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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fergie in Franco Jibe at Real Madrid

Sir Alex Ferguson

Or more reasons to like Fergie...

From the Mirror:

Sir Alex Ferguson last night taunted Real Madrid about their Franco past as he savaged them for trying to poach Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ferguson is furious with the Spaniards and club president Ramon Calderon over the way they have attempted to unsettle the winger.

And he hit back by dredging up Real's links with Spain's former fascist dictator, who made sure his favourite team benefited at the expense of their rivals.

"You get used to this, Madrid's behaviour on these things," said the angry Manchester United boss. "I read about Calderon making the great statement that slavery was abolished many, many years ago.

"Well, did they tell Franco that? Jesus Christ! Eh, give me a break!

"It doesn't matter which player it is, the ones you want to keep, you have to work hard to keep. In this modern day, that's a fact."

Ferguson reminding Real of a past they would rather forget is likely to stir up a hornets' nest in Spain, but he clearly feels it is time the gloves came off in the fight for Ronaldo.

He is sick of Real's antics and contrasted their arrogant and dishonourable behaviour with that of their bitter rivals Barcelona and Europe's other top clubs.

"Great clubs, clubs with great morals like Barcelona, have far better morals than Real Madrid will ever have," he added.

"We know Real Madrid aren't the only club who'd be interested in Ronaldo, but the others don't come out and say it.

"Do you not think we've had much interest from the big clubs in Europe about our best players? Of course we have, but they don't get into the nonsense Real get into. They've no moral issues at all. They think that they can ride roughshod over everyone, but they won't with us."

I like this story so much, I'll also mention the Telegraph version to bring out the nuances of another slice of classic Fergie:

Ferguson had become increasingly irritated by Real Madrid's public flirtation with Cristiano Ronaldo. And when he returned to Manchester after a long, draining and delayed flight from Moscow and saw that the Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, had reminded Ronaldo that "slavery was abolished a long time ago", his temper went.

"You get used to Madrid's performances on these things," said the Manchester United manager.

"Ronaldo has four years left on his contract and then Calderon makes this great statement that slavery has been abolished. Did they tell Franco that? Jesus Christ."

Even if Ronaldo demanded to be sold, it is unlikely that Ferguson would want to do business with Real. "In terms of clubs, there are some who have great moral issues, like Barcelona [a club persecuted by Franco because of their separatist, Catalan roots] and they have far more of a moral standing than Real Madrid will ever have," he said.

"Madrid have no moral issues at all. They think they can ride roughshod over everyone but they won't do it with us..."


Blogger J. B. Hood said...

The event was nicely captured by ESPN's Richard Jolly:

"Real's high-profile pursuit of one right winger named after another (Ronald Reagan) drew a rare mention, in a footballing context anyway, of a third (General Franco) from a disgruntled Govan trade unionist, Sir Alex Ferguson."

June 05, 2008


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