Manchester United were defeated by Real Madrid 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) last night in their last-16 knockout tie in the Champions League at Old Trafford.
Sergio Ramos’ own goal opened the scoring before goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo saw United exit the competition after a controversial decision from Cuneyt Cakir saw Nani sent off what he perceived as ‘dangerous play’.
Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo apologized for scoring the goal that saw his former club exit the competition.
“I'm sorry for Manchester United but I've done my job, and I'm happy for the whole team,” said the Madrid star.
“I did not celebrate out of respect, for the love that people gave me all those years here. Those feelings are not forgotten.”
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was too ‘distraught’ to face the media after his team’s loss at Old Trafford.
Ferguson was visibly incensed by the referee’s decision to dismiss Nani after 56 minutes, meaning his assistant Mike Phelan conducted the post-match press conference.
"It's a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That's why I am sitting here now,” revealed Phelan.
"I don't think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now rather than the manager of this fantastic football club."
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho spoke to the press in his press conference after his team’s win but the Portuguese coach admitted United had been the better team.
“The best team lost,” conceded the former Chelsea boss.
UEFA have released a statement following the game backing the referee and his decision to send Nani off the field.
"We have no problem with him," a UEFA spokesman said.
"There are no issues for us regarding the sending off and we will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee's observer, as is procedure. If they raise concerns then we will act.”
Breaking news this evening, however, is that UEFA will instead take disciplinary action against Manchester United for failing to fulfil their post-match media obligations as they are required.
"The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on Thursday 21 March," the UEFA statement said.
Despite the defeat, United are set to earn £34 million from UEFA for their participation in the Champions League this season.
Former United captain Roy Keane has been criticized for his comments on Nani’s dismissal. The Red Devils’ legend participated in ITV’s coverage of the game as a panel pundit and asserted his belief that the referee made ‘the right call’.
Former United player Paddy Crerand ‘hit back’ at Keane’s remarks.
"Roy Keane was in a minority of one. Not one person said it was a red card apart from Roy. Does Roy want to be noticed, or is he envious, jealous or has got the needle with Manchester United because of what happened at Manchester United?”
Assistant manager Mike Phelan remained positive despite the defeat – he told ManUtd.com:
"We've still got an FA Cup tie and we're still in a commanding position in the league. So we'll get over it, we'll bounce back."
Meanwhile, The Independent claims that United will offer vice-captain Patrice Evra a new contract after failing to find an adequate replacement for the Frenchman in the form of former ‘target’ Leighton Baines.
In other news, an 18-year-old Manchester United fan has been criticized for his reaction to Nani’s sending off after he called the emergency services. It is understood no police action will be taken against the supporter who dialled 999 at 21:20pm last night to report the incident to the police.
Elsewhere, United youngster Luke McCullough has been recalled from his loan spell at Cheltenham Town.
image: © El Ronzo