EYE ON LA LIGA : Ronaldo still has a lot to learn in football

In England with Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo was a king of some sort, he was untouchable, and more often than not he would be let off with rough play. Yet, the Portuguese international does have a reputation for childish dismissals. At United, former World Player of the year picked up four red cards in six seasons and he has not been sent of twice since he joined Real Madrid in the summer.

In England with Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo was a king of some sort, he was untouchable, and more often than not he would be let off with rough play. Yet, the Portuguese international does have a reputation for childish dismissals.

At United, former World Player of the year picked up four red cards in six seasons and he has not been sent of twice since he joined Real Madrid in the summer.

His latest dismissal was for violent conduct when he swung his elbow into the face of Danish defender David Mtiliga, breaking the defender’s nose during Real’s 2-0 win over Malaga last weekend for which he has been banned for two games starting with today’s trip to Deportivo de La Coruna.
Cristiano last sending off in a United shirt was during the 2007–08 season for a head-butt on Portsmouth’s Richard Hughes, for which he was punished with a three-match ban.

The British media as always had its field day after that expulsion and although the player admitted that he had learned a lot from that experience and would no longer let opposing players provoke him into reacting in the future, such offences are rarely forgotten and his hot-headed reputation keeps following him.

In December during Real’s La Liga match against Almeria, Ronaldo, after scoring stripped off his shirt and flexed his muscles for the cameras, which earned him a yellow card and moments later he lashed out with a vicious kick on Almeria opponent, an offence that earned him his second yellow card and his first sending off in a Madrid shirt.

A few years ago, the skilled winger (now forward) had a reputation as a diving. Sometimes his (diving) acts would win him penalties and other times yellow cards, but in both instances, it earned him a bad reputation among both fans and the referees.

Fast forward and CR9, as he’s now referred to in some sections of the British and Spanish press no longer dive for the sake of it, he instead stands up to challenges as true football genius yet his bad temperament still lets him down.

Against Malaga, he scored two fine goals but then spoiled his night when he left his fellow professional with a broken nose.

Unfortunately, when he spoke afterward about the incident, he said if Mtiliga had been taller, his flailing arm would have connected with the defender’s chest and that if anything; the Dane should have been punished with a yellow!

After CR9’s sending off and subsequent two-match ban by the Spanish Competition Committee, Real Madrid lodged an appeal to have the ban reduced to just one game but that was turned down, which means when the star sits out the next two games his teammates will be hoping to the business minus him as they chase Barcelona, who are five points clear at the top in the race for the league title.

He was quoted in Spain’s Marca as saying, “I intend only to play. In England I learned a lot about this because it used to bother me, but now I get a little angry when players do things like that [pulling him back]. I went to apologise to Mtiliga and he said I did not need to because my intention was not to attack him”.

But four red cards in six seasons in England, Ronaldo should have learnt his lesson when it comes to staying disciplined as a top professional but with two sending off already in just six months in Spain, it appears the Sporting Lisbon product still has a lot to learn in the game.

nku78@yahoo.com

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