By Chung Mi Hyun
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the Bible says, “love is patient; love is kind.. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs”; and John Powell said, “the only love worthy of a name is unconditional.”
Some Manchester United fans have this great, unconditional love towards their team. Undoubtedly, this loyal support has always been a source for a team’s continuous success. However, full acceptance of faults sometimes leads to lack of improvement.
After Nani was sent off in the match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, which United lost 2-1 and thus ended their Champions League campaign, there has been a huge controversy over whether it was the right decision.
Amongst those who think it was wrong, some blame Cuneyt Cakir, the referee, for their defeat.
However, Nani clearly deserved a red card. It was a very dangerous foul, possibly injuring Alvaro Arbeloa severely. His leg was even more outstretched that that of Nigel De Jong in the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. De Jong then got a yellow card and Howard Webb, the referee of the match, was criticized for not sending him off directly.
Considering Nani’s foul was even more brutal, the referee was not unfair when he gave a red card. As Roy Keane said in his interview after the match, “whether he meant it or not is irrelevant. It was dangerous play [which meant a] red card”.
Perhaps it might be right to say that there are some referees who would have shown a yellow card instead for this dangerous play. Nevertheless, his attitude after the foul should not be neglected; it was not favourable towards his team, either.
After he almost injured Arbeloa, he just laid down on the ground and pretended to be severely injured rather than helping Arbeloa get up, or apologizing to him. As soon as he saw a red card, however, he got up as if the card was a great panacea that even cures a deadly injured person.
By this horrible diving, he not only failed to show it was not his intention, but also broke the rule. “Laws of the Game” by FIFA for the years of 2012 and 2013 clearly states that “attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)” is considered unsporting behaviour, and unsporting behaviour itself can result in the yellow card already.
The best kind of love is unconditional; however, when it becomes blind support, it can sometimes make a player think that mistakes are not his own fault at all and thus be less motivated to make up for his own weakness, which in this cased ended up with an unwise and improper foul that resulted in defeat.
It is not good for the team, either. The fact that the only player who scored against Diego Lopez was Sergio Ramos should be remembered; there was no other Manchester United scorer from kickoff until the final whistle.
It might be too late to accuse Nani of this defeat, but criticizing players will undoubtedly help the team better, making them motivated to improve and learn how to score in the future, than blaming Cakir for the right decision he made.