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Soccer Update: Ronaldo to Play in Rayo Friendly; Laporte to Miss Premier League Opener

Manchester United veteran striker Cristiano Ronaldo has announced his intention to play in Manchester United’s friendly with Rayo Vallecano on Sunday despite rumors over his future with the team. The Portuguese forward responded to a fan’s social media post after he was left out of the lineup for Saturday’s exhibition game against Atletico Madrid in Norway. He wrote “Domingo o rei joga” which translates to: “Sunday the king plays.” The Red Devils said players not included in the 21-man squad for the Atletico game would play on Sunday against Rayo. The friendly against Atletico will feature new signings Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen.

Striker Cristiano Ronaldo missed the club’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia due to personal reasons, fueling speculations of an impending transfer, less than a year after he returned to Manchester United. However, United manager Erik ten Hag insisted that the veteran is not for sale. Last season, Ronaldo was the Red Devils’ top scorer with 24 goals, but the team had a disappointing 2021-22 campaign where they only finished sixth in the English Premier League. The dismal showing meant they did not make it to the Champions League. United will begin their 2022-23 season as hosts to Brighton on August 7, English Premier League betting sites indicate.

Laporte to Miss English Premier League Opener

Manchester City center-back Aymeric Laporte underwent surgery on his knee, causing him to miss the start of the Sky Blues’ Premier League title defense against West Ham United on August 7. City’s manager Pep Guardiola confirmed the development, saying that Laporte needed the procedure to return to his old form. In the closing stages of the 2021-22 season, the Spain defender played through pain and helped City win their fourth Premier League title in five seasons after a dramatic final-day win against Aston Villa. Manchester City’s defensive options have become limited following Oleksandr Zinchenko’s transfer to Arsenal. Reports said the Sky Blues are the top team to sign up Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, who has handed the transfer request at the Amex Stadium. City meets Liverpool in the Community Shield – the traditional curtain-raiser to the 2022-23 season – at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Kounde Agrees to Move to Barca

France defender Jules Kounde has agreed to a move to Barcelona from Sevilla. A joint statement confirmed the lineup change, with Kounde transferring to Barcelona for EUR50 million (USD50.7 million). The transfer fee includes an extra EUR10 million (USD10.1 million) in bonuses. It will be Barca’s fifth signing of the pre-season after the arrivals of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, Franck Kessle (AC Milan), Andreas Townsend (Chelsea), and Raphinha (Leeds). Spanish media also reported Barca coach Xavi Hernandez had a hand in Kounde’s arrival from Sevilla. The Spanish giants have also extended the contract of French winger Ousmane Dembele until 2024, bringing in a solid lineup ready to reclaim the Spanish La Liga crown, according to soccer oddsmakers that watch the sport 24/7.