EPL

Do people attack Brad Pitt's house if he makes a bad movie? – Raiola condemns Woodward incident

By Sports Desk January 29, 2020

Mino Raiola has furiously hit out at the attack on the home of Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on Tuesday, saying it is inexcusable.

The agent of Paul Pogba and Erling Haaland has had multiple disagreements with Woodward over United's decisions in the transfer market but he is adamant the events have crossed the line of what is acceptable.

United vowed to ban for life any supporters who were involved in the attack on Woodward's property if they are found guilty of a criminal offence or of trespassing.

Widespread reports documented how a group of people threw flares at the house on the eve of United's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City and Cheshire Police are investigating.

Fortunately, Woodward and his family were not present at the time and Raiola has called for an immediate end to such protests, however frustrated fans may be.

"If anyone has used me as a reason to create any anger towards Ed, they are totally in the wrong because my relationship with Ed is good, it is professional, and we don't always need to agree but that's normal," Raiola said in an interview with The Athletic.

"What happened last night is not normal. It is violence and I condemn any type of violence. 

"These guys are morons and this is criminal behaviour. These people need to be locked up and re-educated. This cannot be part of sport. This is sport. This is not a question of life and death, it is entertainment.

"Do you think people attack the house of Brad Pitt if he makes a bad movie? Or does Quentin Tarantino get death threats because his film was not good? There is no reason or excuse, none whatsoever for this and Ed Woodward has my full support and solidarity."

Raiola recently branded United "out of touch with reality" and has previously been criticised for making public comments about Pogba's potential future away from Old Trafford.

And his demands were not met this month as United pursued Salzburg striker Haaland, who ended up moving to Borussia Dortmund.

But the Italian added: "I am with Ed Woodward – I'm on his side in this. I disapprove of violence against players, trainers, supporters, anyone and especially this kind of violence and harassment.

"This cannot be happening to a man – going to his private house and menacing him and his family. Are we totally crazy? Football is not that important in life.

"We have to condemn it. There is no place for violence inside or outside the stadium, and especially when it involves your house and your family. This is inadmissible."

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    Pep Guardiola seems desperate to reinforce his centre-back options before the transfer deadline early next month, and it appears his primary targets are Ruben Dias of Benfica and Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

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    Adapting to City's style

    Given he is a year-and-a-half older than Kounde, it's fair to suggest Dias is slightly further ahead in his development than Kounde, while he is also playing for one of the top teams in a less competitive league than LaLiga.

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    Dependable defenders?

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    Otamendi proved unreliable, Fernandinho isn't a natural centre-back, John Stones was unconvincing when fit and Laporte – undoubtedly their best option – missed a chunk of the season with an ACL injury.

    The hole left by Laporte and Vincent Kompany's departure to Anderlecht was gaping and resulted in City looking flimsy, particularly when put under pressure – seven of their nine defeats were away from home.

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    Kounde was a standout performer as recently as Thursday for Sevilla, impressing in spite of a 2-1 UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich. He made three tackles and nine clearances, also winning each of his six aerial duels.

    In a straight comparison between Dias and Kounde with regards to standard defensive metrics, the former does generally come out on top, as he won possession back more times (175 to 108) than the Frenchman, and bested him in terms of interceptions (30 to 23), overall clearances (101 to 88), tackles (44 to 23) and duels (254 to 229).

    But Kounde, though less of a domineering physical specimen than Dias in appearance, does tend to be more effective aerially, suggesting his stats against Bayern were no fluke.

    Despite playing four fewer matches than Dias, he made more headed clearances (56 to 50), engaged in a greater number of aerial duels (149 to 141) and won more as well (94 to 86).

    The verdict

    Both players fit the general mould of centre-backs that Guardiola likes, but to suggest either is the finished article or a world-class player yet would be premature.

    Kounde did very well in his first season in LaLiga, but he only truly found consistency in his performances at the start of 2020 – a talent, certainly, with his ceiling seemingly very high, but prising him away could cost City well over £60m.

    Dias appears the easier to sign given he will likely be slightly cheaper than Kounde, while in most cases in this statistical comparison, he has the edge.

    But, with Victor Lindelof impressing for Benfica but struggling to convince with Manchester United, City may want to take note of a warning from across town.

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