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    Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand reveals he grew famous cornrows to ‘prove his innocence’ after 8-month drug test ban

    MANCHESTER UNITED legend Rio Ferdinand admitted he grew his famous cornrows to prove his innocence after being slapped with a ban for missing a drugs test.It all started back in 2003 when Ferdinand left United’s Carrington training ground at lunchtime, accidentally missing a scheduled drugs test.
    Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand was slapped with a ban after missing a drugs testCredit: Getty
    Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand grew cornrows to prove his innocenceCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    And although the legendary centre-back later took the test and passed, the Football Association Disciplinary Committee still punished him with an eight-month ban and £50,000 fine.
    The Red Devils’ appeal was unsuccessful and so the former England international missed the remainder of the season as well as Euro 2004 and the start of the 2004-2005 campaign.
    During his time in the sidelines, the now 43-year-old, who then had very short hair, decided to adopt a cornrow hairstyle thinking that would help end his ban with a hair follicle test.
    However, the FA refused to let him take the test and so the ex-Leeds and West Ham star served the entire ban.
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    The legendary defender insists he still hasn’t forgiven them for the treatment he received.
    Ferdinand told Stripped with Specs & Vuj YouTube channel: “The reason I got cornrows was the drugs test.
    “I got banned for missing the drugs tests and to prove my innocence that I hadn’t taken any form of substance, I had to let my hair get to two inches so that I could take a hair follicle test that goes back a year or 18 months.
    “A guy comes to the training ground to do the drugs test and I forgot that he was there and went out for lunch.
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    “I looked at my messages and realised I’d missed it. I said I was coming back but they’d already left and it all kicked off from there really.”
    Ferdinand added: “I’ll never forgive them for the way I was treated. People had done worse and very similar to what I’d done and didn’t get treated like that.
    “I might end up doing an exclusive show on it one day because I think there’s a lot of football fans out there that think there’s no smoke without fire.” More

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    Watch Cristiano Ronaldo score incredible rabona volley in Man Utd warm-up.. and it’s not the first time he’s done it

    CRISTIANO RONALDO showed he hasn’t lost his magic touch by scoring an incredible rabona volley.But it’s not the first time the Manchester United star has done it.
    Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning rabona volley ahead of Man Utd’s win at SheriffCredit: Twitter
    Ronaldo, 37, was handed a rare start by Erik ten Hag as the Red Devils beat Sheriff 2-0 last week.
    The Portugal legend netted United’s second goal after Jadon Sancho gave them the lead.
    But Ronaldo’s most impressive moment came BEFORE kick-off in the Europa League clash.
    Going through his usual drills in the warm-up, Ronnie turned to practicing some attacking runs at goal.
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    Video footage shows the ball being crossed into the veteran’s path, with just yards between Ronaldo and the open goal.
    But instead of simply sticking the ball away, the icon went a step further as he performed an outrageous rabona volley with little effort.
    Ronaldo looked very pleased as he turned away to continue his warm-up.
    But fans of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner know it’s not the first time Ronaldo’s produced something similar.
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    Linking up with Portugal teammates during the Autumn international break in 2016, Ronnie scored a breathtaking rabona goal during training.
    His effort came just months after captaining his country to glory at Euro 2016.
    Ronaldo went on to score 42 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid that season, winning LaLiga PLUS the Champions League.
    And United fans will be hoping Ronnie’s cheeky show of confidence can propel their side to similar glory this term. More

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    Man Utd legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in management with Kristiansund Under-14s team and reveals he’s rejected offers

    MANCHESTER UNITED legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is back in management… with the Under-14s of Norwegian side Kristiansund.That’s after he reportedly turned down several job offers this summer.
    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is back in work… with the youth side of his home town in NorwayCredit: Getty – Pool
    It’s been almost a year since Solskjaer, 49, was axed as United boss.
    He swiftly returned to the Norwegian coastal city of Kristiansund following his exit in November.
    And Scandinavian outlet VG claims Solskjaer recently took charge of his hometown’s U14s side, with youngest son Elijah one of their top stars.
    The tactician has been taken several training sessions a week with fellow head coach Per Magne Hals.
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    And on Saturday, Solskjaer led his new side to victory over rivals Blindheim in the county series.
    Speaking to local paper Tidens Krav afterwards, the Old Trafford favourite reportedly confirmed receiving several approaches over the summer months.
    However, without naming the sides, Solskjaer added he rejected the proposals.
    But Ole suggested he eventually wants to return to the dugout of a top-flight club, saying: “I love football.”
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    Reflecting on his new role, Ole beamed: “It should be serious, but it should also be fun. I hope I can contribute to giving the players good habits.”
    “Who is the coach or head coach does not play such a big role. I can be an assistant coach.”
    It’s added Solskjaer refused to talk about his time at United, which ended abruptly last year.
    United’s board took action after a dismal run of results which included a 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, plus a 2-0 loss against Man City.
    The final straw was a 4-1 defeat to relegated Watford.
    And Solskjaer was brutally axed before being succeeded by Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick.
    But he is still remembered fondly by United fans for his incredible time as a player.
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    Solskjaer played 366 times in 11 years, scoring 126 goals.
    He won six titles and famously scored United’s dramatic late winner in the 1999 Champions League final over Bayern Munich, completing the Treble. More

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    Ex-Man Utd wonderkid Largie Ramazani snubbed Old Trafford deal for Almeria transfer, where he is becoming a star

    NOT many players are brave enough to leave the comfortable Old Trafford nest.But in 2019, ambitious wonderkid Largie Ramazani bravely rejected a contract with Manchester United and left the club for more first team football.
    Largie Ramazani has been a hit at Almeria in LaLigaCredit: Getty
    Ramazani was once a star of Man Utd’s youth sideCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    The Belgium forward, now 21, moved to Spanish second division club Almeria as a free agent – signing a five-year contract.
    In his first campaign, his nine goals in all competitions helped his side earn promotion to LaLiga.
    And already he is proving to be a dangerous outlet for his new side – scoring against Real Madrid and Sevilla this campaign.
    Highly-rated
    Brussels-born Ramazani began his youth career at Charlton Athletic, before United swooped when he was 16.
    Part of a set of promising youngsters that included Brandon Williams, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Ethan Laird, it was thought United had a ‘Class of 2020’ that could rival their infamous ‘Class of ’92’.
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    In 2019, he made his first team debut – coming on as a sub in a 2-1 defeat to FC Astana in the Europa League.
    For the U23’s he was also flying – leading the scoring with nine goals in 13 games.
    But it wasn’t enough. Ramazani wanted first team football.
    In 2020, he didn’t start a single game for the club – it is believed he made his intentions to leave after rejecting several contract offers to stay.
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    Plus, it was also reported United felt very little need to include a player in their development squad, when he was adamant he didn’t want to be there.
    In June, 2020 he was released from the club.
    Emotional goodbye
    Upon leaving the Premier League giants, Ramazani was thankful for his experience.
    He even penned an emotional goodbye on social media.
    He wrote: “I prepared a text for here today.
    Ramazani made his first team debut for United in 2019Credit: Getty
    In 2020, Ramazani bravely made the decision to leave Old Trafford for first team football elsewhereCredit: Getty – Contributor
    “The life of an athlete is made by challenges. Some are given to us. Others are fruits of our decision to keep the light that illuminates our career, which is short.
    “I want to thank the club for helping me become a better footballer/person and for making me and my family feel at home during my time here.
    “After all the years I can only say thank you to the club, to the fans that have supported me since the first day I wore this jersey and of course thank you and good luck to my team-mates, who helped me settle in since day one not only as a teammate but as friends/family.
    “Today I will say goodbye to Manchester United but I take with me many memories, lessons and great moments that will love with me forever. It has been one of the best years of my football career.
    “At last I want to wish the club many success for the future and thank the club for giving me the opportunity.
    “Thank you. Largie Ramazani”
    Fresh start
    In August, 2020 he signed for LaLiga2 club Almeria.
    Immediately he built a special rapport with Umar Sadiq, who moved to Real Sociedad on transfer deadline day and ironically gave United the run around in the Europa League last week.
    In 2020, Ramazani moved to Spain with Almeria
    Ramazani was an instant success at Almeria – helping the club earn promotionCredit: Getty
    Finding his feet in Andalusi, Ramazani was instrumental in the club’s promotion to LaLiga.
    Playing on either flank or as a central striker, the lightning-quick starlet scored nine times in 33 games in his debut season.
    Following his superb start to life at Almeria, Monaco reportedly tried to convince him to move to Ligue 1 this summer.
    However, Almeria didn’t want to lose their prized asset and he snubbed the French club’s advances.
    Continuing his rise
    And that was clearly a good decision.
    Ramazani has taken his form from last season into this one – scaring defences in Spain’s top flight with his rapid pace, excellent control with both feet, and dribbling skills that’s left LaLiga’s best defenders quaking in their boots.
    Case in point his LaLiga debut against the European Champions, Real Madrid.
    Within six minutes, his acceleration left Nacho and Antonio Rudiger for dead.
    Faced with in-form Thibaut Courtois to beat he remained ice cool – elegantly slotting the ball past him.
    The celebration wasn’t bad either – a flying somersault to the delight of the home faithful.
    Almeria were edged out 2-1, but a star was born.
    On his LaLiga debut Ramazani left Real Madrid’s defence for dead to scoreCredit: AFP
    Ramazani celebrates his goal with a trademark somersaultCredit: Getty
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    Ramazani has since scored against Sevilla this season too – repeating his forward flip while becoming a fans’ favourite.
    To think he could have been a Man Utd favourite if things had turned out differently. More

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    ‘I’m always at their service’ – Jaap Stam offers himself to Man Utd and is open to joining Erik ten Hag’s coaching staff

    MANCHESTER UNITED legend Jaap Stam has offered himself up to join Erik ten Hag’s coaching staff.The new Red Devils boss is enjoying life at Old Trafford after winning his last four successive league matches.
    Jaap Stam is ready to join Man Utd as a coachCredit: AP
    Ten Hag has surrounded himself with experienced figures on the bench, including Steve McClaren and Benni McCarthy.
    And former centre-back Stam is now ready to join the team as a defensive coach.
    The 67-time Holland international, 50, is currently without a side after being sacked as FC Cincinnati boss a year ago.
    Stam has served plenty of time in the dugout with other sides including Reading and Feyenoord.
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    And after being linked with United over the summer, Stam admits he is ready to join should Ten Hag feel the need to ask.
    Stam told Tribal Football: “I never spoke to United – no one called me for any reason.
    “But that’s how it is in football. When a new coach arrives, he invites his people who he knows and trusts and who can help him in certain ways.
    “But like I said before, United is the club I love. I grew there as a person and as a player, they made me stronger, they made me who I am now.
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    “I have made history with this club and if they need me, if I can help them in any way, I am always at their service.”
    Stam played 127 times for United between 1998 and 2001, winning the Treble in 1999 as well as two more titles.
    He also starred at PSV, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax before retiring in 2007.
    Stam has worked at United since then, joining as a scout in 2008 to cover South American players.
    But he left a year later to become assistant boss at PEC Zwolle before his managerial career kicked off. More

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    Antony is already Man Utd dressing room’s top JOKER as £85m man endears himself to new team-mates with banter

    BRAZILIAN star Antony has got the beat going in the Manchester United dressing room – after taking over the role as No 1 joker.The new £85m man – who scored on his debut last Sunday in a thrilling 3-1 victory over Premier League leaders Arsenal – has already endeared himself to his new team-mates with his scintillating performances.
    Antony is quickly becoming the joker of the pack at Man UtdCredit: Getty
    But the former Ajax star has also made a splash at United with his banter.
    A source said: “The players all absolutely love Antony. He’s like a Tasmanian devil. When he’s training and playing he’s 100 per cent on it.
    “And then when it’s time to relax he’s one of the lads and loves a laugh and a joke.
    “He knows Fred from the Brazil national team so he’s been playing a couple of pranks on him with the lads have enjoyed.”
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    The source added that Argentinian stopper Lisandro Martinez is also already a firm favourite with the Old Trafford dressing room following his £56m move from Ajax.
    The source said: “Martinez is a beast. He trains exactly how he plays He tackles and fights and does whatever it takes to win.
    “He and Antony have slotted into the group really well because they already know what ten Hag expects because he managed them at Ajax.
    “They have both been accepted quickly by the dressing room and have given the team a lot of energy.
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    “The squad hasn’t been this united for years.”
    Antony yesterday revealed he is inspired by wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo.
    He said: “Words can’t describe Cristiano, the best in the world. In just a few days, I’ve learnt a lot from him.
    “He has an extraordinary mind and, whenever I talk to him, I take a lot from it.”
    Antony has been included in his country’s squad along with another new arrival in Casemiro and Fred for this month’s friendlies with Ghana and Tunisia.
    The 22-year-old signed from Ajax has made himself an instant hit with the fans with a bit of Ronaldo-like showmanship including step-overs.
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    He says: “I’ve always done this, not just here but for all the teams I’ve played for – it’s one of my characteristics.
    “I’ve been doing it ever since I was a child. Entertaining is something I’ve always liked and I’ll continue doing it.” More

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    Erik ten Hag believes Man Utd can WIN Prem title this season… with Marcus Rashford up front instead of Cristiano Ronaldo

    ERIK TEN HAG has set Marcus Rashford a 20-goal target for the season to help push Manchester City all the way in the title race.And it is claimed Manchester United’s players think the team are better off with Rashford playing up front — and Cristiano Ronaldo benched.
    Erik ten Hag is backing Marcus Rashford to fire Man Utd to the titleCredit: AP
    Ten Hag is ready to keep Cristiano Ronaldo waiting on the benchCredit: Rex
    New Red Devils boss Ten Hag is a huge fan of the revitalised Rashford.
    And the Dutchman has made him one of his main focuses as he bids to bring the good times back.
    Rashford, 24, boasts three goals and two assists already — compared with five goals and two assists in total last season.
    And Ten Hag has promised the forward he will do all he can to help him make England’s Qatar World Cup squad.

     A source said: “The manager wants Marcus to be United’s No 1 striker and lead the line up front.
    “He believes Marcus has the ability to become one of the world’s best and wants him to express himself in matches.
    “He is always telling him to use his pace and skills when he gets a chance. He told Marcus he will easily score 20 this season.
    “They have a great relationship and Marcus is really happy.”
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    Ten Hag was proud of United’s 3-1 win over Prem leaders Arsenal, with Rashford scoring.
    The source said: “Ten Hag told them, ‘This is the real United. We should be top, not Arsenal’.
    “It is felt their only title threat is City and if they slip up, then they believe they can capitalise.’’
    Rashford’s form comes amid claims some players feel pressured to pass to Ronaldo when he plays.
    The source added: “As long as Ronaldo starts on the bench, the players have the confidence to express themselves.
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    “With Ronaldo on the pitch, the team feel pressured. All the players loved it when Ronaldo came back but they’re frustrated he missed pre-season.
    “Ronaldo’s not up to speed and relies on instinct — but that doesn’t work in Ten Hag’s system.” More

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    ‘I’m not an actor’ – Man Utd star Anthony Martial hits back at claims his body language shows he ‘doesn’t care’

    ANTHONY MARTIAL has hit back at claims that his body language shows he “doesn’t care.”And the Manchester United star insists he always wears his heart on his sleeve, adding: “I’m not an actor.”
    Anthony Martial has fired back at critics of his body languageCredit: Getty
    Martial, 26, is back playing at Old Trafford after spending the first half of the year on loan at Sevilla.
    The France international – set for new contract talks – had a strong pre-season under new boss Erik ten Hag.
    And he looked set to lead the line in United’s Prem opener against Brighton before suffering an injury.
    Martial has since been limited to just one appearance from the bench as he fights to regain his fitness.
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    Some United fans reckon it’s the same old story, with Martial yet to really take off despite entering his EIGHTH season at the club.
    The striker has constantly come in for criticism regarding his body language, with some supporters accusing him of simply not caring enough.
    But Martial has fired back at doubters by insisting he always gives his all.
    Admitting he sometimes lacks consistency, Martial believes any time his shoulders are slumped simply means he is annoyed at himself for missing a goal-scoring opportunity.
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    And Martial is adamant he does not play games or tricks, adding what you see is what you get.
    Blasting former bosses Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho in the same interview, Martial told France Football: “Basically, I have to display my disappointment after a missed opportunity so people say: ‘Ah, he doesn’t really care’. 
    “I’ll tell you simply: I’m a footballer, not an actor.
    “A lot of people think you have to be a comedian and I see players who show their rage so that the public and the media think they are motivated. 
    “All the media circus does not interest me. I cannot change to please others.
    “I am not irreproachable. When people say that I lack consistency, it’s true. 
    “When I have my place, it often goes well, but when I’ve been used less, it’s true that my performance has not been the same.
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    “It’s a vicious circle: I’m less efficient, because I play less and therefore I play even less. 
    “When it’s like that, I can sometimes drop out a bit. A player like [Edinson] Cavani, he’s at 3000% even when given few minutes.” More