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‘The wink thing, I didn’t see anything in that at all’ – Wayne Rooney opens up on Cristiano Ronaldo controversy

It became one of the most infamous images of the 2006 World Cup, and when Cristiano Ronaldo had Wayne Rooney sent off during the Portugal v England game, the latter might’ve been forgiven for holding a grudge.

However, it appears nothing could’ve been further from the truth.

Manchester United team-mates at the time, it seemed that Rooney and Ronaldo’s relationship was going to undergo its toughest test in the wake of that moment, but as the now Derby County player noted in his column for The Times, it was never an issue for him.

“I put myself in Ronaldo’s shoes. Would I do the same? Probably,” he wrote.

“Would I be in the ref’s face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win – yes, no question. I’d do it tomorrow. I thought: ‘Actually, I tried to get him booked in the first half for diving.’ And the wink thing, I didn’t see anything in that at all. It was nothing.

“So I calmed down. I went over to him afterwards in the tunnel. I felt it was important to speak to him while it was still fresh and to do it face to face. He gave me a look as if to say sorry but by then I had my United head on.

“I said I’ve no issues with you. Enjoy your tournament and good luck. I’ll see you in a few weeks – and let’s go try and win the league.”

England would subsequently go on to lose the match on penalties, with the controversy showing no signs of abating long after the match had been completed.

The BBC would report at the time on how France’s supporters booed Ronaldo throughout their World Cup semi-final, and how the furore cast doubt on whether he actually had any future at United.

Thankfully for him, and United, it was never anything to worry about.

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