David de Gea has noted that he feels a level of “affection and respect” from Manchester United supporters that simply doesn’t exist in Spain.
The Spaniard came within moments of becoming a Real Madrid player back in 2015, only for documentation issues to stop the move dead in its tracks.
Further speculation of a return to Spain, where De Gea has a fractured relationship with the media, has inevitably surfaced but the keeper is relaxed in Manchester.
And De Gea, reflecting on the difference between the two nations, was quick to point out the way those in England respect him more than in Spain.
“In the end in England I have a great affection and respect that I do not notice so much here,” he said. “But every time I come to the national team I feel fondness inside and it is the most important thing.”
England’s media looks like the fawning, self-congratulating Chinese press when pitted against Spain – a place of hatchet jobs that don’t even attempt to be subtle. And they have never taken kindly to De Gea – a man who has generally refused to speak with Spanish media outlets.
The likes of Diaro Gol, Mundo Deportivo and Don Balon are all decidedly scathing, but without doubt the most poisonous is Marca, which essentially serves as a kind of watered down Pravda, relentlessly churning out pro-Madrid propaganda and, worryingly, serving as the country’s sporting mouthpiece at the same time.
De Gea’s links with Atletico, combined with his lofty status as one of the best in the world (but, crucially, not playing for Real Madrid), makes him a target.
Over in England, however, he is simply regarded as the best in the world – a quiet, driven character with outrageous talent. Why would he want to change any of that?