For all of the Eric Cantona and Zlatan Ibrahimovic comparisons, it now seems that following Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, Ibrahimovic has gone one further than the Frenchman; the Swede is now officially bigger than the club. It’s got to the point where it has become embarrassing for United, and the team that runs the social media channels.
It’s non-excusable to not pick up three points at home, against a side in the bottom half, who are only playing with 10-men. If you want Champions League football, you have to win these games; United have failed… again.
Who was the villain this time? Elbows aside, the villain was Zlatan following the No.9’s failure to convert his spot-kick. With the former PSG man coming out after the game, and taking responsibility – so ‘honourably’ – for the dropped points, United social media channels had this response to their top scorer…
The whole publicity around the situation shows how United conform to the Swede’s demands. What would happen if that was Jesse Lingard missing a penalty? If the Englishman took responsibility for dropping points, there would be a witch-hunt out for the Red Devil; not the main social media channel publicly pandering to everything he does.
As we’ve all heard over the years, from countless Sir Alex Ferguson quotes “no individual is bigger than Manchester United”, just ask the likes of Roy Keane and David Beckham about that. However, it seems this doesn’t apply to Zlatan. The Swede has become such an asset that the cards are in the striker’s hands; United don’t hold the aces. That will become even more clear, when the Red Devils hand the No. 9 the two-year contract that their striker is demanding.
Had such demands been delivered from previous players – particularly at the age of 35 – they would have been told by either manger or the board to make their way for the exit; Robin van Persie, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand to name a few.
"I never wanted to leave Manchester United'
– Robin van Persie pic.twitter.com/ZVnUPBee3O
— DARDI (@dardishala) April 22, 2016
Of course, you can come to the defence of Zlatan; that at his age, these comparisons weren’t contributing what the former PSG man is at Old Trafford. However, United should have never allowed such a big personality to dictate their policy, but they have allowed it, by embarrassing themselves on social media, and being strung along in a contract dispute by a bloke who is nearer 40 than 30.
The trio of Evra, RvP and Rio were just as adored by the Old Trafford faithful, and had all contributed far more to the Red Devils than the Swede. Yet, due to social media, due to marketing players, and a branding identity rather than a footballing one, the Swede has outtrumped all three Manchester United heroes.
Another player who was shown the Old Trafford door after thinking he was bigger than the club was Jaap Stam. But, how many United players make his dream XI…