The Red Report: New midfield recruits, an important return and a legend

We’re off to America again this summer on our pre-season tour – does it matter where we go?

Alan | RedForceRising: Well, since they’re going on a pre-season tour and want to do so without much mayhem, the USA seems a good choice, although Chicharito might just draw bigger crowds than United anticipate. The coaches always rate the facilities very highly and the opposition is a lot more meaningful than Hangzhou Greentown.

Justin| Red Flag Flying High: As a fan it matters as you always think ‘can I build a holiday around watching The Reds?’ For the club though forget the marketing side of things, I’m more interested in are we going to get a good enough standard of game to be able to make any judgements on young players who are given a chance? In the past players like Chris Eagles and Obertan have looked good in pre-season only to be found wanting when it comes to competitive games.

I think the tour of the USA will tell us very little about whether certain players can make the grade but I suppose for the club it increases our ‘global appeal’ I do hate that term. It could be worse though, we could get an NBA player to associate himself with us!

TG | ManUtd24: It’s pre-season so it shouldn’t really matter. And with United’s ever-growing fanbase in the States, it’s not the worst ploy to go over there again given the success of their last visit. It’s marketing decision too and all big businesses need to do it.

Bricki | Stretford-End: 10 years ago I would have said that where we go in pre-season is not important but with the arrival of Mourinho at Chelsea and the fact you needed to hit the ground running to be contending for the title I think the place you do preseason now is vital in order to have players ready to go come the first day of the season. I enjoy us going to America because with the relationship with Nike and the fact Americans know the importance in sport of being fit and prepared we use some of the best facilities around and face opposition that will have players up and ready. I find America a better venue than the Far East in everyway bar the fantastic support we receive in the far east.

Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I really don’t think it does, pre-season used to be arranged with the idea of getting the team match fit and prepared for the regular season, but it has now become a marketing ploy. So going to the U.S is probably with the sole intention of raising our profile in the country and increases our fan base. Plus if we go on to a treble this season, after the U.S pre-season, I don’t mind the team going there every season!

Herzog’s Child | Stretford-End: A tiresome, somewhat dull, venture now – and one many reds are beginning to lose interest in. As a night-owl, the KO times don’t bother me too much, but the games are usually fairly sub-standard. Lining up against Barcelona will be a decent outing, I guess, but it’s just another PR-driven exercise, isn’t it? The trip to Munich a few summers ago was far more appealing, I found. It was cheaper to get there, the standard of opposition was fairly decent, the ground is superb and so is the city itself. A little trip like that, followed by a number of fixtures around the U.K. would be more rewarding. There are plenty of clubs around England who are struggling financially, particularly smaller clubs; United coming to town would ensure a decent gate, and finances for said team. I’d rather that than hauling our arses all the way to America again for another laborious stint. Shirt-sales and adding to the – *wretches* – ‘brand’ is evidently more important. Will it affect the team itself? No, not particularly. They’re catered for well, and it hasn’t been detrimental before. It’s just a little boring.

Chudi | The Busby Way: The trip to America is just to fill he coffers and whilst it is after all pre season, I think it is looked at more for it’s financial benefits than it’s health and fitness benefits.

The way the all-star game was being promoted with Henry and Beckham’s names being thrown around shows it is more for the money/Entertainment than the football.

The standard of game we get out there isn’t going to be the best but it should be reasonably challenging as it was last summer.

The game against Barcelona will be something to look forward to though!

Marketing ploy? Yet the facilities mean the players are well prepared for when the season starts.

As per usual we decided to look at a non-United topic. This week we discuss the recently retired ‘original Ronaldo’:

Chudi | The Busby Way: When Ronaldo retired every body was quick to eulogise about him and my favourite quote was :

“Imagine asking God to make you the best footballer in the world… and God listened.”

Ronaldo wasn’t one of my favourite strikers but that doesn’t mean I never rated him highly. I remember being in Canada when he moved to Real and thinking their team is going to be unstoppable!

The hat trick he scored against us whilst crushing was amazing and you just wonder, had he not got those injuries how much better could he have been?

Alan | RedForceRising: My favourite non-United striker along with Roberto Baggio. I had the pleasure of watching several of his performances in his short time at Barcelona and he simply took my breath away. No other player had done that since a certain Ryan Giggs mesmerized me with his mazy runs. In many ways, he was the ultimate striker. The combination of his physical attributes and footballing talent were truly phenomenal. When he ran at defenders, you felt sorry for them, because they were up against an untameable force of nature.

Herzog’s Child | Stretford-End: The finest player I have ever witnessed in my short 22 years. His retirement was saddening, for a number of reasons. There wasn’t a particular sense of finality, as his impact on the game waned in recent times. However, it signalled the end of a career frequently outstanding, but one cut down too early. Sure, bar the EC, he achieved just about all there is to garner, but the ability he harboured should have glowed brighter for a far more sustained period. Many will obviously point to his 3 at Old Trafford, but his best was in his earlier days, at Barcelona. I watch highlights of that period regularly; there’s an almost surreal quality to just how devastatingly incredible he was. One of the very, very few who did have everything an attacking player needs: terrifying pace, skill, the ability to just waltz past players with infinite ease, and a finish that, to me, at least, is yet to be matched. One of my very small thrilling, non-united football memories is the 2002 WC final; when Ronaldo righted the travesty of 1998, by gunning down a plucky German side. He was superb. Messi is rightly regarded as today’s messiah, but Ronaldo, in his prime, was something different again. Did he ever actually miss a 1-on-1? He was almost silly at times, what with the genuine ease he played with. He’d still supply a fairly adequate shift even now, despite the chunkiness – some might even say ‘value.’

Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: To be honest I never really liked him, but he was probably the best Brazilian striker of his time and he had an ego to match his vast talent. Gifted with excellent skill and pace, also great finishing, he was probably the most complete striker of his generation.

Bricki | Stretford-End: I was at Old Trafford the night that Ronaldo destroyed us and got the standing ovation. A better performance at Old Trafford I don’t think I’ve seen. I would argue that after Maradona he was the next genuine world star and the only player other than Maradona I regret we never got in the red shirt. The world cup at France 98 and then Korea/Japan 2002 will be remembered as Ronaldo world cups for different reasons but in his prime at Barcelona I don’t think a player alive or dead could touch him. A World Class Star that could have been even greater but for injury… a scary thought!

TG | ManUtd24: I loved the man, and still do. He’s a legend of the game and despite eating a pork scratching too many in his decline period he should forever be remembered as a great. He had a brilliant goalscoring record and seemed to always be in the right place in the right time. It was his hat trick, of the epic sort, that had seen a battling United perish in that equally-epic quarter final second leg in the 02/03 season. United won that game 4-3 but it was simply not enough; Ronaldo’s display in that game matched his virtuoso performance in the first leg.

Justin| Red Flag Flying High: Everyone will no doubt think back to the hat-trick at Old Trafford for Real Madrid. My memory of Ronaldo is being in Malia one Summer working, and someone telling me we’d signed ‘Ronaldo.’ When I heard it was that young Portuguese lad, I’d seen against us I was devastated.

I think I said: “He’s good but he’s no Brazilian Ronaldo, I really thought we’d pulled of a coup,” or words to that effect. Little did I know…………



Best of the blogs:

The Busby Way | Rooney Incident Highlights A Changing Society As Well As A Lack Of Sense
Stretford-End | Stretty Debate: Berbatov Or Tevez For Your MUFC Team?
Bangalore To Old Trafford | Perfect Away Game
Red Flag Flying High | Ten Reasons Why Manchester United Are The Root Of All Evil
ManUtd24 | (Analysis) Resourceful Carrick And Rooney Prove Inspirational


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