All in the Game: Pudding’s off the menu since Ronaldo’s return

Erling Haaland can’t buy class; the great Jimmy Greaves’s goalscoring record

Desserts are off the menu since Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United. Photograph: Ian Kington/Getty/AFP

Desserts are off the menu since Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United. Photograph: Ian Kington/Getty/AFP

 

Ronaldo in, pudding's out

You mightn’t have heard the news because there’s hardly been a word about it, but Cristiano Ronaldo is back at Manchester United. And while the club will hope he can transform their fortunes on the field, one of their goalkeepers revealed last week that he’s already transforming things off it.

“You’ve got some apple crumble or you’ve got a bit of brownie and cream or whatnot,” said Lee Grant of the desserts on offer at the team’s meal the evening before they played Newcastle. “But not one player touched the apple crumble and custard, not one player went up for that brownie. One of the lads said to me, ‘What has Cristiano got on his plate?’ So we were having a little goosey gander and obviously it was the cleanest, most healthy plate you can imagine.”

Now, there was much chuckling at the notion that the players denied themselves a tasty treat because they were so in awe of - genuflect - Ronaldo and his eating habits, but Birmingham’s Troy Deeney, while chatting with talkSPORT, insisted he wasn’t chuckling at all.

“If I saw Ronaldo eating horse s**t for a pre-match meal,” he said, “I’d eat horse s**t too.” Extreme.

Quote of the week

“It reminds me a little bit of when EastEnders went from two episodes a week to three back in the nineties - absolutely killed it.” Kenny Cunningham with a world class analogy to describe how he feels about the prospects of a World Cup every two years.

Number of the week

357 - The record number of English top flight goals Jimmy Greaves scored in 516 games for Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham. Legend.

Word of mouth

“Roy said to him: ‘My little boy’s a massive fan of yours, do you mind swapping jerseys?’ Haaland just looked at him, laughed and walked off. He can buy a lot of things - but he can’t buy class.”Gibraltar’s Reece Styche on Erling Haaland refusing to swap jerseys with Gibraltar captain Roy Chipolina when they played Norway earlier this year. Ah God Erling.

Erling Haaland on the ground during Borussia Dortmund’s win away to Besiktas. Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty
Erling Haaland on the ground during Borussia Dortmund’s win away to Besiktas. Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty

“When Leo comes to dinner, there are always motorbikes or cars nearby. The people here are very respectful and if we go out they’ll leave you alone. But now, with Leo, we have nowhere to go.” A peeved Angel Di Maria on being stuck indoors since the day Lionel Messi arrived at PSG.

Sunbeds in Southend

Phil Brown is best known for taking Hull City up to the Premier League back in 2008, for suggesting that because he’d regularly been called “sunbed” and “orange man” due to his mysterious year-round tan that he could relate to racially abused players (“it’s a level of abuse at my skin colour”) and for wondering out loud why Andrea Pirlo never played in England. “Is he just homophobic?” (‘Xenophobic’? To this day, nobody’s quite sure).

Any way, these days he’s in charge of Southend United in the National League, English football’s fifth tier. How’s it going? Not great. They’re currently 19th in the table, their low point a recent home defeat by third-from-bottom Aldershot. Phil was spittin’.

“The character of the team was found to be wanting, to be brutally honest. The bottom line is that the players let the supporters down….. the second goal goes in down the side of Josh Coulson and it’s unforgivable ….. but.” But? “Am I going to stand here and slag the players off? No.” Eh, Phil?

More word of mouth

“I thought he was outstanding, considering he hasn’t played any pre-season and he’s 538 years of age.” Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton hailing Glenn Whelan after his debut for the club, but claiming that he is 501 years older than he actually is.

“When the ball hit me I was gone in my head and went to the ground. Afterwards I saw Ronaldo above me and said: ‘Oh my God no, did I die?’ I was in great pain, but when I saw him the headache was gone.” Young Boys steward Marisa Nobile after being knocked out by a stray Ronaldo shot before last week’s Champions League game, and then being brought back to life by the vision of him standing over her. This is getting weird.

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