Nani’s Red Card. Need I Say More?

6 Mar
ouch

ouch

Let me jump straight into business here. The referee was the instigator this time. Not just any instigator, but THE hardcore instigator. The drama brewed in the pitch, overflowed to the post-match press conferences, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean all the way to The Stilettos of Fútbol. In tonight’s decisive clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid, all hell broke loose in the 56th minute.

Let’s look at the events leading up to the incident. It is no secret that prior to this match, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and Man U coach Sir Alex Ferguson did not hold Turkish 36-year-old insurance agent and football referee Cuneyt Cakir in

their highest opinion. They were not shopping buddies or anything of that nature. Instead, they have a history of disagreement and resentment. Back in the Champions League group stage last year, Cakir “incorrectly”declared Real Madrid’s winning goal against Borussia Dortmund an offside. So, Mou really doesn’t like him. Prior to last night’s match, Cakir had officiated two Manchester United matches, in which Man U had failed to prevail. The Red Devils lost to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League and tied against Benfica in last season’s Champions League. Fergie publicly hoped for a “third time lucky.” Well, you can guess that now Sir Alex now hates Cakir to death.

The first half was pretty boring in terms of drama. Both sides had few shots, and the game was mostly played in the midfield. There’s a recent tendency for the matches to get all nice and juicy in the second half. Tonight was no exception.

Three minutes into the second half, Ramos committed an over-the-edge, disastrous, and mortifying act of social suicide. He scored an own goal. Poor guy. His foot deflected the ball right into the net. DLo (Diego López) was not prepared for a shot from his own man, so he just saw the ball go right in.

Ramos committing social suicide

Ramos committing social suicide

DLo doesn't even want to look at what's happening.

DLo doesn’t even want to look at what’s happening.

You bet that forced Mou to take drastic action.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the drama erupted eight minutes later. Cakir gave Nani a red card for a high and clumsy challenge on Álvaro Arbeloa. Now, the question is, was Nani’s foul worthy of a red card or not? I’m not telling you what to think, I’m merely putting the facts out there and leaving it up to you to decide. Here are the images. The link has the gif, video, and we will discuss the second gif in a bit.

Ouch

Red card for challenging Arbeloa

Sir Alex was sooooo over the Cakir. He even stopped chewing his gum for two seconds. He pushed his assistant to the side and ran to the pitch to go crazy on the refs. I think he wanted to stretch his gum as far as possible and strangle Cakir with it.

Oh heeeellllllll to the no

Oh helllllll to the no

Fergie smack talking

Fergie gets loud on the assistant

Don't even start with Fergie

It’s soooo not over

Let’s take a look at Nani’s class. His admirable reaction had me shed a tear. I kid you not. Even the guys around me ordered me a sympathy drink. Unlike Víctor Valdés and Ramos, Nani did not call the refs every name from A to Z. Unlike Gary Medel, he did not kick a chair on his way out. Instead, Nani raised his shirt a bit to give a glimpse of his abs to all the ladies in the world and dejectedly left the pitch.

Nani keeps it classy

Nani keeps it classy

Regardless of the validity of the red card, Cakir’s decision completely redirected the course of the game. Some claim that it even influenced the final score. However, Nani is a winger, and wingers are not in charge of blocking the opponent’s offense. But many times wingers need to play a defending role (corner kicks). Either way, it is pretty demoralizing to have only ten of your men on the field, especially after such a nerve-altering move by the referee. Real Madrid then coincidentally unleashed its title-thirsty fury.

Three minutes after Nani’s expulsion, Mourinho switched Arbeloa for Modric, who hasn’t really been shining this season. Real Madrid desperately needed to redeem Sergio Ramos’ social suicide. Mou made a good move, because seven minutes after Modric’s entrance, the Croat leveled the score with a daring shot. If you felt a light breeze on your cheek after this goal, it was most likely Ramos’ sigh of relief. Modric’s feat rescued the Merengues from an eighteen-minute misery.

I kept thinking, "Will he go for it? Will he go for it?"

I kept thinking, “Will he go for it? Will he go for it?”

He obviously did.

Di María has Puyol doing the splits. Modric has Evra covering his man bits.

Modric goes from flop to fab

Modric goes from flop to fab

Just as I was telling the men next to me at the sports bar how cool it would be for Ronaldo to score, along came that slide. CR7 netted Gonzalo Higuaín’s perfect pass with a turf-destroying slide. My shins would be scarred for life if I even attempted half that slide. My friend in the American Midwest, who can care less about fútbol, even sent me a text saying, “That Ronaldo goal was legit.” However, Ronaldo declared that he was a “bit sad” over tonight’s score, because his goal practically eliminated Manchester United from the road to the Champions League title. Eurosport yahoo calls it the saddest goal ever to clinch a European tie. It was definitely a bittersweet victory.

Ronaldo risked his baby smooth right knee.

Ronaldo risked his baby smooth right knee.

Check out Ronaldo’s respectful “celebration.”

Ronaldo was "a bit sad."

Ronaldo scored the determining goal in both matches against Manchester United

Back to the red card dilemma. Fergie was irate. Like, too upset to even appear at the post-match press conference. Instead, he sent his assistant, Mike Phelan, who voiced the team’s feelings about the referee’s decision being unfairly harsh and overly penalizing. This will get Fergie sanctioned, because the UEFA requires that every coach appear show up to the post-match press conference. But, could he have gotten even heavier sanction had he appeared and most likely berated Cakir? And, will Ferdinand also be sanctioned for his sarcastic applause of Cakir when the match ended?

Oh, and did anyone see this?

I wonder what Fergie has to say about this….

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