Harry Maguire will remain Manchester United captain for the rest of the season, interim manager Ralf Rangnick confirmed on Friday amid reports of a power struggle in the dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Maguire’s poor form has played a major role in United’s struggles this season.
It had been reported the world’s most expensive defender felt undermined by Ronaldo’s influence, but Maguire denied that claim and Rangnick insisted his status as captain has never been questioned.
“This is absolutely nonsense. I have never spoken with any player about a possible change of captaincy,” said Rangnick at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leeds.
“This has never been an issue for me, it’s me who decides who is captain and therefore there is no reason for me to speak about that with any other person.
“Harry Maguire is our captain and he will stay our captain until the end of the season.”
Maguire was made skipper by then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2020, just five months after joining the club from Leicester for £80 million ($109 million).
“I’ve seen a lot of reports about this club that aren’t true and this is another,” Maguire posted on Twitter.
“Not going to start posting about everything that is written but I needed to make this one clear. We’re united and focused on Sunday.”
United forward Marcus Rashford also dismissed talk of a dressing room divide involving Ronaldo earlier this week.
A 2-0 win against Brighton on Tuesday lifted United back into fourth place in the Premier League, which would be good enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
But Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves have games in hand which could see them move above the Red Devils.
Ronaldo was vocal in his support of Maguire after returning for his second spell at United in August, but his backing is reported to have waned as the season has gone on.
The two players are believed to have spoken to Rangnick about the possibility of Ronaldo taking the captain’s armband so Maguire can focus on improving his erratic form.
But the England centre-back is understood to be concerned about the prospect of losing the captaincy permanently.
While Maguire has made a number of high-profile mistakes this season, Ronaldo has also suffered notable dips in form.
There have been several reports Ronaldo is unimpressed by Rangnick’s management style, with the striker stomping off the pitch and exchanging words with the German after being substituted in a victory at Brentford in January.
The 37-year-old went six games without a goal before finally getting back on the scoresheet against Brighton in midweek.
That victory stopped a dismal run of three successive games in which United had blown a first-half lead.
Rangnick said earlier this week United’s self-belief had been dented by their recent habit of throwing away leads, admitting that finishing fourth in the Premier League was the best they could now hope for.
Juventus give Arsenal three players in exchange deal for Giorgio Chiellini’s replacement
Juventus are so desperate to land defender, Gabriel Magalhaes this summer and will offer Arsenal three players, according to Corriere dello Sport.
The Old Lady have identified Gabriel as a possible successor to Giorgio Chiellini, who will leave Turin this summer, and are keen to reach a quick agreement with Arsenal.
It is understood that the three players Juventus will offer Arsenal to force the deal for their 24-year-old centre-back are Arthur Melo, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean.
The report added that Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini has travelled to London for talks with Arsenal over a deal for Gabriel.
Juventus are in the market to replace Chiellini, who is leaving the Serie A giants this summer after 17 years.
However, it’s claimed that Arsenal are demanding at least £42.4million for Gabriel.
Gabriel joined the Gunners from Lille in a £27million deal in 2020.
EPL: Man Utd warn Barcelona over De Jong transfer
Manchester United have made it clear to Barcelona, they will not meet their £70 million asking price for Frenkie De Jong, according to Daily Mail.
The Premier League side are keen on signing De Jong, as Paul Pogba is set to leave on a free transfer this summer.
The Barca midfielder has already been identified by incoming manager, Erik Ten Hag, as a potential option having already managed him at Ajax.
Barcelona are open to a deal, as they are also seeking funds to put together a deal for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
However, United have informed the LaLiga club that they do not want to spend a significant part of their summer budget on signing De Jong.
Barca are looking to recoup the £65 million they spent on signing the 25-year-old from Ajax in 2019.
Aubameyang announces retirement
Gabon and Barcelona striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on Wednesday, announced his retirement from international football.
Aubameyang has decided to focus on his club career.
The former Arsenal captain represented his nation for over ten years and also wore the captain’s armband
The 32-year-old appeared 72 times for Gabon, scoring 30 goals.
In a letter to the Gabonese FA, Aubameyang wrote, according to Mundo Deportivo: “After 13 [thirteen] years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I’m ending my international career.
“I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in the good and the bad times.
“Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment. I thank our President, his Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country.
“I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.
“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have made him proud by wearing our colours.”
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