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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Jose drops Ron' hint

Jose Mourinho is pictured with Cristiano Ronaldo after Real Madrid won the Spanish La Liga title back in 2012
Jose Mourinho is pictured with Cristiano Ronaldo after Real Madrid won the Spanish La Liga title back in 2012
Alexis Sanchez is in the Manchester United squad that will face Yeovil Town in tonight’s FA Cup fourth round clash

Jose Mourinho could be re-united with Cristiano Ronaldo this summer despite his coy stance about the prospect of the Real Madrid superstar returning to Old Trafford.

Mourinho's comments yesterday on his fellow Portuguese while previewing tonight's FA Cup fourth round clash at Yeovil were vaguely similar to the ones made about his latest acquisition Alexis Sanchez before the Reds submitted a bid which the Chilean star couldn't refuse.

In the week United completed a swap deal with Arsenal to make Sanchez their new number seven, Ronaldo, a previous owner of that shirt, was again linked with a return to United amid rumours Real are preparing to try to sign Paris St Germain's Neymar.

Mourinho himself put pen to paper yesterday on a one-year extension to his current deal which now runs until 2020.

Standards

"We have set very high standards - winning three trophies in one season - but those are the standards I expect my teams to aim for," Mourinho said as the news was announced by his club.

"We are creating the conditions for a brilliant and successful future for Manchester United."

Real, meanwhile, went out of the Copa del Rey to Leganes on Wednesday and Zinedine Zidane's men trail LaLiga leaders Barcelona by 19 points.

Their current rut has not escaped Mourinho, who spent three years in charge of the team, but he feels that bringing Real's all-time leading scorer Ronaldo back to Manchester following his departure in 2009 remains unlikely.

"I think with the moment Real Madrid is having now, I think I should be the last one to add some fuel to the fire," Mourinho said.

"Madrid is on fire, the results are not good and it's a club where I worked (for) three years, I care about the club. I am the last one to add fire so to put some water on the fire, I would say Cristiano is the kind of player that every manager, club wants but only one manager, club can have - Zidane and Real Madrid, that's my feeling."

Mourinho's wish for more attacking options had been granted this week when United sealed a switch for Sanchez that saw £35million-rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan head in the opposite direction.  Sanchez, 29, could now make his debut in Somerset tonight after Mourinho confirmed he would be part of his squad.

The Portuguese believes he can deploy Sanchez in a variety of positions having been impressed by his versatility at Italian club Udinese and in Spain with Barca prior to his 2014 arrival in England.

"In the Premier League he has shown already the quality he has. We got one of the best attacking players in the world," Mourinho said.

"I think he's very important for us because we want to have the best possible players.

"Our careers are almost made in the same countries simultaneously, so I know him very, very well.

"I saw him play on the right, on the left, as a striker and behind the striker, these are Alexis' positions.

"I saw him play in different tactical systems, with different philosophies of different managers, I saw him (be) successful in every country, with every manager, with every system, in every position."

By signing Sanchez in a swap deal, Mourinho also bade farewell to Mkhitaryan, one of his first signings at United in the summer of 2016.

The Armenian, also 29, has been inconsistent but his old boss is confident he will shine under Arsene Wenger in north London.

"United and Arsenal made a fantastic deal," Mourinho said. "I lost a fantastic player, Mr Wenger lost a fantastic player. I got a fantastic player, Mr Wenger got a fantastic player.

"I believe that Mkhi is going to be even better than he was with us. Why? Because (with) one and a half years in England, the Premier League, adapted, knows Arsenal, the way they play, they think.

"Could he perform better with us? Could I take more from his talent? Maybe. Could he give a little bit more also to try to adapt to us? Maybe. But I don't think (about) regrets. He's in our history, he did important things for us so (there is a) good feeling for everybody."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa have signed United defender Axel Tuanzebe on loan until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old becomes Villa's first January signing and could make his debut against Sheffield United next week.

Tuanzebe can play in defence and midfield and has made eight appearances for United having come through the youth ranks at Old Trafford.

He said: "I am delighted to be here. It's an exciting time at this football club and everyone is pushing for promotion - that's the big aim, you can feel that here.

"I am determined to help this club achieve its goal."

England Under-21 international Tuanzebe has played three times for United this season, including in their 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow.