Manchester United's Nani puts boot into Carragher apology
Manchester United winger Nani has launched a furious attack on Jamie Carragher over the tackle which left him with an ugly gash on his leg.
Carragher sent an apology into the United dressing room immediately after Liverpool's 3-1 win at Anfield on March 6 and then waited to offer his personal remorse for a challenge that forced Nani to be stretchered off.
But the Portugal star was having none of it.
He had not forgotten it was a previous Carragher challenge on him that sparked an injury that eventually forced him to miss two months of last term.
And even now, in the wake of a quicker-than-expected comeback against Marseille in the Champions League last night, Nani is livid.
“I don't know what Carragher was thinking but I do know what he did was not football,” said Nani, speaking for the first time about the challenge.
“He came to apologise after the game. But I was not happy. It is the second time he injured me. Before he put me out of the game for two months. He always tackles like that. I don't want protection. I just want the referees to be fair.
“If it is a red card, they have to give it. If they give the card, the next time the player doesn't make the tackle.”
Although he took a rather theatrical fall after initially getting to his feet to remonstrate with Carragher, once Nani saw the wound that had opened, he was certain his season was at an end.
It was that knowledge rather than the pain, which caused the 24-year-old to burst into tears in a rather surprising display of emotion.
“When I saw my leg for the first time, I thought my season was finished,” he said. “That is why I was crying.
“Afterwards, the doctor saw my leg and said I had been lucky because it just needed stitches and I would be out for two or three weeks. He is surprised that I could recover even quicker.”
Nani has been the subject of speculation that he might be looking to leave Old Trafford in the summer and the rough treatment he receives on the pitch may be a factor in that.
Fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo was fond of complaining flair players were often targeted in the Premier League and Nani accepts the risk of injury is high.
“English football is like that. It is about making tackles,” he said.
“The fans enjoy it. I played against Marseille but maybe I couldn't play tomorrow because I have so many injuries. I always finished the game sore because I have had three or four tackles on the same part of my ankle.”
Nani did show bravery to get himself back on the field again so quickly, with even Sir Alex Ferguson claiming last week it would probably be after the international break before the former Sporting Lisbon star was in action again. Not that it was an especially good performance.
Taken off midway through the second period, Nani admitted he struggled to cope.
However, the run out may help him ahead of Saturday's Premier League encounter with Bolton at Old Trafford.
“My leg is OK,” he said. “It is not 100 percent and the confidence is not the same. I know players always like to tackle me so I have to be careful. That is why my football was not the best. But it is great to be back. Now I am just thinking about the next game when I think I will be much better.”
Wayne Rooney has also unequivocally insisted he will stay beyond the summer. “I signed a new contract to stay here and unless I'm ever not wanted then I'll be staying here,” he said.
“I made a mistake by saying I wanted to leave but I've committed my future to United and I'm happy, my family are happy so there's no reason for me to move elsewhere.”