Saturday, July 01, 2006

Argentina 98, Portugal 06 - nothing's changed

Another Manchester United player sent off for kicking during an England match - but then eight years ago Rooney was 12 years old so maybe the lesson was lost on him. At any rate, at least he will start the season fit which is after all what United supporters (even English ones) tend to value over England's needs. One wonders if he will be booed as Beckham was, and receive the same loyalty from the United support (who sang "Argentina" to the rage of the In-gur-land chavs at various away grounds).

One can only hope that Cristiano Ronaldo, who with his agent is appears to be playing games with a candidate for the presidency of Real Madrid, does actually leave - although I have to admit I thought the initial reports were just the usual throwing names around.

Unlike Beckham, four years remain on Ronaldo's contract so financially United are less likely to get as comprehensive outwitted as they were with the Beckham deal. Nonetheless even if the report in Marca blows over, it's hard to see after his gamesmanship on Rooney how the two are going to get on and in such a contest United will almost certainly pick Rooney. Even if every penny from Ronaldo went to paying the Glazers' mountain of debt - better than than keep someone who has acted as he has. The club stuck by him 100% when he was arrested on a rape charge right through to its dismissal - nice to see what that loyalty earned the club. Jonathan Northcroft in the Sunday Times:
There has never been the slightest doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo is a prodigiously gifted footballer. But yesterday, and not for the first time, you had to question whether he is a man.
Quite.

Perhaps the reality of this will lead to United seeing sense on cutting van Nistelrooy loose - whose criticism of Ronaldo was ironically part of his troubles this year at United - especially since the offers for RVN are hardly in the top dollar range.

Nice to see Owen Hargreaves finally come good (he received the man of the match award) - however, whenever he falls from grace he will become "Canadian" rather than "English" in the media, just as Graham Poll was "transformed from English to British" when demoted by FIFA.
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