|MANCHESTER UNITED RED CARD CONTROVERSY REF FOLLOWS REAL MADRID AND RONALDO ON TWITTER
SportingPreview.com: 6 March 2013
It emerged last night that red card controversy ref Cuneyt Cakir follows both Real Madrid and star player Cristiano Ronaldo on Twitter.
The match officials left Manchester at 9.30 this morning and hot on the trail was a Sportsmail reporter who had a list of questions he wanted answering. He describes what happened at the airport hotel as follows:
"Despite the furure Cakir joined in what appeared to be some light-hearted exchanges before the group were escorted towards Terminal One for their flight home.
Article continues below...
"Things did turn a little sour, though, when I approached them and asked for their views on their handling of Manchester United's defeat by Real Madrid last night.
"Cakir himself just stared at me stoney-faced and shook his head while their security detail – man of advanced years in a blue anorak – decided to get a little heavy.
"Throwing his arms round me, he tried to shepherd me away from the group of Turks, saying rather definitively: 'They won't talk to you. They have been told not to say anything.'"
It has also been revealed just how fond the Insurance agent is of waving cards around after it emerged the 36-year-old has not refereed a single game without booking someone all year.
He has shown an incredible 36 yellow cards and three reds in just eight club games since mid-January.
Only on Saturday, in his last domestic game before travelling to Manchester, Cakir showed six yellow cards in a game between Akhisar Beledi and Elazigspor in Turkey.
A week earlier, meanwhile, he booked five players and sent one off in Gaziantepspor’s win over Bursaspor.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was too distraught to conduct his post-match press conference but his assistant Mike Phelan was critical of the referee's performance.
"We witnessed a decision that seemed harsh and incredible," he said. "I can't remember a decision like that in as big a match as this. They are there to make decisions, but there is an element of doing the right thing.
"He spoiled the game. We were definitely disappointed. We have a massive audience and everyone will wonder how this has happened."
And Roy Keane sparked outrage when he defended the official's decision to dismiss the Portgueuse winger.
He said: "I think the referee has actually made the right call. Everyone's upset about it and it's slightly unlucky, but it's dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant.
"It's dangerous play - it's a red card.
"You have to be aware of other players on the pitch. Does he think he's going to have 20 yards to himself?
"Whether it's (a brave decision) or not, it's the right decision. Whether he meant it or not doesn't matter.
"Nani's a quick boy to go down anyway. He's not the bravest player on the planet."
Mike Phelan and Roy Keane were quoted in Sportsmail.
There's a free £10 bet waiting for you at Skybet and you don't need to make a deposit to claim it. Click here...