Manchester United Transfer News Roundup: Cristiano Ronaldo looked his age against Sociedad, says former player; Eric Bailly reveals conversation convincing him to join Marseille, and more - September 9, 2022

Manchester United v Real Sociedad: Group E - UEFA Europa League
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at home to Real Sociedad on Thursday (Septemebr 8) in their UEFA Europa League opener. New manager Erik ten Hag’s men were undone by a controversial Brais Mendez penalty in the 59th minute.

Meanwhile, former Liverpool right-back Steve Nicol says Cristiano Ronaldo looked his age on Thursday. Elsewhere, Eric Bailly has revealed the conversation that convinced him to join Marseille this summer.

On that note, here's a look at the key Manchester United transfer stories as on September 9, 2022:

Steve Nicol says Cristiano Ronaldo looked his age against Real Sociedad

Cristiano Ronaldo endured a difficult night on Thursday.
Cristiano Ronaldo endured a difficult night on Thursday.

Steve Nicol reckons Cristiano Ronaldo looked his age on Thursday against Real Sociedad.

The Portuguese was afforded a rare start for Manchester United after four games on the bench. However, the 37-year-old failed to make the most of the opportunity, with United failing to find the back of the net.

▪️ Zero goals scored▪️ 297 minutes played in 7 games▪️ Two starts were both lossesNot the start to the season Cristiano Ronaldo was expecting 🤦‍♂️

Speaking after the game, as cited by The Mirror, Nicol said that age is finally catching up with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“I’ll be honest, when you mention the game, the only thing I have in my head is Ronaldo clean through (on goal) and getting caught by two players. That’s kind of what springs to my mind. And he did have another look. He had a couple of other chances, not as good as that one, but there was just something missing,” said Nicol.

He added:

“That’s what I think about when I think of this game. There wasn’t much in it between the two sides, not that many chances in the game. But that’s the only thing I can think of. The fact that Ronaldo was clean through and looked every one of those 36, 37 years,” said Nicol.

Ronaldo is yet to score for Manchester United in seven games across competitions this season, but only two of those outings have been starts.

Eric Bailly reveals conversation that convinced him to join Marseille

Eric Bailly (R) left Old Trafford this summer
Eric Bailly (R) left Old Trafford this summer

Eric Bailly has revealed that a heart-to-heart with Marseille president Pablo Longoria convinced him to join the Ligue 1 side this summer. The Ivorian defender left Manchester United in search of regular football after dropping down the pecking order.

Speaking to La Provence, as relayed by The Manchester Evening News, Bailly said that he was impressed by how much Longoria knew about him.

“I only knew him as the president of Marseille, not as a person. When he called, he told me about my time at Villarreal, about all the things I did there. He told me secrets that I didn’t expect. I said to myself: ‘I don’t know him, but how does he know all this?’,” said Bailly.

He added:

“Then he explained that he was close friends with my former coach Marcelino (Toral, ex-Villarreal boss). The conversation was smooth and easy. It made me want to come even more.”

Bailly has appeared thrice for Marseille so far this season.

Alex McLeish praises Antony work ethics for Manchester United

Antony has taken to Old Trafford like a fish to water.
Antony has taken to Old Trafford like a fish to water.

Former Scotland boss Alex McLeish has praised new Manchester United signing Antony’s work ethics. The Brazilian arrived at Old Trafford in a mega money transfer from Ajax this summer and scored on his debut against Arsenal.

Speaking to Football Insider, McLeish said that he's particularly impressed by Antony’s tracking back.

“This is exactly what I said; he had to hit the ground running. I will tell you what: he showed a lot of personality and character in the game. You saw him celebrating with the badge when he scored. It’s as if he has been at Man United all his life; he knows the history of that club. What a start. The thing I really admired was his tracking back,” said McLeish.

He added:

“He was doubling up with the full-backs and the midfielders on his side, I was thinking ‘good on you son’. He is playing for the coach. For him to score a goal with that beautiful finish was outstanding. He has done the first part of living up to that transfer fee.”

Antony failed to find the back of the net in his second start on Thursday.

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Edited by Bhargav
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