For many Reds the World Cup means only one thing- watching United players and praying they don’t pick up any serious injuries or become coveted by more tempting clubs.
The latter is definitely the case when it comes to the Reds’ number one, David De Gea, a player who’s not only won more player of the year awards than the club have Champions Leagues, but was also one crappy fax machine away from signing for Real Madrid.
It’s practically a perennial occurrence now, Madrid win the Champions League but have question marks around their keeper, United underperform but De Gea is brilliant and the summer is dominated with talk of a move. Repeat following season.
No matter who many times Real Madrid play footsie with him, De Gea never seems to get a twitch and remains, somewhat surprisingly given his nationality and Los Blancos success, a United player.
With Madrid being linked with Allison there’s even the chance that the rumours could finally be put to bed this summer and we can all focus on getting rid of some of the fringe players who’ve past their sell by date rather than holding on to our one unarguable world class star.
Today’s clash between Spain and Portugal will be the perfect opportunity to see the world’s most prolific attacker face the planet’s most consistent keeper. An unstoppable footballing force meeting a majestic immovable object. Something’s gotta give and my money’s on Cristiano Ronaldo being the one who leaves the Russian field red faced.
De Gea has kept five clean sheets in his last nine appearances for Spain, an impressive if not unbelievable record, while Ronaldo’s record of 32 goals in World Cup qualifying and finals games makes him the highest scorer in the competition.
It’s in the Premier League that De Gea has been dominant, not only winning four out of United’s last five player of the season awards but also keeping 93 clean sheets in his 237 appearances, a stat made even more impressive when you think how the standard of defence in front of him hasn’t always been the best since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
For both teams this is a game where a draw will be a decent result as Spain and Portugal are expected to make up the top two teams in their group as Iran and Morocco make up the rest of Group B.
While both teams boast attacking talent, with Spain still reeling from the sacking of Julen Lopetegui this could be a fixture where the words stalemate, bus and park make unwanted appearances.
If Spain are to keep Ronaldo at bay, there’s no doubt United’s keeper will have to be at the top of his game, but then again, when is he ever not?