Ronaldo applauded Webb.

Howard Webb recalls when he should have sent Cristiano Ronaldo off in a Manchester derby

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Howard Webb is one of the Premier League’s most famous referees in recent years.

He officiated almost 1,000 games during his career and is now a pundit for BT Sports.

While he gained a reputation of being one of the best refs in Europe at the peak of his career, he also made some terrible mistakes.

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The highest-profile mistake came on the biggest stage of them all in the 2010 World Cup when he failed to send Nigel de Jong off for a shocking tackle on Xabi Alonso’s chest.

But Webb has just admitted to another mistake he may have made during his career which involved Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The Manchester derby is one of the toughest fixtures to officiate in the Premier League calendar but Webb was given the honour in 2008 at the Etihad.

But Webb admits he made a mistake of ignoring Ronaldo’s sarcastic clapping after he had booked him for a late challenge.

Manchester United's Portugese midfielder

At the time, the FA were claiming down on dissent on officials and Webb realises now that he should have shown him an immediate second yellow card.

“I can remember a situation when Cristiano Ronaldo sarcastically applauded me for showing him a yellow card early in the game in the Manchester derby,” Webb told the Mirror.

“I was in quite a lot of dilemma, should I send him off for this show of lack of respect or can I manage it?

“When you’re sending somebody off, it’s a big move and when it’s not for something that’s a football relation situation - not a bad tackle, not a holding offence that’s denied a promising attack - something that’s not about playing the game it puts you in a position.

“I took the decision to warn him and, to this day, I’m not sure that was the right thing to do. Maybe I should have made a big stand and said ‘No, this is not acceptable.’”

Manchester United's Portugese midfielder

However, Webb didn’t have to wait too long to show Ronaldo his second yellow card - just nine minutes in fact.

Ronaldo inexplicably handled the ball when attempting to attack a Wayne Rooney corner resulting in a sending-off for deliberate handball. Fortunately for Ronaldo, his teammates held on for a 1-0 victory which probably prevented him from getting an individual hairdryer treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson.

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