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The new King of Old Trafford
by Paul Kennedy, March 4th, 2008 6:45AM



Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says Argentine Carlos Tevez reminds him of Frenchman Eric Cantona, the King of Old Trafford during his reign at Manchester United in the 1990s. Tevez has already played a key role in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 series between United and Lyon that concludes on Tuesday. Young attackers Robin van Persie and Kazim Kazim could play key roles for Arsenal and Fenerbahce, respectively, on the road. The team with the longest odds is Scottish champion Celtic, which hopes to end a long drought with a victory at Barcelona.

NEW ROYALTY? They called Frenchman Eric Cantona the King of Old Trafford during his reign at Manchester United in the 1990s. In his first year at Manchester United, Argentine Carlos Tevez has drawn comparisons to Cantona for the same goalscoring qualities.

Tevez has scored 15 goals for United this season, including the goal that allowed United to earn a 1-1 tie at French club Lyon two weeks ago in the first leg of their round-of-16 UEFA Champions League series.

Writing in the match program for Tuesday's second leg, United manager Alex Ferguson says Tevez reminds him of Cantona.

"Tevez is proving a master at scoring the really important goals -- the ones that give you a win or a draw, especially away from home," Ferguson wrote. "He did it at Tottenham to salvage a point as he made the result 1-1. He scored for a 1-0 win at Liverpool and now he has rescued us again by finding the net late and nullifying Lyon's lead."

10. A United victory over Lyon at Old Trafford on Tuesday would be its 10th successive home win in the Champions League, equaling a record set by Juventus in 1997.

ROBIN RETURNS. Dutch striker Robin van Persie was in the Arsenal squad that traveled to Milan for Tuesday's game.

Van Persie has not played in almost two months, a thigh problem being only the latest in a string of injuries that have limited him to 14 appearances for the Gunners in 2007-08. He is likely to gain a place on the bench.

"It is good to have him back because we had to be patient," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "It is always good to have a boost psychologically having a big player back."

28. If Celtic rallies and upsets Barcelona on Tuesday, it will end a 28-year drought for the Scottish club. The last time it reached the quarterfinals of Europe's premier club competition was in 1980.

KAZIM KAZIM. Fenerbahce heads to Sevilla with a 3-2 lead in their series, and one of its key players is a 21-year-old winger who only three years ago was playing in the fourth level of English soccer.

Colin Kazim-Richards was earning $5,000 at Bury; now he is known as Kazim Kazim and stars for Fenerbahce, the Turkish giant.

He developed the reputation for having a bad attitude during his career in England, but he has excelled during moving to Fener and could play for Turkey at this summer's Euro '08.

"It was a culture shock, totally different to life in England," he told ITV. "It is intense in Turkey. One minute they can hate you, the next you are God. But everything in life has a purpose."

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