Cristiano Ronaldo: Frank Lampard stopped him getting sent off in 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo was lucky to avoid a red card against Chelsea in 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to a red card.

During his illustrious career, football’s record goalscorer has been sent for an early bath on 11 occasions, with four of them coming in his six-year spell at Manchester United.

Two of the Portuguese’s red cards came against Manchester City, while the other two were handed to him against Aston Villa and Portsmouth.

All four of them came in the Premier League and Ronaldo was incredibly lucky not to have a fifth next to his name in his final season as a United player before moving to Real Madrid.

In January 2009, the Red Devils hosted title rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side secured a comprehensive 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

Ronaldo in action

But in the final quarter of the game, Ronaldo should have been shown a second yellow card for a late tackle on Frank Lampard.

However, the Chelsea legend refused to make a meal of the nasty-looking challenge from Ronaldo by leaping to his feet as quickly as possible, before having a word with the referee and cracking a smile.

Howard Webb – who initially looked certain to pull a card out of his pocket – was won over by Lampard’s honesty and the official kept the game 11vs11.

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You have to admire that sportsmanship from Lampard.

He could easily have rolled around on the floor or even screamed out in pain and had the Englishman done so, Ronaldo would have been heading down the Old Trafford tunnel.

But unlike the majority of players in the present day, Lampard kept his dignity by refusing to make out as if he’d been seriously injured by the challenge.

It’s a sight that needs to become commonplace in football once again, as the constant diving and feigning of injury we see almost every game is making the sport less enjoyable to watch.

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