UEFA have not named Harry Maguire as Manchester United’s captain for their match against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night. However, the club seem to have insisted that the England international will be wearing the armband against the La Liga opposition.
Instead, UEFA named Bruno Fernandes as the captain for the Red Devils on the team sheet, but the official Manchester United official account tweeted their squad with the ‘C’ written next to Maguire.
The potential mishap by the association will have only fuelled speculation about there is a degree of uncertainty behind closed doors over who should be club captain.
The Mirror reported that United boss Ralf Rangnick had held talks with Maguire about whether the defender would be willing to sacrifice captaincy until the end of the season in favour of Cristiano Ronaldo taking charge until the end of the season.
However, nothing has changed at Old Trafford at the moment, unless UEFA had not made a mistake.
But despite the rumours of unhappiness at the club, players have been quick to try and simmer down the speculation.
“I don’t know what people mean. I saw the goal of H [Maguire] and saw Paul [Pogba] running behind, sliding on his knees, happy for him. I was slapping his head and saying finally he had scored with that big head.
“We know when someone talks about this club or players at this club, it goes around the world with their voice. That is something that they want.
“For us, it is nothing. If we stick to the plan and stick together, that is the main thing. Losing together and winning together.”
Although their chances on paper appear slim, the Champions League is United’s last hope of winning a piece of silverware this season.
They have been far too inconsistent in the league to be considered title contenders, and they lack the quality of rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
A solid tournament in Europe could mask some of the team’s bigger issues, especially with speculation that Ronaldo will not remain at Old Trafford if the team do not secure European football next season.
The Portuguese forward may deep playing in the Europa League, or even the European Conference League, beneath his level given that he is one of the best players to ever grace a football pitch.
Rio Ferdinand believes that his former side still need to improve markedly if they are to be competitive in the Champions League though.
He told BT: “I don’t think they’re nowhere near it in the league. Yes, it’s a knockout competition, it’s a bit different, but I see three, four, maybe five teams that I would say are ahead of Manchester United to win this at least.
“You need a level of consistency as well to be able to perform, perform home and away, and you’ve got to get the job done. At times, there have been occasion where you’ve thought you can see something and then all of a sudden they take two steps back.
“You need eleven stroke thirteen, fourteen players every game to go out and perform and Manchester United have been guilty of not being able to do that enough.”
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