bettered only by Bruno Fernandes (eight) among his team-mates.

Indeed, each of those assists have come in the Premier League from nine appearances. 

Of those to have played as many games in Europe's top five leagues this term, only Angers midfielder Mathias Pereira Lage (1.08) and Cologne's Louis Schaub (1.24) have assisted more goals per 90 minutes than Pogba (1).

And Saha insists there is a place in the United side for Pogba once he has recovered from injury, even if his playing style is not necessarily suited to a Rangnick-coached team.
 
"It's not like every player needs to press," said Saha, who spent four years at United before leaving in 2008. "That's not the way football is. 

"Some players have a great quality to do that and some can read the games and can be the counter-attacker in some way. There are so many combinations. 

"This is where the balance is really important for a manager. You need to find the kind of right formula for the players to express themselves to the best. 

"Paul Pogba is not well known and you will never be well known to press and be like N'Golo Kante. It's just not his quality. His quality is somewhere else."

Pogba often comes in for criticism, but Saha has urged his countryman to do his talking where it matters most.

"That's the problem for Paul. It's not about quality and it's not about mentality. When he is on the field, he never hides, he works, he commits," Saha said.

"Just play, just enjoy, just work hard, just speak on the field. I don't want to hear anyone talk and I know that.

"And you can see the best players like [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldo, they don't need to speak. Nobody is speaking. You don't need to defend yourself when you're performing."

Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos will come up against Real Madrid after Paris Saint-Germain were paired with Los Blancos in the Champions League round of 16, which had to undergo a re-draw.

PSG were initially drawn against Manchester United on Monday, throwing up a tantalising encounter between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, a technical error meant the draw had to take place again and while Messi will not meet Ronaldo just yet, the Barcelona great will go up against his former club's Clasico rivals.

Having finished second in Group A behind Manchester City, who were handed a favourable tie against Sporting CP, PSG will host Madrid in the first leg in February before visiting the Santiago Bernabeu in March.

That means Mbappe, who is a high-profile target for Madrid and could well have already signed a pre-contract agreement with Los Blancos by the time these fixtures roll around, will go up against his suitors.

It also sees Madrid legend Ramos go up against his old club, and it is the same story for Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who coached PSG from 2011 to 2013.

United, on the other hand, will face Atletico Madrid, who had initially been due to play Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga giants have been drawn against Salzburg.

Liverpool may well lament their luck. Salzburg had been their original opponents, but Jurgen Klopp's team now have to prepare for a tie against Serie A champions Inter - albeit they made light work of the Nerazzurri's rivals Milan in the group stage.

Coincidentally, holders Chelsea were again drawn against Lille, having been set a tie with the Ligue 1 champions during the initial draw. 

Villarreal will take on Juventus and Ajax go up against Benfica.

Champions League last 16 draw in full:

Salzburg v Bayern Munich
Sporting CP v Manchester City
Benfica v Ajax
Chelsea v Lille
Atletico Madrid v Manchester United
Villarreal v Juventus
Inter v Liverpool 
PSG v Real Madrid

UEFA has confirmed the Champions League last-16 draw will have to be re-done after a technical error with the initial procedure.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were set to face each other in the knockout stage, but that headline fixture and the other ties will have to be redrawn after what UEFA labelled as a "technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other."

United were initially drawn to face Villarreal, but the sides were unable to play each other as they had previously featured in the same group.

After complaints from affected clubs, including Atletico Madrid, UEFA later announced the draw would take place again at 1500 CET (1400 GMT).

UEFA's deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, spotted the mistake involving United's ball and ordered the tie to be drawn again. Manchester City were instead picked to go against Villarreal.

Yet United, due to the technical error, were subsequently blocked from being selected as one of the teams eligible to play the next team, which was LaLiga champions Atleti.

Bayern Munich were ultimately picked to face Atleti, while United were drawn in the glamour tie of the round against PSG – a game that would have seen Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi meet in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2010-11 semi-finals.

The re-draw could well benefit United, given the challenge of facing PSG. However, holders Chelsea and Liverpool were handed favourable draws against Lille and Salzburg respectively.

Inter had been due to face Ajax, while Sporting CP were up against Juventus. Real Madrid had been drawn against Benfica.

UEFA has confirmed the Champions League last-16 draw will have to be re-done after a technical error with the initial procedure.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were set to face each other in the knockout stage, but that headline fixture and the other ties will have to be redrawn after what UEFA labelled as a "technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other."

United were initially drawn to face Villarreal, but the sides were unable to play each other as they had previously featured in the same group.

After complaints from affected clubs, including Atletico Madrid, UEFA later announced the draw would take place again at 1500 CET (1400 GMT).

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