In a statement released on Monday, Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney stated that his stamp on Ricardo Carvalho was unintentional and more tellingly, that he had no intentions of pursuing the matter further with clubmate Cristiano Ronaldo, stating that he wasn’t angry at him.
“I want to say absolutely categorically that I did not intentionally put my foot down on Carvalho.”
“I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed he chose to get involved.”
“I remember the incident clearly and have seen it several times since on TV.”
“I am of the same opinion now as I was at the time that what happened didn’t warrant a red card. If anything, I feel we should have had a free-kick for the fouls committed on me during the same incident.”
“From what I’ve seen in the World Cup, most players would have gone to ground at the slightest contact but my only thought then was to keep possession for England.”
These words are not very surprising – publicly Manchester United want to keep a ‘united front’, which is one of the reasons Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville both refused to talk to the press about Ronaldo. And like Rooney said, United’s stance will remain that while they are “disappointed” with his involvement they will not bear any grudges.
How that will go down on the Old Trafford training pitch is anyone’s guess.
Cristiano Ronaldo himself had said earlier that there were no problems between the Manchester United teammates.
“At the end we texted each other and between us everything’s been cleared.”
“The things that have been said regarding me and my team-mate and friend Rooney are incredible.”
“He wished me the best of luck in the World Cup. He told me we had a great team and that if we continued to play like this, we would go far.”
“He wasn’t angry with me and, moreover, he told me to completely ignore what the English press has said, that all they wanted was to create confusion, but we are already used to that.”
“I am not a referee and I don’t have the power to send off a player.”
“I had nothing to do with the fact that the referee showed the red card.”
I’ve said from the start that as deplorable Ronaldo’s actions were (he chose country over club, and he saw his teammate get stamped in the groin with the ref apparently giving just a free kick), it is unfair to blame him as the fault lies with the referee.
The Press Reaction
Since England was knocked out of the World Cup on Saturday two days ago, the English press has declared war on Ronaldo, blaming him for his part in incident that eventually had Rooney sent off. Comments have ranged from Alan Shearer asking Rooney to ‘smack Ronaldo’ on the Old Traffod training pitch (something you can’t count against) to Manchester United fans saying that Ronaldo should be sold off.
The whole situation has been made worse by Ronaldo being linked to Real Madrid and then, after the England-Portugal quarter-final, admitting to the Portuguese and English press that the rumours were indeed true and that he had talked to one of the Madrid presidential candidates (as well as the Spanish daily Marca about the incident).
If things go as expected, this will be looked on as a damage limitation exercise by a club that many feel is not the same force it was even three years ago. But like Ronaldo has said, that’s what the English media is like, and you really cannot expect much better from a sensationalism-craving bunch of cynics whose paychecks are determined by how much their paper sells. Pathetic.
And you can quote me on that.
Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo
Rooney’s statement was a perfect example of how Manchester United will choose to deal with the whole affair – a rap on the wrists for Ronaldo and a lot of ‘team spirit’ talk aimed at getting the two young stars to gel again on the football pitch. Rooney in particular would be eager for the season to start (and knowing him, he might even end up going on the pre-season trip to South Africa) so that he can put the disappointment of England going out in the quarter-final
Howler From Rooney
Also from Rooney’s statement:
“If you ask any player – and indeed almost any fan – they will tell you that I am straight and honest in the way I play.”
Arsenal fans in particular will take special notice of this statement and point to that Arsenal-Manchester United match when Rooney won a penalty thanks to a reckless Campbell tackle (some say it was a dive, I’ll need to see the vid again but I remember saying at the time that Rooney fell over too conveniently BUT if he hadn’t he would have been clattered to the ground anyway…still, have to see the vid before calling it a dive) and United broke Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run in the Premiership.
Still, United are trying to put the matter to rest especially now that Ronaldo’s Madrid candidate has not won and he has subsequently stated that he wants to get back to Manchester United and resume playing there. Let’s hope Manchester United, Ferguson and Gill bring in some new players so that we can start dreaming about winning the Premiership again.
[tags]Manchester United, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo[/tags]