Bringing Kiko home to Rome would ease the pain of Ronaldo’s departure

IT’S AN indication of what an instant hit Federico ‘Kiko’ Macheda has been with Reds that we are already scrambling about trying to knock up a song or two for him.

My own submission to the Old Trafford chantmeister Peter Boyle was that we adapt the old Peter Gabriel chorus ‘Biko’ to ‘Kiko’, but Pete, ambitious as ever, is going for this on his printed songsheets at Wembley on Sunday, to the tune of ‘Daisy, Daisy’:

“Kiko, Kiko

He is from Italy

Kiko, Kiko

He made it number three

His first goal, it was a killer

He scored against the Villa

And now he’s gonna

Be a star

For everyone else to see”.

Worthy of Dylan, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Kiko’s goal at the Stadium of Sh*te, which delivered us from what would arguably have been a deserved double-point drop, was in some ways as exquisite as his sensational debut curler. Indeed, the combination of instinct and technique to divert a typical Carrick cow’s-arse/banjo into a goal instantly reminded me of Solskjaer’s golden-footed moment in Barcelona, and Kiko has certainly entered the arena in classic supersub Ole style these past two games.

Naturally, one can only pray he ends up back in the Eternal City in May, conquering his home city in the manner of Caesar crossing the Rubicon, with a Gunnaresque 90th minute winner.

Unfortunately, there’s just the small matter of tonight’s Alpine mountain to climb, which promises to be much harder a task than old Julius faced. As we are all by now sick of hearing, no Anglos ever win in Oporto, although let us claim that we could easily have done so in 1997 had we needed to. Twelve years ago, we approached that other quarter-final second leg in much better shape, of course, being four goals to the good. But what should have been a carefree, celebratory occasion was nastily marred by a night of appalling police misconduct and scandalously bad stadium conditions, which saw us relieved to leave with no dead. On this day, the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough, it’s another reminder of what really matters in life, and that an elimination tonight will hardly constitute the ‘catastrophe’ that tomorrow’s newspaper headlines would doubtless screamingly dub it.

As I write, I’m on the train en route, crossing the Pyrenees, where the weather’s disappointingly 66 and gloomy – just like Fergie, then. He certainly seems troubled at the moment, with bad-tempered press conference exchanges surrounding the alleged disciplinary issues with Rooney and Ronaldo, and an embarrassing taunting outburst against Benitez in Saturday morning’s papers, which the Scousers promptly answered with an impressive four goal blast three hours later.

Incidentally, I can expand a touch on the Ronaldo case: the Friday before Villa, I am informed, Fergie tore a strip off him in front of the entire squad after Ronaldo had been acting stroppily throughout training. A week later, Fergie even conceded that he’d been lecturing Ronnie on his football performances, and rather amusingly also criticised him for always blaming referees on the protection issue. This from the boss that only two weeks earlier had been weighing in on that very issue with exactly the same no-quarter forthrightness!

But, of course, in between those two dates we had the Guardian and Mail stories alleging that Real and United have already outlined a secret transfer deal, so the atmosphere had clearly changed somewhat.

And then came the abysmally awful financial results released by the Glazers last week which have, for many, confirmed something I have been suggesting all season – that only Ronaldo’s sale will keep the wolf from the Grimm Brothers’ door for another season. Thus tonight could well be the last time we see Ronaldo in the European Cup for United. A sobering thought indeed: but thank goodness we will now have Kiko’s promise to re-inebriate us henceforth. Cheers!

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