Jadon Sancho Says He Is A “Scapegoat” At Manchester United
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Manchester United have had a turbulent few years, but the last week has been perhaps the most chaotic in recent times.
The club’s press office might have hoped that offloading controversial striker Mason Greenwood onto Spanish club Getafe would end the slew of negative headlines.
But it has only given way to yet more explosive allegations about another player, a social media spat over team selection and even inviting a convicted paedophile to be the special guest at a match.
Working backwards from the fresh drama surrounding Brazilian winger Antony to Jadon Sancho’s X/Twitter outburst, here are the worst bits of a bad week at Old Trafford.
Friday 8 September: Fresh allegations surface against Antony
Antony is facing further assault allegations, the second claim this week against the 23-year-old winger.
Ingrid Lana, a 33-year-old banker, said in an interview with a Brazilian TV channel that she was “pushed against a wall” by Antony in October 2022.
She said she hit her head as a result of the alleged incident, which she said happened at his house in Manchester in October 2022.
It comes after Brazilian police opened an investigation into claims of domestic abuse against his former girlfriend, Gabriela Cavallin, which hit the headlines on Monday 4 September.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Antony was accused of attacking Cavallin “with a headbutt” in a Manchester hotel room on 15 January, leaving her needing medical attention.
She has also alleged that he punched her in the chest, causing damage to her breast implant which required corrective surgery.
Antony previously addressed the claims on social media: “I can calmly state that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and the other evidence that will be produced demonstrate that I am innocent of the accusations made.”
Manchester United signed Antony last year in an £82m deal from Dutch club Ajax.
Thursday 7 September: Convicted paedophile special guest at match
The club admitted on 7 September that they invited a convicted paedophile to be a special guest at the biggest women’s football match in the history of the club.
Geoff Konopka was sentenced to four years in prison in 2011 and put on the sex offenders register for a decade after being convicted of offences of indecent assault and gross indecency against girls aged under 16.
Before that, he was manager of Manchester United Ladies from 1983 to 2001.
He was invited to attend the women’s team’s fixture against Everton in March 2022, the first Women’s Soccer League match ever held at Old Trafford.
United said they would have “no further contact” with Konopka on Thursday, as a result of information they had obtained “recently”.
“Manchester United has recently received information around these convictions, and as a matter of urgency has been in contact with the relevant legal and football authorities to substantiate the facts,” the club said in a statement.
“The club has taken appropriate action after receiving this information and will have no further connection with the individual. Manchester United expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the victims and all those affected by these abhorrent crimes.”
Tuesday 5 September: Mason Greenwood welcomed at Getafe
Mason Greenwood was unveiled by Spanish club Getafe after United agreed to loan him out.
In a social media post, Getafe said: “We love you Mason Greenwood.”
The accompanying video shows Greenwood walking out to applause and training with his new teammates.
Greenwood has not trained with United since he was arrested in January 2022, as a result of material that was published online.
He was later charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in October 2022.
The charges were dropped in February 2023, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said key witnesses had withdrawn and new material had come to light.
There was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”, the CPS said.
United then started their own internal investigation into the player. The club was reportedly planning to reintroduce him into the squad, a move which provoked heavy criticism.
Later, it was agreed he would leave the club by mutual agreement.
In a statement last month, Greenwood said he had “made mistakes” and took his “share of responsibility”, but added: “I did not do the things I was accused of.”
Sunday 3 September: Sancho’s outburst
Jadon Sancho, United’s £73m signing in 2021, faces an uncertain future at the club after he posted his frustrations about not being picked for Sunday’s game against Arsenal on X/Twitter.
Manager Erik Ten Hag said the player had been dropped because of “his performances in training,” but Sancho appeared to accuse Ten Hag of misrepresenting the facts.
He wrote: “Please don’t believe everything you read! I will not allow people saying things that [are] completely untrue. I have conducted myself in training very well this week. I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t go into, I have been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair!”
After his team’s defeat, Ten Hag said: “You have to reach a level every day at Manchester United and we can make choices in the front line,” he said. “So for this game he was not selected.”