Brazilian winger Antony has sent the footballing world into a spin with his trademark skill performed during the first half in Manchester United’s Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol.
With the scores at 0-0 heading towards the end of the first-half, the Moldovan side were producing a firm rear guard performance.
It was then that Antony received the ball deep in the Sheriff half on the right hand side, and under no pressure proceeded to perform his trademark spin with the ball.
With no defender closing down the Brazilian trickster, he rotated twice before releasing a pass to Casemiro which ended up going out of play.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 27, 2022
Cue a massive cheer from the home crowd but complete disdain from the pundits after the game as well as a mixed reaction on social media.
“It’s just ridiculous, it’s showboating, what is he thinking? I think he needs that showboating kicking out of him,” Paul Scholes opined on BT Sports.
Robbie Savage also chipped in, calling Antony ‘embarrassing’ for performing the trick and then wasting the next pass.
Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves also had his say on the matter. “One spin is fine. The second one…you need to have skill with function…”
Their opinions were echoed by United manager Erik ten Hag at the end of the game. The Dutchman, who took the winger off at half time in a pre planned move, said, “I don’t have a problem with the spin as long as it’s functional.”
There is an argument to say the skill was functional. Antony didn’t have a forward option when he received the ball, however after his second spin Casemiro had made a deep run behind the defence.
A better ball and it could well have been a chance. Not every skill has to beat a player in order to be functional.
Had Antony just stood waiting for a forward run, a defender might have closed him down. Instead they were perplexed by the audacious spin.
Old Trafford has seen its fair share of entertaining football throughout the years — from George Best waltzing round defences to Ryan Giggs tearing down the wing or Cristiano Ronaldo bewitching defenders with multiple stepovers.
Antony seems keen to add his name to the list of these great entertainers.
Fans go to Old Trafford to be entertained, and needless to say, true entertainers have been in relatively short supply for the Red Devils recently.
Why the pundits felt the need to implore the Brazilian to cut out the showboating is bizarre. It was only Wednesday when the very same studio pundits were claiming that fans want enjoyment when watching the game whilst discussing Harry Kane’s disallowed goal in the Champion League.
Antony is here to entertain, let’s just sit back and enjoy the show.