Alderweireld heads home to join Royal Antwerp

By Sports Desk July 15, 2022

Toby Alderweireld has joined his hometown club Royal Antwerp on a three-year deal.

Alderweireld only joined Al-Duhail from Tottenham for a reported fee of 65.34million QAR (£13m) on a three-year contract last July, but the Belgium defender's short stay in Qatar has come to an end.

Antwerp on Friday confirmed the 33-year-old has put pen to paper on a contract until 2025.

Alderweireld has never played professionally in his homeland, having joined Ajax at the age of 15.

The Antwerp-born centre-back spent five years with Ajax before joining Atletico Madrid and was loaned Southampton prior to a move to Spurs, where he made 236 appearances.

Alderweireld has won 121 caps for the Red Devils and is set to be back in Qatar to play in the World Cup this year.

Related items

  • Santos insists Ronaldo relationship unchanged as he hailed captain's 'great example' Santos insists Ronaldo relationship unchanged as he hailed captain's 'great example'

    Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo is unchanged despite dropping the captain for Tuesday's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup.

    Ronaldo was benched after Santos expressed his disappointment with the striker's attitude following his substitution during last week's defeat to South Korea.

    Santos said on Monday the matter had been resolved internally, but Ronaldo was then dropped to the bench for the clash at Lusail Stadium, starting a major-tournament match among the substitutes for the first time since 2008 (31 games).

    A fan poll on the website of Portuguese newspaper A Bola suggested 70 per cent of Portugal fans wanted Ronaldo out of the team, and the Selecao went on to produce one of their best performances at a major tournament in years.

    Goncalo Ramos replaced Ronaldo in the attack and had a hand in four goals, including a hat-trick, but Santos did not commit to keeping faith in the Benfica prospect for the quarter-final against Morocco.

    Santos told reporters: "That's still something that has to be defined [who starts in the next game]. I already answered in yesterday's press conference [regarding Ronaldo]; there is no problem between us.

    "I have a strong relationship with him, I always have. I have known him since he was young and at Sporting [CP], and then it started to develop in the national team.

    "This relationship only developed. We've been friends for many years, things don't affect us.

    "I already explained everything was resolved. I said that and I repeat that now. This is something that's finished and resolved.

    "How he came in with a lot of will, he set an example as a great captain."

    In scoring his hat-trick, Ramos became the first player to net three times on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002.

    Similarly, it only took him 17 minutes to do what Ronaldo has never managed: score in a World Cup knockout game.

    For most, Ramos starting the quarter-final clash would be a simple decision to make, but Santos intends to keep people guessing.

    "Obviously I have my ways to observes things, I always have," he continued. "The players we have in this position obviously have many different characteristics.

    "Andre [Silva] plays more advanced, Cristiano is more fixed, he plays in a determined area. Goncalo is dynamic.

    "That's what he ended up showing us, but it was nothing new because he came on in two other games.

    "I have three players I fully trust and for each match I will use what I think is the right strategy, as I have always done in my career."

    Tuesday's success was Portugal's biggest ever victory in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, with it the first time they have scored six beyond the group stage.

    It was a truly rampant performance, though Santos was particularly pleased that his team did not get carried away with the euphoria.

    "It's exactly what I said [to the players]; when we are euphoric, I think we can go beyond what we should do in a match.

    "We can end up having a bit too much fun, to use that expression, and football is not fun. Yes, you have to play, have fun in the field, but too much fun is not appropriate.

    "In this aspect, in terms of how serious they were, they were fantastic."

    Portugal will face Morocco in their quarter-final at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo denies mega-money Al Nassr deal is signed and sealed Cristiano Ronaldo denies mega-money Al Nassr deal is signed and sealed

    Cristiano Ronaldo denied on Tuesday that he has agreed to join Saudi club Al Nassr after Portugal's World Cup adventure.

    The striker became a free agent after being released from his Manchester United contract last month and reports have claimed Ronaldo has agreed an extraordinarily lucrative deal to play in Saudi Arabia.

    Suggestions of a bumper contract offer from the Saudi Pro League club emerged last week, with Ronaldo said to be in line to earn well over £100million a year.

    However, the 37-year-old says the reports of him signing a deal with Al Nassr are wrong.

    Speaking after coming off the bench in Portugal's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup, a rare substitute appearance for his country, Ronaldo was asked about the move.

    "No, it's not true," he told reporters.

    Ronaldo was allowed to leave United after a television interview with Piers Morgan saw him criticise the club's owners and signal his lack of respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

    He said he felt "betrayed" by the club, alleging there were efforts being made to force him out, with his second stint at United ending in a messy break-up less than 18 months after his arrival from Juventus.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner may struggle to find a top-tier club in Europe, given his relative decline in form in recent times, compared to his peak years at Real Madrid, and the huge salary he is expected to be seeking.

    The money may be no object in Saudi Arabia, but it remains unclear whether Ronaldo does not fancy that switch, or whether the deal is simply not over the line yet.

    Ronaldo also sent his best wishes to Pele, who is being treated in a Sao Paulo hospital.

    A report in Brazil at the weekend claimed the three-time World Cup winner had entered palliative care following a cancer battle. That has not been confirmed by the hospital, family, or Pele himself.

    There have been a host of fond messages sent to the 82-year-old since concerns were raised about his health, and Ronaldo joined in. According to Record, Ronaldo said: "Get better, get better Pele. Our king has to get better. That's all we want."

  • Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role

    Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

    The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

    The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

    Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

    "Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

    The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

    Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

    "Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

    The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

    "If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

    "He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

    "I'm really happy for him, because a hat-trick at his age is a big achievement. But for Goncalo and for everyone else, the most important thing is that we are in the quarter-finals against Morocco."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.