United repaid in full but rich kids can see a Silva lining



So that's what millions can buy. Though Sir Alex Ferguson spoke in yesterday's programme notes of Manchester City's willingness to "invest colossal amounts" changing football beyond recognition, Wayne Rooney proves the nonsense of any notion that the Abu Dhabis are doing something United never have.

The £26m United paid for Rooney in 2004 might seem like buttons now, but in today's money the sum laid out was £49.1m, slightly more than the £48.4m United paid for Rio Ferdinand, according to Paul Tomkins' Pay as you Play, which uses a Current Transfer Purchase Price Index (CTPP) to calculate all Premier League transfer deals in real terms. Who could deny that Rooney was worth every penny? No one, though let's at least get some cards on the table.

The conversation in the press box had just turned to the question of how long Rooney would start ahead of Javier Hernandez when Nani twirled in his cross and the striker began shuffling back into position for what he said last night was his first successfully executed bicycle kick since he wore a school uniform – £49m players only need an instant to redefine their worth.

But this game was about what City's millions have bought, too; a game when all the distaste for their largesse and for Yaya Touré's £200,000 wages could melt away. A game in which we could just wonder at the ability of a 6ft 2in Ivorian to barge Anderson off the ball in one instant, and in the next delicately navigate a move through the right hand side of United's penalty area with which David Silva should have done more than toe poke wide after five minutes. It was a rare blemish from Silva, who demonstrated what £26m of 2010 money can buy. The reverse pass which Silva glided past Rooney and Nemanja Vidic to set up Touré in the first 15 minutes was one of the game's sublime moments, lost though it will be in the blinding light of Rooney's brilliance.

Some other City performances will probably go missing in the Rooney reverie which will justifiably occupy minds today. Micah Richards is quietly confounding the doubts which Roberto Mancini and predecessor Mark Hughes harboured about him. Vincent Kompany was the 153rd derby's finest player, the timing of the right-footed tackle which dispossessed Rooney was one of many special moments. There was no margin for error.

City were the better side, in fact, even if United's capacity never to know they are beaten won through. No doubt some will claim Mancini's decision to keep Edin Dzeko on the bench and start with only Carlos Tevez up front was him conforming to a dull, defensive Italian stereotype. But Dzeko is perhaps four weeks off the Premier League pace. His touch when he arrived demonstrated as much, even though his presence caused an immediate sense of unease in United's area and an immediate pocket of space for Tevez, who happily dropped into it.

If we are talking caution, then Ferguson's was the source of most surprise. He could have started with Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. By the end, the managers were matching each other move-for-move, Berbatov arriving from the bench only six minutes after Dzeko. It is perhaps a sign of the bias Mancini complained of on Friday, that no one will be accusing yesterday's home manager of negativity today.

Mancini's main grounds for regret should be his side's inability to capitalise in the first half they dominated. The damage Shaun Wright-Phillips wrought after an indifferent arrival from the bench – his 65th minute cross brought the goal – revealed what might have been had he, rather than the less attack-minded Aleksandr Kolarov, started the game.

It is too familiar a refrain to say that City's moment will come. Ferguson's remarkable assertion in his programme notes that the Abu Dhabis "typify a new breed of owner that has come into the game – relatively young men with a passion for football," and "an acumen that by-and-large helps them make it work," reveals that he knows they are above his sniping. Yesterday belonged to Rooney but millions can buy a blue form of brilliance, just as much as red.

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice