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Why Nani And Chicharito Were Perfect Choices

For the past few years, picking the Manchester United player of the year has been a fairly easy job. The star man usually easily stood out. Whilst we could always commend the team effort, there was one player who was the obvious choice.

Ahead of the awards last night, you had no idea who was going to win. We put a poll up on RoM which weighed up the pros and cons of a handful of selections.

Nemanja Vidic ran away with it, with Van der Sar second and Chicharito third. Vida has been our most consistent player this season, playing at around an 8/10 for most of the season. Van der Sar had sentimentality on his side, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact he’s had yet another great season for the club. The one blip was that drop against West Brom in the only home game we dropped points. Not too shabby for a whole season. When you compare that with how many match winning saves he’s made, from positions and against shots you never could have expected it, it’s hard to argue he wouldn’t have been a worthy winner.

However, I don’t think I could be happier with the winners of the players awards this year.

Chicharito didn’t get in to the starting team until later on in the season, so it makes sense that he is more at the forefront of the fans’ minds, given his recent success. He has scored some hugely important goals and has had the best début season from a United striker since Ruud van Nistelrooy. When you consider Ruud was an established striker in Holland, scoring 62 goals in 67 league games for PSV, winning two league titles in three years, it makes young Javier’s season all the more impressive.

When you look at his season, the longest he went playing without scoring a goal was four games. Looking at the last five games where he scored, there was the opener against Chelsea in a 2-1 win, the winner against Everton, the opening goal against Chelsea in the Champions League, a goal in our 4-2 come back against West Ham, and both goals in our 2-1 win over Marseille. In his last three months of the season, he has scored 7 goals in 15 appearances, 12 of those were starts.

It’s not just what he adds to the team though. The lad is just fucking adorable. Whether you’re prepared to admit the man crush or not, that kid is just so damn likeable. He celebrates like he’s scored in a cup final with every goal and is so humble. Every time he is praised in an interview, he quickly deflects that to his team mates, and reiterates time and again that the most important thing is the team winning. In a day and age when it’s so easy to be cynical, when even your biggest heroes let you down, he’s like a breath of fresh air. I realise that sounds corny and maybe I come across a bit infatuated but I love this kid. He has all the makings of a United legend and it seems like the majority of our fan base agree!

Nani wasn’t one of the players reds were talking about over the past couple of weeks, but we were united in our outrage of him missing out on the PFA and FWA nominations a few months earlier. Why? Because he was far and away the most effective player in the league. You could prove this with stats, looking at how many goals he had scored and assisted, which put him head and shoulders above the likes of Bale and Nas-er-i. In 32 league games now, he has 18 assists and 9 goals. That is phenomenal. When Wayne Rooney was handing in his transfer request and playing badly for the first half of the season, Nani was our creative outlet, who lead the line and the carried the team through difficult patches.

Week after week in my match reactions he was one of the first players I spoke about, thanks to his brilliant contribution. I don’t think he’s ever going to be that popular amongst our fans. He’s a soft arse and that is irritating. But that doesn’t change that he’s one of the most crucial elements in us winning the title this season. When Chelsea imploded following the sacking of Ray Wilkins, it was vital we took advantage, and we did, with a massive thanks to him.

After being great for so long, Nani melted at Anfield. He assisted their second goal then got his shin ripped open by that scouse cunt and when he came back in to the team, Park and Valencia had returned. Tony can’t play on the left, meaning Nani gets shifted out there, despite him being so much better on the right. Then Park gets chosen ahead of him for the big games because of his incredible work rate and ability to step up to defensive duties. All these factors combined have seen Nani’s form on the decline, with him looking more selfish in games, so desperate to do something magical in one of the limited appearances he has, his confidence taking a knock at being left out of the team, as well as being on his less favoured side of the park.

But to be up there, making such a massive contribution from August to February, has to be recognised and applauded. The fact that his team mates voted for him, without him being the most popular man in the dressing room and being left out of the team for the past couple of months, speaks volumes. This is a team of winners and Nani was singled out for their praise. As happy as that makes me for Nani, it’s also nice to see such sensible voting from our players.

“I voted for Nani,” said Fletcher. “Earlier on in the season when people have mentioned about our form not being there Nani was winning us games and was a constant threat, either creating or scoring goals. Later on in the season other players took over and found a bit of form, but up until well into January and February Nani was the real inspiration. I had to give it him for that.”

This season, we’re more of a team than I can remember. After being told repeatedly by the media that they are the worst United side in years, they’ve clubbed together, grafted, and shown as much fight and passion as any of our previous sides.

That said, someone had to be chosen for the awards, and I’m very pleased it was these two. Whilst Vidic was arguably more worthy, he doesn’t need some club award. He’s had it before and I can’t imagine it made much of a difference to his game. I think Chicharito and Nani will love to feel appreciated by the fans and team mates though, so I’m chuffed to bits for them both.

Well done lads!

Mr Chico

This post is brought to you in association with ‘Champions League Final Tickets‘.

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. ClaytonBlackmoresTan says:

    He’s Chicharito,
    He’s Chicharito-o-oh
    Plays for United
    But from Mexico.

    The boy is a fucking revelation on and off the pitch, so very much like Ole when he talks to camera- he is just so fucking chuffed to playing for us- I knew SAF had an eye for a player but fuck me running didn’t he do well…

    Nani? Exactly right, never gonna win a popularity contest but fuck me when the boys on song and cuts inside the full back you expect the net to bulge (which is remarkable considering how selfish he’s been in the past although last season v the Gooners was the turning point to the level of success he had this season)

    All we need now to make us complete…. is a modern day Russell Beardsmore….ha! If for nothing more than the New Years day volley against the Scousers circa 1989. Tidy.

  2. Dominik says:

    I`m so happy about the point, that Chicharito won an award.
    Reading different sources it seems like no United player voted for Chicharito……

    So great he received the award by United fans.

  3. shebangsthedrums says:

    @ ClaytonBlackmoresTan – Nice post, even better moniker!

  4. Ibrahim Affelay says:

    May i add, the boss should be praised for the way he handles chicharito in terms of his media appearance, interview etc. by doing that, chicharito does not have to feel the enourmous pressure being put on his shoulder and of course the boss is always right and we reap the rewards handsomely

  5. nani4ever says:

    That Chica is absolutely brilliant what a impact for a first season, a with the bargain we got him for you have to tip your hat to Sir Alex and is scouting network. I’ve to admit i’m not a berba fan but would be totally biased to not acknowledge is great contribution to the first half of the season and his temperament throughout.

    But to me and i’m not being biased but NANI has to be the man his performances has been sparkling the whole campaign and yes he as had a little dip for a couple weeks, but we all have to remember that the spectacular form that he’s playing at didn’t start this season but was from jan 2010, so he as been brilliant for a long time but this season he as really stepped up a notch this campaign with all those assist, but most astonishing is all those goals he scored with is left foot which is weird because he prefers to play on the right side and when he’s on the left he doesn’t seem to but in the ball as well as on the right so because of that i think there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

  6. King Eric says:

    Why the moniker “Ibrahim Affelay” out of interest?

  7. Ibrahim Affelay says: favourite player in Football Manager?

  8. ClaytonBlackmoresTan says:


    Nice one mate- it’s funny, the whole time I was typing about the Little Pea I had a vision of him slow-mo beating his chest after raping the Rent Boys early doors- maybe he’d seen your superb moniker too;

    Pea Bangs the Drum.

    Take it easy fella ;o)

  9. King Eric says:

    Fair enough mate!!

  10. Devil310 says:

    I feel slanted

  11. StatesideAussie says:

    @willie … “The first half of the season, when Rooney was fucking around with transfer requests, It was Berbatov and Nani, that was our constant outlet for goals and assists.” Absolutely right. How easily some people forget, eh?

  12. bahrainired says:

    good article but im disappointed to see it sponsored by a touting website

  13. Clint-IamYourPapii says:

    I Admit It

    I Do Have A Man Crash On Chico

    Its similar to how a teenage girl loves Justin Timberlake (United fan :D )

    The Boy is beautiful physically & Footballistically & Emotionally…

    .its difficult not To get attached to players (rooney,ronaldo, becks, tevez aswell)

    But Hopefully The boy does Nothing wrong & has a great career with us.

    While Im at it I might Aswell Admit my other Man crushes;

    Edwin – (the name, the ability, the accent, so cool & collected, doesnt seemed phased by anything)
    Rio & Vida – (strong real men, reminds me of myself)
    The Twins – ( two little cute teddy bears that women love, my special lady wants both to cuddle like kids :lol: )
    Scholes & Giggs – Ginger prince & giggs curly locks, beautiful human being, As time passes Love grows :lol:
    Valencia – similar reason to rio&vidas
    Berba – The Man is Oozes Class, looks like a italian gangster
    Carrick – I like him for some reason I’ve always defended him :P
    Wes Brown – Another Ginger Prince :D

    No Homo :)

  14. King Eric says:

    Whats with the font?

  15. scan74 says:

    If the ginger prince stays on i still feel our main signing will be a creative midfielder

    really do think a schneider or modric will be the main target in the summer

    dont think the focus will change weather scholesy stays or sadly decides to call it a day

    weve started silly season early boys with all this transfer talk we need to save it for the barren summer months!

  16. Ibrahim Affelay says:

    i feel italic

  17. soren says:

    I just want to say that puts a smile on my face when I see him play. :) And it’s a very mature guy, a great example for the kids in my country. WE LOVE YOU JAVIER!!

  18. willierednut says:

    StatesideAussie – Cheers mate. And true. I’m feeling sea sick with the slant posts lol.

  19. musvn says:

    well, now Vidic got the player of the year award from Premier League. So we’re all even and happy. I cannot be more agreed with the two award for Nani and Chicharito. I think this award compensated for Nani because he supposed to get what Bale had got. Though, I do think he dropped form after Anfield incident though. That was one of the reason. The second, I think, has something to deal with Nani’s claim that Sir Alex wouldn’t let him play freely. I think Sir Alex from then on let Nani figure out himself which is better for him. And as far as things go at the moment, I feel Nani dribbles more frequently and of course loses possession more than before. He is also benched and gets subbed a lot due to the way he plays – as wished – is inefficient and therefore lost place to Park and Valencia. So hopefully he learns his lesson and understands why Sir Alex wants him play as instructed.

  20. Marq says:

    This season was about different players stepping up at the right moments.

    Earlier in the season, Nani was unplayable, Scholes was majestic and Berbatov was banging in the goals.

    While the 2nd half of the season Giggs was dictating the play, Valencia tearing down the right, Rooney creating things and Hernandez finishing the touches. And the only constant was probably our defence, Van der Sar, Vidic and Smalling have been immense, while Evra has been consistant, without being spectacular.

    Credit to some other players as well, for coming in to fill the gaps, albeit just. O’Shea, Gibson, Kuz, Brown, Owen and of course Fabio and Rafael, filling in at full back and wingers. Park, Anderson and Rio also came back to add some energy at the final stretch.

    This season was truely a team effort, and let us applaud them.

  21. Marq says:

    My bad, forgot the water carrier. Carrick. Quietly efficient

  22. kel says:

    Full agree! I must admit Nani is not very well liked by the fans, i not sure why. But he does is a decent players. He is humble off the pitch. I remember watching the interview Scott had with him, it change my thoughts on him. He was above everyone except Berbatov early in the season when like you say, Rooney was demanding a move away from the club and playing badly.

    Vidic is a stone defense and fully deserved what he gets and im so glad he stay at this club, i do feel that he doesn’t need all this to show what he got.

    Nani deserved more for his consistent play early in the season which makes a great contribution to the team. Having seen his post celebration after winning the league last week, he was so happy touching Rooney head, in the dressing room shooting the campaign on other players. He just like what he is 4 years ago. Anderson is another lad i like as with him, Nani and Evra our dressing room is so fun, add that to Da Silva brothers!

    Thanks for the article! A good and well recognize that Nani will get.

  23. kinyasa says:

    Oh my! I hope they are keeping you well away from the boys at the monastrey. :D *stiches


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