Yesterday, in the press conference prior to their meeting with Barcelona, Manuel Pellegrini made some sensational claims about Manchester City’s stature when compared to United’s. It was the hot topic of the day it would seem, as some of Barcelona’s’ stars also got involved in the debate, none more so than Daniel Alves.When asked about Manchester City, Alves’ reply was honest and not too surprising. “I didn’t know Manchester had 2 teams until 5 years ago” the Brazilian right-back claimed “Of course Manchester United have been one of the most famous and successful clubs in Europe for many years – but I though they were the only one.” Which is quite contradictory to the claims that City are a bigger club than United are. Alves then went on to say ‘When Manchester City got new owners and started buying some of the best players in Europe everybody knew who they were – but until then I must be honest I didn’t know about them’.
It wasn’t just Alves having his say on the matter, United old boy Gerard Pique also gave his two pence to the matter, and put paid to the assumption City can sign anyone they want. When asked by reporters who he would rather join, City or United, he replied “What do you think? If I had to choose one, it would be United.”
Barcelona fans helped rub the salt in the wounds and make Pellegrini’s comments look even more foolish the day before, by completely selling out the stadium tour of Old Trafford and leading the official merchandise salesmen for this evenings game to run as fast as their legs could carry them from Eastlands to Sir Matt Busby Way to flog their half and half scarves and other nick knacks as it was busier there than outside the Emptihad.
The final blow for poor Manuel and his misguided sense of superiority was the result on the night. The“biggest team in Manchester” failing where us small, insignificant lot across the city have previously triumphed. Another night of empty seats (they couldn’t even sell out against Barcelona) and disappointment against one of Europe’s big boys was enough to show Pellegrini and co up good and proper. I’m afraid boys, it’s going to take more than one Barclays Premier League, one FA Cup and three seasons of UEFA Champions League football to be the biggest round these parts.