Monday, 13 April 2009

Rare rebuke hits Ronaldo hard

Public criticism of his own players is rare, so the warning from Sir Alex Ferguson to Cristiano Ronaldo that he should cut out the histrionics should be adhered to.

The Portugal international has played the victim's card too many times for his manager's liking this season and Ferguson has ordered his star winger to stop the regular shows of petulance and play-acting.

The former Sporting Lisbon star scored a remarkable 42 goals in all competitions last season as United collected the Premier League and Champions League double, but a perceived lack of commitment and tiresome speculation about his future with the world club champions has cast a long shadow over Ronaldo this campaign.

There was audible dissent from the Old Trafford faithful against Aston Villa and FC Porto when Ronaldo was at fault for giving the ball away in the lead-up to goals and made no effort to retrieve the situations.

Ferguson protects his players like Tuesday follows Monday, so this rare public rebuke would suggest Ronaldo is no longer untouchable.

"I don't accept that he will give goals away because of the player he is," said Ferguson. "I speak to him about it. I don't accept that from anyone. In European football, if you give the ball away it takes a long time to get it back."

Ronaldo's argument that he does not get enough protection from referees also does not wash when you consider it was only recently that he admitted he would expect the same rough-house treatment from defenders in another league.Link

The 24-year-old will return to his homeland on Wednesday when United look to become the first English side to win at the Estadio do Dragao and keep alive their hopes of retaining their European crown. Football betting is currently split as to whether United will achieve their goal.

Ferguson does not subscribe to Ronaldo's theory that he gets kicked more than most and has warned the World Player of the Year he must stop challenging match officials.

"It's just a frustration that he feels he doesn't get the decision and he gets upset about it," added Ferguson. "I think, obviously, he doesn't enjoy that and he knows he's letting himself down more than anything. He holds his hands up. I have had to remind him about that but I'm not getting into what has been said."

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