Sport

‘World will realise the truth’: Referee blamed for Manchester United’s European exit stands by decision

By Paddy von Behr

The man behind the controversy surrounding Manchester United’s Champions League exit on Tuesday has publicly defended his decision to send off Nani.

Turkish referee Cuneyt Çakir dismissed the winger in the second half of their tie against Real Madrid, which allowed the Spanish giants to punish United’s ten men.

But, despite taking the majority of the blame for the Red Devils’ exit, Çakir dismissed claims he made the wrong decision on the night.

“I feel good and I do not doubt my decision,” he told AS. “Nani’s red was correct. The world will realise the truth over time.”

The red card – given for a dangerous high boot on former Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa – sparked instant debate among pundits and on Twitter.

Ex-United midfielder Roy Keane was blasted for agreeing with the decision and his views were echoed by legendary referee Pierluigi Collina.

Çakir’s account on the social networking site was located and a number of anti-English conspiracy theories arose.

This was not helped by the fact the Turkish official had sent off John Terry and Mario Balotelli – during his Manchester City days – in previous fixtures.

However, Çakir was once again prepared to defend his decisions and hit out at critics for blowing the situation out of proportion.

“In previous games with English teams, no decision was unfair,” he said. “What was a wrong decision? Is it the Terry red or Balotelli?

“It gives me a sense of sadness. I don’t think about it. I received more criticism sometimes, but I always got up and went on. I can do it again.

“I’m trying to do my job properly and in the good way. I have to go on, doing my job right.”

United will have to bounce back from the disappointing defeat when they face Chelsea in an FA Cup sixth round tie on Sunday.

Picture courtesy of ITV Sport, via ITV Player, with thanks.

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