Gerrard brands Ronaldo 'a disgrace'

August 13, 2006

Steven Gerrard has branded Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo 'a disgrace' for his part in the sending-off of Wayne Rooney in the World Cup quarter-final last month.

The new England vice-captain was furious with Ronaldo, who intervened after Rooney appeared to stamp on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho and then winked towards his own bench after his Red Devils team-mate had been dismissed.

Gerrard, whose autobiography is being serialised in the News of the World, wrote: 'Sadly a dark side stains Cristiano Ronaldo's game. His part in Wayne Rooney's dismissal was a disgrace.

'What really (got to) all the England players was Ronaldo's wink to his bench. It was a wink which said 'job done'. How could he do that to his Manchester United team-mate?

'On the bus after the game Wayne asked me `what do you think about the wink?'.

'Honestly, Wazza, if we were playing Spain and Xabi Alonso or Luis Garcia winked at the referee or gave a signal for me to be sent off, I'd never speak to them again.'

When Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo halted play and then brandished a red card, Gerrard initially thought it was for a Portuguese player.

'Then to my horror I realised it was Wayne walking slowly off,' the Liverpool skipper continued.

'Players like Carvalho are damaging football, not Wayne Rooney.

'It's coached into them that when an incident like that happens, they go to work on the ref.

'Ronaldo was at the front. But the blame does not just rest with him. Five or six Portuguese players were at it.'

Gerrard believes England's players' cockiness in the World Cup cost them dearly.

'We are not as good as we think we are. England were guilty of over-confidence. Me and the other players constantly claimed we could win the World Cup, it was stupid.'