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Nani says Ferguson made him curb flair

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11:37 AM ET 03.26 | Manchester United star Nani has suggested Sir Alex Ferguson does not encourage his players to feel free to express themselves. The Portuguese winger has matured into one of United's most creative forces this season, but admits he has been forced to curb his natural flair. "I grew up playing in the street with my friends, and I did not have any responsibility," said Nani. "It was just pleasure, fun, playing only for ourselves. Something of the street always remains, that is natural, but it is not easy to show at United because Sir Alex does not allow very much freedom. I cannot do the tricks and things I did with my friends."

Daily Telegraph

Nani, Getty  Images Nani, Getty Images
March 26, 2011  12:05 PM ET

BABA BOOEY!

March 26, 2011  12:42 PM ET

I don't think Ferguson necessarily frowns upon creativity or flair. But you better be able to complete a simple pass and do other fundamental things extremely well before you start trying stepovers and Cruyff turns. Nani, much like Cristiano Ronaldo before him, used to spend far too much time trying to make a spectacular play rather than the right play for that moment. Like Ronnie, Nani has learned how to balance that desire for showmanship with that need for efficiency, although I will readily concede he is nowhere near Ronnie's level.

March 26, 2011  12:45 PM ET

Xabi 6:16 Then Capello commanded, and they brought Xabi, and cast him into the den of the Three Lions. Now Capello spake and said unto Xabi, Thy Mesut whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
Xabi 6:17 And a goal was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and Capello sealed it with Joe Hart, and with Daddies Sauce; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Xabi.
Xabi 6:18 Then Capello went to his palace, and passed the night with bong rips and cheetos: and his sleep went from him.
Xabi 6:19 Then Capello arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of the Three Lions.
Xabi 6:20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Xabi: and Capello spake and said to Xabi, O Xabi, servant of Mesut, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the Three Lions and allow you to score 27 goals on my defense?
Xabi 6:21 Then said Xabi unto Capello, O Fabio, live for ever.
Xabi 6:22 My God hath sent Angel di Maria, and hath shut the the Three Lions' mouths, that they cannot defend me: forasmuch as before him awesomeness was found in me; and also before thee, O Fabio, have I pimpslapped your CB.
Xabi 6:23 Then was Capello exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Xabi up out of the Wembley. So Xabi was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because de Jong is not English.
Xabi 6:24 And Capello commanded, and they brought those men which had doubted Xabi, and they cast them into the den of the Three Lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the Lions laid waste to the wives and children, and brake all their bones in pieces with horrible tackles and yet still the Lions did ever come at the bottom of the Euro qualifying group.

March 26, 2011  12:48 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Then Capello went to his palace, and passed the night with bong rips and cheetos

This probably happens more often than we think.

March 26, 2011  12:53 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

This probably happens more often than we think.

He did give the armband back to Daddies' Sauce...

March 26, 2011  12:54 PM ET

And besides, if you were condemned to serve as manager for Engerland (see Prometheus), it's almost part of the gig.

March 26, 2011  01:02 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I don't think Ferguson necessarily frowns upon creativity or flair. But you better be able to complete a simple pass and do other fundamental things extremely well before you start trying stepovers and Cruyff turns. Nani, much like Cristiano Ronaldo before him, used to spend far too much time trying to make a spectacular play rather than the right play for that moment. Like Ronnie, Nani has learned how to balance that desire for showmanship with that need for efficiency, although I will readily concede he is nowhere near Ronnie's level.

Wait, you mean that repeating a quadruple stepover isn't better than passing to a wide open man?

March 26, 2011  01:09 PM ET

Flair attracts hard tackles. Ask Ronaldo.

March 26, 2011  01:29 PM ET

After watching Sounders last night, here's what I can take away from the team three games in:

-Erik Friberg is legit. He passes the ball as well as anyone in the league and gets into space quite well. He was all over the pitch last night. I like him more and more.

-Sounders are a much better team with Steve Zakuani on the field. He was their most dangerous player last night. If he improves his crossing ability, he's in the Premier League by this time next year.

-O'Brien White is deceptively quick. I was surprised by how quick he got to the ball a few times. He hasn't scored yet this season, but he'll get his this year. I can't believe Sounders got him for nothing.

-Three games in and Sigi Schmid has yet to figure out his best XI. Granted, he hasn't had the luxury of having everyone healthy, but I find it troubling that A) Alvaro Fernandez didn't even come on as a sub, and B) the team actually improved when Nate Jaqua came on. (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). I can't fault the defense because they've kept the club in games, although they've allowed a couple of soft goals this season. The link-up between the mids and the forwards has been erratic so far this season. I'm not sure what their best lineup is, but Sigi needs to figure it out soon.

March 26, 2011  01:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Flair attracts hard tackles. Ask Ronaldo.

If you can't defend them, maim them.

March 26, 2011  01:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Wait, you mean that repeating a quadruple stepover isn't better than passing to a wide open man?

I know, shocking stuff.

March 26, 2011  01:35 PM ET

Good Gareth, another injury set back for Owen Hargreaves???

http://tinyurl.com/goodgareth

March 26, 2011  01:36 PM ET

Well, Vegas, since it's just you and, umm, you in here, any thoughts on what we might see from the Nats-Argentina match today?

March 26, 2011  01:43 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Good Gareth, another injury set back for Owen Hargreaves???http://tinyurl.com/goodgareth

Make sure you guys sign him to a new deal right away! ;-)

March 26, 2011  01:44 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Well, Vegas, since it's just you and, umm, you in here, any thoughts on what we might see from the Nats-Argentina match today?

Argentina 3 - 0 USA

Sad to say, but we are lightyears behind them at the moment.

March 26, 2011  01:52 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Well, Vegas, since it's just you and, umm, you in here, any thoughts on what we might see from the Nats-Argentina match today?

Believe it or not, yes, I do have a couple of thoughts.

-Thank God we're gonna see the war horses for this one. I like the youth movement and all, but if we can still get some mileage out of Cherundolo, Demerit, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Donovan and Dempsey- to name six- let's do it. The back four is especially critical, as I think it will be the first time since the 2009 Confeds Cup we've had all four healthy.

-I think we're going to miss Stu Holden a lot more than we realize. Assuming Bradley stays true to form, we know what the back four and GK will look like. I expect the midfield to consist of Bradley and Jones sitting in front of the back four with Deuce and LD on the flanks, Altidore and someone up top. If Holden were healthy, we could run Altidore and Dempsey up top with Stu on one flank opposite LD. Or put Holden in the middle of the pitch and keep Altidore up top on his own in a 4-5-1. Either way, Holden provides plenty of flexibility.

March 26, 2011  01:53 PM ET

There's certainly a line where flair becomes counterproductive, but I find that fans who get upset over showmanship typically don't have anyone on their team capable of doing it in a game situation while being effective. Look at the heart of the matter is the fact that soccer is still a sport, which is a game, which exists for entertainment.

March 26, 2011  01:53 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Argentina 3 - 0 USASad to say, but we are lightyears behind them at the moment.

I don't think we let them get three. I think we get one on a set piece and Argentina does enough to win 2-1. Doubt they would even take it past third gear for this one.

March 26, 2011  01:55 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Argentina 3 - 0 USASad to say, but we are lightyears behind them at the moment.

Meh, talent wise, I agree. But remember, Argentina is still in the process of undoing Diego's meddling. He called up some ungodly number of players during qualifying, many of whom got their first caps, and sent out a different first XI almost every match. We're not even close to matching up with them, but we do at least play Argentina tough. That being said, I'm going 2-0 worst case scenario more likely 1-0.

 
March 26, 2011  01:55 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

There's certainly a line where flair becomes counterproductive, but I find that fans who get upset over showmanship typically don't have anyone on their team capable of doing it in a game situation while being effective.

This was noticeably apparent anytime United played Blackburn, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City or Newcastle from 2004-09.

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