Sir Alex Ferguson has come out swinging in response to rumours that wanted Wayne Rooney on his way out of Old Trafford, following his omission from the starting line-up against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. Speculation had since grown on tabloids and broadsheets that the United striker could be leaving the club in the summer, a notion Fergie has categorically dismissed in his press conference this morning.
Up until 7.45pm on Tuesday night, in keeping with a lazy habit that wants everything to be boiled down to one individual, Manchester United – Real Madrid had been billed as the “Ronaldo homecoming”. As the teamsheets were announced, the game became a sort of unofficial “Ryan Giggs day”, before ultimately, and rather depressingly if you are a Red, turning into Cuneyt Cakir’s night.
It had been described as the match for which the world would stop, the titanic clash between two of European football’s heavyweights that was going to act as advert for the beautiful game.
And for 56, entertaining and nerve-wracking minutes it was just that. Two great clubs and two of the best managers the game has seen going head to head, blow by blow as they had done in the first leg.
United take on Real Madrid at Old Trafford tonight in the second leg of their Champions League tie (7.45pm KO, Live On ITV1) and are a top priced 3.2 with Coral to beat the mighty Spaniards.
Sir Alex’s side did well to draw 1-1 at the Bernabeu, where they created plenty of chances and Robin van Persie missed two good opportunities late on.
That result meant that they have only lost once in their last 14 Champions League home games (nine wins, four draws), and their opponents have only won once in their last five away games in England in this competition (two draws, two defeats).
Ever since Manchester United were drawn against Real Madrid in the first knockout round of the 2013 Champions’ League, the 5th of March has been on every United and Madrid fan’s mind. It is a match that sets the world alight and inspires a thousand clichés of the highest quality. But no cliché can do this gargantuan game justice (another cliché), as two iconic teams, rich in both history and talent compete in a finely poised tie to advance to the last 16.
“Form goes out the window in games like these.” Of course, this is true to an extent, and United fans will be hoping Real’s two Clasico wins aren’t replicated at Old Trafford.
Cast your minds back as far as they will go, cast them back further again, try to take it to a time when United had a great midfield that everyone was happy with.
Sarcasm of course, it wasn’t actually that long ago but over the past few years you’d be excused for thinking it was as the clamour for United to strengthen the central midfield berths has grown to a point where literally no one seemingly believes United has the ability to compete with any of the European big-boys if or when the time were to come. Well, that time has come, and we’re at half time with all to play for and a one-man-midfield-show fresh in the memory from a player some dare to liken to Captain Marvel….and it wasn’t Ronaldo.
Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk exclusively to bwin ahead of Manchester United v Real Madrid at Old Trafford.
It’s official, Phil Jones has lost his race for fitness ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly anticpated United v Madrid match.
Jones did not take part in the club’s open training session this morning and, after his all-important, all-action performance at The Bernabeu three weeks ago it’s hard not to feel Jones was in line to play another pivotal role in tomorrow’s crucial 2nd leg which United unusually take to the field as underdogs in the betting with bwin.
The former Blackburn Rovers defender suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago in United’s fifth round FA Cup victory over Reading at Old Trafford and has not featured since.