Manchester United are out of the Champions League but look on the bright side…Haaland and Elanga will be brilliant together.
Five years’ time
‘Ronaldo set for first trophyless season in 12 YEARS and had no shots against Atletico for just third time in Euro career’ – The Sun online.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo will not win a trophy for the first time in SEVENTEEN YEARS after Manchester United’s dismal Champions League exit condemned them to a fifth straight season without silverware’ – MailOnline.
What’s five years (sorry, FIVE YEARS) between friends?
For the record, The Sun are actually, bafflingly correct as Ronaldo won nothing in his first season at Real Madrid in 2009/10.
Mediawatch is choosing to believe that the Mail saw that Ronaldo won the much-vaunted Franz Beckenbauer Cup with Real Madrid in 2010 and decided that it absolutely, definitely counted as a trophy for reasons of MAKING THE NUMBER AS BIG AS POSSIBLE.
They might be correct with their maths but The Sun‘s opening paragraph to that story is a doozy:
‘CRISTIANO RONALDO’S fairytale return to Manchester United is not going according to plan.’
You don’t f***ing say.
Nothing but the tooth
Talking of Ronaldo (because we must always talk of Ronaldo):
‘Cristiano Ronaldo nearly has teeth knocked out by Harry Maguire’s head as Man Utd pair clash while jostling in box’
Does he? Odd then that he ‘somehow still managed to remain focused enough to try and get his head on the delivery, ultimately without success’. It’s almost like he took a slightly painful blow to the mouth and it’s not actually news because nothing actually f***ing happened.
Elang time coming
In the Sun newspaper, Martin Blackburn was tasked with the fancy words from Old Trafford while Neil Custis cried into his match report.
For reasons not entirely known but presumably related to ‘deciding to write before the game so you can basically get it done by half-time’, Blackburn focused on Anthony Elanga. Yes, the same Anthony Elanga who wasted a gilt-edged opportunity and did not create a single chance v Atletico Madrid. That Anthony Elanga.
‘ANTHONY ELANGA will have learned some valuable lessons from his two games against a savvy European side like Atletico Madrid.
‘And Ralf Rangnick must find a way to keep the young Swede playing regularly as Manchester United are more threatening with him in the team.’
Manchester United win ratio with Elanga: 38%
Manchester United win ratio without Elanga: 47%
Seems like Ralf Rangnick might need to find a way to stop the young Swede playing regularly.
Here’s Blackburn on his performance against Atletico Madrid before being hauled off after just 66 minutes:
‘He was so unlucky not to put the home team ahead on 13 minutes when he got his head on a cross that was fizzed across goal.
‘His effort from only three yards out smacked Oblak in the face and somehow stayed out – it’s fair to say the keeper knew little about it.
‘Had that gone in, he would have become only the second teenager to score in both legs of a Champions League tie – following in the footsteps of Kylian Mbappe, who managed it twice.
‘As the half wore on, Elanga had fewer chances to show his blistering pace but the one time he did stretch his legs he felt he was fouled by Reinildo Mandava.
‘The referee did not agree and Atleti launched a break which ended with Renan Lodi nodding them ahead.’
Or, as the Manchester Evening News put it:
‘Should have scored with a point-blank chance and went down easily to gift Atletico possession they profited from. 5’
One man’s ‘unlucky’ is another man’s total disaster, especially if one man has a deadline and an idea that cannot be shifted.
Ah, this again…
‘Manchester United fans launch bottles at Diego Simeone after he snubs Ralf Rangnick’s handshake to run down tunnel at Old Trafford following Atletico Madrid’s Champions League triumph’
It can only be a MailOnline headline and it can only be a MailOnline headline ignoring the fact that Diego Simeone never shakes hands – his quotes on the subject are here – so there was actually no snub, just a man doing what he always does.
And we think that might be unconnected to those bottles being thrown, despite the ludicrous wording of that headline.
Rapid response unit
Talking of those pelters from the Manchester United fans, the Mirror bring us this line:
‘Diego Simeone responds to Man Utd fans pelting him with drinks at full-time’
And what was his response? Did he tell them to f*** off? Did he throw drinks back? Did he wait until he was in the press conference and then call them c***s?
Or did he simply not even notice?
“No, when I came off the pitch, I ran because I was happy and I like to enjoy it in the dressing room. So I don’t know what happened. What you just said, all I was thinking about was getting into the changing room to the dressing room, and I was really happy.”
Now that is quite some ‘response’.
Talking of simply not noticing…
‘5 things missed as Cristiano Ronaldo’s furious reaction spotted and Man Utd exit Europe’
Pretty sure nobody missed that.
Haal for nothing
Never fear Manchester United fans, because the Express website are here to bring you some excellent news:
‘Man Utd handed Erling Haaland transfer hope as Real Madrid look into ‘concerns’ over star’
Our gut reaction was to p*** ourselves laughing but perhaps there is some substance to this. And we should ignore that you can currently get odds of 33/1 on Haaland joining a Manchester United side likely to miss out on Champions League football next season for they have been ‘handed Erling Haaland transfer hope’.
‘Manchester United have been handed a glimmer of hope in the race for Erling Haaland, with Real Madrid reportedly concerned by his injury record. Borussia Dortmund star Haaland is the most in-demand player in Europe ahead of the summer transfer window, but United have not yet given up on getting his signature.’
They probably should.
‘The 21-year-old striker has netted 80 goals in as many appearances for Dortmund and is the closest thing to a guarantee of goals on the market. Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, has already shopped him around Europe, with Man City and Real Madrid understood to be leading the race for him.’
Yes indeed. So where is the ‘transfer hope’ for the fifth best team in England?
‘However, that picture is not settled and reports from Spain suggest that Real are far from convinced yet. According to El Chiringuito, Real are busy doing their due diligence, asking for reports on Haaland and his injury record has emerged as a particular ‘concern’.’
Pretty sure that does not mean he will suddenly join Manchester United, though it’s easy to see why you might suggest that (clicks).
‘Haaland is yet to make up his mind, but could signal his intent in a month’s time. Another consideration for buying clubs are the payments due to Raiola and Haaland’s father Alf-Inge, which would push the entire outlay closer to £100m.
‘That could be too steep for Manchester United, but they showed last summer that they are willing to pay high fees for players they want. Jadon Sancho arrived from Dortmund at the start of the season for £73m and the two clubs are understood to be on good terms.’
It doesn’t matter one jot what kind of ‘terms’ are enjoyed by United and Dortmund; there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that Haaland has his pick of clubs across Europe and he chooses a Manchester United likely to be in the Europa League.
‘United are on the lookout for a new striker, with Edinson Cavani set to depart the club on a free transfer when his contract expires in July. With Anthony Martial likely to seek pastures new following a loan spell at Sevilla and doubts around the future of Marcus Rashford, there is a real need for a new striker.’
There really is. And do you know who else needs a striker? Brighton. Do they have ‘transfer hope’ too?
‘Cristiano Ronaldo remains on-song, with 18 goals in 32 appearances this season, but he is now 37 years old and approaching the final year of his current contract. United’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, and their current position of fifth in the Premier League, could hamper their efforts to attract a player of Haaland’s ability and ambition.’
Do you think?