Thierry Henry. A player without a European Cup winners medal, no European or World Player of the Year to his name, yet his ability made him one of the most arrogant players to ever grace the Premiership.
Cristiano Ronaldo has all three, scoring the only goal in his team’s final, and he’s only 23-years-old. One would imagine he is going to be fairly confident in his own abilities.
I wonder if Henry got kicked off the park week in week out in his Arsenal days, whether Arsene Wenger would go some way to excusing it by pointing out Henry’s arrogance?
You see, Wenger has responded to questions over Steven Taylor’s escaping of a red card on Wednesday. The Arsenal manager is supportive to a degree but then explains the reasoning behind the behaviour of the players who go in to hurt Ronaldo.
“When there is a bad tackle you have to be punished and get sent off,” Wenger said. “They could create a special committee to analyse if three games’ is enough or not. I feel in some tackles 10 games is not enough.”
Then on to Ronaldo.
“Sometimes I feel Manchester United get too much protection and sometimes they don’t get enough and Ronaldo is a specific example of that,” Wenger added. “Sometimes his arrogance is provocative – and his class as well.”
If players get provoked because Ronaldo is arrogant or better players than them, that is their look out. As Wenger correctly identifies though, he is not protected well enough by the referee’s and the FA and should have to allow the aggression of others to be taken out on him. He will stupidly react from time to time, kicking out at a player, but then, if the referee has missed the past ten times he’s been fouled, why is he painted as such a villain for taking matters in to his own hands? Clearly the referee’s aren’t capable of bringing justice in to the game.
Although Pogatetz’s throttle was by far the worst assault on Ronaldo this season, there is no denying action should have been taken against Taylor. Three days earlier, Ronaldo was brought down in the penalty area by King, who shamelessly applauded the decision whilst knowing he had fouled Ronnie, and booked for diving.
Is Ronaldo the boy who cried wolf? Quite possibly. I just wish that every time rival fans and the press laid in to him for diving (as at least one player from EVERY club does on a regular enough basis in this league), they would remember all the times he has his legs taken away from him, elbows in his face, and yellow cards awarded for fouls in the box.
Is this outweighed by the advantages of him diving? Do we get penalties every week because of Ronaldo’s behaviour? Do we fuck. The only penalty decision that wrongly went in our favour this season was against Bolton, when a perfectly good tackle was made on Ronaldo. However, our winger didn’t appeal for it and he certainly didn’t dive. By the accounts of the Bolton players, Ronaldo was saying it wasn’t a penalty. But who cares about facts, lets tar and feather him, call him arrogant, and expect him to be assaulted week after week.
Some might say that if Ronaldo chooses to dive, then he should face the consequences of his actions. Fair enough. But then why don’t all the other players who dive? This country would be outraged if Steven Gerrard got walloped in the face and nothing was done about it, so why is it alright when it happens to Ronaldo? Why does he deserve it because he dives, when no other diving players have to endure the same thing? Would the FA not bother to investigate Gerrard getting strangled like Ronaldo was by Pogatetz? Hmmm.
Essentially though, he’s missed over a month of the season in recovery, he spent another month or two regaining fitness, and from the right wing, he’s the second highest scorer in the league. Is he arrogant? Course he bloody is, but that isn’t justification for strangling him and smacking him around the head!
The RoM Manchester United 2022-23 season preview is now available for just £6. It includes exclusive interviews with Patrice Evra and Kleberson, articles from the country's best football writers about our expectations for the season ahead and our brightest talents, as well as proposed transfer business and which youth players to keep an eye out for. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.