Marcos Rojo has been fined 2 weeks wages for failing to show up for Manchester United’s pre-season tour of North America. The Argentine was granted an extended break following the Copa America, but was instructed to join up with the team last Friday. United had laid on a flight for Rojo and his compatriot Angel Di Maria, but neither player boarded the plane. Di Maria is on the cusp of joining PSG, thus his reason for not linking up with the team is understandable.
Rojo however has no intentions of leaving Old Trafford, and his absence can be put down to plain old negligence . Rojo, or maybe more accurately Rojo’s representatives, allowed his passport to expire. Rojo failed to smooth talk his way past passport control, and was unceremoniously sent back through the departures gate.
This oversight has enraged Louis Van Gaal, who was already in a foul mood, having promised the media days before that Di Maria would be flying out to the U.S. With opening day less than 2 weeks away, one would have to imagine this faux-pas will mean Rojo taking in some early games from the comfort of the bench. Van Gaal has put on record that the team he selects to play PSG Wednesday will be close to the one that he sends out against Tottenham on 8 August.
The Dutchman was quoted as saying this on the issue.
“I have heard he was not on the plane. I cannot say anything. Marcos Rojo was not on the plane. Di Maria I don’t know why.’
Sir Alex Ferguson has in the past written, with a tinge of xenophobia I might add, about his dislike for Argentine players.
‘I confess I found working with Argentinian footballers quite difficult. There was deep patriotism towards Argentina.
‘They always had the flag round them. I had no problem with that, but the ones I managed didn’t try particularly hard to speak English.
‘With Veron it was just, “Mister”.’
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. He went further.
“I always felt these players were well dominated by their agents. I thought their agents had a big say in their lives.
“Gabriel Heinze was incredible. He was only here for a year and he asked away. His agent came to see me the night before we played Villareal. You have to understand the culture of these people, the funny thing is we’re very happy with the Brazilian players. They’re very good.”
You won’t find a bigger admirer of Fergusson than me, but I think he may have been slightly unfair in his assessment of Argentine players. The Argentine’s he coached proved difficult at times, but it is unfair to tar them all with the same brush. There is a list as long as Yao Ming’s arm of Argentines who have proved great successes in Europe.