Sport

Manchester United’s Robin van Persie blasts UEFA over ref choice after Champions League exit

By Alex Bysouth

Robin van Persie has blasted ‘cowardly’ Uefa for supporting the Turkish referee he blames for Manchester United’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid.

United were ahead in the second-leg tie at Old Trafford, and led Madrid on aggregate, before Luis Nani was shown red by Cüneyt Çakır for a challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co went on to score twice and put Madrid through, but van Persie holds Uefa and Cakir responsible for the Red Devils’ exit.

“The worst thing is that Uefa supports Cakir,” van Peris told dutch website Ad.nl. “That’s cowardly, because I really don’t understand it.

“Why don’t they just be honest and say, ‘He hasn’t seen it?’ I didn’t understand before the game that this man would be the referee.

“Such an unknown referee who hasn’t been in charge of a big game for months – even the guys from Madrid told me afterwards that it was not a red card.”

Nani had played a big part in United’s opener, as Sergio Ramos turned the winger’s cross into his own net, but saw red less than ten minutes later.

A seemingly innocuous challenge from Nani on Arbeloa saw Cakir reaching for his pocket, before ten-man United succumbed to Luka Modric and Ronaldo strikes.

The decision infuriated United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and van Persie is convinced it cost the Old Trafford side a shot at European glory.

“That red card was heavily unjustified,” added the Netherlands international.

“It was not even a yellow card or a free kick. Nani couldn’t do anything about it, he hardly touched Arbeloa.

“Real were not dangerous at all and I’m sure we would have kept our position. So now it’s all about the title in the Premier League.”

Image courtesy of Sky Sports, via YouTube, with thanks

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