News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.
Sir Alex Ferguson has named his 22-man squad for Manchester United’s Champion’s League clash with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow evening.
De Gea, Lindegaard; Büttner, Evans, Evra, Ferdinand, Jones, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic; Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, Nani, Valencia, Young; Hernandez, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie, and Welbeck will all travelled to the Spanish capital.
United will be without veteran midfielder Paul Scholes for the clash after he was sidelined by a knee injury. However Ashley Young, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones have all been passed fit.
United defender Jonny Evans has set aside his fears about the occasion. He told ManUtd.com,
"We can't be daunted. We are Manchester United. Teams look up to us as well. I am sure the same pressures will be on them.”
Meanwhile new boy Shinji Kagawa is hoping to fight for his place in the team that faces Real in Madrid. He said,
"If I’m picked I’ll do my best to help the team reach the next stage of the competition."
The Manchester Evening News reports that Ferguson will be tasking Phil Jones with ‘shackling’ Cristiano Ronaldo. We have assessed the strategies United can employ to ensure Ronaldo has a quiet game.
And we have also put together an article on the how Ferguson and Madrid boss Jose Mourinho will likely set their sides up tactically tomorrow.
Jose Mourinho has revealed in his press conference today, ahead of United’s visit, that he intends to return to the English Premier League after he departs from his post at Real Madrid.
The former Chelsea boss did, however, say he intends to leave decisions over his future until the end of the season.
Mourinho did, however, dismiss suggestions that he will take the reigns at United. He joked that Ferguson will continue to be the manager of United ‘when he will be 90’.
Meanwhile Rio Ferdinand has asserted his belief that Ronaldo gets ‘too emotional’ on the big stage.
“It is obviously going to be an emotional night for Ronaldo, and a great night for him too, but hopefully it gets too emotional for him,” the former England captain hopes.
The Daily Mail reports that both Ferguson and captain Nemanja Vidic have what they described as ‘previous’ with German referee Felix Brych who will be n charge of tomorrow night’s game.
Brych sent Vidic off in the group stages of the Champion’s League last season.
Spanish newspaper Marca has called Wayne Rooney a ‘hooligan’ and depicted him as the ‘bogeyman’ in their build-up to the fixture. They also referred to him as a “freckled demon” who will bring his “beer drinking”, and “shouting” “5,000 friends” with him to the game.
The sub-headline suggested that 1,000 Manchester United fans will travel without a ticket to the match. I have written an article assessing why that kind of tribalism and rhetoric is out of place in modern football.
However, vice-captain Patrice Evra insists it is time for United to ‘restore’ their European reputation in Madrid tomorrow.
“I think this is the perfect year to show who we really are. We can't miss this opportunity to show ourselves, it would be a massive disappointment,” warned the Frenchman.
Finally, The Guardian have a video of the United squad training at Carrington today, ahead of their flight to Madrid.
image: © Nasmac