Cristiano Ronaldo 'is the Michael Jordan of football', says Lingard

By Sports Desk July 28, 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo is football's equivalent to basketball legend Michael Jordan, according to Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard.

NBA icon Jordan won six championships across two stints with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and was crowned MVP on five occasions.

By comparison, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has clinched seven league titles in three different countries, most recently helping Juventus to back-to-back Scudettos.

And Lingard, who was part of United's academy during Ronaldo's time at Old Trafford, believes the Portugal international is football's answer to Jordan.

"I have to say Cristiano Ronaldo," he told Sky Sports when asked to pick a footballer who can be likened to Jordan.

"Everything he has achieved in his career. He has been at plenty of clubs and won many trophies. I believe he is a real icon of football, the Michael Jordan of football."

Lingard never played in the same side as Ronaldo in a competitive game but was on opposing sides to the forward in United's 2-1 Champions League win against Juve last season.

But the England international insists the former Real Madrid superstar has not posed him too many problems in the years since he left United.

"I have played against him a few times. Did he give me trouble? No, he wasn't too bad, to be fair," he said. 

"There was one game in pre-season where he came on and you could see the skills and the qualities that he brought.

"When he first came to Manchester United, I was 11 or 12. We did a skills DVD and it was him teaching us skills which was good. 

"That was the first time I had seen him. He was young and skinny when he came to the club."

Related items

  • Wizards confirm Westbrook capture as Wall joins Rockets Wizards confirm Westbrook capture as Wall joins Rockets

    The Washington Wizards confirmed the acquisition of former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook in a trade that sent franchise favourite John Wall to the Houston Rockets.

    Westbrook leaves the Rockets after just one season alongside James Harden in Houston, the nine-time All-Star moving to Washington in exchange for Wall and a future lottery-protected first-round draft pick on Wednesday.

    The shock trade comes amid uncertainty over Rockets superstar Harden, who is reportedly eyeing a move to the Brooklyn Nets, while the Philadelphia 76ers have also been linked.

    Wall heads to Houston, having not played since rupturing his left Achilles tendon in January last year. He initially underwent season-ending left heel surgery.

    The five-time All-Star, who has appeared in just 73 games since the start of the 2017-18 season, is fourth for career points for the Wizards after being drafted first by the Washington franchise in 2010.

    "Having the opportunity to acquire a player of Russell's calibre and character was something that we could not pass up when looking at both the immediate and long-term future of our team," said Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard as Westbrook prepares to team up with Bradley Beal.

    "With that said, the decision to part ways with John, one of the greatest players in franchise history, was extremely difficult. What he has meant to our organisation and our community is immeasurable and will not be forgotten."

    Harden and Westbrook – who played together at the Oklahoma City Thunder – became the first pair of team-mates in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points and seven-plus assists per game in the same season.

    Westbrook averaged 27.2 points and seven assists per game for the Rockets, who had their 14th consecutive season at .500 or better but failed to reach the NBA Finals – the longest streak of its kind in NBA history.

    But Westbrook's struggles were evident in the playoffs – shooting just 24.2 per cent from three-point range and 53.1 per cent from the free-throw line.

    Westbrook was the first player in NBA history to shoot under 25 per cent from three and under 60 per cent from the line in a single postseason (minimum 30 attempts in both categories).

    Houston had a 29-13 record when Westbrook shot less than five times from beyond the arc compared to 10-13 when attempting five or more.

    Westbrook, meanwhile, has a career average of 19.6 points, 9.0 assists and 6.1 rebounds in Washington.

    Wizards head coach Scott Brooks added: "Russell's accomplishments and honours on the court speak for themselves, but his drive and will to win are what separate him as a truly unique player.

    "As much as I'm looking forward to reuniting with him, I'm equally sad to say good-bye to John. He is one of the toughest and most gifted players I've ever been around and we all wish him nothing but the best moving forward."

    In 573 career games with 561 starts for the Wizards, Wall averaged 19.0 points, 9.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.70 steals. He joins Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history with career averages of at least 19.0 points per game, 9.0 assists per game and 4.0 rebounds per game.

    Over the past six seasons, Wall is the only player in the league to have averaged at least 20.0 points per game and 10.0 assists per game.  

  • Fred red card 'nowhere near a foul', says Solskjaer Fred red card 'nowhere near a foul', says Solskjaer

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Fred's tackle that saw him sent off was "nowhere near a foul" but said the midfielder may have been lucky earlier.

    Fred was sent off in the second half of United's 3-1 Champions League loss at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

    The Brazilian was booked in the first half for an apparent headbutt on Leandro Paredes, before getting his second yellow card after appearing to win the ball ahead of Ander Herrera.

    Fred conceded four fouls but his eight possessions gained were the equal most at Old Trafford despite seeing red with 20 minutes remaining.

    Solskjaer lamented the decision that saw the midfielder sent off, although admitted he may have been fortunate earlier.

    "We spoke to him at half-time – and be sensible – and I thought he was. I thought he played really well," he told a news conference.

    "I thought he was very, very sensible in the second half and he covers the ground, he gets up to men without trying to tackle. The ball that he actually gets a yellow card for though, the tackle, that's nowhere near a foul. So, if you see that again, that's a mistake by the referee.

    "But that's also human error, it's allowed. You can't, I can't sit there and complain about that now. I thought Fred was unlucky there, but he was probably lucky enough to come off for the first half."

    Neymar's brace and Marquinhos' goal was enough to move PSG onto nine points, alongside United and RB Leipzig, in Group H.

    Marcus Rashford had equalised for United in the first half, becoming the first player to score in all three home games for the club in a single group stage in the Champions League since Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004-05.

    Solskjaer was pleased with the forward, who has scored more goals in five Champions League games this season (six) than he managed in 18 appearances in the competition across his previous two campaigns.

    "He's really taken to that role really well. And he's certainly giving us threat down the side, penetration, crosses, finishes. I've been very pleased with Marcus on there," he said.

    "I know sometimes a right-footed striker would like to play on the left to come inside and score goals, but he's proving very efficient from the right side as well.

    "And through the middle, he's played through the middle this season, as well, really well. So he's developing really well into the top forward for us."

    Rashford was substituted with 16 minutes remaining and Solskjaer revealed the England international is struggling with a shoulder problem ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to West Ham.

    "It's just niggling him, that shoulder injury," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "Let's see how quickly he can recover. Let's hope he can be ready for the West Ham game. But we don't know."

  • Kawhi eager to bounce back after Clippers' failures – Lue Kawhi eager to bounce back after Clippers' failures – Lue

    Tyronn Lue said star Kawhi Leonard is eager for the season to get underway after the Los Angeles Clippers' failures in 2019-20.

    Lue will lead the Clippers in 2020-21 after replacing head coach Doc Rivers following the team's stunning Western Conference semi-final exit in the NBA playoffs.

    The Clippers were one of the favourites to claim their maiden title following the arrivals of All-Stars Leonard and Paul George but squandered a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Keen to make amends after last season's woes, Lue – who guided the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first championship in 2016 with a team headlined by LeBron James – hailed two-time NBA winner Leonard.

    "Just as far as me talking to Kawhi, he is excited to get back on the court," Lue said during his virtual news conference on Wednesday.

    "When you are dealing with great players, when you lose early on in the playoffs, you are always eager to get back. That is what great players do. We all failed at our goal last season and we all know that.

    "Kawhi has done a great job of taking [initiative] to get guys on the phone, talking to guys, seeing guys more.

    "He has done a great job of that. He is excited to get back on the floor just from talking to him and we are all excited as well."

    Th 2019-20 campaign was the ninth consecutive season they finished with a winning record (49-23) but failed to reach the Conference finals – the longest streak of its kind in NBA history.

    Former Clippers assistant Lue is no stranger to working with superstars, having enjoyed a successful partnership with James in Cleveland.

    "Anytime you coach LeBron James, there is a lot of media scrutiny, a lot of pressure to win," Lue, whose Clippers will begin their season against defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers on December 22, said.

    "And just being able to deal with that calibre of player, with Kawhi and PG being our two best players on the team, I think it translates over to just being the Clippers coach and being able to relate to those guys, understanding stars in this league, how they perform, what they like, what they want to do. Just being around guys like that, it's definitely helped me out a lot."

    George – who averaged 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in the regular season – struggled to produce when it mattered most and shot the ball much worse in 2019-20 when he shared the court with Leonard. The difference was even greater during the playoffs.

    With Leonard on the court in the regular season, George's field-goal percentage was 41.1 compared to 48.2 without him. During the playoffs, George boasted a 53.8 shooting percentage while Leonard was sidelined, a significant improvement on the 36.8 per cent he managed together with the former Toronto Raptors favourite. 

    Combined, George has a 48.8 percentage while Leonard is off the court, compared to 39.9 during the duo's time together.

    "It was tough because we were confident," George said on the All The Smoke podcast when discussing the Clippers' collapse against the Nuggets. "We went up 3-1, we felt like, we're going to win the next one. We lost. We [were] like cool, we're up 3-2, we gonna win the next one.

    "We lost. But during that whole process, we never worked on adjustments. We never worked on what to do differently. We just literally having the same s*** happen over and over again. It started to play a trick on you like man, what's going on?

    "We are talking amongst each other like the conversation is, we are going to be all right. The conversation should have been like, nah, we need to change this, we need to switch this up. I don't think we deserved it. We wasn't prepared enough going into it. ... We didn't put the work into it. It was kind of just like, yo, we got PG, we got Kawhi, Lou [Williams], Trezz [Montrezl Harrell]. We going to be straight, we are going to figure it out."

    There are some news faces for the Clippers after Montrezl Harrell joined city rivals the Lakers – Serge Ibaka arriving from the Raptors and Nicolas Batum landing in Los Angeles after clearing waivers, while Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris re-signed.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.