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Manchester United Ready for Yet Another Real Madrid Mugging!

Spanish side look to pounce as Sir Alex and Mr. Vidic appear to at odds.

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Sports - September 15, 2007

Nemanja Vidic was never a loss to the diplomatic corps, to judge from his suggestion once that Manchester’s “main attraction is considered to be the timetable at the railway station, where trains leave for less rainy cities”.

He tried to retract the quote, but no one bought his disclaimer then and they certainly would not buy it now, not even if he came into training with an “I heart Manchester” tattoo or one proclaiming “United for life”.

Vidic’s mysterious withdrawal from the team to face Leeds United in the FA Cup has brought bubbling to the surface what those at Old Trafford have feared for a while: that, despite denials from his agent, the defender wants his own train ride to sunnier climes. A place like Real Madrid, for example.

His head has been turned and repeated demands for a new contract, even though he was given a big pay rise in November 2007, have begun to sound less like negotiating positions and more like ultimatums.

Now, not even Sir Alex Ferguson is attempting to hide the growing rift, declining to give an explanation for Vidic’s absence on Sunday. It is rare that the United manager chooses to expose an internal dispute to further probing from fascinated media and disgruntled supporters. We can deduce that his patience has run out.

As Vidic is likely to discover, the way of fans is to turn quickly on those players who show even the slightest hint of hankering for a move. But, in this case, terrace disgruntlement may not end there.

To lose one player to Real might be regarded as unfortunate; to lose a second so soon after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure would be interpreted as carelessness, even if United showered both players with medals and good salaries — everything, in fact, apart from Madrid’s glamour and sunshine. (Times Online)

Manchester United fans, and indeed the club’s backroom staff, must be sick to the back teeth of Real Madrid. After taking the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and David Beckham off their hands they then managed to unsettle Cristiano Ronaldo enough to give Sir Alex Ferguson no choice but to accept the large bid offered by the La Liga giants, it seems now that the Spanish club is doing its best to make the most of a strained relationship between the Old Trafford side and Nemanja Vidic.

The Serbian has been a shadow of his normal self this season and quotes coming from his wife appear to suggest that all is not well in the Vidic household and Manchester United will do well to keep a lid on this speculation and the club will be desperate to keep such a naturally gifted centre back.

Ferguson will do all he can to avoid another football ‘mugging’ by the Bernabeu side but it could be tough to keep a player who’s head appears to have been turned. At the same time Sir Alex will not stand for any attempts by the former Spartak Moscow man to try to get himself yet another improved contract.

Manchester United have had a few defensive nightmares this season and with a crippling injury crisis putting even more pressure on the back line the need to keep Nemanja is even more paramount, not least because Rio Ferdinand appears to lurch from poor form to injury at an alarming rate.

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