Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves has hailed his international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest player of all time, after the Juventus man guided his country to Nations League success on Sunday night.The reigning European champions emerged victorious from the four-team tournament last week after beating the Netherlands 1-0 in the showpiece final, thanks to Goncalo Guedes’ second-half strike.While Ronaldo gave more of a selfless performance against the Dutch, he put in another individual masterclass in the semi-final, when his hat-trick helped Portugal beat Switzerland 3-1. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? It means that with Ronaldo at the helm Portugal have won two major international honours in three years – their only major honours to date.Often exonerated for his club performances, Ronaldo’s success for his country will undoubtedly help cement his status as one of the planet’s best ever players, perhaps even more so than Lionel Messi, who is yet to win any major silverware on the international stage.For that reason, Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves feels the former Manchester United and Real Madrid attacker is the world’s greatest ever player.“Cristiano is the best,” he said, as quoted by the Express and Star. “He showed that in the semi-finals and again. We are lucky to have him in our team.”Asked whether he thought Ronaldo was the best of all time, Neves responded: “Of course, yes. For me, he’s the best ever, and I’m a really lucky guy to play with him.”As well as Ronaldo’s international triumphs, his list of accolades include five Champions League winners’ medals and domestic titles in Spain, England and Italy.However, it is the Portuguese star’s individual success which set him apart from the world’s other premier players – namely the five Ballon d’Ors he has claimed.Along with Messi, no one was won the award more times than the Juve no.7 and after his success with Portugal there have been suggestions that Ronaldo could well win the trophy again for a record-breaking sixth time.However, the 34-year-old failed to be drawn on the subject when asked after Portugal’s triumph over the Netherlands.Next up for Ronaldo is a return to club action with Juventus. However, with the Italian season not set to start until the end of August, he can look forward to a few weeks off before returning to pre-season training.
Juventus are stepping up their efforts to sign Paul Pogba but accept that they will face stiff competition from Real Madrid for the Manchester United midfielder.According to sources close to the Serie A champions, the club’s sporting director Fabio Paratici met with United officials to discuss a potential deal for the France World Cup winner while he was in the UK finalising a move for Maurizio Sarri.And Juve are now planning to put together an official offer for the 26-year-old, who left them to rejoin United in 2016, expected to be in the region of €130 million to €140m (£116m/$145m to £125m/$157m). Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? They do, however, accept that Madrid will also be at the front of the queue to sign Pogba.He is considered a top target for head coach Zinedine Zidane and the Liga side would very much be interested in taking him to the Bernabeu.The ABC newspaper in Spain goes as far as saying that Real are willing to bid €125m (£112m/$140m) for Pogba and offer him a salary that would see him paid the equivalent of Eden Hazard, just short of the amount earned by club captain Sergio Ramos.That said, Juve, who appointed former Chelsea manager Sarri as their new head coach on Sunday, are still ready to go toe-to-toe with Madrid in the race to sign the midfielder, with the deal to take Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin proving that nothing is impossible.United, meanwhile, remain determined to keep Pogba and do not want to sell him in a move that would undermine manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has always been adamant that he wants to build his team around the Frenchman.That puts the Red Devils in a stronger position over negotiating a potential sale, whereby they would demand as much money as possible should talks progress, and interest from Juve and Madrid be followed up with concrete offers.Juve have continued to dominate domestically in Italy, winning their eighth league title in a row under former boss Massimiliano Allegri, although Champions League progress has been more of a struggle.There was hope that the signing of Ronaldo would help end their 23-year wait to win Europe’s biggest prize, although they came unstuck against Ajax in the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 version of the competition.A move for Pogba would further show their ambition to finally conquer Europe, with Aaron Ramsey having joined on a free transfer from Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot having also been linked.Mauro Icardi is another who interests the Serie A holders, although Juve are not keen on allowing Paulo Dybala to move to Inter as part of any deal for the Argentine striker.Right-back Joao Cancelo, meanwhile, is all set to depart, with Manchester City close to finalising what is likely to be a €50m (£45m/$56m) move, plus bonuses, for the Portuguese.Additional reporting by Kris Voakes and Alberto Pinero