Manchester United successfully qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sheriff Tiraspol, although the game was not entirely without controversy.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his return to the team grabbed the headlines, but an incident in the first half saw winger Antoni criticized for allegedly showboating by Perform his trademark “spider” trick.
With the game still goalless, the Brazilian collected the ball in acres of space, spun through 360 degrees twice and then proceeded to miss a pass that went straight out for a goal kick.
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New hair, same tricks.
Antonio pulls out his signature at Old Trafford. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/ZdvjHP3iQV
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 27, 2022
Predictably, the double spin caused something of a furor as fans on social media and pundits in studios debated whether a player expressing himself on the field before needlessly giving away possession was a good thing or a bad thing.
Antony’s spin might just be the most pointless skill I’ve ever seen in my life.
— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) October 27, 2022
The Antony 360° spin trick is fascinating. Breath-taking unnecessary. Probably not even very difficult to do in the first place. And yet he clearly loves to do it and he apparently has no intention of stopping. Remarkable.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) October 27, 2022
Roy Keane saw Antony’s spin in training pic.twitter.com/KAGDkM70rH
– No Context Keane (@NoContextKeaneo) October 28, 2022
“Grow a little…” 😳
Ian Holloway says Antonio skill was “unnecessary nonsense” 🔊🔛 pic.twitter.com/eVRfppv28d
– Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 28, 2022
🤷♂️ Jamie: “People have dug Antonio and said it’s embarrassing – I don’t think so!”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 27, 2022
It has even been pointed out that Antony’s spin is nowhere near being the most pointless piece of ‘skylance’ rolled out by a winger who has played for United, largely thanks to the efforts of Andrii Kanchelskis.
Antony’s spin isn’t even the most pointless skill from someone who played on the right wing for Man Utdpic.twitter.com/CDPfAVbjjr
— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) October 27, 2022
When he released his player ratings for the game, ESPN’s very own Rob Dawson awarded Antonio a disappointing score of 4/10 after failing to make much of an impact against Sheriff beyond his viral frippery.
Antony regularly performed the spin and was even made to prove it upon his arrival at United this summer with the club Posting an adorable clip on their official social media channels.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2022
Several prominent pundits voiced strong opinions after witnessing the charade against Sheriff, with former United midfielder Paul Scholes quick to to denigrate Antonio for his fancy footwork By branding the trick “ridiculous.” Fellow former United alumni Robbie Savage also described the 720-degree carousel as “embarrassing” while commentating on the game.
However, it has also been pointed out that Scholes’ assessment may be slightly clouded by bad memories of South African midfielder Scara Ngobese Doing the same trick directly in front of him During United’s preseason friendly against Kaizer Chiefs back in 2008.
This is why Scholes hates the spin by Anthony because he was a victim of it when United played in South Africa 😂 https://t.co/chnGclI4c9
— andil.99 (@AndileMhlabane) October 28, 2022
Antonio was subbed off at half-time against Sheriff, although United head coach Erik ten Haag later insisted the switch was pre-planned and more a function of the Brazilian’s general lack of impact on the night at Old Trafford.
“I don’t have a problem with that [the spin] As long as it is functional,” said the Dutchman after the game. “Also from him I demand more – more runs behind, more often in the box, more followers in and more tempo dribbles, especially, and more playing in the pocket.
Ten Haag explained that Antonio was replaced due to a lack of intensity, although he also vowed to “correct” the flamboyant 22-year-old on the right time and place to delve into his bag of tricks.
“We demand more dominance in this game and when there is a trick like that, it’s fine. As long as it’s functional, if you’re not losing the ball and you’re attracting players, it’s okay. But if it’s a trick Because of a trick I will fix him.
Of course, the reaction to Antony’s spin has stirred the age-old debate about where the line stands between genuine flair and excessive showboating when it comes to attacking football. Many creative players – many of them Brazilian – have made their own tricks over the years.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 19, 2022
Indeed, we need look no further than Neymar who has embraced this “sombrero“ (a cunning flick over the ball up and over an opponent’s head) at an early age and soon made his own.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 31, 2021
The Paris Saint-Germain star is also partial to a “Rainbow Flick,” Trapping the ball between his two heels and using them to arc the ball over his marker.
Flip page, gum, aka or snakebite❓
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 11, 2022
Used by Ronaldo and Ronaldinho among others, the “elastico“or” flip-flat Has been a staple of the Brazilian side for many years.
Brilliant skills 💫
A chef doesn’t look to help ❌👀
Class finish ⚽️
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 5, 2019
Liverpool star Roberto Firmino has carved himself a nice little niche as a prime exponent of the impudant “No look pass.”
✨ The most beautiful croquetas games @andresiniesta8.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) January 16, 2021
Renowned for his dexterity on the ball, Andres Iniesta perfected these “Croquette“ – A quick shift of the ball between his feet that allowed the former Barcelona midfielder to dart through gaps between defenders.
Curlon’s seal dribbles were impressive, but rarely finished well pic.twitter.com/NwR3ryT4rj
— James Dart (@James_Dart) May 20, 2020
Perhaps the most infamous of all signature tricks was the “Seal Dribble” Performed by Brazilian forward Kerlon. The ball was flicked up and juggled along on the stars, usually right until an irritated defender put an overly aggressive negotiation.