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Nani’s red card: The aftermath

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Nobody saw it was coming. Not even the Real Madrid players. When Nani and Alvaro Arbeloa both fell to the ground, after the Portugal international made a waist-high ‘challenge’ in the 57th minute, it seemed like the referee was just waiting to get both the players back on their feet.

Robin van Persie was trying to point out his earlier incident while Madrid players were simply sorting out their strategies but no one knew what was going on in Cuneyt Cakir’s mind. As both the players, stood on the feet, shaking off the collision, the Turkish referee brandished Red card to Nani and left entire stadium in disbelief.

Nani Arbeloa collision Nanis red card: The aftermath

GIF: Nani’s tackle on Arbeloa is more like a collision

Not only Sir Alex Ferguson was flabbergasted but even the opposition players too. Jose Mourinho, who shares great respect for the Scotsman, came to share the same opinion and he probably said “it was a poor decision”.

Nearly the entire world was bemused with that decision (keeping in mind the magnitude of the match) except United’s ex-skipper Roy Keane.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and the ITV pundit Roy Keane has every right to air his views too. This is what he said as quoted in the Guardian:

“I think the referee has actually made the right call. Everyone’s upset about it and it’s slightly unlucky, but it’s dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant. It’s dangerous play – it’s a red card.”

Then going by his logic, Diego Lopez who punched Nemanja Vidic’s forehead in the first half should have seen red as it was a dangerous way of clearing the ball. Can you call it an accident? Nah, because whether Lopez meant it or not is simply irrelevant.

Also, all players who try to win any dangerous 50-50 air borne balls and raise their boots high to put the ball on ground knowing that a defender is also trying to clear the ball away, should be red carded because all these acts are “dangerous play”.

It does not matter whether two players are completely unaware of each other’s presence or not. Likewise, it also doesn’t matter if the intention was non-pernicious simply because it is a “dangerous play”.

It wouldn’t have made much clamour had that incident took place in the Premier League. But since, in European games, referees tend to be more protective, one would have understood had Nani will get a yellow card for his unintentional challenge. It was simply a wrong decision.

It changed the complexion of the game and left Sir Alex Ferguson and his players in complete “distraught” after the final whistle.

UEFA today insisted that it has no problem with the Turkish referee following his controversial handling of this match. The official will not face any immediate action as the governing body are unconcerned with the furore going on in the media.

Further, UEFA might take actions against Rio Ferdinand for his sarcastic applause of the referee after the match. In a perfect world, United players were expected to take the decisions on their chin and move on, without showing any emotions. But, unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world.

Comments (6)

  1. Roy Keane is entitled to his opinion but considering his track record of doing and saying stupid things, he probably should be ignored. Nani’s sending off was the worst decision made by a referee in a Champions League match since Robin Van Persie was sent off for allegedly kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone , in Arsenal v Barca . The ref who made that gem of a call was promptly promoted and kicked upstairs in UEFA hierarchy never to blow his whistle again . As for those who say Ferguson had it coming and we shouldn’t feel sorry for him or Man United, well , I don’t. I feel sorry for the game of football because every time call like that gets made, when the referee is the only one in the whole stadium who sees it differently , you begin to ask questions about integrity of the game. And if you asked Roy Keane what punishment should’ve been given to Nani while he was rolling on the ground pretending to be hurt, even he would’ve said yellow card , at worst.

  2. The press keep showing this limited part of the clip but Nani’s actions afterward is what really damned him. He dived to the ground and grabbed his head as if he was fouled. Refs these days give reds for timewasting, so how do you think they’d react to such gamesmanship?

    Considering we’ve seen Arsenal get a red card for the exact same foul committed against United, the foul deserved at least a yellow. Nani’s gamesmanship assured the red.

  3. Given the red card, the obvious hand ball later in the match, and the whistle blowing in the first leg after a corner was given, but before the corner was allowed to be taken; one wonders why United or any BPL team would continue playing in the UEFA with their agenda being so anti England! I would consider legal action if I was a player being put out there with no chance of a win.

    • By obvious handball are we talking about the Rafael handball that saved Higuain’s header from going in?

  4. No comments about the offside in Manchester’s goal right before Varane’s ‘badly’ clearance?
    No comments about Rafael’s hand ball to clear Higuain’s header?
    Yeah, all right, only about a dangerous tackle that nobody agrees it fully deserves a red card.

    • ah, the mighty pool fan commenting in united article. are they playing in CL this year?