Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ronaldo Quiting Play Without Instructions....

Following being sent off for taking matters, literally, into his own hands at the City of Manchester Stadium last week, Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo left his manager bemused in the stands this evening at Sunderland as he appeared to substitute himself.

Having missed an open goal, the player was involved in a challenge with Sunderland's Andy Reid on 65 minutes. Following the tackle he was left clutching his ribs, and shortly afterwards, clearly unable to play on, he put the ball into touch and walked off the field.

Alex Ferguson, serving a touchline ban and not in his usual place in the dug-out, was immediately seen barking into his mobile phone as he desperately tried to find out what was happening.

As a replacement was not stripped or warmed up ready to go on, the incident was very strange and adds to recent controversy surrounding the way in which Ronaldo conducts himself on and off the pitch.

Two weeks ago Ronaldo was involved in a spat with Aston Villa supporters as he hobbled off the pitch at Villa Park during United's 0-0 draw in the Midlands. He responded to taunts by pointing to the number 7 on his shorts and then indicating he was 'number one' by holding his finger up to the sky.

A week prior to that, the Ballon D'Or winner was branded "a malicious guy" by Brazil's Thiago Silva, who was the victim of a spiteful tackle from Ronaldo during Brazil's 6-3 hammering of Portugal in Brasilia.

The injury was obviously genuine, and Ferguson did not seem angry when he spoke about the issue earlier.

"He got real kick on the hip-joint, just like Wayne Rooney did last year when he was in pain for a while and missed a couple of games," said the United manager.

"There was no need for him to come to the bench, though. The best thing is to get treatment straightaway. It was the sensible thing to do.

"We will see what he is like, although I was going to make changes for the Champions League game against Aalborg on Wednesday anyway."

If Nemanja Vidic hadn't popped up with a late winner for the Red Devils then Ferguson might not have been so even-tempered. The Scot does not suffer those who question his authority: just ask Jaap Stam and David Beckham, who were both quickly on their way out of Old Trafford once they'd displeased the boss.

Ferguson does not take kindly to those who perceive themselves as being bigger than the club, and this issue is bound to fuel speculation that Ronaldo is planning an exit from Old Trafford.

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