Cristiano Ronaldo's infamous spat with Wayne Rooney explained
- Wayne Rooney infamous episode with Cristiano Ronaldo from the 2006 World Cup was controversial to say the least.
- Cristiano Ronaldo played his part in getting his Manchester United teammate sent off, an incident which made him a villain in England.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been involved in his fair share of controversial moments in his illustrious career. Since bursting onto the scene with Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo has represented the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus in club football and leads the Portuguese national team, with a staggering 99 goals for his country so far.
Having been within touching distance of the European Championships in 2004, as Portugal were beaten on their home turf by surprise winners Greece, Ronaldo was once again in the limelight in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Having been drawn against England in the quarterfinal stage, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was plying his trade with Manchester United at the time, played a pivotal role in getting club teammate Wayne Rooney sent off.
Cristiano Ronaldo's infamous wink
After a rash challenge left Ricardo Carvalho floored, Cristiano Ronaldo rushed to the referee to ensure Rooney got his marching orders. What followed was an infamous scene, as the hot-tempered English pushed Ronaldo out of the way and received a red card, to which he was greeted with a wink from Ronaldo.
Speaking to Times Sport as quoted by Goal, Rooney claimed that the incident was one of the weirdest moments of his career.
"I knew it was a red card and back in the dressing room I watched the rest of the game on a little TV, thinking: 'If we win this, I'm suspended for a World Cup semi-final and final and if we lose it's my fault.' It was the worst, weirdest feeling I've had in football."
"I had my phone in my hand and I was getting all these messages about Ronaldo. Of course, when he ran over to ask Elizondo to send me off I pushed him away. In that moment I couldn't believe what he was doing. But sitting in that dressing room gave me time to calm down and think."
Cristiano Ronaldo went on to score the decisive penalty, as Portugal required spot-kicks to overcome England to make it through to the semifinals. However, Rooney added that he would have done the same thing for his country, had he been presented with the opportunity.
"I put myself in Ronaldo's shoes. Would I do the same? Probably. Would I be in the ref's face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win - yes, no question. I'd do it tomorrow. I thought: 'Actually, I tried to get him booked in the first half for diving.' And the wink thing, I didn't see anything in that at all. It was nothing."
The pair reconciled after the game and went on to spend three more years together at Old Trafford, after which Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee of £80 million in the summer of 2009.
While Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo have since then gone separate ways, they spent five seasons together at Old Trafford, as they dominated English football and were amongst the most envied teams in the continent.