Marcus Rashford claims he was tied up, threatened and questioned “for weeks” after an incident involving a group of Manchester United fans went viral on Wednesday
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The England international, 24, played the final 23 minutes of the European draw but failed to make an impact when the Spanish champions won 1-0 (2-1 on total). The result means United’s wait for their next major title has entered its sixth year.
As he left Old Trafford on Tuesday night, Rashford was filmed by a United fan. One fan was heard shouting: “Go on, Rashford” in an attempt to get the player’s attention. Another added: “After that performance, fighting.”
Rashford then spoke to a manager before walking away and gesturing with his right hand. Some social media users believe he gave the finger, although players have confirmed this is not the case.
One fan was then heard saying: “F ***** gb ***** d, f ***** gb ***** d.” Another added: “He was f***** gs***e.”
Responding to the video on social media, Rashford wrote on Twitter: “A video can draw a thousand words and in this case led to incorrect information being shared on social media. Friends, for weeks I have been stalked, threatened, questioned and Last night, my feelings got better. I’m human.
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“Reading and hearing that about yourself every day, it breaks you down. No one has criticized my performance more than me. But what you see in this video lacks context. I was stunned from the start. When I stepped out onto the ground, abuse wasn’t just directed at my football. People were looking for a response from me. Phones were ready.
“Of course, I should have just walked over and ignored it – that’s what we have to do, right? I want to make two things clear. The first is what I actually said to the man who was abusing him. me that ‘walked over to him and said it to my face’ (a backup security fact) and second, my use of my index finger to direct fans ‘to come and say it to my face’.
“I didn’t gesture with my middle finger. I don’t have the right. This is not my ego. I’m upset. I’m frustrated. And in that moment, it’s silly, but I’m human.”
Rashford has had a difficult season since last summer’s Euros, scoring just five goals for United in all competitions. He has scored a total of 43 goals for the club in his previous two campaigns. Reports on Tuesday suggested he could be dropped by Gareth Southgate for England’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast later this month.
Discussing Rashford’s performance against Atletico, former England winger Chris Waddle said: “A number of players have been here. [at United] too long. Rashford doesn’t seem to want to be here. Whether he lost confidence or faith, he definitely lost something.
“Many years ago we talked about what kind of player he could be. In the third final there was nothing. Those are the two sides where United have a real problem. They used to be. there were wingers who did the trick, they made substitutions.
“Now all we get are players stopping and passing the ball back or in. It doesn’t affect the flanks. Marcus Rashford looks absolutely lousy when he comes on. Why would they? keep playing him when he doesn’t want to be there, supposedly? I don’t understand.”
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