The children, aged 8 to 13, come from China, Colombia, Mexico, South Korea, the UAE and the United States.
As part of their trip they will meet with Manchester United players and manager Jose Mourinho, play with legends, attend Manchester United’s Soccer School and tour the club’s Old Trafford stadium in the leading up to Saturday’s match.
Chevrolet selected the special children because they embody the spirit of play and have embraced football in a way that has changed their lives.
And representing the UAE, are Ali [seen in the video above] and Ryan, whose story you can watch below.
Pep Guardiola has shown once again why he is, arguably, the best manager in the world by putting Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk in his place over the player’s situation at Manchester City.
With all due respect to agents, once they have negotiated the transfer of a player it is up to the manager whether he plays him or not, no matter who he is, and he doesn’t have to explain his decision to anyone other than perhaps the player himself and his superiors.
Of course the agent has to look after the best interests of his player but he is certainly not doing that by going public, insulting the club, and in effect making matters worse. To suggest that Guardiola had humiliated Toure by leaving him out of the Champions League squad was at best confrontational and at worst stupid.
Guardiola was clearly infuriated by Seluk’s remarks which explains why Toure, one of the most talented stars to have played for the club, has been effectively frozen out. You could argue that it is a little unfair to punish the player for something his agent has said, but this is not the first time Seluk has made controversial remarks about City’s treatment of Toure. You assume he does so with the player’s blessing. If not, then perhaps Yaya should get a new agent.
What I really applaud is that, at last, a manager has taken on an agent over a big-name player, something that other coaches have been reluctant to do, although I suspect Sir Alex Ferguson gave one or two a hard time in private. Agents do have a role to play in the game and if one of their players is unhappy and wants them to help, fine, but taking it into the public arena is sure to provoke fallout.
Guardiola is right to demand an apology from Seluk for disrespecting him and the club and the ultimatum of either apologise or Yaya will never play for the club again – and don’t expect him to back down – seems reasonable, in the circumstances.
Toure’s future at the club after Guardiola arrived was uncertain. He has been sensational but his best days are now behind him, and his decision to retire from international football which, coincidentally, was announced yesterday, is testimony to that. This is another reason why Seluk should have kept his mouth shut and discussed his issues with the club in private.
Managers run football clubs, not agents and, not before time, Guardiola is making that more than clear. Incredibly, last night, Seluk inflamed the situation in a new war of words, saying, among other things: “Guardiola wins a few games and thinks he is king.” I’ve got news for Seluk – at Man City, he is.
For a manager who lives by the concept of risk being an anathema, Jose Mourinho is playing a dangerous game at Manchester United.
Not on the field, where his tactical plans for the Red Devils remain very much in the embryonic stage (to put it mildly) but in the dressing room as Luke Shaw on Sunday became the sixth United player to be publicly criticised this season.
Mourinho highlighted Shaw’s defensive inefficiencies during the build-up for Watford’s second goal scored by Camilo Zuniga, claiming the full-back didn’t press Nordin Amrabat sufficiently enough, “our left-back was 25 metres from him”
It comes after Daley Blind, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard were verbally reprimanded in the wake of the derby defeat to Manchester City and Bastian Schweinsteiger became persona non grata before even kicking a ball at Carrington.
And while his frustration is understandable, Shaw wasn’t the only one responsible. Mourinho neglected to highlight Wayne Rooney failing to offer his full-back any support as Amrabat cut inside, more concerned with the apparent attacking threat of Craig Cathcart; nor did he draw attention to Zuniga running past Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford before waltzing into a gaping hole on the edge of the box to score; or even Paul Pogba’s poor positioning which allowed Roberto Pereyra to run behind the defensive line and set up the Colombian.
The short-sightedness of his criticism could, and more likely already has, created a ripple eff-ect; Shaw’s team-mates must be shocked (or relieved) he was the one singled out while at the same time surprised those equally as culpable have been ignored.
The inconsistency of it leaves players unable to process its logic; so therefore, at best, confusion and, at worst, resentment will breed.
This being a dressing room which harboured ill-will towards David Moyes due to his aversion to chips and didn’t like Louis van Gaal sending e-mail homework.
It’s alarming this is all happening so soon as the Portuguese’s last two jobs at Real Madrid and Chelsea were terminated in somewhat catastrophic circumstances as gradually the dressing room disintegrated around him. At Madrid, he fell foul of a toxic relationship with club figureheads Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. At Chelsea, it was captain and icon John Terry and two-time player of the year Juan Mata in the firing line.
Lots of stick for Mourinho, but he's actually ahead of schedule. Usually takes two seasons for his teams to play this abysmally.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) September 18, 2016
But this feels slightly different as these were individuals with considerable gravitas he crossed. And while he started boldly at United with his decision to marginalise Schweinsteiger, the obvious individual failings of Rooney – in particular – are being ignored.
The counter is, of course, it’s clever psychology to ensure his players understand his demands and mistakes don’t happen again.
But, then again, the erratic nature of his analysis doesn’t imply any coherent thought or strategy is being employed here.