West Indies cricketer Carlos Brathwaite in action.

My United: Why Carlos Brathwaite is a Red

The West Indies are in Cricket World Cup action against Bangladesh today (Monday) at Taunton, so we've dug through the archives and found a classic chat with Carlos Brathwaite.

In September 2017, the powerful all-rounder spoke to the club's official monthly magazine Inside United, who includes a regular feature called 'My United' in which famous Reds reveal all about their love for the club. 

Carlos, who is also West Indies' T20 captain, is part of the 50-overs side currently competing at the World Cup in England. 

Read on to see what Brathwaite told us about idolising Cristiano Ronaldo, which United player he is most like on the field of play and much more...

How did you get into supporting United?
“I used to support Fiorentina because Serie A showed on our cable at home, and I loved watching Rui Costa and Gabriel Batistuta. But the Treble swayed me – exciting attacking football and a never-say-die attitude. It also helped that Dwight Yorke was a starter, and as a fellow West Indian I started to do some research on Manchester United and follow the results. It wasn’t until 2003 that I became a real avid supporter.” 

Is football big in Barbados and the Caribbean, and how popular are Manchester United?
“Football is very big in Barbados and the Caribbean, and there is a massive rivalry amongst fans of rival clubs. Fortunately for us we’ve had Sir Alex and a few players vacation here every summer, so fans get a glimpse of their heroes. The profile of Manchester United is massive. I’d say for every five football fans, two are Manchester United fans.” 

What are your early memories of supporting Manchester United?
“Ruud van Nistelrooy the poacher, Ole Gunnar the super sub and the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. I remember hearing some teenager taking the famed no.7 jersey and being Portuguese - I am a Portugal supporter as well because of Rui Costa. I heard the similarities to Figo and was excited for his arrival.”

Video
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring a goal for United in 2003.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford in 2003 excited Carlos.

Who was your first United hero?
“I would have to say Cristiano Ronaldo. It wasn’t until CR7 that I idolised a Manchester player.”

Did you play football as a youngster, and were you any good?
“Yes, I played football, I also played a bit of futsal at college. I am a good passer with decent ball control and like to control the midfield a la Paul Pogba. I’d love to share the field with him someday, in a five-a-side or charity game.”

Is there much interest in football among cricket players?
“Yes, almost every cricketer loves football. Whether it be international teams or club teams across the world, most teams engage in a keepy-uppy session or small-sided game to warm up before games and practice.” 

Have you been to Old Trafford?
“I’ve been to Old Trafford twice to date. The first time was versus Arsenal, we came back to win 2-1 – that was a great game to witness, especially as a first game. The atmosphere was electric. The second one was a Manchester derby. We lost but I still think the experience was next-level.”

What about a favourite goal?
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick versus Portsmouth in 2008. Or his goal against Arsenal in the 2009 Champions League semi-final. That’s one of the best counter-attacks I’ve seen.” 

What is your favourite all-time United memory?
“That would have to be the Champions League victory in 2008. It was my first as a United supporter and the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo played an integral part in the triumph was an even sweeter joy.”

Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs lift the Champions League trophy in 2008.
Our Champions League final success in 2008 is Carlos's favourite all-time United memory.

If you could compare yourself as a cricketer – your style of play and strengths – to a Manchester United footballer, who would it be?
“I’d have to say Paul Pogba. As an all-rounder, I may never score most runs or take most wickets, just as he may never have most goals. But we both are decisive when it matters, and teams look to us for that spark or inspiration on and off the field.”

And if there was one United player from any era to pick in your cricket team who would you take?
[Laughs] “Hmm, I’d take Phil or Gary Neville. I’ve heard they can hold their own on a cricket field.”

If you could jump in a United time machine to go and watch any team, player or match, where would you go?
“I’d like to see Sir Alex take control of one of his teams from pre-season to finals day, just so I understand the ins and outs of perfect man-management and how to instill self-belief in others. I’d like to see Ronaldo as well, on the training pitch and after games - I’ve heard his recovery routine is brutal - just to see what goes into making the best player in the world.”

Gary and Phil Neville during a training session in Chicago in July 2004.
Carlos would take Gary or Phil Neville in his cricket team.

MY FAVOURITE UNITED MATCH EVER

Carlos plumps for a famous European thumping at the Theatre of Dreams as his no.1 game...

“The Roma 7-1 Champions League quarter-final win in 2007 - especially after the first leg and being taunted at cricket because we were trailing! It was nice to walk into the dressing room with my chest pumped after that game, a Ronaldo brace and the demolition of Roma.” 

Video
Michael Carrick scores for United against Roma in 2008.
Michael Carrick scored twice in United's memorable 7-1 win over Roma at Old Trafford in 2007.

WHO IS CARLOS BRATHWAITE?

Currently 30 years old, Carlos was born in Barbados on 18 July 1988 and plays T20 cricket for West Indies.

He has also played one-day and test cricket for his country, as well as playing in T20 franchises around the world. 

Brathwaite famously scored the winning runs for West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup final, hitting England's Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the final over.

This article first appeared in the September 2017 edition of the Inside United magazine. You can subscribe here

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