Manchester United came away from their Champions League last-16 tie against Sevilla with a hard-fought draw on Wednesday and all thanks to their goal keeper, David De Gea.
De Gea has on countless times ‘bailed’ the Red Devils from humiliating defeats with his extra ordinary saves. He has used almost every part of his body to save goals especially with his legs.
His saves are said not to be ordinary and human. It’s because of the way and manner he executeds effortlessly. His positioning is top notch, his reflexes are spell bounding and expectedly, these have made top football clubs to hunt him down.
In the summer 2015, the 27-year-old was one of Madrid’s top targets and came very close to joining the Spanish champions before a faulty fax machine scuppered the move. And this is the point where Manchester United have always expressed their happiness and even celebrated the day.
The talismanic goalkeeper had all but completed a move to Real Madrid but an 11th hour hitch, apparently involving a broken fax machine, meant the deal fell through – much to the delight of the Old Trafford faithful.
Madrid accused United of sending them paperwork too late which meant the proposed £29.3million transfer, which included Keylor Navas going the other way, could not be finalised in time.
De Gea, who was named the club’s Player of the Year for a record third consecutive season last term, went on to sign a new four-year contract with the Red Devils.
The Spain international has since reiterated that his future lies with United and fans of the Premier League giants couldn’t be any happier.
Wednesday’s game demonstrated his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the world as he kept the game going with strings of saves.
Overall, the game was Manchester United’s ninth clean sheet in their last 11 matches in all competitions and their 23rd in all competitions this season.
It was also the first time Sevilla had been held scoreless in a home European match since a UEFA Cup game against Mainz in September 2005.
With eight total saves, De Gea equalled Edwin van der Sar’s mark in the Champions League final against Barcelona in May 2011, a game the Blaugrana still won 3-1.
De Gea had little interest in revelling in his spectacular intervention, admitting that Vincenzo Montella’s side perhaps deserved more.
He told BT Sport: “It was at the last minute of the first half so it was an important moment of the game. I made the save. I’m happy for that.
“I think they had the best chances of the game. We defended well, but they had control of the ball, they played really well but the result is open and we need to play the second leg at Old Trafford.”
United only mustered a solitary shot on target in the game and Chris Smalling also espoused the importance of a second leg on home soil.
“It opened up in the second half,” he said. “After the end of that first half, where David made a couple of good saves, they didn’t have clear-cut chances but it’s in our hands at home and you’ve got to win at home to go through anyway
“The atmosphere is very good here. It was loud, you can tell it was emotional and we had to dig in at times.
“You could tell they tired in that second half. The last 20 minutes we tried to put pressure on and it was very open.
The question is that will Real Madrid back off from getting their target anytime soon? But it’s a result that [means] we’re confident at home.”
Since joining United, De Gea has made over 300 appearances and won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a League Cup, three Community Shields and the UEFA Europa League.
For three consecutive seasons from 2013–14 to 2015–16, he was elected as United’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, the first player in the award’s history to win on three successive occasions.
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