Manchester United made Antony their biggest summer signing when they brought the Brazil international to Old Trafford from Ajax, but the forward has blown hot and cold
Antony has been warned to become more humble and cut down on “crazy things” if he wants to make an impact at Man Utd, in comments reminiscent of the early advice which left Cristiano Ronaldo in tears.
The Brazil international joined United from Ajax over the summer in a deal worth more than £80m. He scored on his debut for the club in a victory over Arsenal, and impressed against Reading in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but his contribution pales in comparison to that of top scorer Marcus Rashford.
Former Premier League star Rafael van der Vaart has suggested the 22-year-old’s showmanship shouldn’t be his main focus, given what he has achieved so far in his career. The comments bring to mind some of the criticisms levelled at Ronaldo after the Portugal star joined United as a teenager, and their new man will hope he can come close to making the impact of his former team-mate.
“Do you know what it is with Antony… He is of course a great talent and a great player, but he shouldn’t believe in himself very much,” Van der Vaart told Ziggo Sport (via the Manchester Evening News ). “He’s just a good player, who hasn’t proven anything yet.
“He has played some good Champions League games, he’s come in reasonably well with the Brazil national team a few times, he’s made a big move and hasn’t done much at Manchester United yet. He shouldn’t think: ‘I’ve made it and I’m going to show it to the whole world by doing crazy things’.
“No, he has to decide games, like Marcus Rashford is doing now. Then you can do something crazy for once. But he has to be very humble, try really hard and shoot or pass those balls in.”
Ronaldo’s flair was arguably his most notable asset after he joined from Sporting CP as a youngster, and he too was encouraged to cut out certain elements of his game. In the case of the Portugal international, the advice eventually cut through, but not before an incident which brought him to tears.
In an extract from Guillem Balague’s biography of Ronaldo (via The Telegraph ), former United defender Rio Ferdinand recalled a time when manager Sir Alex Ferguson tore into the star for “trying to play by yourself”.
The ex-England star revealed no other United player stuck up for Ronaldo, who was brought to tears by the episode.