Sir Alex Ferguson has taken the rare step of agreeing with Arsene Wenger by admitting that the Arsenal manager is right to highlight the ‘arrogance’ of Cristiano Ronaldo. Skip related content
Manchester United star Ronaldo has been forced to accept belligerent treatment from opposing defenders in recent games, as well as being mistakenly booked for diving during last Sunday’s League Cup final win against Spurs at Wembley.
But Wenger’s suggestion that Ronaldo’s arrogance and class proves ‘provocative’ to defenders has been backed up by Ferguson.
And the United boss admits that the Portuguese winger’s self-belief and bravery are the crucial elements in his game that make him one of the world’s leading players.
Ferguson said: “What Arsene said is that it sometimes appears as though there is an arrogance (with Ronaldo) and I can understand what he is saying.
“When a player is expressing himself in such an entertaining way, then defenders don’t enjoy it. It was the same when George Best was a player — exactly the same.
“But what people don’t understand is that it’s not about what people are prepared to do, it’s about having the courage to do it.
“That’s the great asset that Ronaldo holds. He has wonderful courage and always wants to entertain and do something good with the ball. So that’s it as far as I’m concerned.”
Wenger has called for players guilty of reckless tackles to be banned for up to ten matches to act as a deterrent against lunges against players of Ronaldo’s creative ability.
“Sometimes I feel Manchester United get too much protection and sometimes they don’t get enough and Ronaldo is a specific example of that,” Wenger said.
“Sometimes his arrogance is provocative – and his class as well.
“But when a player is not protected it’s not right.”
United can edge closer to a remarkable haul of five trophies by claiming an FA Cup semi-final spot at the expense of Fulham on Saturday,
But with Inter Milan due at Old Trafford in a Champions League second-leg on Wednesday, Ferguson admits that Roy Hodgson’s team could benefit from their focus being fixed firmly on the Cup.
He said: “Fulham have an opportunity to get to the semi-final, they are at home and their record at Craven Cottage is good.
“I’m trying to juggle a couple of balls, though, so hopefully I will come up with the right ones.
“We have an important game on Wednesday against Inter Milan and that’s a different scenario altogether.
“We are looking at the bigger picture, but Fulham? When was the last time they had a chance to get a semi-final?
“We will make some changes to help with freshness obviously, but everybody is fit apart from Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Rafael da Silva.”