Remember when the real Ronaldo joined Man Utd? Erm…

Date published: Wednesday 12th June 2019 12:00

Glory days
‘IN Rio Ferdinand’s heyday, football’s top names wanted to sign for Manchester United,’ begins Neil Ashton’s piece in The Sun.

Sorry to stop you so quickly but that’s bollocks; English clubs have never signed ‘football’s top names’.

For example, Ferdinand joined Manchester United in 2002. At the end of that year, the Ballon d’Or top ten featured Ronaldo (the original), Roberto Carlos, Oliver Kahn, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Ballack, Thierry Henry, Raul, Rivaldo, Yildiray Basturk and Alessandro Del Piero. Not one of those ten people joined Manchester United, or even ‘wanted to to sign for Manchester United’. Indeed, the man at No. 12 on that list – Ronaldinho – very publicly turned down Manchester United for Barcelona the following year.

But carry on, Neil…

‘Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy were drawn to the Theatre of Dreams.’

Ah. What you have done there is name players who became football’s top names while at Manchester United.

Let’s take them one by one.

Wayne Rooney: Signed for Manchester United from Everton at the age of 18. Their biggest competition for his signature were Newcastle United.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Signed for Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon at the age of 18. His £12m signing was widely described as an ‘expensive gamble’ as he was yet to play for Portugal.

Carlos Tevez: Signed for Manchester United on an expensive extended two-year loan deal after a spell at West Ham. He then joined Manchester City at the end of that two-year loan.

Jaap Stam: Signed for Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 1998, having not received a single vote in the 1997 Ballon d’Or. Oh and he had left Manchester United by the time Rio Ferdinand and his ‘heyday’ arrived.

Ruud van Nistelrooy: Signed for Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven after a two-goal season destroyed by injury.

If, ‘in Rio Ferdinand’s heyday, football’s top names wanted to sign for Manchester United’, they must have been very p***ed off that Manchester United were signing and then improving promising young footballers instead.

Spare a thought for poor (original) Ronaldo, who had to join Real Madrid despite desperately wanting to play alongside John O’Shea and Nicky Butt.


Story of the f***ing day
‘How Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has influenced Man Utd’s transfer plans’ – Daily Mirror.

Tell us how.

‘Manchester United are to prioritise bolstering their defensive ranks this summer after seeing Virgil van Dijk’s impact at Liverpool.’

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is ‘NEWS’.


Leak practice
It’s the Wednesday before the Premier League fixtures are announced on Thursday, so of course the opening-day fixtures have been ‘leaked’.

We all know this is nonsense, but why just dismiss it as nonsense when you can run stories about those ‘leaks’ (which is fine as long as you use those precious inverted commas) and rake in those delicious clicks?

One slight problem: BT Sport‘s package for 2019/20 is for Saturday lunchtime’s games.

Still, clickety-clickety-click. They taste so damned sweet.


Sarri, I haven’t a clue
‘CARRY ON SARRI’ reads the back-page headline on The Sun.

Sorry, what?

‘Now Blues want him to stay’ reads the back-page headline on The Sun.

Really? Do they? But we thought they were desperate to get rid of Maurizio Sarri and were happy to take the £5m reportedly being offered by Juventus which means that they don’t have to sack him and thus pay him any compensation?

Let’s read the story, written in tandem by Andrew Dillon and Neil Ashton…

‘CHELSEA have made an amazing last-ditch attempt to get Maurizio Sarri to stay on as boss.’

Oh okay. It’s an ‘EXCLUSIVE’ so let’s have the details of this ‘amazing last-ditch attempt’. Have they begged? Have they offered yachts? Have they promised that they will wear sexy lingerie every Thursday night?

‘Blues’ hierarchy do not want to sack Sarri after finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.’

Oh. That doesn’t sound like an ‘amazing last-ditch attempt’, just a desire to not sack a man who looks likely to leave anyway.

‘They know it will be tough to get the former Napoli chief to reconsider and resist the lure of home – but Blues will not make the first move as it will cost them another pay-off.’

Oh, so they are desperate to get rid of Maurizio Sarri and are happy to take the £5m reportedly being offered by Juventus which means that they don’t have to sack him and thus pay him any compensation, after all.

That’s quite the ‘amazing last-ditch attempt’.


Contradiction time
Neil Ashton then wonderfully gives the game away that any back-page talk of Sarri staying at Chelsea is absolute codswallop when he writes in the very same edition of the newspaper – in a story about Frank Lampard:

‘Lamps is the front runner for the Blues job as they prepare for Maurizio Sarri’s exit after just one season.’

What the hell happened to ‘CARRY ON SARRI’?


Onana, what’s your shame?
‘MANCHESTER UNITED have identified Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana as a possible successor for David de Gea’ writes Martin Blackburn ‘exclusively’ in The Sun.

Far be it from Mediawatch to big up Duncan Castles, but he beat you to this one by about three weeks, fella.


Rojo silver lining
Of course the ‘exclusive’ claim about Chelsea making an ‘amazing last-ditch attempt’ to not sack keep Maurizio Sarri is not the biggest story in football by 10am in the world of Sun football.

That honour goes to this classic-of-the-genre headline:

‘Utd star Rojo forced to leave hotel after FOUR mysterious tourist deaths.’


‘Forced to leave hotel’ is an excellent way of suggesting that Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is in some way culpable for the deaths of four people and thus has had to flee this godawful place of death.


SPOILER: He did not kill anybody; he has an alibi and everything. Oh and only one of those four (sorry, FOUR) deaths occurred in that hotel.

So, a few corrections to that headline:

‘Utd star leaves hotel after tragic death of man’


Recommended reading of the day
Carlo Garganese on Diego Maradona and Naples

Miguel Delaney on football’s new transfer market


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