Date: 21st March 2007 at 11:46am
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Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate said Cristiano Ronaldo was not a diver but a phenomenal player.

To be honest, I’m a bit sick with the ‘Ronaldo: diver or not’ issue. Opposing managers fume even when he’s scythed down viciously, Fergie calls for his protection even when he goes down under no contact whatsoever. Everyone should give it a rest now.

The Portuguese magician went into a tangle with the otherwise impressive Woodgate at the beginning of the last 15 minutes of the Middlesbrough game on Monday. The ref awarded a penalty and though Woodgate did not concede it was a foul, he revealed he did not think Ronaldo was a diver.

‘I don’t know if it was a penalty but Ronaldo is a very clever player, one of the best in the world.

‘Whether it was a penalty or not, I don’t know. I couldn’t honestly tell myself but I don’t think he dived so you can’t blame him.

‘He’s a fantastic player. There is a touch of genius in him and to be fair, he lights up the Premiership.’

Last time it was Dirk Kuyt who was lauded here for being graceful in defeat; now it’s Woodgate who deserves credit for his attitude.