Champions League Matchday 3 was overshadowed by a man who hasn’t scored an open-play goal since March.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s admission today that Wayne Rooney wants out of Manchester United overshadowed Matchday 3 victories for perennial powers Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea. Undoubtedly, the news of Rooney’s wish to leave Old Trafford sent shockwaves through the footballing world that made those matches almost feel inconsequential.
It’s difficult to imagine chants of “Once a Blue, always a Red” or images of Rooney kissing the badge on his United shirt being uttered or shown again at Old Trafford as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Barcelona seem to be the most likely of destinations for Rooney. The once-prolific striker will miss tomorrow’s match with Bursaspor – ironically, it must be noted – with an ankle injury, the same type of injury that began the Rooney speculation after England’s 0-0 draw with Montenegro (as an aside, the thought of Rooney leaving crossed my mind after his interview following the Montenegro match, but I immediately disregarded it. The lesson? I’m an idiot).
Ferguson’s press conference ahead of United’s match with Bursaspor, then followed by his lengthy interview with MUTV, stole the thunder on a day when two old powers – 9-time winners Madrid and 7-time winners AC Milan – clashed at the Bernabeu in the biggest match of the day.
And it was former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo – there is a feeling the words “former Manchester United star” will be uttered frequently in the coming years, especially if you subscribe to this point of view from Soccernet’s John Brewin – who powered Madrid to a win with a 13th minute free kick. Another former United target, Mesut Ozil, added a second as Madrid strolled to a 2-0 win.
Bayern Munich, last year’s runner-up, needed two own goals from CFR Cluj-Napoca’s Cadu and Cristian Panin to overcome their Romanian opponents, 3-2. Bayern fell behind in the 28th minute behind a goal from Cadu, but he gave the goal back in the 32nd minute. Mario Gomez added the gloss late before Cluj pulled one back late.
Arsenal put some gloss on the day with a 5-1 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk. Goals from Alex Song, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere, and Marouane Chamakh were more than enough for the Gunners in North London.
Chelsea strolled to a win of their own, winning away to Spartak Moscow, 2-0. Goals from Yuri Zhirkov and Nicolas Anelka in the day’s earliest match gave the Blues a win in the stadium where they lost the 2008 Champions League Final to United on penalty kicks.
Tomorrow features the aforementioned United-Bursaspor match and Tottenham’s much-anticipated visit to the San Siro with first place in Group A up for grabs.