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‘Ronaldo is this generation’s Cantona – he’ll kick-start a Man Utd revolution’

STAN COLLYMORE COLUMN: Old Trafford has felt empty at times in the past few years, even with a 70,000-plus crowd in. But, on Saturday, it sounded like the day Eric Cantona returned following his kung-fu kick ban

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals will make Manchester United competitive.

But it’s his presence and confidence that will give them the aura which will take them back to where they need to be and make them respected again in the way they once were.

Old Trafford has felt empty at times in the past few years, even with a 70,000-plus crowd in.

But, on Saturday, it sounded like it did when I played there for there for Liverpool on the day Eric Cantona returned following his kung-fu kick ban.

Cantona was the man who started the revolution at United and Ronaldo will, at double speed, make them feared again.

You can’t put a price on that.

As a side note on Ronaldo, how good was it to see the emotions his mum, Dolores Aveiro, went through as she watched on from the stands?



Stan Collymore is expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to bag a lot of goals this season
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Image:

PETER POWELL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




She has seen become a man at United, become a legend in Madrid and an all-time great of the game, and then see him win things in Turin and she was still crying her eyes out with joy at everything that happened.

She kicked every ball when she could have just come out from an executive box a few minutes before the end to sake a few hands and show her face.

It was incredible after everything he has achieved and it is the reason none of us should be surprised he’s the player he is.

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While Aston Villa were getting done 3-0 by Chelsea on Saturday, two of their top players — Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia — were training in Croatia in their Argentina kits following the red-list farce of their game in Brazil.

The common consensus among supporters is that Martinez and Buendia love playing for their country, are Copa America champions and fighting for a place to play with Lionel Messi at the last World Cup before he retires.

On each of those points I’m with the players entirely.

The fact of the matter is, though, they are primarily employed, on rather lucrative contracts, to play week in, week out by Aston Villa, not the Argentine association.









So when circumstances are as extraordinary as they have been, FIFA should be yielding to global governments and exercising flexibility and understanding so international teams rather than individual clubs lose out.

Let’s say Villa get relegated in May because they have lost one more game than their nearest rivals.

I’m not saying the outcome against Chelsea would have been different if they’d had those players involved but, likewise, we’ll never know if Villa might have won a point or three.

As a result, clubs will be entitled to feel once bitten, twice shy when the situation rears its head again in three weeks’ time during the next international break.

That leaves them with two options.

They can tell their players not to go and risk FIFA censure, or lean on them to come up with some sort of tactical injury that rules them out, as some clubs used to do with regularity.

I never did like the latter and I don’t want to hear of it now, but in such extraordinary circumstances, I’d get it if they did.



Argentina duo Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia




Players need reminding where their bread is buttered but, as I said, that’s not to say I don’t have some sympathy with Martinez and Buendia.

The problem for players — and especially those who play along way from home — is that even in this day and age of technology and travel, they can feel that out of sight is out of mind, so there’s a pressure on them to travel.

I’d love, therefore, to see FIFA to categorise international fixtures in four ways.

Two of which would see international football prioritised over club football and two of which would be vice-versa.

These would be…

Category A — Major tournament qualifiers and finals.

Category B — Friendly games/camps immediately leading up to tournaments.

Category C — Long-haul friendlies that are just to get an overview of a squad/make money.

Category D — Games played in extraordinary circumstances where there has been an act of God, terrorism, a lockdown etc., whereby it’s simple for FIFA to say, ‘Pick players who are in your country or who you can get in and out on the green list’.

Club managers would be able to plan accordingly, players couldn’t be pressured by club or country to make a decision, and international football would retain for the most part a priority status, which is exactly how it should be.

Otherwise we’ll just be heading for more farce and absolutely no one benefits from the sort of situation Martinez, Buendia, their clubs and countries have just found themselves in.

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Pascal Struijk shouldn’t have been sent off for the tackle that led to Harvey Elliott’s horror injury — in fact, it wasn’t even a foul.

The referee, Craig Pawson, basically reacted to the severity of the injury and not the challenge.



Harvey Elliott suffered a horror ankle injury
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And all of us — refs, fans, players and the media — are going to have to accept there will be more injuries if we are going to have a game that resembles the one we love rather than the non-contact bore-fest of the last few seasons.

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I sent a WhatsApp to a confidante of the owner of my old club, Nottingham Forest, last week — it was read but there was no reply.

Which pretty much sums up why the club is in such a mess and has been for 20 years.

If they’d embraced some of the names they have had over the years then the Forest way could have been maintained, consistency would have been guaranteed and Premier League status earned again.









Instead, it looks like another bunch of amateurs with zero respect for the club’s traditions are in charge with their fingers in their ears and a scrap to stay in the Championship guaranteed.

And the notion of John Terry managing the club after the still-to-be-dealth-with-properly Anon Ferdinand situation — which needs an apology — is almost as bad as the thought of relegation.



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