To celebrate the launch of Nike's 'The Switch' which stars Cristiano Ronaldo, GiveMeSport takes a look at the Portuguese superstar's most controversial moments.
There can be little doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo ranks among Real Madrid’s all-time greats, if not among the best players to grace the beautiful game.
However, the Portuguese star’s glittering career has not been without controversy with Ronaldo’s hunger for goals, records and trophies occasionally coming to the detriment of others.
With that in mind, here are some of CR7’s most controversial moments to date.
According to Guillem Balague’s biography, serialised by The Telegraph, the Gunners were in the running to sign Ronaldo, with the Sporting Lisbon youngster even visiting the Emirates with his mother.
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“Cristiano fell in love with the club, what it offered, the philosophy and the care with which young players are treated,” Ballague explains.
However, Arsenal’s financial constraints coupled with the influence of Carlos Queiroz and United’s willingness to spend big on the winger saw Arsene Wenger miss out.
During the first 18 months of his spell with Manchester United, Ronaldo took time to adjust to the physical demands of the Premier League.
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Keen to protect himself from this physicality, the Portuguese youngster faced accusations of simulation, something Sir Alex Ferguson recently admitted was a problem early on.
“Ronaldo was a player who used to dive but I knew that I could fix that and in a year and a half he changed,” he explained during a Stanford Business School lecture in quotes carried by The Express.
“He learnt discipline and stopped diving even if the press continued to attack him for it.”
World Cup winker
Facing off against Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, controversy ensued when the England star appeared to stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.
Ronaldo was among the Portuguese stars calling for referee Horacio Elizondo to dismiss Rooney, much to the dismay of his club teammate.
Television replays then caught Ronaldo seemingly winking in the direction of the Portugal bench.
However, as the dust settled it became clear that there is no rift between Rooney and Ronaldo, while Elizondo went on record to The Times to settle the matter, as reported by Sky Sports.
"People can say what they want, but this [Ronaldo’s actions] had absolutely no influence,” he said.
Ronaldo Sees Red
CR7 has picked up nine red cards during his career to date but, arguably, the most controversial came during the 2014-15 season against Cordoba.
Evidently frustrated at their opponent’s dogged display, Ronaldo was dismissed for kicking out at defender Edimar in an incident that saw the Portuguese star receive a two-match ban.
It could have been far worse though had the referee seen Ronaldo earlier aim a punch at Jose Angel Crespo. He later apologised for his conduct.
El Clasico Conspiracies
Tensions often run high during games between Barcelona and Real Madrid and the April 2014 encounter was no different, with the Catalans winning 4-3 thanks to a couple of penalties.
Ronaldo, in the heat of the moment after the game told Football Espana: “We played against 12. It's always the same. They don't allow us. Maybe they wanted Barca back in the League.”
Celebrate No More
Ronaldo’s most controversial goal celebration came during the 2014/15 season against Rayo Vallecano.
Having been booked for diving despite quite clearly being fouled by Antonio Amaya, Ronaldo realised he would miss Real’s next game at home to Eibar.
So when he did score, Ronaldo decided to respond by shouting “robbery!” in a clear show of frustration at the decision.
United By Name
Ronaldo’s sharp tongue landed him in trouble when attempting to defend Real from criticism that the squad lacked the togetherness.
“At Manchester United I won the Champions League and I didn’t speak with [Rio] Ferdinand, [Ryan] Giggs or [Paul] Scholes. We said hello to each other and that was it,” he told The Mirror.
The comments left Ferdinand surprised, with United star noting that the pair used to live next door to each other.
Ronaldo demands a lot of himself and his Real Madrid teammates, but his desire to win got the better of him after a 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid this season.
With Gareth Bale, Pepe and Marcelo absent through injury and Karim Benzema forced off Ronaldo hit out at his teammates, according to Sky Sports, stating: “If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders.” He later claimed he was referring to his fitness levels.