1. Should Nani have seen red?
Roy Keane believed the referee made the right call but his ITV colleagues, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate, both felt as though yellow would have sufficed. Former referee Graham Poll believed an English official would have simply cautioned the winger but did admit that elite UEFA referees would not have been surprised at the decision as the players safety is paramount. While it is true that Nani kept his eye on the ball at all times his leg did catch Alvaro Arbeloa just above the hip. Referee Cuneyt Cakir does not have the benefit of slow motion replays and at full speed it looked like a dangerous challenge. It was also not a snap decision, he waited, may well have received advice from his fellow officials, and then brandished the red. It is the sort of challenge that divides opinions but I'm sure UEFA will feel it was the right call.
2. Is Rooney's United career coming to an end?
Sir Alex Ferguson has never been shy of making a big decision. Ten years ago David Beckham was dropped as United prepared for a crucial tie against Real Madrid; last night it was Rooney that suffered the same fate. Roy Keane questioned whether the "writing was on the wall for him" and Danny Welbeck received plenty of plaudits for his performance. At 27-years-old, Rooney still has plenty of years left at the very top but would he be remain happy if he was no longer considered first choice? United have excellent options in Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Welbeck who have all excelled this season. Rooney has previously handed in a transfer request and perhaps the striker would consider a move if his chances became limited. As Ferguson has repeatedly shown, he has the ability to rebuild and Rooney's influence may just be starting to diminish.
3. Welbeck starting to fulfil his promise
Danny Welbeck's performances in the two legs against Real Madrid have gone a long way to show just why Ferguson has shown such faith in the raw talent. His electric pace, intelligent runs and superb link up play with Van Persie was a joy to behold. When the Dutch striker was signed it seemd Welbeck was now fourth choice but in United's biggest games of the season he was called upon and he did not let his manager down. When United looked to counter, Welbeck's decision making was superb, whether that meant dragging defender away with superb runs or neatly combing with the midfield to string together an attack. His willingness to track back and help out defensively is also an aspect of his game that will delight Ferguson. If he can begin to show a ruthless streak in front of goal then he will have a long and successful career ahead of him for both United and England.
4. Mourinho's charm offensive
Before the second leg Jose Mourinho said the "world will stop" to watch this game. He suggested these two teams were deserving of a place in the final and lavished praise on Ferguson's side by suggesting they've already tied up the league. After the game, despite seeing his side show great character to come from behind and win, he continued to commend the Premier League side. "Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn't deserve to win but football is like this," was the response of Mourinho after the game. Never normally one to remain humble, you have to wonder if this charm offensive is designed to get him in the good books at Old Trafford. Perhaps he fancies taking over from Sir Alex when he eventually decides to call time on his historic career or he was seeking more positive press from the British journalists. What seems clear is that Mourinho would love to return to the Premier League, and sooner rather than later.
5. Modric can be a success at Real Madrid
In a recent poll in Spanish newspaper Marca, Luka Modric was voted the worst signing of the season after failing to replicate the form that made him a superstar at Tottenham. In his 35 appearances he had scored just one goal and had made little impact when starting games. However, when introduced against United his ability to find pockets of space, and work in the tightest of situations made a huge difference. As United began to drop deep, he controlled the play and found a stunning effort to level the tie. Before the introduction of Modric, Real had struggled when faced with a wall of defenders, even Cristiano Ronaldo seemed perplexed. The Croatian gave them a different option. With Kaka's powers fading, perhaps it will be Modric that steps up and plays a major part as Madrid go in search of a tenth European Cup.
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