A Marca report raises loads of questions regarding a match between Real Zaragoza and Levante on the final day of the 2011 season, and one of those queries involves a current Manchester United player.
Ander Herrera, the high-profile Red Devils transfer from Athletic Bilbao last season, was 22 at the time and a member of Zaragoza, which entered the final weekend in the drop zone, while Levante was 12th yet by no means safe in a tight battle for La Liga safety.
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The claims are that Zaragoza players were given money to pass along to Levante players to throw the match, and Herrera is being dragged into the mix as someone who was paid (but returned the money). Zaragoza rolled in the match.
Some punishments for match-fixing in Spain include jail time, so this is theoretically significant.
Zaragoza went into the final day in danger of relegation and it is alleged that 12 Levante players were each paid €120,000 to throw the game by their Real Zaragoza counterparts.
Twelve Zaragoza player are alleged to have received €120,000 in their account, which they were to pass on individually to the Levante opposition.
It is suggested in Marca today that Herrera is now under investigation for receiving funds from ex-Real Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias but not declaring it to the Anti-Corruption unit, despite returning the cash.
Ander Herrera started for Real Zaargoza on May 21, 2011 against Levante and the current Manchester United midfielder played 72 minutes of the match.
And if Herrera was involved in any sort of fix other than “bonus money” to win the game, it’s obviously not a good development. Atletico Madrid captain Gabi admitted to receiving money while then on-loan to Zaragoza.
The game chart says the Aragonian side was dominant in the match. Check this in-game screengrab from Eurosport, specifically the first few lines:
Yep, that’s two goals ruled out for offsides before Zaragoza scored one that counted (in the opposite direction of the alleged fix). Without looking at the video, it’s impossible to know whether the players were legit offsides, and there’s no way for officials to fix a free kick goal — once it’s awarded — is there?
It’s not a new story, but Herrera’s name being involved is a development and makes it an interesting story to follow. Still it’s hard to conclusively say anything.