Sensational comebacks are increasingly a staple of the modern Champions League, and this season they have belonged almost exclusively to Real Madrid.

Los Blancos trailed Manchester City 1-0 heading into the 90th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, with Pep Guardiola's team leading 5-3 on aggregate.

Yet two goals in the space of 91 seconds from Rodrygo forced extra-time, and Carlo Ancelotti's team set up a meeting with Liverpool in Paris when Karim Benzema converted a penalty to claim a 3-1 win (6-5 on aggregate).

It was the third stunning turnaround Madrid have enjoyed in the knockout stages this campaign, following Benzema's hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and Rodrygo's goal against Chelsea to secure an aggregate win in the quarters last month.

Here's a few other incredible comebacks to jog your memory.

Real Madrid 3-1 PSG (3-2 agg), 2022

Madrid have done it the hard way this season, as they target a 14th European title. 

Not many fancied them to get through against PSG, especially when Kylian Mbappe, who had scored a stunning goal in the first leg in Paris in February, put Mauricio Pochettino's team ahead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a crisp finish.

Yet Gianluigi Donnarumma's slack play enabled Benzema to pounce and pull one back, with the striker then scoring twice in two minutes to turn the tie on its head and set Madrid en route to the final.

Barcelona 6-1 PSG (6-5 agg), 2017

Barcelona remain the perpetrators of the most remarkable of all Champions League comebacks, at least in terms of deficit overhauled.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie with PSG, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored either side of a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, only for Edinson Cavani to grab what was expected to be the decisive strike for the visitors.

However, two quick Neymar goals – the second a highly controversial penalty after an apparent Suarez dive – levelled the tie at 5-5.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto struck to create a slice of Champions League history – no side had ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit before.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 agg, Roma won on away goals), 2018

The boot was on the other foot when Barcelona were dethroned in the Italian capital last year as Roma completed one of the most unlikely turnarounds in quarter-final history.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the last eight on away goals after a thrilling 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured the 4-4 aggregate draw and sent the Stadio Olimpico into raptures, as Barca completely fell to pieces.

Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0 (4-3 agg), 2019

Fresh from netting a late winner at Newcastle United the weekend before, Divock Origi allowed the Liverpool faithful to dream by poaching his maiden Champions League goal in the seventh minute.

Jurgen Klopp needed Alisson to be on form as he saved from Messi and Suarez, before another unlikely hero emerged.

Andrew Robertson's injury forced James Milner to left-back and Georginio Wijnaldum into the fray at half-time. By the hour, the Dutch midfielder had Liverpool level thanks to two goals in 122 delirious seconds.

Origi had the final word thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking from a 79th-minute corner, leaving Barcelona and Messi crestfallen once more. The Reds went on to beat Tottenham in an all-English final.

Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (5-3 agg), 2019

Despite their impressive display in their 2-1 first-leg defeat, nobody really seemed to think Ajax could turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergio Ramos certainly did not – he earned a booking to avoid the risk of a quarter-final ban, earning an extra-game suspension from UEFA in the process.

In the absence of their captain, Madrid completely capitulated amid a fearless and thrilling Ajax – the type of which Liverpool might yet be faced with in the final.

Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the visitors 2-0 up after only 18 minutes and it was 3-0 just after the hour mark thanks to the inspired Dusan Tadic.

Marco Asensio got a goal back, but Lasse Schone's free-kick beat Thibaut Courtois and sent Madrid crashing out. It was the first time they had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie.

PSG 1-3 Manchester United (3-3 agg, United won on away goals), 2019

It really had been quite the season for upsets in Europe's premier competition. A day on from Ajax's thrashing of Madrid, United made history at Parc des Princes.

No side had ever won a knockout tie after trailing 2-0 from a first leg at home, and with 10 senior players missing, including the banned Paul Pogba, United's chances looked slim.

Romelu Lukaku scored just two minutes in, though, and despite Juan Bernat's equaliser on the night, Lukaku struck again after a Gianluigi Buffon error to make it 2-1.

As the game crept towards second-half injury time, Diogo Dalot's shot struck Presnel Kimpembe's arm and the referee awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR review. Marcus Rashford scored it, United progressed, and the clamour for Solskjaer to be given the permanent manager's job grew louder.

Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan (5-4 agg), 2004

Deportivo were among Spain's major forces just after the turn of the century and one of their finest moments in Europe came in April 2004 when, despite being 4-1 down from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with AC Milan, they stunned the Italians at home.

Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had Depor ahead on away goals before half-time, with Fran Gonzalez – who played for them in the second division in the late 80s and is still their record appearance holder – fittingly scored the fourth to make sure of their passage.

Depor were eliminated by eventual winners Porto in the semi-finals, but this comeback stood as arguably the very best in Champions League history until Barca went one better.

Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (AET, 3-2 on pens), 2005

That famous night in Istanbul. Liverpool found themselves on the end of a hiding at half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, as Paolo Maldini and a Hernan Crespo brace had the Serie A side 3-0 up.

But the second half proved to be one of the most iconic 45 minutes in Liverpool's history, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso levelling the match up by the hour mark.

Milan then failed to hold their nerve in the penalty shootout, as Jerzy Dudek's leggy antics in the Liverpool goal helped the Pole outsmart both Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko after Serginho blazed the first kick over, resulting in the Premier League side lifting their fifth European title.

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999

Possibly the two most dramatic minutes in the history of European club football.

United were trailing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 1999 final at Camp Nou, with Mario Basler's skidding free-kick into the bottom-right corner looking set to be enough for the Bavarian giants to end a 23-year wait for glory in the continent's top-tier competition.

However, the United of Alex Ferguson's era could never be discounted until the final whistle, and substitute Teddy Sheringham swept Ryan Giggs' shot into the bottom corner to bring the scores level in the 91st minute.

Solskjaer, another late substitute and now the man in the United dug-out, avoided the need for extra time by stabbing Sheringham's header from a David Beckham corner into the roof of the net as United completed an historic treble in astonishing fashion.

Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (AET, 6-4 agg), 2000

A 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge – having trailed 3-0 – had Barca in danger of being on the wrong end of a major 1999-00 Champions League upset prior to the Roman Abramovich era, but in the return match the Catalans showed their true class.

Tore Andre Flo's 60th-minute goal was sending Chelsea through despite Rivaldo and Luis Figo scoring before the break, but Dani Garcia scored seven minutes from the end of regulation to force extra time.

Rivaldo then converted a penalty after Celestine Babayaro was sent off and Patrick Kluivert wrapped things up, crushing Chelsea's dreams.

Erik ten Hag may be a "perfect match" for Manchester United, according to former Ajax defender Joel Veltman.

Ten Hag will leave his role as Ajax head coach to take over from interim United manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

The Dutchman faces a significant rebuilding job, with United only sixth in the Premier League and set to miss out on Champions League football after falling short of expectations again this season, and having not won a trophy in five years.

However, Veltman – who moved from Ajax to Brighton and Hove Albion in 2020 – is optimistic for the Red Devils, having played under Ten Hag in the Eredivisie and believing his appointment could be "the most important thing" the club has done.

"I think it's a good choice only because he's tactically really good, and I think that's the most important thing that they need right now," Veltman said to Sky Sports.

"They have the major players, every player showed already they are amazing and can perform well in this league at the highest level, so they just need a gaffer who is like, 'Guys, you have to do this, this and this.' He needs time of course, but I think he's probably the perfect match.

"Hopefully he will make a team of them. Like OK if you go there, I will go here. Like a harmonica they call it in Holland so it's like not loose ends any more, so hopefully he will do that next season."

Veltman is set to face United on Saturday as Brighton host the Manchester club in the Premier League, and did add a word of warning that they should not expect an immediate rise under his former boss.

"He came from Ajax, next season to United, so he did it step by step, and he is still learning," said the 30-year-old.

"You are still learning every game, but he is still learning as well I think. Hopefully he will get the time, and he can get to show the players, directors, everybody and the fans that he is the guy and of course he needs results.

"As a gaffer you need results and hopefully they will come to him, but I think it will be fine actually."

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied saying "I'm not finished" following Manchester United's 3-0 Premier League win over Brentford.

The Portugal international scored a second-half penalty as United saw off the Bees at Old Trafford on Monday and, after the game, reports suggested he made the comment into a television camera during the lap of honour to mark the Red Devils' final home game of the season.

However, Ronaldo has rebuffed those claims on social media.

A United fan account on Instagram posted about the 37-year-old's alleged comment, to which the player himself replied directly, writing: "I didn't say that."

It was claimed by some who thought Ronaldo had made the comment that the Portugal great was making reference to the fact his future at United has been shrouded in doubt.

Ronaldo still has a year remaining on his deal with the Red Devils, with the club having the option to extend it by a further 12 months.

He has been one of the few success stories in what has been a season to forget for United, scoring 24 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions since returning from Juventus last year.

There has been increased speculation as to whether the former Real Madrid man will be staying with United next season, with new manager Erik ten Hag arriving at the end of this campaign to try and return the club to their former glories.

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

Raphael Varane pledged Manchester United will improve on their disappointing season in a new era under Erik ten Hag.

Varane scored his first Red Devils goal in a 3-0 Premier League win over Brentford on Monday, but has endured a largely frustrating first season in England following his move from Real Madrid.

The 29-year-old has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season, 25 of them starts, but has been involved in just six clean sheets with United looking certain to miss out on Champions League qualification ahead of the imminent arrival of new boss Ten Hag

United have gone five years without winning a major trophy, but Varane, who featured as Madrid were humbled 4-1 by Ten Hag's Ajax team in the Champions League at the Bernabeu in March 2019, is expecting a better showing next term.

"Personally, it's been an amazing experience, the feeling of being a player at Manchester United is something special," the France centre-back told MUTV of his first campaign with the club.

"I'm always positive, I think the next season will be better.

"This season was something irregular, we will work to be ready to win trophies and do our best over the next few months."

The signing of the 2018 World Cup winner was announced on the opening day of the Premier League season, and Varane predicted he would benefit from having a full pre-season under his belt in the 2022-23 campaign.

"I hope to do a full pre-season, to be fit to help the team as much as possible. I want to do my best for this club and the fans," he added.

Varane's team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo has scored nine of United's last 12 Premier League goals after netting the team's second against the Bees, and the defender was keen to hail the 37-year-old forward.

"It's fantastic, he's a great professional, and I think his talent is amazing, if he is on the pitch he will score goals, it's crazy," Varane added.

"Even with his age, he has the hunger and with his talent he can help the team."

Cristiano Ronaldo will still be at Manchester United next season "as far as I know", says outgoing interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Big changes are anticipated at Old Trafford in the offseason as new boss Erik ten Hag replaces Rangnick, who is taking on a dual role as United consultant and Austria coach.

Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani all made their final home appearances as United players in Monday's 3-0 defeat of Brentford.

And there has also been widespread speculation around Ronaldo and how he will fare under Ten Hag – or whether he could even move on a year after his return to the club.

But Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in just 29 Premier League games this season, and Rangnick does not foresee United's number seven leaving.

Speaking to Stadium Astro after the Brentford game, Rangnick said of Ronaldo's response to the crowd at full-time: "I don't think why it should be a wave of goodbye.

"He has another year of contract, and as far as I know, he will be here next season again."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo posted on his Instagram page: "Once again, great support from the stands.

"Let's take this opportunity of our last game of the season at Old Trafford to thank our amazing supporters, who endured a difficult season by our side and never abandoned us.

"Thanks, guys. Your support means the world to us and our goal is to become better everyday, so that we can achieve what we all want: glory for Man. United!"

Along with veterans Matic, Mata and Cavani, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are set to depart United, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been linked with a return to Crystal Palace.

Manchester United have "bigger problems" than Cristiano Ronaldo and there is "no logic" in selling the superstar forward, says Red Devils legend Roy Keane.

Ronaldo was named man of the match as United secured a 3-0 win over Brentford in their final home match of the Premier League season on Monday.

The Portugal great scored a second-half penalty at Old Trafford to take his Premier League account for the campaign to 18 – a tally bettered by only Mohamed Salah (23) and Son Heung-min (19).

Despite his excellent return in front of goal since rejoining the club from Juventus, many doubted whether Ronaldo could fit the high-pressing style preferred by interim boss Ralf Rangnick and if he would suit the methods of incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

Throw in the fact Ronaldo is now 37, there is a school of thought among some pundits that United should look to move on their star man and bring in younger forwards.

Former United captain Keane does not subscribe to such a notion, though, suggesting instead the club need to invest in other strikers to complement him.

Speaking on Monday Night Football for Sky Sports, Keane said: "It [Ronaldo's signing] was a short-term fix, for the fans, for the share price. But he has still scored the goals.

"Manchester United have bigger problems than Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I just think with the goals that he has got, his performances, warrants staying at the club. But Manchester United have to get players around him, they have to get other strikers in, there has to be competition for places.

"If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good but I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.

"There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don't see the logic in it."

However, Keane did accept Ronaldo must be more "mature" when it comes to acknowledging his advancing years means he will not always be a regular starter.

"I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off. That is where Ronaldo has to be more mature and be a better leader," Keane added.

"Of course you are disappointed when you come off but don't keep it up for one or two days, that is where you have to sort that maturity out.

"Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.

"And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won't be tolerated, if he is not buying into that then you do say, 'No, you're not going to be part of my plans'.

"If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway."

Ronaldo's team-mate Marcus Rashford is another whose long-term future at Old Trafford is shrouded in doubt.

The England forward has just four Premier League goals to his name this term and has never registered fewer than five in a campaign.

With United all but certain to miss out on Champions League football next season, there are rumours Rashford may be among those to be shipped out of Old Trafford ahead of what is likely to be a major rebuild under Ten Hag.

Having been left out in favour of Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata against Brentford, Keane questioned if Rashford still has the "hunger" to succeed at Old Trafford.

"Whether it's short on confidence, we've seen his quality before but we've not seen it for a year or two," said Keane.

"I think he's taken his eye off the ball, whatever [it is] with his off-the-field stuff. Rashford has been around for a few years now, he's got that experience and played international football.

"But it doesn't look like he's matured enough. We've seen a few games recently, when he was playing at Liverpool through the middle, I said he was playing like a child.

"It's as if he's not learnt about the game. He's drifting. He's lost the hunger. These young players get a lot of money and good luck to them, but I think he's lost the eye of the tiger and he's struggling to get it back.

"Wherever Man United want to go, Marcus is being left behind. He's left out again tonight and he must be sitting on the bench going 'where has it all gone wrong for me?'. He can get it back, he's shown it before, but sometimes when you do lose it, it is hard to get it back.

"He's got to get the hunger back into his game and make the runs like we've seen tonight from Elanga. Rashford has lost that bit of hunger, which is huge for a player. He is a talent but we're not seeing it."

Manchester United reportedly have a clear runway to sign West Ham midfielder and England international Declan Rice in the upcoming transfer window.

Rice, 23, has emerged as one of England's brightest young talents after being released from Chelsea's youth setup back in 2014.

He is expected to command a transfer fee in excess of the £100million Jack Grealish was signed for by Manchester City in a British record – but United may not be engaged in a bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOM AS RICE'S SOLE ENGLISH SUITOR

ESPN are reporting that United will not be facing competition from fellow Premier League clubs in the pursuit of Rice.

Sources have allegedly claimed the goal is to make Rice into a "modern day version of [Paul] Ince", who helped ignite the rise of legendary boss Alex Ferguson with his arrival from West Ham in 1989.

City are said to be using their resources on Erling Haaland; Chelsea are hampered by their ownership situation and the need to replace Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku; and Liverpool would prefer to wait for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham at a cheaper price.

Despite a lack of bidders to drive up Rice's price, West Ham are reportedly firm on their £100m-plus valuation.

 

ROUND-UP

– Everton would accept a £50m fee for Brazilian striker Richarlison, and are confident of getting such an offer, according to Football Insider.

– According to ESPN, Milan and Juventus are the leaders in the race to sign United's Jesse Lingard.

– Sport are reporting Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has chosen Barcelona over Premier League clubs United and Arsenal.

– Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is said to be for sale for a €80m price-tag, with Sky Sport claiming United and Paris Saint-Germain are the leading suitors.

Arsenal have renewed their interest in Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, per The Times. 

Ralf Rangnick is confident Manchester United can challenge for major honours once again, but only with the addition of "top-quality players".

The Red Devils have gone a fifth season without any silverware and are almost certain to miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Sixth-placed United thrashed Brentford 3-0 on Monday, though they remain five points behind Arsenal in the final Champions League spot having played two games more.

And interim manager Rangnick accepts that some big business is required if United are to make the leap and rival the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag at the end of the season, told Sky Sports: "It's obvious quite a few players will leave and there is a need for top-quality players. 

"I strongly believe that if everyone works together we can bring Man Utd back to where we need to be.

"Other clubs only needed two or three transfer windows to challenge but from now on we need to bring in top-quality players who really help raise the level. 

"If this happens then I don't think it should take too long."

Asked if he has yet to speak to incoming boss Ten Hag, who is still employed by Ajax, Rangnick added: "So far we haven't been able to talk. 

"Erik's focus is on winning the Dutch league, our focus was on our games."

United snapped a three-game winless run with their victory over Brentford thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane, either side of Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty.

The Red Devils both attempted (710) and completed (646) more passes against the Bees than they have in any other Premier League game this campaign.

Rangnick was pleased with what he saw in his final home match in charge ahead of away matches with Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.

"We were in control for most parts," he said. "In possession that was one of our best performances this year. It was the type of performance we wanted to show to our supporters.

"We played with Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic and that gave us some quality in midfield. It was not too easy for Brentford to take the ball away from us. 

"In the first half we played too many square and back passes but in general it was a good performance."

United have won 35 points at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season, which is four more than they accrued on home soil last term (31).

The record 20-time English champions have largely struggled for form, though, and can only match their lowest ever Premier League points tally if they win their final two games.

"In the end I'm not happy with the results, especially in the last four or five weeks," Rangnick added. "Until the West Ham game we were still in the race in three competitions. 

"We've conceded fewer goals but in the last few weeks performances have not been as good as they should have been. In general we have lacked consistency."

Brentford are the 21st side in a row to lose their first Premier League trip to Old Trafford and boss Thomas Frank had no complaints with his side's first defeat in five matches.

"We played a Manchester United team who played well today, so congratulations to them," he said.

"I think it was a fair loss. We have had a very good season in many ways. We win or learn and today we learned a lot."

Bruno Fernandes is pleased to have registered his 50th goal for Manchester United, but says it counts for little until the club start winning trophies.

The Portugal international fired in an early opener for United in Monday's routine 3-0 victory over Brentford to reach the half-century mark.

He has now been involved in 61 Premier League goals since his debut in February 2020, a tally bettered only by Mohamed Salah (73) and Harry Kane (65).

While Fernandes has impressed for United across his two years at Old Trafford, the 27-year-old has yet to lift any silverware.

And as another trophyless campaign edges to a conclusion for the Red Devils, Fernandes has set his sights on putting that right.

"I am obviously happy but those numbers don't count," Fernandes told Sky Sports when asked about reaching 50 goals. "I want to get numbers with trophies and not with goals."

Fernandes' goal was his first in nine appearances since scoring against Leeds United in February.

Cristiano Ronaldo added a second from the penalty spot, having earlier had one ruled out for offside, and Raphael Varane rounded off the scoring with his first United goal.

United won 35 points at Old Trafford this season, four more than they accrued on home soil in the 2020-21 campaign.

This latest victory gave interim boss Ralf Rangnick a winning send-off in his final home game, helping to quash a supporter walk-out planned for the second half.

"This was our last game of the season at home so we wanted to give a good result and good performance," Fernandes said.

"We know our standard has not been the same as we expect but last game of the season we finish well at home. Now we have more games to go so focus on those.

"We know that we always have to give something. The fans have been amazing supporting us. 

"We know that our season has not been at the level it should be but there is nothing we can do now but finish in the best way possible, win games and after, think of next season."

United conclude the 2021-22 campaign with trips to Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.

Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 Premier League victory over Brentford on Monday in interim manager Ralf Rangnick's final home game in charge.

Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag at the end of the season, saw his side take the lead inside nine minutes through Bruno Fernandes' 50th goal for the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a first-half strike ruled out but converted from the penalty spot shortly after the hour mark and Raphael Varane forced in a third for the Red Devils.

United are back to within five points of fourth-placed Arsenal and three behind Tottenham in fifth, though they have played two games more than both sides.

Brentford were given an early let-off when Ronaldo lost his footing with only David Raya to beat, but the hosts did not have to wait much longer for their opener.

Anthony Elanga kept the ball in play and picked out Fernandes with the cutback for the midfielder to calmly steer home as he reached double figures for league goals this term.

Ronaldo thought he had added a second for United just before half-time, only for VAR to adjudge that the forward was marginally offside when converting Juan Mata's pass.

Brentford had brief spells on top, with Christian Eriksen testing David de Gea from long range, but Ronaldo killed off the game from the spot after being barged over by Rico Henry.

Varane rounded off the scoring 18 minutes from time with a shot that deflected past Raya to put some more shine on just a third win for his side since February.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo's presence has been "one of the most positive things" in Manchester United's disappointing season, according to Diogo Dalot, who is looking forward to working with the "outstanding" Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo has scored 23 goals and provided three assists in 36 appearances in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the season, and has scored eight of the Red Devils past nine Premier League goals.

However, United sit sixth in the Premier League after enduring a frustrating season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, and have gone five years without winning a trophy.

Despite the team's struggles, Dalot hailed the impact made by his club and Portugal team-mate.

"I'm sure I speak not just for me, but he's been one of the most positive things about this season," Dalot told Sky Sports. "To work with somebody who has his culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality and being close to him now... it's been very helpful for me and my career.

"The numbers are there, the stats are there, so we're obviously very happy to have him here. He's a very friendly person. When he feels he has the trust of other people, he gives 100 per cent of himself to you.

"Everybody gets along with him here, everyone likes to have him around. It's always a big plus to have a player and a person like this in the changing room."

The Red Devils face Brentford in their final home game of the Premier League season on Monday, with Ronaldo looking to add to a staggering 24 goal contributions (18 goals, six assists) in his past 18 games against newly-promoted sides in the competition. 

United are hoping the imminent arrival of Ajax boss Ten Hag will end a turbulent era for the club, and Dalot says the squad are excited by the prospect of adapting to the Dutchman's possession-based style.

"I don't think you need to see a lot to know that he is a great manager. What he's done with Ajax is something outstanding," Dalot added. "He plays very attractive football, I think every fan of United is excited to have a manager like this, and the players are as well.

"In our heads, it's going to be clear who the manager will be next season, and that's good because we go for our break knowing who to expect. Then we will have time in pre-season to work together, get our ideas right and start the new season."

Despite United's struggles, Dalot also says he has enjoyed this season on a personal level after making 27 appearances across all competitions, one more than fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled to adapt to Rangnick's high-pressing style.

Having received five caps for Portugal to date, Dalot also hoped his increased game time would boost his chances of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

"It's difficult to say it's been a good season when the results are not quite there as we expected, but individually it's been good in terms of playing much more," he added. "Playing regularly has been one of my biggest desires since I came here, and I've fought very hard to get it.

"It's been good, with more minutes than other seasons, so I'm very happy with that. But obviously I want to combine that with team performances, with trophies and that's the aim for the next seasons.

"I like to see it season by season. This season has been special because I've played more regularly here, getting into the first team with the national team and we qualified for the World Cup.

"I want to be there so these are the aims, but we still have three games to play, national team games at the end of the season, so there's no point looking too much ahead when we have some goals to achieve at the end of the season."

Ralf Rangnick is optimistic it will not take too long for Manchester United to become a force again in a new era under Erik ten Hag.

Ten Haag will leave his role as Ajax head coach to take over from interim United manager Rangnick at the end of the season.

The Dutchman faces a rebuilding job, with United only sixth in the Premier League and set to miss out on Champions League football after falling short of expectations again this season.

It is five years since the 20-time champions of England last won a trophy and Rangnick previously stated that the club need "open-heart surgery" in order to turn their fortunes around

Rangnick, who will take over as Austria coach but is due to remain at Old Trafford in a consultancy role, says he has not yet spoken to Ten Hag since the Ajax coach was appointed as his successor.

Ahead of Monday's Premier League encounter with Brentford, the 63-year-old told Sky Sports: "I'm pretty sure he's [Ten Hag] got my phone number!

"He's got another couple of games to play with Ajax, we have another three games to play here. Whenever he wants to speak with me and exchange our opinions, I'm more than happy to do that."

Rangnick believes the next man to take the United hotseat can be successful in the not-too-distant future if the club learn from their mistakes and recruit wisely.

He added: "Knowing Erik will be the manager, with a good recruitment process and bringing in the right players, I'm very positive the supporters and the media will be able to see a better team and, at the end, hopefully a better position in the league.

"There are quite a few good examples in the league with when Jurgen Klopp came to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel came to Chelsea – yes, he came in the middle of the season and inherited a top-quality squad, but you still need to win the Champions League.

"If you know what you're looking for, the profiles of the different positions you need, it shouldn't hopefully take too long."

Rangnick has no idea what part Cristiano Ronaldo will play under Ten Hag, though.

He added: "This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag.

"He's showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it's obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it's pretty obvious."

Matthijs de Ligt and Paul Pogba paid tribute to their renowned former agent Mino Raiola, after he died over the weekend.

The 54-year-old's death was confirmed by his family on Saturday. He had been in critical condition in a Milan hospital.

Raiola was arguably the sport's most influential player representative.

From Pavel Nedved, to Mario Balotelli, to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Erling Haaland, Raiola represented some of the biggest names in world football, and in 2016 secured the largest transfer fee in history, at the time, for Pogba in his move back to Manchester United from Juventus.

Raiola also oversaw De Ligt's transfer from Ajax to Juve in 2019 and, in an Instagram post on Sunday, the Netherlands defender about a man he called "someone special".

"I honestly am not ready to write this message and I think I never will be," De Ligt wrote.

"It’s too early for us players, for your family but especially for you. You had so many dreams to fulfil, so many things left to do… you were always right in the end. You knew how the world worked. Nothing is impossible and you showed that to the whole world. 

"You fought for your players together with your team and that’s why you were so loved by all of them. Because as you always said: they are my sons, my family. 

"Mino, I will miss you for everything… to be my agent, but especially to be my best friend."

Pogba, who is set to be on the move at the end of the season following the expiration of his United contract, oposted a series of photos of himself and Raiola together, with the caption: "Always in my heart – thank you Mimi".

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