Graham Poll: Ronaldo is a special player, but NOT a special case

24 March 2009 12:19
When Cristiano Ronaldo is in top form he can be an absolute pleasure to referee, dazzling with his ability on the ball and possessing real charm off it.

It's another joy to stand just a few metres away when he hits a free-kick in that unique style, straight into the top corner.

However, that Ronaldo has been missing for much of this season and, as a result, a lot of referees would not be disappointed to see the back of the petulant, sulking individual who was fortunate to receive only a yellow card at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Christiano Ronaldo is given a warning by referee Phil Dowd at Craven Cottage

His frustrations were clear when they culminated in a crude, lunging challenge on Danny Murphy which saw him cautioned.

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Not content with that escape, he continued to react to opponents and match officials inan unacceptable manner, especially when he refused initially to advance towards Phil Dowd.

Fortunately, this referee stood his ground; others might have been weaker.

In fact, Dowd used all his man-management skill to keep Ronaldo on the pitch - invoking the Respect programme approved method of appealing to Ronaldo's captain, Ryan Giggs, to try to defuse flashpoints.

Another referee - maybe this referee - might not have been so lenient.

I suspect Dowd might have sent him off if he hadn't already dismissed Paul Scholesearlier in the game.

One red will always make a referee think twice about a second dismissal. It's human nature. Although Ronaldo's escape may have later contributed to Wayne Rooney's red.

Players can't win them all. Blaming referees for 'forcing out' Ronaldo is disingenuous. I don't recall Gianfranco Zola or Thierry Henry speaking such nonsense.

When a player is renowned for going to ground too easily and too often it is difficult to get each and every foul correct.

When that player then reacts with moral indignation and incredulity at the referee'sdetection rate, is it any wonder that the referee can lose patience?

Of course, the referees love refereeing the best players in the world and want as many as possible in the Premier League - including Ronaldo - but there can be no special cases.

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Source: Daily_Mail