Date: 13th April 2009 at 1:03pm
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Sir Alex Ferguson publicly admitted that he had had a word with Cristiano Ronaldo about the winger’s attitude. But it could be too little, too late.

‘I don’t accept that he will give goals away because of the player he is, I speak to him about it. I don’t accept that from anyone.

‘In European football, if you give the ball away it takes a long time to get it back.

‘He always feels he’s not getting the proper protection from referees and I think that, maybe, in quite a few cases he is right, and a few cases he is not right.

‘It’s hard when a player who wants to entertain doesn’t get everything his own way. But you can’t get everything your own way.

‘He understands that and there’s not a problem with that. It’s just a frustration that he feels he doesn’t get the decision and he gets upset about it.

‘I think, obviously, he doesn’t enjoy that and he knows he’s letting himself down more than anything.

‘He holds his hands up. I have had to remind him about that but I’m not getting into what has been said.’

No need to get into it, it’s perfectly enough. Ronaldo started the game on the bench at the Stadium of Light and when he came on he showed at least a little desire to fight, something we’ve barely seen this season.

But his performance was not up to scratch and it does not look like he enjoys the whole thing or that there’s any of the fire inside that was burning him throughout the last two seasons. His ego, combined with the neverending plaudits and the interest of Real Madrid seems to have done a great deal of damage to him and I fear that it is beyond repair now.

Fergie’s not known for criticising his players in public yet on this occasion he felt necessary to do so; and he was certainly right. Ronaldo let his team down on many occasions, not least against Porto and does not really seem in the mood to make amends for it. And I fear that not even the famous motivational skills of Fergie will help here because the next time Ronaldo won’t get a free-kick when he feels he should he’ll fall back to his sulking mode…

We would need him greatly in the current form: should he sort his head out and start to fight for the ball as he did in the past two seasons he could be an important asset. However, it’s more likely that he’ll be a passenger for the remainder of the season, scoring a few goals when he gets the chance. Never I hoped more to be proved wrong…