You may be of the opinion that Cristiano Ronaldo deserved a penalty on Monday night after being ‘brought down’ by Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi. Ryan Giggs certainly thinks so, coming out in support for the Portuguese winger.
“I think he is paying for his reputation,” Giggs said. “He did have a reputation [for diving] when he first came over here but that has gone now.
“It is hard for the referee. Everything happens quickly, Ronny is running so fast and he has to make a split-second decision. Maybe he didn’t give it because there was no contact. But Ronny was trying to avoid the goalkeeper and the keeper’s arms followed his legs. In my view that is not simulation.”
However, while the world and his wife have the benefit of several television replays, it wasn’t so easy for Rob Styles who had to make a split decision. That he chose to book the United player was no bad thing; if Ronaldo’s reputation precedes him, it’s because he’s previously been guilty of several acts of simulation, many of which have gone in his favour.
Giggs and Ferguson may want to consider why he had a reputation for diving when he first arrived at Old Trafford. Was it because he was gravitationally challenged for two seasons perhaps? In addition, it’s not for his team-mates or manager to decide whether that label has disappeared. The player has to stand up and be counted to stop referees having to make judgement calls such as the one on Monday night.