Rooney saga just disappointing
No doubt the biggest news of the week has been the revelation by Wayne Rooney that he wants to leave Man United. It’s very disappointing, not only if you are a Man United fan but a football fan in general, because it gets to a stage where no club can hold onto their best players unless they are the wealthiest of the wealthy.
Rooney wants to leave United when they have given him the best offer – they say somewhere around £150 000 a week, which is a fantastic offer by any standards, and money that he would not be able to spend even if he tried. He is at the biggest club in the world and has had great success on the field with the club – and yet he is not happy. You then have to ask, what will make him happy?
It was the same with Ronaldo. He too wasn’t happy and wanted to go to Real Madrid. It’s fine if a player comes out and says, "I need a new challenge". Maybe then one could understand. At the end of the day, you have to respect the club. They have given him five to six years, they have looked after him and these players get everything they want.
Rooney had indicated previously that he felt United were getting weaker and weaker and that they were no longer attracting top-class players. He said that already at the end of last season and it’s really a pity. With this whole thing, it’s the way it was done. If he had said that directly to the manager it would be fine but to come out in the open and say the manager is lying about his injury status was just silly.
In reality, today there are only three clubs in the world, outside of United, where a player is going to stay – Man City, Real Madrid and Barcelona. As it is I think Rooney can go to any of these three. Man City can pay him whatever he wants but will he be happy there? United fans will hate him if he does that. Wherever he goes in England, it’s going to be tough for him.
I think he will possibly move to Real Madrid – Jose Mourinho is a great manager and he knows him well from his time in the Premier League. Ronaldo is also there and the two of them had a great partnership together at United. The question is if, and it’s a big if, Real Madrid wants him. Yes they have bought a lot of players from United – Gabriel Heinze, David Beckham, Ruud van Niestelrooy and Ronaldo – and there will be no problems concluding this deal.
Sure people will look back and say, "once you have crossed your sword with Sir Alex, there is no way back, as was the case with Paul Ince, David Beckham and to an extent Ronaldo". I don’t think it’s the case here. I think Ferguson would make an exception for Rooney if he came back and said, “I am sorry I still need to stay but I need you to sign players”.
I am sure they could mend the fence. The two have not fallen out and there’s no bad blood, Ferguson is just disappointed that Rooney said he was not injured when he said he was. That makes the manager look silly but in this case he would make an exception.
Briefly, looking at the Champions League this week, the highlight for me was Real Madrid against AC Milan on Tuesday. I thought Real were magnificent and played AC Milan off the park; destroyed them in every sense of the word. Basle’s 3-1 win in Roma was also excellent.
I thought Chelsea also had a great win because it’s not always easy in Moscow. On Wednesday I thought Inter Milan against Spurs was a game of two halves. Samuel Eto’o was world class in the first half and Gareth Bale was outstanding in the second half. To be fair Inter had taken their foot off the pedal as they thought they had wrapped up the game in the first half but well done to Spurs for a great comeback. That second-half performance by Spurs will do their confidence the world of good. The lesson for Spurs is that if you play at that level, you have to manage the world class players, otherwise they will rip you to pieces.
Finally, it will be interesting to watch how Fifa handle the latest scandal around vote buying. In brief, everyone has to respect the rules and understand that there is a certain way of doing things. It’s sad for Africa because this is not the first time.