David de Gea's girlfriend believes that the city of Manchester is "uglier than the back of a fridge".
Clearly, she has never seen the back of my fridge.
If my fridge suffered the devastating effects of a nuclear attack, no one would notice.
But the most disgusting fridge I ever had, without question, was the mouldy contraption in the kitchen of my student flat, which was in Manchester.
So I feel suitably qualified to challenge de Gea's girlfriend's hurtful accusation that Manchester was an unattractive city.
She has obviously never spent the night in Liverpool.
It's easy to joke of course, but the comments have not gone down well in Manchester United circles.
During an interview on Spanish TV this week, singer Edurne Garcia admitted she visited Manchester regularly to stay with her boyfriend, but struggled with the English industrial city.
She said: "It's not very nice, that's for sure. You have to hunt out specific places, the nicer places."
I admire her persistence. I lived in Manchester for three years and I didn't find these nicer places.
I suspect these elusive locations are like Louis van Gaal's "philosophy" and tactical approach. People continue to believe they exist, but no one has actually seen them.
Still, the interview has triggered the inevitable conjecture. Garcia doesn't like Manchester. Garcia is de Gea's girlfriend. So he doesn't like Manchester and will almost certainly join Real Madrid in the summer.
There are more gaps in logic there than a van Gaal press conference.
But foreign players have often cited their partners and families as convenient excuses to flee the Premier League for sunnier climes.
Remember when Carlos Tevez said he had to leave Manchester City to appease his homesick family and take them closer to Argentina?
He joined Juventus.
That's like me saying my wife needs to be closer to her parents in London so we plan to move from Bedok to Choa Chu Kang.
Luis Suarez also mentioned his desire to pull his family from the Liverpool pressure cooker. He just needed the right job opportunity to come along, something he could really sink his teeth into.
But de Gea hasn't said a word.
Despite playing behind a back four filled with defenders who look like they've won a pre-match raffle to turn out for United, the Spanish goalkeeper hasn't expressed any desire to leave.
He doesn't seem the type. He's bulked up a little since joining the club, but his slender presence still gives him all the authority of Harry Potter.
You're never quite sure with de Gea if he's going to pull off another gravity-defying save or run away with Ron and Hermione.
His agent recently dismissed all speculation, insisting his client was happy at Old Trafford "at the moment", which must surely be a little white lie.
When Garcia agreed that Manchester was "uglier than the back of a fridge", it's worth checking if she was referring to United's back four.
These things can get lost in translation. There can be a breakdown in communication. Just look at United's back four.
Still, Manchester residents are not amused. No Spanish woman has ever insulted the city before. No Spanish woman has ever had a reason to visit the city before.
But there may yet be a chance for revenge.
Singer Garcia will represent Spain at this year's Eurovision Song contest in May. For those who aren't familiar, the Eurovision Song contest is a vast competition where many votes are cast from different countries, but no one really takes the winners or the process seriously.
It's like the elections for Fifa president.
So the people of Manchester can vote for Garcia's rivals and deny her victory.
Besides, the competition is cheesy, daft and a bit of a joke and serious participants can often look foolish among other madcap performers.
De Gea knows the feeling.
But Garcia tried to put a positive spin on her comments, by adding that she loved Spain so much because it was her partner's homeland.
She said: "The reason I like Spain is that David's there. With him being there, everything looks wonderful."
United fans say the same whenever they see the team sheet.
This article was first published on March 15, 2015.
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