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Pique, Platini, Ronaldo and Moscow Rumblings

Late, late post today but I was out late the night before which meant waking up late in the morning. But better late than never, so here’s the roundup for the day.

It looks almost certain that Gerard Pique would be making his exit and heading for his boyhood club, Barca. Some reports say that he’s already had a medical while some speculate that an agreement to the tune of €3.5m has already been agreed. [I would think it’s a bargain considering his successful loan spell at Zaragoza.]

I can’t dispute Pique’s decision because it really is the fault of the club for not giving him enough chances, and, the form and fitness of Vidic and Rio really made it difficult for the young Spaniard to break through. More so, when Vidic was out injured, SAF preferred Brown in the centre and Hargreaves (a make-shift right back) in the right over Pique. Fergie would be justified in that decision because it came at the tail end of the season where it was do-or-die. But from a club point of view, are we doing the right thing?

More importantly with Evans looking to make his move to Sunderland, we seem woefully short of cover at the back for next season. I would personally like Evans to be farmed out to Sunderland for another six months and see how it goes. I don’t want both Pique and Evans to move. It could be said that we have Gary Neville coming back, but with his age and injury record for the last season, we can’t expect to bank on him staying fit forever. Chelsea made a mistake of selling both, Robert Huth and Gallas in the same season assuming the indestructible Terry would always be there. As it turned out their beloved JT had one of his worst injury prone seasons and Chelsea saw their quest to complete a hat trick of League titles fall by the wayside.

Rio has been as fit as any player could be in the Premiership, but any player is just one bad tackle or a pulled hamstring away from being on the operation table. So we really shouldn’t be selling both of our most promising defenders at the same time. Keep one of them, at least.

A Kick in the Grass comments on Michel Platini’s attempt at clamping down on debt ridden clubs like our own. The main article that this post refers to is the one on the Telegraph. Platini has a problem with teams in debt doing better than clubs whose books are well balanced. And as a result, he wants debt ridden clubs to not feature in Champions’ League.

While the idea of forcing clubs to not stay in debt may be well intentioned, Platini again finds himself lacking when it comes to implementing a viable solution to tackle the problem. Forcing clubs like Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool out of the CL — while taking the sheen off UEFA’s prized club competition — may be one thing, but keeping clubs like Real Madrid in the competition, who while not in debt are known for dodgy financial mismanagement, would be a travesty.

And hence, the UEFA president would have to come up with a better solution.

Today’s papers were full of stories where Ronaldo reiterated that he’s happy at the club, with the popular refrain from the dailies being: he’ll stay as long as Fergie stays. The Guardian published an interview, but then, the Times also published something similar. Either way he keeps saying that he has nothing left to prove and that he’s aware that he’s the best.

Now United are known for having playmakers who have been pompous, but to me it appears as if Ronaldo plays only for the awards and the need to be recognised. Personally, I would rather he plays for the sake of winning for the team and not try too hard to be recognised. But then, it’s his hunger to succeed that drives him on and, hence, helps the team. So fair play to him. Whatever the papers say, I am fairly certain that he will stay for another season at least. And the club must plan and groom for a seamless transition once he leaves. Not wait for three years like we did when Becks left.

Right, now on to the talk that one usually gets to hear in the lead up to a big game, in this case the Champions’ League final.

Vidic and Rooney talk about Drogba. Vida, not usually known to talk to the media, said that he thought Drogba at times seemed like he was strong and at times seemed like he was too weak — insinuating that he goes down too easily at times. Rooney meanwhile balanced his criticism with appreciation of the Ivorian’s strengths.

Carlos Tevez thinks United must stretch every sinew and try every trick in the book to beat Chelsea because they are a tough nut to crack.

And Ryan Giggs says that there was a time he thought his second chance of being able to play in the Champions’ League final had passed him by. But now he feels grateful that he gets another shot.

Alright, that’s it for now. More United roundup tomorrow.