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Ralf Rangnick explains why he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo from Man Utd starting XI

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Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the Manchester United squad to face Aston Villa in the FA Cup due to a minor injury, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The superstar striker, 36, has played 90 minutes in all five of United’s Premier League fixtures since Rangnick took charge of his first game as interim manager, scoring two goals in that time.

Ronaldo’s previous rest came in December’s Champions League clash against Young Boys, when the German coach made wholesale changes for the group-stage dead rubber.

But he was nowhere to be seen as the team news was released for Monday night’s third-round encounter with Steven Gerrard’s Villa.

Speaking ahead of kick-off, Rangnick admitted Ronaldo is one of many United players suffering with “muscular problems”, along with Phil Jones and Jadon Sancho.

“I wouldn’t say they are injured but they are having muscular problems,” Rangnick told MUTV

 of his missing stars.

“I spoke with Cristiano yesterday before training, he told me that he had some problems for the last couple of days, some minor problems. In the end we decided to not take any risks in a cup game that could easily last 120 minutes.

“With Phil Jones he is having some minor problems on the calf. “With Jadon, he was supposed to be in the squad. He had some issues with hamstrings on both sides.”

Ronaldo is the Red Devils’ top scorer this season with 14 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions and his minor issue is believed to relate to his hip.

In the absence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Rangnick deployed Marcus Rashford alongside Edinson Cavani up front.

The strike partnership was supported by Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes, with the latter wearing the armband in the absence of club captain Harry Maguire, who is recovering from a chest injury.

Rangnick named a central midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred and a back four of Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw ahead of David de Gea in goal.

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Salah overtakes Ronaldo as Premier League’s highest-paid player with new deal

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Mohamed Salah’s new £400,000-per-week salary at Liverpool has made him the top earner in the Premier League, according to Daily Mail.

The Egyptian has ended speculation about his future, by putting pen to paper on a bumper deal until 2025.

Salah is now ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), who are on reported salaries of £385,000-per-week.

City’s new striker, Erling Haaland, is close behind on £375,000-per-week, the same wage as United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Salah, however, ranks as the fourth highest-paid footballer in the world.

The 30-year-old’s wages is dwarfed by those ahead of him, all of whom play for Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar comes in at third-place with £606,000-per-week.

Lionel Messi took a pay cut when he joined PSG from Barcelona last summer, but he’s still on a stunning salary of £960,000-per-week.

Messi was the biggest earner in the world until a few weeks ago, when he was overtaken by team-mate Kylian Mbappe, who signed a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 side reported to be worth £1million-per-week.

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PSG to offload Messi

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Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning to offload forward Lionel Messi this summer, according to Spanish journalist Pedro Morata via PSG Talk.

Messi joined PSG last summer from his boyhood club, Barcelona.

The Argentine captain failed to live up to expectations, scoring just 11 goals from 34 games across competitions for PSG.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, though, has shown signs of a revival over the summer.

Messi was outstanding for La Albiceleste in the last few games, scoring goals for fun and winning the Finalissima.

However, it appears PSG have run out of patience with Messi.

PSG’s new sporting director Luis Campos is planning a squad revamp and is also ready to axe Messi.

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EPL: Arsenal agree deal with 25-year-old midfielder

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Youri Tielemans

Arsenal have agreed on personal terms with 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder, Youri Tielemans.

This claim was made by respected Journalist Ben Jacobs.

According to Jacobs, Arsenal have ‘put in a heck lot of work’ to secure a deal for the Belgium international.

Speaking to GiveMeSport, Ben Jacobs was quoted as saying: “Arsenal have put in a heck of a lot of work into Tielemans.

“They have agreed personal terms, and their talks with Tielemans date back for the best part of a year. But for whatever reason, Arsenal have decided not to swoop just yet and actually table a bid with Leicester City.

“And if they do so, and agree a fee at the lowest end £25 million, at the highest end £32 million, they will get Youri Tielemans.”

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