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COMPETITION: Win a Juan Mata Spain shirt

Spain’s provisional 30 man squad has been announced and two United players are involved.

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Reina, De Gea

Defenders: Azpilicueta, Piqué, Ramos, Jordi Alba, Alberto Moreno, Javi Martínez, Albiol, Juanfran, Carvajal

Midfielders: Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Koke, Iturraspe, Xavi, Thiago, Pedro, Navas, Silva, Cesc, Mata, Cazorla, Iniesta

Forwards: Costa, Villa, Torres, Negredo, Llorente

Thanks to, RoM has a Juan Mata Spain shirt to give away.

Mata shirt

Simply follow @SoccerPro on Twitter and RT this.

Martin from Wicklow, Ireland, won the Robin van Persie Holland shirt.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Off topic, but I can’t deny you guys the pleasure of reading an absolutely brilliant article on just how overrated Steven Gerrard is. LOL.

  2. ashtheking says:


    Really! Carrick a better footballer than Keane. Are u serious?. God damn we miss footballers like Keane in our midfield. I can bet even a 35 year old Roy Keane would have showed more passion than our rest of midfield combined. Carrick was a very good midfielder but he never reached keane’s level. Give me a Keane in his peak and I would take him In a Heartbeat.

  3. OpikBidin says:

    Carrick, Makalele, Yaya Toure are a better fit.

    games has changed, I think Roy Keane would see more red cards now, and will be a liability, trying to cover all the ground by himself.

    The success after the barren years was incredible. The barren years still had Roy Keane, and the success of Carrick-Scholes combination is there to see.

    The thinking of replacing “like with like” is the problem, no person is exactly the same.

  4. OpikBidin says:

    The player needs t function in the team, if he can’t perform the function, the team will be disorganized and lose.

    That is what Carrick provides, discipline and playmaking, while Roy Keane is just about passion. it’s the same like Gerrard and Lampard. Players who have ability, passion and heart but doesn’t have the brain and discipline.

    There is no coincidence We controlled the game more with Carrick-Scholes in midfield and Carrick was the best CM against Ecuador when Carrick, Gerrard and Lampard played together.

    Roy Keane would just run around, chase and tackle and be bypassed around. no positional discipline whatsoever.

    I don’t need passion, I just need players who can do what they need to do.

  5. ashtheking says:


    So you think carrick is the sole reason we are successful. And we Erie never witnessing a barren run during Roy keane’s era, only in last few years of his career we finished 3rd and 2nd when Chelsea were winning , but that was more to do with our team was also shit. Still even in those team the way he was leading our team was fun to watch. Keane joined united in 1993 and for next 10 years with him we won plenty of championships , so don’t know how can you say we were having barren run.

    As for red card goes, you know scholes was also prone to red card but that doesn’t make him any bad player, does it. Don’t know what you are talking about. The reason players like carrick can never be as great as Roy Keane or scholes is because today’s player like to play safe game. Look at carrick, he is so defensive in his approach, doesn’t try anything new. Look at vidic, he got many red card but he was a fighter. A fighter always gets himself a red card and I for one would take a fighter, a leader than some pussies who just shy from doing anything new and just sit in their comfort level.

    Roy Keane any day any era any league was, is and will be a better fit and player to a carrick or even a Yaya toure.

  6. OpikBidin says:

    You don’t see Carrick in his prime. A deep lying playmaker who can do both offensive and defensive. Yet SAF turned him to be just a DM, restricting him to be in just one zone. That is the reason he didn’t go further.

    You can look at his magical long throughpasses (I think he’s one of the best, I don’t think Scholes or Keane can do this), or longpasses to the wing (good, even not as great as Scholes).

    Look up Carrick when he wasn’t tied down by SAF. he isn’t as good as Scholes, Keane, Gerrard, Lampard, but he has his own qualities that make the balance of a good team, and is much more needed.

    In the heat of the summer, in a tight European game that needs discipline, in a game where you need a magical pass to unlock the defense, in a game where you need to shut out the game and control the tempo, I would take Carrick in his prime over Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes and Keane.

  7. ashtheking says:


    Lol you are contradicting yourself. On one hand you say carrick is not as good as scholes and Keane and then say I would take carrick over scholes and Keane. So you must be making a team of mediocrity then.

    Look I am a fan of work of carrick. When he was made the scapegoat I defended him but even in his prime he was nothing world class. Scholes in his proem was a world class player and same with Keane. The problem with Carr I’m was he was never a goal scorer or nor that great at providing assists, his best season was last season even then he wasn’t something world class. The thing is carrick performed well even with his limitation. That’s his level. A very good player who can perform real well in his comfort zone. I would take a carrick of prime over a FELLAINI or Parker or Barry but not scholes or Keane.

    Comparing carrick with scholes or Roy Keane is like comparing chicharito with Fat Ronaldo. Those guys are world class. Keane , scholes in their prime would fit into any team. It’s not just my opinion, ask many great footballers they will say the same. Carrick is good no doubt but not at he level of scholes or Keane.

  8. Chris says:

    It’s official; Opik has to be a WUM.

    Carrick a better player than Keane, a better passer than Scholes? Really?!! Christ on a bike, he will be telling us that Moyes is a better manager than SAF next.

    Carrick has always a decent, steady player but not even close to being world class whereas there wasn’t a team in the world who wouldn’t have wanted Keane in their side when he was in his pomp.

    I’ve got nothing against Carrick but there is something seriously amiss if he is your best CM which has been exactly the case these last few years.

    Absolutely bang on about Keano v Juve in 99; that was the most selfless performance from a player I have ever seen; if it wasn’t for Roy there would have been no treble.

  9. Chris says:

    That is a classy interview from Vida by the BBC, he’s going to be greatly missed.

  10. Chris says:

    Imagine a midfield three of Keane, Scholes and Yaya, fuck me that would take some stopping!

  11. Chris says:

    And yes; I do covet my neighbors cow in the form of Yaya Toure; should have got player of the season IMO, how we could do with somebody like him at United.

  12. ashtheking says:


    Not only Yaya but here were many decent players available from 2009-2013. We could have signed sneijder, robben,van der vaart,Yaya toure,mata, silva, modric, isco, etc etc. these are some quality players we missed out on and we were more busy in signing Owen, young, overtons of the world. There no shame in going and spending 30 millions Oman quality player. Look at hue reward we got for spending 25 millions on RVP, same we will see from mata. We are a top club who should spend money on quality players.

  13. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Opik, there really is no point in me wasting my time arguing against your point that Carrick is a better player than Scholes and Keane.

    It’s like you’re from a parallel universe and you see everything the complete opposite to everyone else.

  14. John says:

    There is bit of experience of being in club for years would always be essential so someone in the ilk of carrick on the bench can be important! However, if we are to sign quality proven player in carricks’ position then personally I will have no problem should woodward ship him out along with Valencia, Young and Felliani. Don’t know why exactly but I never felt Carrick as a proper United type player!

    Re Ferdinand, I agree with Roy Keane! Its not as if Chris Woods, P. Neville, ferdinand and even Evra as well were in shadow re their contract situation. I just find it unfair to club the manner one of them chose to earmark some journo on how they were let known bearing in mind Woodward is a one man show handling both business and football side of the club. Its obviously could have handled in a better way but anyway he informed them personally instead of them learning about it from press.

    On the other note, won’t be surprised if Van Gaal is announced as our manager along with or just around the announcement of couple of terrific signings.

    The delay surely is not to do with members in backroom staff argument between few players of 92 Vs van Gaal choices.

    Imho woodward should redress as David Gill used to do in SAF era and concentrate on business side of club and handover the football side keys to Van Gaal completely and keep faith.

    C’mn, they handed the keys to even Moyes last summer :) :) I like Van Gaal more as he knows exactly what he wants and how he wants it and precisely why!! I think its the reason he has not given an inch just to be manchester united manager. The way he is still open to other clubs show clearly that he knows himself well enough and how football world works. He, of course, wants to retire as a success BUT without compromising on the threats ofhis philosophy. It all suggests he is EXACTLY the manager we need. :)

    We have 3 quality players in class of 92 he has 9 or 10 in Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern combined! It speaks volume.

  15. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Opik – so keane was found out against guys like makalele? ok then, lets look at the champions league finals 2009 and 2011, didnt xavi and iniesta expose carrick? if we are going down this road. Carrick did not transform us, he helped us, but it was guys like VDS ferdinand vidic evra scholes fletcher giggs ronaldo rooney all came together, which helped carrick.

    Also if you followed the madrid years after makaelele left, they were old, the main players carlos beckham figo zidane ronaldo raul were all in their 30′s, or coming into their 30′s, beckham was the youngest of them all at 28. And they’re squad after the big names were mostly kids, and the Madrid backline was a joke, go look through the madrid squad of 03/04, they had the galacticos an ageing bunch, and a bunch of kids. That is why they collapsed, nothing to do with makelele leaving

  16. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Opik is talking nonsense. Keane was in the twilight of his career when Chelsea became a force between 04-06. Keane had overcome serious injuries throughout his career and had constant injuries through out his past couple of seasons at United.

    The whole United team was approaching the end of an era and was the middle of transition period with players like Ronaldo needing to grow and Vidic and Evra not yet purchased. To claim Keane was found by Makalele smacks of stupidity. Keane was far superior player to Makalele in his prime.

  17. Mark Reid says:

    Opik not even close rent some DVDs of Keane playing and then come back and post.

  18. Tommy says:


    “That is what Carrick provides, discipline and playmaking, while Roy Keane is just about passion.” You really know nothing about if you think all Roy Keane was about is passion, he was a world class footballer, who read the game as good as anyone, You dont dominate Zidane like he did in 99 with just passion alone, so stop talking shite

  19. Tommy says:


    That midfield would be unstopable, Opik would probably prefer a midfield 3 of carrick, anderson and darren gibson though lol

  20. Tommy says:


    The first 3 you mentioned im not fussed on, ive never rated sneider, hes had 1 good year in his career and for 250k a week, no thanks, Van der vaart has fitness issues, he never lasts 90minutes in a game and Robbin is a one trick pony, cut in on his left all the time (Admiddtedly better than our current wingers) but the others you mentioned are bang on the money should of signed (Or in Matas case much cheaper)

  21. Tommy says:

    Also I must say Roy Keane is the only footballer past or present that has had the ability to make all others around them up their game, ive never known anybody else like him past or present, for a decade he was the first name on SAF team sheet before Cantana, scholes, giggs, beckham stam and the rest, the reason why he was the first name on the team was because he was the most important player, probably in the whole of the Sir Alex era, and to say Carrick was more important than Keane and Scholes does not surprise me with you Opik (You claimed we should sell RVP and Rooney to play Bebe and Welbeck) but it once again proves you talk complete bollocks

  22. united till i die says:

    I sure wish we would just fucking appoint van Gaal it get this shit over and done with. This is turning into another fucking clusterfuck by Woodward. Absolutely no reason for this to have dragged on this long

  23. ashtheking says:


    Let’s go back to 2009. We had just lost Ronaldo and Tevez and replaced them with Valencia, Owen and Oberton. And Hargreaves was injured so we needed players. Now you call robben a one trick pony, then what will you call tony Valencia :D . Anyday robben would have been better than Valencia and I don’t like robben personally but robben any day would have been better.

    sneijder and van der art at that time would have been a good buy for cheap. We were in pole position as Real Madrid would have given any amount for Ronaldo so had we asked 60m + these three or even two of them we would have been in a better position. Also every signing need not be for future , look at rvp, instant success. That’s what sneijder and robben would have bought. If robben is a one trick pony then Valencia is the biggest pony.

  24. Tommy says:


    Robbins not my cup of tea, A good full back deals with Robbin easily unfortunatly United are lacking in good full back and just let him do what he wanted against Bayern, cut in on his left and hit in, rediculously poor defending. I really dont think Sneider or Van Der vaart would of done anything here especially Sneider, in 2010 he had a good year but thats it, he was poor before then and has been poor since hence why he is now playing in Turkey. Van Der Vaart did ok at Spurs, not great, not poor, but hes always had trouble completing games, by half time hed be knackered thats why hes done nothing at a really big club

  25. Tommy says:


    I think we should of signed players, and by all accounts its my understanding that Sir Alex tried to sign Modric, infact he asked arry about him on a weekly basis, but Levy wouldnt sell so he definatly tried to sign players

  26. ashtheking says:


    Again all these three were a better option than what we had. That’s my whole point. Look at our squad even now, we lack pace. Robben would have been really a good fit.

  27. Tommy says:


    Id of prefered others but of course its hard to pick players that wouldnt get in our team at the moment, Im dusting off my boots and waiting for the call for next season lol

  28. samuel - united WE stand says:

    ”deals with robben easily”.. and how many of these fullbacks have actually dealt with him completely.. he’s been playing nearly a decade at the top level and most still couldn’t handle him.. he is a world class match winner.

  29. Tommy says:


    Thats my opinion, his right foot their just to stand on, he cuts in on his left all the time, are you telling me world class full backs havnt sussed him out yet? Of course they have, he wasnt particularly great in english football, likewise in spanish football, John O Shea spent a decade playing at the top level, is he world class? What he is thouigh, is a world class cheat, sorry ive got no time for him, he wouldnt have had a kick against Dennis Irwin in his pomp now thats a fact just like he didnt have a kick against ashley cole and wouldnt have had a kick against a maldini or a cafu!! Simple as that, I dont rate him but if you compare him to our wingers then thats a different story lol

  30. samuel - united WE stand says:

    keane and carrick.. two different types of players in their style and demeanor…. carrick is a more quiet efficient footballer.. intelligent, aware, great passing range but was never dominant.. he controlled games against some top players in the most metronomic way but he is the type to do his role with minimum fuss and not for the highlight reel.. i think people underestimate his presence in the success of the club.. he brought composure and some class to balance out the attack. he’s had a top career at this club. keane is a different type.. not the most technically strongest but he could still play.. box to box, pretty dominant in his presence.. a top class player who gave balance to the footballing genius of scholes.. i think scholesy is more talented overall than both, neither could reach the levels of the ginger man. IN conclusion, all 3 have had superb careers and contributed in their own ways.. all 3 are not similar but yet effective.

  31. Tommy says:


    Keanes technial ability is underrated, between 1999 – 2001, Keane was the best midfielder in the world, that is without question and you dont do that by being lacking in the techical department, ask Zidane if Keane lacked technical ability

  32. samuel - united WE stand says:

    tommy – all players have their strongest foot and his just turns out to be the left peg and yet if he needs to use the right, he will do so.. most fullbacks know what he will do, they know he will jink into the left foot and not many can stop him.. he can play on the right, left or drop centrally.. he is an unpredictable player and his contributions over the years in terms of goals, assists have proven that.. defenders know what he will do but he is rarely stopped.. he is not one dimensional at all.. one of the most skillful technicians of a ball in the game. Your comparisons of the level o’shea played at with robben is baffling.. the ulsterman was a journey man at united, never cemented a position, never looked brilliant in any and never made big impacts in the game consistently.. playing at the top level is not enough, the analysis of a true world class player is their consistent match winning impact and robben trumps most players..

    he didn’t play long enough in the PL anyway but he was still one of the best players.. a lot of great players have not succeeded in this league, it’s not necesarily a yard-stick to judge their overall talent. you mention all these past fullbacks but these are all hypotheticals as robben has not played against most of them but let’s deal with it in the form you have and say he did.. robben would have found a way past them and they would have found ways to stop him.. it will likely be a 50-50 contest and that’s just due to the quality of these fullbacks. Robben may be a cheat, he is no different to everyone else. football is not a game for the saint.

  33. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Samuel – Robben was one of the best wingers in the world, or is one of the best, we missed out on some steller signings, we could signed WS and robben and played a 4231 formation of

    carrick fletcher
    nani WS robben

    What a team that could have been, and united would have retained the title in 2010, but still the players we have signed between 2009 to 2013 most of them were quiet average, kagwa smallen and jones could have been great signings, hernandez was a great signing for the price, and RVP DDG what signings they turned out to be. Apart from that, we signed some garbage during that period

  34. samuel - united WE stand says:

    tommy – i don’t think lacked in the technical side.. he was very ggood but i don’t think he matched some others.. i don’t however think that stopped him from being amongst the top central mid.. i think keane’s role wasn’t neccessarily for the glamour anyway.. he really gave that composure and dominance needed for others to play.. a very important player.

  35. Tommy says:


    What keane did do which I have not seen from any player since is he had the abillity to make players around him play better, Unbeliable quality to have and back in the day he would of been at the top of every managers wishlist that I have no doubt

  36. samuel - united WE stand says:

    DWT – true.. i guess you could say the glazers took advantage of the fact fergie got on with it, didn’t rock the boat and with hhis managerial talent, he has managed to squeezed more out of the players.. robben would have been a great signing but think he turned united down when he was at psv so might have blown his chance with fergie.. sneidjer seemed sketchy.. a lot of speculation but no concrete movement, did fergie want him? but overall, the team you put out there would have romped the PL and given it a good go in the CL. pity. I think united will build again and be the dominant force it can be.. the younger players are developing well both in the reserves and on loan.. januzaj for example is racking up experience and will be a force to be reckoned with.. the world cup place will build his confidence.. i think the club will be doing the transfers and it is important the right caliber of players come in to blend with the younger players..

    The basis are there for another great side.. hopefully the right man is in charge.

  37. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Tommy – keane’s leadership qualities and drive were incredible on the pitch.. he did drag his team mates with him and even inserted some of the fergie like respect into them.. i think his presence was immense on the pitch.. patrick veira is a huge presence, so to go toe to toe with him for so many seasons has to be commended.. a brilliant player but with a madness or two.

  38. Paschal Agwunobi says:

    Robben is too good.its not easy to deal with him,not even the best full back can handle him. You think he was one trick pony like valencia..answer is NO. Funny valencia was bought to replace Ronaldo,lol

  39. Tommy says:

    @Paschal Agwunobi

    Still harping on about Valencia replacing Ronaldo, Ronaldo is irreplaceable, Valencis was signed to play on the wing, he was not signed to replace anybody, You dont replace great players, you buy someone to play in their position simple as that, so stop talking nonesence

  40. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Tommy, I have to admit I think Robben is a quality player. It sounds simple saying just show him on the his right foot, we all generally know what he’s gonna do, but he shifts the ball so quickly he’s so hard to stop. He was quite inconsistent at Chelsea, but no doubt he’s been one of the best wingers anywhere in Europe over the last decade. And absolute handful and better than Ribery in my opinion who was far less threatening against us over 2 legs than Robben.

  41. steven jackson says:

    Robben is what an ideal winger should be. Am sorry to say one can mark him, he’s to fast with his dribbles, he dazzles and makes his markers look foolish. the ball is glued to his legs ,his movement is terrific.I try to watch some of his clips, to learn certain things.Robben is on another planet, he’s mesmerizing.

  42. ashtheking says:


    And how stupid we didn’t go for robben but went for Valencia

  43. Fletch™ says:

    Face it lads, After Tevez and Ronaldo, Sir Alex just lost interest in battling Prince of Sheeba type personnallities. Don’t think we would ever have gone for Robben.
    Robben is just too disruptive if you have to bench him. Just my opinion?!

  44. Paschal Agwunobi says:

    @ashtheking: exactly, we didn’t go for him, a world class dribbler like him, instead we went for a substandard headless chicken in the form of valencia… and later we got ‘the new messi’.. Aka A.young..lmao hahahahaha.

  45. Neil Moore says:

    We went for Robben till Kenyon fucked us over. Even his old man wanted him to join United.

    As for Keano he was also a quick great short passer, snapping balls into players feet. An absolute tour De force.

  46. Tommy says:


    You dont know if we tried to go for Robbin or not, anyhow Valencia was fantasic when he first came, 2 of the first 3 (With the other spent out injured with a broen leg), Pep even called him the best winger in the world and he got the United player of the year, The 2 years Rooney scored over 30 goals, Valencia was the man supplying the balls to him, yep we have got his twin brother playing now because hes turned into a totally different player, but I never heard people say why did wwe sign him during his firs few years


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