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Unhappy Benitez Talks Nonsense About Fergie, Gerrard & Ronaldo

Ferguson BenitezThe game of the season is upon us. United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford. It is the first fixture I look at when the match days are released at the beginning of the season and for the weeks preceding that match I feel an odd combination of sickness, excitement and nerves. No result compares to the brilliant feeling of getting one over on the dippers, but equally, the frustration and sadness that comes with losing to our hateful rivals cannot be measured against any other defeat. So as we get closer to “Grand Slam Sunday”, or whatever those mugs at Sky Sports are calling it, the feelings of anticipation, excitement and dread are heightened.

Rafa Benitez, the man who has been comically hailed by dippers as bringing about the “Rafalution” at Liverpool, has today spoken out about Ferguson, in a bid to sway the referees in his favour. In his reign as Liverpool manager, he has played against United 8 times. Of those 8 games, United have won 6, drawn 1 and lost 1. Out of the 21 league points on offer in those matches, United have picked up 19, Liverpool just the 1. Is it therefore any wonder Benitez is looking for all the help he can get?

Following the poor treatment of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Premiership, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken out several times asking for better protection of his young winger. As the most fouled player in the Premiership last season, and part of the most fouled team in the Premiership this season, Ronaldo has also asked for the same thing (contrary to the false claims Wenger was whinging about a couple of weeks ago).

Ferguson has criticised the referees who allow the opposition to get away with fouling Ronaldo very vocally, going as far as saying referee boss, Keith Hackett, was not doing his job properly.

Today, Benitez has claimed that Fergie was making these statements simply to get the rub of the green in Sunday’s match against Liverpool.

“Ferguson is clever, that is clear,” Benitez said. “After a difficult game, he was talking about referees and before an important game (against Liverpool) he is talking about protecting Ronaldo. The referees, though, have experience and they will know Ferguson. This kind of treatment must be the same for all the teams and all the players. I wasn’t surprised last week to hear what he was saying. I just want to go into the game with the same situation as the other team.”

He acknowledges Fergie is a clever and experienced man, but claims Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard need as much protection as Ronaldo. This is a rather odd claim, considering Ronaldo is currently the 4th most fouled player in the Premiership, whilst Gerrard and Torres don’t even make it in to the top 20 most fouled players. In fact, Liverpool don’t have a single player in the top 20 most fouled, but I’m sure Benitez isn’t making this comments about his players needing protection with the intention of getting the ref on side.

“Ferguson is very clever and has a lot of experience,” he continued. “I don’t know what he was thinking about exactly, but if you need to protect Ronaldo, you also need to protect (Fernando) Torres and (Steven) Gerrard and all the skilful players in the league.”

Who will come out on top on Sunday? Fergie or Benitez?

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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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12 Comments

  1. Chris Evans says:

    What are you talking about? Firstly, why should any player get more protection? And secondly, if Ronaldo is higher on the list of players getting fouled, surely the referees are acknowledging it. Gerrard and Torres may well get lumps kicked out of them as well, but the fact that they aren’t in the top 20 means they aren’t getting the protection. Your article holds no logic

  2. jsos says:

    Chris, you are talking bollocks. Get a cup of coffee and then reread. Scott isn’t saying any player should get special protection, he’s commenting on Benitez’ rant that Fergie is trying to sway the refs. The fact that Ronaldo does, indeed, get fouled more often doesnt show that refs are acknowledging his fouls more… law of percentages, to have more fouls seen means on average you have more committed against you on the whole.

    Who will come out on top on Sunday? Well Fergie is always above Benitez no matter the scoreline ;) . But, I reckon the mighty MUFC takes the points

  3. Dexter says:

    IfFergie tries too hard to get refs onside it could end up turning against him, he is lucky he isn’t banned and fined for his teary outburst last week. Maybe players do need more protection but to single out one player for extra protection is pathetic, whatever protection is offerred to players should be across the board. Too much more of this shite and football will be without contact, may as well and go watch a training game.

  4. Matthew says:

    Why should Ronaldo get protection – what about the poor fella he next tries to head butt?

    Fergie knows that a lot of thug have come through his system. Big mouth should put his own house in order first.

    Who’ll ever forget Rooney ‘the dipper’ making his obscene kung-fu tackle against Pompey. Neville trying to kick Reyes out of the match few years back. Scholes ‘he cannot tackle haha’ trying to cause damage.

    Let’s hope the Ref does his job Sunday – as they do in CL, and that way the cream may well rise to the top.

  5. Chris Evans says:

    Law of percentages?! Haha, you’re talking out of your arse! Anyway this arguement is six of one half a dozen of the other. But above all, you can’t deny Fergie plays mind games!

    Read this article.

    http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8742_3269824,00.html

  6. mark says:

    the poor fella, you mean because he got banned for 3 games for barely touching him

  7. Dro says:

    Learn how to multiply (3×8=21? idiot…)

  8. jsos says:

    Chris –

    “Law of percentages?! Haha, you’re talking out of your arse!”

    Is that a rebuttal? Hmm. And to your only point, yes, Fergie does play mind games. Well noted. To add, grass is green. Water is wet. And United are top.

  9. Tom F says:

    Predicted line-ups?

    TC
    JO
    WB
    NV
    PE

    CR
    DF
    MC
    Anderson?
    Nani

    WR

    Sub:

    BF
    GP
    PS
    RG
    CT

    I agree Scott, the thought of losing to these is sickening. I have a friend who’s a Liverpool supporter and I have had the bragging rights loads over the last few years… Long may it continue :)

  10. Tom F says:

    yeah yeah.. TK not TC :(

  11. Scott the Red says:

    Dro – one of the 8 games was an FA Cup game. Idiot.

  12. gamaney says:

    buuu,rafa is talking nonsesse,fergie knows wht he talks guys tkc

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