Marcus Rashford claimed he has been heckled, threatened and questioned “for weeks” after an incident involving a group of Manchester United fans went viral on Wednesday
The England international, 24, played the final 23 minutes of the European tie but failed to make an impact as the Spanish champions won 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate). The result means United’s wait for their next major trophy has entered a sixth year.
The club’s exit from the Champions League coincides with United now facing a period of over two weeks without a club fixture. Ralf Rangnick’s side do not play this weekend ahead of the international break, with their next fixture hosting Leicester on April 2.
That clash at Old Trafford will be a chance for United to kickstart their push for a top four spot and potential qualification for next season’s Champions League. Liverpool’s win at Arsenal on Wednesday night ensured that the fourth-placed Gunners remain just one point ahead of United but they do have two games in hand.
United’s squad have been given the remainder of the week off in order to be able to rest and recuperate, with a report in the Telegraph outlining that Rashford has taken advantage of that to travel overseas in an attempt to recharge his batteries.
As he left on Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, Rashford was filmed by a United fan. One supporter was heard shouting: “Come on, Rashford” in an attempt to get the player’s attention. Another added: “After that performance, come on guys.”
Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Rashford then spoke to a steward before walking away and gesturing with his right hand. Some social media users believe he was giving the finger, although the player has since confirmed this was not the case.
A fan is later heard saying: “F*****g b*****d, f*****g b*****d.” Another added: “He was f*****g s***e.”
Rashford wrote in a statement, posted on Twitter: “A video can paint a thousand words and in this case lead to inaccurate info being shared on social media. Guys for weeks I’ve been heckled, threatened, questioned and last night my emotion got the better of me. I’m a human being.
“Reading and hearing that stuff about yourself every day wears you down. No one is more critical of my performance than me. But what you see in this video lacks context. I had been heckled from the minute I stepped foot outside the ground, abuse not just aimed at my football. People were looking for a reaction from me. Phones were at the ready. Of course, I should have walked straight past and ignored it, that’s what we’re supposed to do right?
“I want to clarify 2 things. The first being what I actually said to the man throwing abuse at me which [was] ‘come over here and say it to my face’ [a fact security can back up] and secondly, the fact I used my forefinger to direct the fan to ‘come over and say it to my face’. I did not gesture with my middle finger. I’m not entitled. This isn’t ego. I’m upset. I’m disappointed. And in that moment it was silly but I was being a human.”
Rashford has endured a difficult season since last summer’s Euros, scoring just five goals for United in all competitions. He managed a combined total of 43 club goals in his previous two campaigns. Reports on Tuesday suggest he may be dropped by Gareth Southgate for England’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast later this month.
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