In one of the most important matches of the season Sir Alex Ferguson decided to start his out-of-favour winger Nani in place of his star player Wayne Rooney to the surprise of many.
If Rooney had of been sacrificed for the strong, hard-working Antonio Valencia it may have made more sense, but to play Nani, who isn’t exactly known for his defensive abilities, was a shock for any sports pundit.
That said, Nani had a pretty decent first half and played a very important part in Manchester United’s goal, winning back the ball from Raphael Varane and hitting a low, hard pass which deflected off Sergio Ramos and into his own net.
But not long after the United goal, Nani, in an attempt to control a high ball, collided with Alvaro Arbeloa, catching the Madrid defender's waist with his studs causing both players to fall to the ground injured. It was a bit careless from the Portuguese winger but it did not call for a red card.
Although Nani was harshly sent off, this could only have reminded Ferguson of how unreliable the 26-year-old can be and just how inconsistent the player is. One minute he is winning the match for you, the next he has almost ruined any chance the Red Devils had.
So what consequences will this have on the team?
For one, Wayne Rooney cannot be a happy man and will definitely be asking for an explanation from his manager.
And Nani may have kicked his last ball for Manchester United with Fergie looking to cash in on him, especially after the signing of the promising Wilfried Zaha.
It’s going to be hard for United to pick themselves up after this tough defeat and Manchester City could take this as an opportunity to push the current league leaders. But Manchester United still have an exceptional 12-point lead and a FA cup quarter-final match against Chelsea to look forward to.
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