Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldo to remain at Real Madrid; Ribery, Thiago return to training; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldo to remain at Real Madrid; Ribery, Thiago return to training; and more

European Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldo to remain at Real Madrid; Ribery, Thiago return to training; and more

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RealMadridCristianoRonaldo1-AthleticBilbao2014LaLiga (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent has poured cold water on any reports that the Portuguese star would be making a stunning return to Manchester United.

FIFA-licensed super agent Jorge Mendes has stated that he sees Cristiano Ronaldo playing in the Real Madrid kit until he’s 40-years old, and that the player remains happy at Real Madrid, despite former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon claiming Ronaldo was unhappy.

“We’ll never find another like him,” Mendes told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope. “He’s getting better every day and will continue to improve until he gets to 40 years of age. Cristiano is happy at Real Madrid and always has been. He’s going to beat all records and will retire here.”

“He still retains a special feeling for (Man) United as he spent six years there. Now he only has feelings for Real Madrid and wants to stay here forever, he’s extremely happy. One thing he has is respect for those people who remember him but his interest is with Madrid.”

Following Calderon’s statements, there was speculation that Ronaldo could return to Old Trafford following this season, though it seems that he’ll remain at the Bernabeu for the long term. Ronaldo is off to a fast start this season, with 16 goals in his first six La Liga matches.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

RIBERY, THIAGO BACK IN BAYERN TRAINING

Franck Ribery and Thiago are using the international break to their advantages at the Bayern Munich training ground.

The midfield pair, who played big roles in leading the team to the Bundesliga title last season in record time, both returned to full training this week with Bayern Munich’s first team squad that isn’t away on international duty.

Due to knee issues, Ribery has only featured in Bayern’s 2-0 victory over Stuttgart on Sept. 13, coming on as a second half substitute, while Thiago hasn’t played a competitive match since last March due to a succession of knee problems.

IBRAHIMOVIC OUT OF SWEDEN STARTING XI

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s mysterious heel injury has relegated the Swedish international to the bench ahead of an important Euro 2016 qualifying match.

With Sweden set to face Russia in Group G qualifying action, the Swedish FA announced the starting lineup, and Ibrahimovic was seen taking a place amongst the substitutes. Ibrahimovic has been bothered by a heel or Achilles injury for the past few weeks, without much progress on the recovery front.

Even the Swedish National Team doctor Leif Sward called the injury “inexplicable” after an MRI showed no damage. Although Ibrahimovic is listed as a substitute, there’s still doubt as to whether he will play or all.

Ibrahimovic was replaced in the starting lineup by Ola Toivonen.

QUICK KICKS

AS Roma president James Pallotta has reiterated that Roma don’t plan to sell midfielder Kevin Strootman. (REPORT)

German head coach Joachim Löw has decided not to make any further call-ups, despite having only 16 outfield players available due to injury. (REPORT)

Argentine midfielder Andres D’Alessandro signed a contract extension to remain with International of Porto Alegre through 2017. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Ronaldo staying at Real Madrid until he’s 40? Do you believe that Ribery and Thiago can return in time for Bayern’s next match against Werder Bremen? What are Sweden’s chances against Russia without Ibrahimovic?

Share your thoughts below.

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