Football FanCast columnist and Betfair
blogger Gareth Freeman feels that there is an ugly side to Ronaldo's
game that needs stamping out.
I've got to be honest I'm a bit worried about the response this entry is
going to get but I feel I have to get it off my chest. I'm certainly not
doubting Cristiano Ronaldo's talent; he is quite clearly one of the best
players in the world and as such deserves the respect he has earned.
However, there is an ugly, darker side to his game that people seem to gloss
over because of his skills.
The Manchester United game against Blackburn at the weekend was a great
example of the two sides of Ronaldo. On the one hand he scored a superb
free-kick from a near impossible angle. He also got booked for diving and
kicked out cynically at a Blackburn player and it is not the first time this
has happened. He seems to get away with all these little acts of petulance
and the majority of the time the media tends to ignore them as well. If
one referee just had the bottle to send him off when he kicks out in anger it
might stop him doing it and that will only be good for the game as a
I'm of the school of thought that to be a truly top player you probably need
a bit of arrogance about your game but Ronaldo takes it too far. We all
remember his frankly disgraceful behaviour in contributing to Rooney's red-card
in the 2006 World Cup. There is the argument that it was mostly Rooney's
fault in that he allowed himself to be so wound up but Ronaldo was quite
clearly gesturing to his team-mates that his Manchester United team-mate was in
danger of seeing red. At the time this was put down to Ronaldo's naivety
but three years later and very little has changed.
I am the first person to admit Ronaldo
is perhaps a one-off talent and one of the best footballers in the world at the
moment and when he's playing there is no way I'll be betting against United. However, the
fact of the matter is that certain aspects of his game could be considered
blatant cheating. If you look at Kaka for example, he is a player of
similar quality but his gamesmanship is much better and I respect him all the
more for it. I'm sure every United fan out there loves having the Ballon
d'Or winner playing for them but even his most dedicated fans must surely have
to admit there is an ugly side to his game. With Ronaldo in the side it is
always worth considering an online football bet on them recording a
victory but that shouldn't detract from the way he conducts himself on the
pitch. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned and this is all part of the modern
game but for me good sportsmanship is something to be applauded.