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Fergie forced Man United man to join Real Madrid despite desire to sign for Liverpool

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A new instalment of arguably the biggest rivalry in English football is upon us this weekend as Manchester United take on Liverpool.

Both sides have had their glory days at the top with the Merseysiders ruling the land in the 70s and 80s, while the Red Devils were the benchmark in the first two decades of the Premier League years.

A rivalry naturally developed, intensified by the fact Liverpool and Manchester are neighbouring cities.

And it’s so fierce that the two clubs seldom do business together, former Red Devils defender Gabriel Heinze found that out the hard way.

The Argentine defender, who ‘would kick his own granny’, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, attempted to make a direct move from Old Trafford to Anfield in the summer of 2007.

“Gabriel was told, with no ambiguity, that historically Manchester United do not sell players to Liverpool, and vice versa,” Fergie said in his autobiography.

Trouble between Heinze and the club’s top brass had been bubbling not long after he joined Man United from Paris Saint-Germain in 2004.

“After one year he wanted to leave. We were playing Villarreal (in the Champions League in September 2005) when his agent came to see me,” Fergie added.

“Things were never the same after that. The following day he injured his cruciate,” adding that when he returned to action during the 2006/07 season he wanted new terms on a new contract.

“It’s clear he’s a player we like and he’s a very good player,” then-Liverpool manager Benitez said. “That’s the reason why they don’t want him to leave for us.

“We made an offer which they rejected. The lawyers are now working on it and so we have to wait.”

A move to Merseyside wouldn’t be forthcoming but Heinze’s people weren’t about to let things go, resorting to underhand tactics to try and seal the transfer which saw talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan get dragged into things.

Former Crystal Palace owner Jordan explained in his diary Be Careful What You Wish For that Phil Alexander, the club’s CEO, received an approach from someone called James Green who claimed to represent a South American agency called Soccer SA.

The gist of the conversation was that this agent wanted Crystal Palace to buy Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United and then immediately sell him on to Liverpool,” he wrote, adding Palace would be paid £1million in ‘commission’ – a bung in Jordan’s eyes.

Alexander was instructed to inform United chief executive David Gill of this meeting, with the information being used as evidence at the tribunal, which Man United won.

It wasn’t all bad for Heinze, who got a move to Real Madrid later that summer, winning LaLiga in his first season at the Bernabeu.

Letting him go to Real Madrid really demonstrates Fergie’s determination to not give Liverpool anything, having said he ‘wouldn’t sell a virus’ to Los Blancos.

 

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La Liga

Luis Suarez gives Man Utd transfer endorsement after ‘precise’ scouting mission

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Manchester United underwent a precise scouting mission with eyes on Darwin Nunez over the past few weeks.

According to reports, United representatives watched Nunez help Benfica shock Barcelona in the Champions League before specifically watching the Uruguayan the following weekend.

Nunez scored twice in their 3-0 win over international team-mate Luis Suarez’s former club and caught the eye with an impressive display.

It has only strengthened links with a big transfer as United and others continue to monitor the 22-year-old.

And ex-Liverpool ace Suarez, who knows Nunez well as an international team-mate, is clearly an admirer of his ability.

Atletico Madrid ace Suarez has revealed he had already told Barcelona about the striker, in comments which suggest he would endorse a big club making a move.

In an interview on twitch, with Gerard Romero, Suarez said (via Marca): “I already told Barça about him when he was at Almería.

“But I won’t say more because then they accuse us of suggesting signings.”

A Bola have reported that United have returned more than once to the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica to watch the 22-year-old and that scouting mission is likely to continue.

The 6’1 striker can function as a target man, drawing defenders in, but is technically impressive enough to drop deep and link play as well.

It is rumoured Chelsea have now joined the race for the youngster’s signature.

However, Benfica will be in no hurry to sell, having tied down the striker with a contract running until 2025 containing a €105million(£89.3million) release clause. They have already rejected a €32million(£27million) bid from Brighton in the past.

Nuñez’s agent has stirred the rumour pot, recently revealing that he had been in contact with “various top-level teams” about his player’s services.

Lasalvia told FC Inter News: “Darwin is ready to play in any team on the globe.

“Various top-level teams have contacted us, but for the moment the head is on continuing and growing with Benfica and with the Uruguayan national team: this is how important things will come.”

Commenting on Nuñez’s similarity with his fellow countryman Edinson Cavani, he added: “They have a lot of things in common. We’re convinced that Darwin is destined for great things.”

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Varane says goodbye to Real Madrid teammates

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It was announced earlier this week that the French defender is joining the Red Devils in a deal worth £41 million.

Varane leaves Madrid after 10 years with the Spanish giants. The 28-year-old won numerous trophies during that time, including four Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles.

 

Varane’s goodbye message to Real Madrid
Over on Instagram, meanwhile, Varane published the following goodbye message:

“These last few days have been charged with many emotions, feelings that I now want to share with all of you. After 10 incredible and wonderful years at Real Madrid, a club that I will always carry in my heart, the day has come to say goodbye.

“Since I arrived in 2011, together we have exceeded all expectations and achieved things that I could never have dreamed of. I would like to thank all the coaches and all the people who work or have worked at the club for everything they have done for me.

“Many thanks also to all the Madridistas who always gave me a lot of affection and with their great demand they pushed me to give my best and fight for every success.

“I have had the honor of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world. Countless victories that I will never forget, especially “La Décima”. I realize that it has been a great privilege to have been able to experience such special moments.

“Finally, I want to thank all Spaniards and especially to the city of Madrid, where my two children were born. This country will always be special to me.

“It has been an incredible journey in every way. I leave with the feeling of having given everything and I will not change a single thing in this story of ours.

“A new chapter begins …”

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Mason Greenwood risks upsetting Man Utd fans with Lionel Messi opinion

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Mason Greenwood has weighed in on the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate – and Manchester United fans won’t be happy with his answer.

Ronaldo and Messi have been subjected to endless comparisons over the past 15 years, with fans divided over which of the two footballing legends is the better player.

Nevertheless, both of them stake a claim to being the greatest player in the sport’s history.

After scoring 118 goals in 292 games for United, and helping the club win three Premier League titles and the Champions League, Ronaldo sealed a then-world-record £80million move to Real Madrid in 2009 which would define his career.

It was there where the Portugal captain bagged an astonishing 450 goals in 438 appearances, won four Champions Leagues and two Spanish titles and collected another four Ballon d’Or awards to add to the one he picked up in his time at United.

He has also maintained his relentless goalscoring return since joining Juventus, registering 101 goals in 133 games for the Italian club and winning two Serie A titles.

Messi, meanwhile, has cemented his legacy purely at Barcelona, emerging from their youth ranks to score a frightening 672 goals in 778 games.

The Argentinian has inspired Barca to 10 Spanish titles and four Champions Leagues while sweeping up a record six Ballon d’Or awards.

So which icon is the better player? Greenwood, who has scored 29 goals in his first 105 appearances for United, has risked upsetting the Old Trafford faithful with his answer.

“For me, it’s always got to be Messi,” the 19-year-old told United’s website. “For me, he’s just on another planet.

“Ronaldo is obviously amazing, a physical, great athletic footballer.

“But to do what Messi does at his size, what he’s done for Barcelona and winning that trophy for Argentina, he is just on another level.”

Messi clinched his first major trophy with Argentina earlier this month after 16 years of waiting, helping them beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America final.

He and Ronaldo are now tied on one major international trophy each, with his rival captaining Portugal to the European Championship back in 2016.

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