Manchester United let down by their own stupidity
Paul Scholes is one of the highest-paid footballers in the world, with the 36-year-old wrecking ball reportedly earning more than £4 million per season. Despite the handsome salary, Scholes committed the kind of foul you’d expect to see in a park game as Manchester United crashed to defeat against Manchester City in the FA Cup.
Scholes’ studs-up, thigh-raking challenge on City defender Pablo Zabaleta came with United chasing the game, after Yaya Toure had taken full advantage of Michael Carrick’s dreadfully misplaced pass early in the second half.
Carrick is another of United’s highest earners, although neither he nor Scholes come close to drawing the astronomical salary Wayne Rooney pulls in.
If you’re to believe the various wage-earner lists drawn up by the media, only Cristiano Ronaldo earns more than United’s enfant terrible Rooney, with the perpetually grumpy English striker purportedly paid more than twinkle-toed Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Yet, while Ronaldo and Messi were both slotting home penalties as Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Barça in La Liga over the weekend, Rooney was looking forlorn as he sat disconsolately in the Wembley stands.
After launching a foul-mouthed tirade down the barrel of a TV camera following a recent hat-trick against West Ham, Rooney seemed surprised to be handed a two-match suspension by the English Football Association, which resulted in him missing one of United’s biggest games of the season.
That Rooney thought it necessary to swear so egregiously on live TV should come as no great shock.
The surly savant has been mollycoddled his entire life, to the point that he actually believes criticism in the newspapers and from the stands justifies the massive persecution complex he lumbers around on those broad shoulders of his.
And what Rooney has in common with Scholes is a manager in Sir Alex Ferguson unwilling to discipline his players for their constant misdemeanours.
Scholes had only just returned from a two-match ban for accruing ten yellow cards during his side’s league campaign, only to see himself pointlessly sent off for yet another challenge which didn’t need to be made.
It just goes to show that no matter how much a player is paid, you can’t put a price on stupidity.
And while neither Rooney or Scholes deliberately tried to disadvantage their own team through their respective brushes with authority, their reckless individualism ended up costing team-mates dearly and no doubt had United fans tearing their own hair out.
So it is that Manchester City march on to face either Bolton or Stoke City in the FA Cup final, and won’t it be refreshing to see a different name on the trophy this year?
City made the most of United’s generous defending in a predictably tense semi-final affair, but they looked the better side for long periods and no doubt deserved to go through.
I just wish I’d kept up my own football career, for no other reason than I wouldn’t mind earning a hefty sum of money for being entirely useless in an FA Cup semi-final.
I can’t pass, can’t shoot, can’t tackle and I don’t think I’ve ever once made a decisive, defence-splitting pass in an entirely forgettable park footballer’s career.
But I can swear like a trooper, when required, and thigh-grazing tackles are somewhat of a speciality.
That’s the kind of behaviour you’d expect to see from a hopeless amateur like myself, but when it comes to two of Manchester United’s highest-paid stars, their stupidity has let their team down badly.
Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he has settled in Brisbane and has been a Roar columnist since December 2008. Follow Mike on twitter @Mike_Tuckerman
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