Following the Aston Villa game, I came under quite a bit of criticism for daring to have a word about Cristiano Ronaldo’s attitude.
Aston Villa scored their second goal directly from Ronaldo losing the ball and failing to try and win it back. The same happened two days later against Porto. Too often this season Ronaldo’s been sat on his arse complaining when he hasn’t been given a free-kick whilst the game goes on around him. Whether he has been fouled or not doesn’t change the fact he should be getting on with the match regardless. Yes, it must be frustrating, but he’s not the only player in the Premiership who is targeted for fouls. He’s not even the most fouled player in the Premiership, yet he is the only player I’ve seen in this league who sits around thumping the ground every week when they’ve not been awarded a free-kick.
I was beginning to think that our manager had no problem with this attitude, which has got increasingly worse as the season has gone on. Having built a reputation as a manager who doesn’t take any shit, it was worrying to think that Ferguson would let Ronaldo get away with not pulling his weight, seemingly because he’s The Best Player In The World (TM) and Fergie wants to keep him sweet so he won’t try and leave again this summer.
There is no need to worry though. Ferguson dropped Ronaldo to the bench for our match yesterday and has revealed that no player is exempt from being put straight when they step out of line.
“I don’t accept that from anyone,” Ferguson said. “I speak to Cristiano about it. He’s not immune from that. He always feels he’s not getting the proper protection from referees and I think that in a few cases it is right. But there are also a lot cases where it’s not right. It’s hard when a player who wants to entertain all the time doesn’t get everything his own way. But you can’t get everything your own way – that’s just the way football is. Cristiano understands that now and there’s not a problem. It’s just a frustration because he feels he doesn’t get the decision. He gets upset about it. I think he obviously knows he’s letting himself down more than anything and he has held his hands up. I have had to remind him about certain things, but I’m not getting into what’s been said.”
When Ronaldo came on the pitch against Sunderland, he resembled the player we idolised last season. He wasn’t busting a gut to win the ball back like Rooney, but I don’t expect him to do that. I don’t expect Ronaldo to run himself ragged to win back the ball, but I do expect him to try. He was only on the field for twenty minutes yesterday but tracked back several times, running after Sunderland’s winger and putting in challenges. It was brilliant to see.
I’m not sure why it’s taken Ferguson to long to have this chat, but that’s by the by now. We’re teetering at the top at the moment and a rejuvenated and focussed Ronaldo could make the difference between us losing out on the title and adding a couple more trophies to our collection this season.
More of the same please Ronnie!