Gabriel Heinze has cried off to Spain after Manchester United sold him to Real Madrid 24 hours after a tribunal ruled in favour of United, blocking his move to Liverpool. He joins Real for around 8 million pounds, and becomes the 3rd United player to be sold to Real in the last 4 seasons, following David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Heinze joined United from PSG 3 seasons ago and quickly became a fan favourite after a very promising debut season in England where he proved to be the best left back in the league. However he suffered cruciate ligament damage the following season and on his return a year later found his place taken by Patrice Evra. With Heinze looking for more first team action rumours began to fly around about moves to Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona, while United fans hoped the popular Argentine would fight for his place and stay with the new English champions.
Then the story toured sour for all United supporters. Rumours of Liverpool’s interest had been laughed off, there was no way a United player of any quality would be sold to their biggest rivals. Then Heinze said he wanted to go to Liverpool and had an agreement with United that he could go if a price was met, which Liverpool were more than willing to meet. United stood firm, maintaining that the agreement did not include any of their main rivals, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, and that there was no way they would let Heinze move to Anfield. Heinze and his representatives stood firm, having been assured by Liverpool that United couldn’t block his move and the matter went to a Premier League tribunal. The tribunal ruled in United’s favour and Heinze, having made his position at United untenable, had no choice but to leave at the earliest opportunity, and Real moved in at the right time.
Through the entire matter Heinze has acted with no real understanding of being at United, or even in English football. When people go to United they are immediately immersed in the history of the club, the Busby Babes, the Munich air crash, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby, Sir Alex, they get to know what being at United means. Even players who have had fall outs with the manager and been forced out, Yorke and Beckham recently, never have a bad word to say about the club or the fans. Diego Forlan, who endured a goal free period at United, still talks fondly of his time at Old Trafford. They all understood it. Heinze clearly has not. He has been adamant that United allow him to go to Liverpool and has shown disdain for the club and fans who have treated him with nothing but respect and adoration. When Gabby was out for a year with his injury United stood by him, even allowing him to go to Spain to get the treatment and recuperation he wanted. And this is how he paid that loyalty back.
One does have to wonder about his motives though. It’s not as if he is joining a better team. Liverpool, although with Torres they will improve, have not been close to wining the league for 17 years now. They are a good cup side, but not a consistent enough team to compete for the league title. So Heinze would be taking a backward step. He would be guaranteed a start, but he would be guaranteed that at a number of other clubs who were after him, Real, Lyon and Juventus amongst them. It had to either be about money or Liverpool have elicit photographs of him he doesn’t want coming out! For whatever reason the stance Heinze took does not make sense.
More evidence of the underhand nature of Heinze and his representatives came out at the tribunal hearing. Phil Alexander, the chief executive at Crystal Palace, told the hearing how Palace had been approached by Heinze’s representatives about a scheme they came up with to get around United’s block on the Liverpool move. The proposal would have seen Palace buying Heinze from United, for the agreed upon fee, and Palace then selling him on to Liverpool. A scheme like that would not have been possible without Liverpool’s knowledge and as innocent as they proclaim to be in this whole nasty mess clearly they must have got, or been willing to, their hands dirty.
At the end of the day Heinze has failed in his bid to engineer a move to Anfield and Real have benefited by getting a replacement for the departed Roborto Carlos. They have acquired for themselves a very good player, one of the best in his position in the world, but one of very dubious character and morals.