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    Soccer News: Ronaldo’s quality is undeniable, but Newcastle aiming for long-term growth: Howe

    Newcastle United may be one of the few clubs capable of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, but Eddie Howe has suggested that the Magpies’ interest lies elsewhere.

    Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United in the latest transfer window, but the 37-year-old ended up staying at Old Trafford.

    He had only a minor role under Erik ten Hag, although he came off the bench to score United’s winning goal against Everton last week, scoring his 700th goal for the club in the process.

    His future remains in doubt, but ahead of United’s meeting with Newcastle on Sunday, Howe, showing his great appreciation for Ronaldo, indicated that his team were looking for contracts more suited to a long-term approach.

    When asked at a press conference if Newcastle, backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), was interested in signing Ronaldo, Howe told reporters: “We’re trying to ensure long-term growth, we have a long-term vision.

    “At the moment we have a rather aging squad, so we need to invest more in young players. This is probably the biggest part of our progress, we need to lower the average age.

    “So maybe this is not a signing that we would definitely count on, but this does not mean underestimating the quality of the player.

    “He is an outstanding player. You look at his goalscoring record last year, it was incredible. So for me the transfer [to United] it worked, it’s a success.

    “Last year he scored massive goals and some very late important goals in the Champions League. The quality of the player is beyond question.

    “We have to be very, very good against him if he plays. We need to inform our players about where he wants to score from. This is something we need to know about.”

    Newcastle have spent big money on Lille’s Sven Botman and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, aged 22 and 23 respectively, to bolster their squad this season.

    Howe’s team have only lost one of their first nine league games this season ahead of Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford.

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