Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 29th 2015 Contents A58
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 29, 2015
MANCHESTER---Players who have
flourished in the iconic No 7 jersey at
Manchester United have had three
attributes in common: attitude, ability
George Best, Eric Cantona and David
Beckham had them all. Cristiano Ronaldo
even more so.
The question now is whether Memphis
Depay---a rap-singing, tattoo-covered,
hip-swerving 21-year-old winger from
the Netherlands---can join the list of greats
at England s biggest club.
After just five games, the signs are
He couldn t have more attitude. A tat-
too on the inside of his lower lip reads
"succesvol" (successful in Dutch), another
across the top of his chest says "Dream
Chaser." He drives a camouflage car, and
he has starred in a rap song with Dutch
group Rotterdam Airlines.
Then there s the line he came out with
soon after signing for United for 31 million
pounds (then $48 million) in June.
"I want to be a legend at some time,"
he said, straight-faced.
His ability isn t in question, either.
Depay arrived in England with many
labelling him as the "Dutch Ronaldo"
after scoring 21 goals for PSV Eindhoven
on its way to the title in his home country.
He carved out a reputation as a set-piece
specialist, with some of his goals from
free kicks already hits on YouTube, and
was one of three nominees for the Best
Young Player award at last year s World
Depay has already drawn gasps inside
Old Trafford with two long-distance
strikes against Bruges in a Champions
League qualifying match last week, his
first goals for the club. He also delivered
a pinpoint cross for a third goal that
game, of which even Beckham would
have been proud.
It remains to be seen, though, whether
the flamboyant Depay will come through
as the real deal.
An aura takes time to develop, espe-
cially in a division as laden with stars as
English Premier League, and Depay has
only shown glimpses of his talent in his
other four matches for United. A mal-
functioning attack has only scored two
goals in three league games and Depay
has been guilty of wasting chances. On
occasion, he looked to be trying too hard
to live up to expectations.
He is only two years into his interna-
tional career with the Netherlands, too.
Still, United manager Louis van Gaal,
who also was the coach of the Nether-
lands at the World Cup, is convinced the
player has what it takes.
"He is, I think, one of the greatest tal-
ents of his age," Van Gaal has said, rare
praise from a coach who doesn t usually
single out players.
Depay started the season in a central
position behind striker Wayne Rooney,
but has been switched to the left wing
---his preferred position---and has looked
Both goals against Bruges came when
he cut in from the left and shot on his
right foot. He did so again in the second
leg against Belgian side on Wednesday,
this time slipping in a pass for Rooney
to put away.
Depay appears to have the determi-
nation to succeed. He is single-minded,
leaving home at age 12 to sign for PSV
from Sparta Rotterdam. Because his father
left the family when Depay was just 4,
he prefers to have "Memphis" on the
back of his jersey than his surname.
Once United s attacking play becomes
more fluent, fans could be treated to more
examples of the goal celebration Depay
attempted after scoring against Bruges
---an imitation of a dance move by Amer-
ican rapper, Silento.
The No 7 shirt at Old Trafford can be
a burden---just ask Angel Di Maria and,
before him, Antonio Valencia---but
Depay s start to his United career suggests
he ll handle it. (AP)
MONACO---Michel Platini apologised yes-
terday for refusing to discuss Fifa issues at
his first news conference since announcing
his bid for president of the governing body
UEFA had said its president would reveal
campaign ideas and take questions at his annu-
al meeting with international media in Monaco
on the sidelines of the Champions League
"I know why you all came and I know what
you re interested in hasn t been discussed
today," Platini said in French, closing a one-
hour session by apologising. "I know you are
entitled to ask your questions but I am also
entitled not to reply to them."
Platini had begun by telling his spokesman
to be a "policeman" and block Fifa-related
Answers were expected about corruption
allegations levelled at some of Platini s Fifa
colleagues and a long-standing UEFA-Fifa rift
which has seemed to deepen since Sepp Blatter
announced his planned exit on June 2.
UEFA complained to Fifa two weeks ago
about a newspaper-style article seeking to
discredit Platini which it alleged was sent
anonymously by a Blatter staffer to German
language media. A specific question about the
complaint was brushed aside yesterday.
Platini has been criticised by potential elec-
tion rivals, and UEFA officials were stunned
that Prince Ali bin al-Hussein---who lost to
Blatter in May amid the corruption crisis---
said his former ally s candidature was "bad
On Thursday, Fifa official Tokyo Sexwale
of South Africa confirmed he is "weighing all
options" to run in a conference call with
reporters arranged by the Zurich-based body.
Still, Platini is the front-runner to succeed
his former mentor Blatter, who is stepping
down under pressure from American and Swiss
investigations of bribery and alleged money-
Platini declared on July 29 he would seek
the Fifa job, after UEFA said leaders of four
of Fifa s six continental confederations sup-
ported him. The former France great could
have expected questions Friday about how
solid his backing was, with almost two months
left for would-be candidates to be nominated
for the February 26 ballot.
"This just wasn t the right place or time to
talk about that," Platini said, one year after
using his Monaco briefing to criticize Blatter
and announce he would not go head-to-head
in the scheduled May 2015 ballot.
Platini did confirm what he hinted in March
after his UEFA re-election in Vienna, Austria.
Whatever his future at Fifa, he will not stay
at UEFA beyond 2019.
In other answers he did give, Platini dis-
missed suggestions Olympiakos got special
treatment to enter the Champions League
despite unproven match-fixing claims because
a senior UEFA official s father is a club direc-
"They are fully entitled to be an Olympiakos
fan and that s fine," Platini said of his staff
having club loyalties.
UEFA s decision to let the Greek champion
play during a criminal investigation was upheld
by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this
Fifa contender Platini refuses
to talk election issues
UEFA president Michel Platini, attends the
football Europa League draw ceremony at the
Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, yesterday. AP
Flamboyant Depay already a
crowd-pleaser at Man United
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