Tag Archives: transfer

In The Shadow of Cristiano

Manchester United supporters never came up with a catchy chant to celebrate the nani ronaldopowerful long-distance shooting and intermittently successful step-overs of Portuguese international Luis Nani. But that didn’t stop fans from yelling Nani’s name. A few seasons ago, one exasperated season-ticket holder, seated close enough to the television microphones that his cheering occasionally interrupted live broadcasts, would shout “Come on, Nani, lad!” when the winger conceded possession.

United fans spent most of Nani’s Old Trafford career exhorting him to improve – to score important goals, to commit fewer fouls, to be more like Cristiano Ronaldo. After signing in 2007, Nani produced enough highlights to fill an average-length YouTube montage – the showboating against Arsenal, the back-flip celebrations, the Champions League penalty conversion – without ever establishing himself as the dominant attacking force Sir Alex Ferguson had thought he would become. Yesterday Nani, who spent last season on loan at Sporting Lisbon, left United for Turkish club Fenerbahce. No one seems to care that much.

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Berbatov Is Forever Consigned To Under Appreciation

According to legend, Berbatov’s Mancunian adventure started unconventionally – under a blanket in the back of Ferguson’s car, as he was speedily whisked away from the admiring hands of Manchester City. 

In years hence though, all has been predictable. The daily abuse, the cheap cracks and descriptors starting with “l” are functions of a society inherently against footballers in the mold of Dimitar Berbatov.

Despite standing at six foot two, the Bulgarian hardly intimidates. His stature is slightly offset by a permanent slump of the shoulders and furrowing of the brow, two characteristics most manifest in times of struggle. And for Berbatov, struggle is never far away.

Quite apart from the expectation automatically applied to all Manchester United front players – especially ones that cost in excess of thirty million pounds – Berbatov is the subject of a special kind of scrutiny. There is an unshakable feeling among commentators and journalists alike that his case deserves questioning of an intensity normally only applied to England managers, brothel frequenters and John Terry.

To see Berbatov play is for many to have triggered a sort of righteous indignation, anger at an individual so distinctly different from the Premier League’s proletariat masses. The haughty exterior, hair band (until it was shorn a couple seasons ago) and deceptive, almost arrogant movement, all made great copy throughout each season of supposed under performance.

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