Manchester United’s South American Reds: Hit and miss

Manchester United have announced that the club has an agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk to sign Brazilian midfielder Fred. It is likely that the player will go on to represent the red side of Manchester like many South Americans before him. However, the South Americans that came before him, didn’t have the smoothest careers at Old Trafford. Some have been a success whilst others have been failures. MUFC Latest takes at some of the best and worst South American signings United have made.

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Juan Sebastian Veron

The Argentine arrived in Manchester from Lazio for a fee of £24.3 million. Sir Alex Ferguson brought in Veron to be an anchor in a midfield three which would also consist of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane. However, this did not go accordingly as the United midfielders struggled to adapt to a new midfield structure. Veron also struggled with the tempo of the English game. He did considerably better in the Champions League due to the European tempo that existed in most matches. Unfortunately, during his second season with the reds, he sustained an injury that would go on to be an ongoing problem throughout his career.

After just two seasons in Manchester, Veron was sold to Chelsea for £15 million in 2003. Many fans and pundits alike will consider Veron a flop at Manchester United. After being a record signing for a non-UEFA player, the Argentine failed to live up to his hype. However, he obviously gained respect from Sir Alex Ferguson. Answering critics, the Scot said: “Veron is a fucking great player and you’re all fucking idiots!”

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Diego Forlan

The Uruguayan joined Manchester United in January 2002 from Independiente in Argentina for a fee of £6.9 million. Unfortunately, Forlan’s start to his United career did not go as expected. The striker featured 13 times for United in the Premier League and five times in the Champions League. However, the player failed to score a single goal during his first season at Old Trafford.

Furthermore, the next two seasons from Forlan improved his stature at the club as the goals came in. The Uruguayan managed to score 17 goals in 98 appearances for the club. Although still not an amazing goal record, however, some of the goals he did score were important for the club. Some of these goals include an 85th-minute winner against Southampton and a 90th-minute winner against Chelsea. Overall, the striker contributed six goals during United’s successful 2002/2003 Premier League Winning campaign.

Though still not considered a successful signing by critics and fans, Diego Forlan’s name still gets sung at Old Trafford today. The Uruguayan scored two goals against Liverpool away at Anfield in the 2002/2003 league campaign. The Mancunian giants won the game 2-1 as Forlan went down in United folklore. Forlan has spoken out on his chant which goes; “Diego woah, Diego woah, he came from Uruguay, he made the scousers cry.” He said every time he hears the song it gives him goosebumps.

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Carlos Tevez

The Argentine was definitely a successful signing for Manchester United. However, his success at Old Trafford is overshadowed by joining local rivals Manchester City and being open about his bitterness towards Sir Alex Ferguson.

The player originally joined Manchester United on a two-year loan deal from West Ham United just in time for the 2007/2008 season. Almost immediately, Tevez came across as a player that Sir Alex Ferguson desired to sign on a permanent deal. Tevez formed one of the best attacking lines the Premier League has ever seen alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. The trio inspired United to a Premier League and Champions League double in Tevez’s first season at United. The striker contributed to 5 goals during the successful European campaign and scored the first penalty of the shootout in the final.

Near the end of his second season at Old Trafford, doubts about his United career unfolded. United failed to sign Tevez on a permanent deal and he joined Manchester City for the 2009/2010 season.

Obviously, it is hard for United fans to see Tevez in a positive way but whilst he wore the United shirt his quality and effort cannot be knocked. He’s certainly a one that got away for United fans.

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Antonio Valencia

The Ecuadorian was brought to Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson in June 2009. Although United did not win the league in his debut season, Valencia was an immediate success. In his first season at the club, he won the League Cup but also got into the PFA team of the year. The right-sided player is going into his ninth season at Old Trafford and remains a vital cog in Jose Mourinho’s team. After wearing the captains arm-band a number of times under Jose Mourinho, the player is one of the most experienced in the squad. Should United challenge for league in the coming season, Valencia is expected to be a regular starter.

One of the reasons for Antonio Valencia’s long-term success at Manchester United is his ability to operate as a right winger and at right back. Valencia is as equally effective in both roles either in attack or defence. Valencia’s main attributes are his aggressive style of play, his physicality, and his pace. These attributes allow the Ecuadorian to get forward and cause problems on the attack but also allow him to get back and be solid as a rock defensively.

Although arriving near the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s spell at Old Trafford, the player has still enjoyed a decorated career at the club. Valencia has won the Premier League on two occasions, in the 2010/2011 season and the 2012/2013 season. He has won one FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and most recently the Europa League. Valencia is expected to be a stalwart in United’s side for another few years and would hope to add to this success.

Written by Shane Purcell

Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez: Once Manchester United’s lethal attacking trio

Cristiano Ronaldo the man who has done it all, Wayne Rooney the legend and Carlos Tevez, the controversial yet versatile striker. These three players were a part of something majestic at Manchester United as they dominated European football from 2007 to 2009.  When you remember these players, you recall the days when Manchester United had a fear factor about them.

The opposition knew what they were about before every game. But guess what? You could not stop them as they were lethal in every way, as such they hurt teams with their world-class ability. Thus, throughout this literature crafted with the utmost finesse, I will be explaining why these three players should be considered one of the best attacking trio Manchester United ever had.

Who is Cristiano Ronaldo? Well, that is like asking who the Queen is for football fans across the globe. The man who is on the mountain looking down on all others, the kid who Sir Alex Ferguson signed in 2003, the Manchester United Legend. Whatever he may be in your eyes nothing beats the fact that he is one of the best players who have ever graced the game of football. George Best once said about Cristiano Ronaldo;

“There have been a few players described as ‘the new George Best’ over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”

In 2008 while at Manchester United Ronaldo won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the first time crowning him the best player on the planet at the time. In addition, in his tenure at United; he scored 118 goals in 292 appearances in the process becoming somewhat of a folklore for Manchester United, as no one forgot that night in Moscow.

In steps the man they call ‘Wazza’ known to many as Wayne Rooney. What can I say about this man? I mean he has earned his spot apart of the three-headed dragon and as a Manchester United legend. When Rooney his not scoring otherworldly goals, he can be seen tearing up the Premier League and finally destroying Arsenal as usual. As the day he caught the eye of football supporters was when he ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run with an absolute gem of a goal. Apart from

Apart from being the all-time leading goal scorer for Manchester United with 253 goals in 559 appearances Rooney not only scores goals as a striker, but his expert passing ability coupled with his vision added dynamism to the Manchester United attack. I mean I know every Manchester United supporter remembers his bicycle kick against Manchester City as Martin Tyler said, “It defies description”. All good things must come to an end, but never will the legacy be forgotten.

Carlos Tevez one of the most controversial players in football but also one of the most talented. Tevez to Manchester United fans will be viewed as a good player who contributed his part to the past success of the club. How do I view Carlos Tevez? I see him as the gutsy one in the trio, the one who is most adaptable, the most aggressive and that my friend is a nightmare for defenders. No defender enjoys facing a tenacious striker who is like a Viking who fights to the death.

In his time at United, he scored 34 goals in 99 appearances, but it was the importance of Tevez goals that made him a very important player for Sir Alex Ferguson. To jog your memory Tevez produced a moment of magic on April 19, 2008 when Manchester United were behind and slowly losing grip on the title race to Chelsea, Carlos Tevez met Scholes’ flicked header and beat Brad Friedel, who was in Godly form on the day to keep United kicking in the hunt for the title.  Carlos Tevez or as I call him the ‘Red Viking’ as he is a warrior on the football pitch.

The most beautiful thing was seeing these three football geniuses playing together. It was the interchanging of positions between Rooney, Tevez, and Ronaldo that made the trio not only spectacular on the eye but devastating in front of goal. Every United fan remembers the 2007-08 season when these three players conquered Europe and planted the United flag in Moscow as an Astronaut would do as he landed on the moon. Who was the striker at the time? No one!

It was more like a dragon with three heads attacking from every angle and all the heads were just as lethal. This trio style of play was not like the old-fashioned structured style of play, it was more fluid where players were given more creative freedom to attack and show their hidden talents. What happens when you give geniuses tools to boost their work? It makes them more effective, more efficient and in turn, it helps make whatever process you are doing way easier.

That is what happened when Sir Alex Ferguson crafted a formation to suit these three players to express themselves, and might I say that is the roots United need to go back to if they want to be the feared Manchester United from the past. In their time at United, these players brought back the Champions league to Manchester, won back to back Premier League titles and the FIFA Club World Cup amongst other honours.

Also, not to forget but they scored goals upon goals throughout their partnership. In the end, will we ever see another trio like Rooney, Tevez, and Ronaldo?

Written by Ricardo Edwards

copyright: JW