MONDAY’S BIG HEADLINES
The Ronaldo question
You know it hasn’t been your day in the Premier League when two of football’s top pundits get into an increasingly high-pitched row around existential questions about you, supplying the biggest viral moment of the entire weekend, and possibly the season.
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In some ways, the studio set-to between Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane turned out to be the main event of Super Sunday, with the actual match between Chelsea and Manchester United relegated to undercard status. Instead the subject of Cristiano Ronaldo dominated.
As soon as the teamsheets dropped and Ronaldo was named on the bench you knew there was no other narrative to be spun around this particular fixture, no other angle which could emerge as the dominant theme than one of the greatest players of all time catching splinters in his backside for one of the biggest matches of the season.
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So much so that even this apparently simple piece of team selection was immediately imbued with heavier significance. This couldn’t just be a straightforward bit of squad rotation from interim-to-the-interim Michael Carrick, it must have been…. an edit from incoming manager Ralf Rangnick?
As though the first thing Rangnick would do before even setting foot inside Old Trafford was alienate a player with as much political pull as Cristiano Ronaldo by sending ahead and asking for him to be benched.
A 1-1 draw, for which Ronaldo featured for the last 26 minutes, soon gave way to a highly entertaining argument in which Keane and Carragher got stuck into what the point of Ronaldo really was if he isn’t going to start one of the biggest matches of the season. It was the studio row which launched a thousand memes.
Carragher: "He’s a phenomenon in terms of goals. But I mentioned this in midweek. PSG signed Messi and United signed Ronaldo. Are United closer to the title? No. Are PSG closer to the Champions League with Messi? No."
Keane: "Ronaldo was never going to get United back to winning titles."
Carragher: "So what was the point in signing him then?! He’s 37!"
Keane: "He’s not come back to win the league.”
Carragher: "So what’s he come back for?! What’s he here for then?"
You know the content is good when Keane’s voice tips into that higher register, telling Carragher for the fifth time that Manchester United are now a cup team and they never actually had a chance of winning the league despite having finished second last season and adding a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
But it’s a question Rangnick will have to grapple with. What exactly is Ronaldo here for? Not to be the trigger of the best pressing outfit in the Premier League, that’s for certain. And yet that’s surely what Rangnick will want to try and implement at United.
Are United a better all-round team without their best goalscorer? Do the benefits you derive from having Ronaldo in the penalty box outweigh the costs you incur to your ability to press from the front?
Michael Carrick may only have a short reign as United boss but he left a mark in the sand by deciding that for a game against the European champions, his team made more sense without Ronaldo in it. If Rangnick comes to the same conclusion, there could be fireworks.
And like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last night, The Warm-Up will be more than happy to just sit back and watch the messy drama unfold.
The most extraordinary red card of all time?
Where to even start with this quite astonishing moment which occurred in the Norwegian Eliteserien yesterday.
The video below shows a player by the name of David Brekalo push a goalkeeper called Patrik Gunnarsson in a match between Viking and Kristiansund.
After the second shove, Gunnarsson throws himself to the ground just to help the referee’s decision. It happens in football.
But the real scandal here? They are team-mates.
WATCH - CRAZY moment goalkeeper dives to get his own defender sent off
Vinicius stars for Madrid
If Karim Benzema wasn’t performing to an even higher standard this season then we’d probably have been hearing a lot more about Vinicius Jr this year.
The Brazilian forward scored his ninth goal in 14 Liga appearances last night when grabbing an 87th-minute winner for Real Madrid against Sevilla.
And oh my, what a goal it was.
IN OTHER NEWS
The most Sean Dyche moment in recorded history happened on Sunday when the aforementioned Burnley boss decided to step out into a blizzard wearing just a shirt and tie, as Burnley's match against Tottenham was postponed.
The Warm-Up is only slightly surprised he didn’t do it with his sleeves rolled up. He better not have had a vest on under that.
HEROES OF THE WEEKEND
Erling Haaland for scoring his 50th Bundesliga goal in 50 games.
This Wolfsburg fan for their… rudimentary reaction to his celebration.
And the camera operator for capturing the whole beautiful scene.
And the Oscar for best live action short film goes to…
AND ANOTHER HERO OF THE WEEKEND
Either Harry Kane or the fan he took pity on after they travelled from Dallas to Burnley, only for the match to be postponed.
We’ve got a big treat for UK users tonight as we bring you a free live stream of the Ballon d’Or ceremony from 19:30-21:00 GMT. We will have a liveblog running across the day as the best players in the world are crowned in Paris.
In tomorrow's Warm-Up, Ben Snowball will be attempting to explain exactly why Lionel Messi deserved the Ballon d'Or ahead of Robert Lewandowski. We look forward to that.
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