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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rob Styles was so wrong on Ronaldo it beggars belief

I don't look for perfection from referees and I rarely castigate them for errors that naturally will happen in the course of a match. But when Ronaldo at full pelt was confronted with an onrushing Antii Niemi in last night's Manchester United v Fulham match there was only two things he could physically do: run into the keeper and be given a penalty or leap over him to avoid what could be a sickening collision and be given a penalty.

So when Rob Styles blew his whistle and yellow-carded Ronaldo this was not just an error - it showed a fundamental lack of understanding as to the rules of the game from a Premier League standard referee.

It is irrelevant whether Niemi touched Ronaldo or not - the fact is that Ronaldo had to leap over Niemi otherwise he would have been bought down. Surely this is basic knowledge for a Premier League referee. The pace at which Ronaldo was running combined with the way Niemi ran and dived in his way meant there was no way Ronaldo could have avoided Niemi and stayed on his feet.

For Ronaldo to be booked is outrageous. He clapped his hands at Styles when given the booking which is quite a restrained response given the lunacy of the decision. He may have a reputation for diving but that was certainly no dive and Rob Styles should have clearly seen it that way. After his bizarre penalty award to Chelsea at Anfield earlier this season it really is time for Styles to look carefully at his quality of decision-making in and around the penalty area.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shocking decision! Was a definite penalty but it appears that it was easier for Styles to book Ronaldo for 'diving' rather than giving another penalty and worrying that he might have got it wrong again!

12/04/2007 12:06 pm

Anonymous Garoto de Ipanema said...

Luckily this wasn't a game deciding error but clearly the powers that be should recind the yellow card, and if they claim it was for dissent then they should note that the yellow card had been given before he stupidly clapped. Just shows that your reputation eventually catches up with you as it did with Drogba...still St Stevie G is getting away with it...

12/04/2007 12:09 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can see very clearly that the reason Ronaldo fell was that his instincts led him to try to hook his leg around the keeper in order to ensure that there was "contact", but he failed to even do that. That's why the only thing he can say in his attempt at self-justification was "If you see the replay, the goalkeeper never touched the ball...". The trouble for Ronaldo is, Niemi never touched the player either.

So, amusingly, his instincts let him down this time and cost him - but for them, he could have scored. He still got off lightly though - he should have received a second yellow for his sarcastic reaction to the first yellow.

12/04/2007 12:14 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronaldo is as clever as any skilful player in feigning dives and this was no different. He could have continued but expected the penalty which he would have taken but got nothing. Gerrard is one who I think is definitely questionable, maybe soft even, but he is nothing compared to ronaldo and Drogba and some Arsenal players I could mention.

12/04/2007 12:17 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

I didn't see the incident.

At least it did not have any affect on the result, unlike the blunder by Styles at Anfield, which cost Liverpool 2 points against Chelsea.

12/04/2007 10:45 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronaldo simulated a dive
He once again tried to get a man sent off.
Its not that he went down, its that he went down under no contact and tried to make it look as if their had been contact.
The opinion is still divided even amongst the TV pundits after a dozen replays.
Might I suggest that if Ronaldo hadn't been such a serial diver in the past he might have got the benefit of the doubt.
As it was his previous behaviour makes it a very difficult decision for referees and if rob styles had done his job properly he would have sent him off for the hand clap gesture

12/05/2007 9:14 am

Anonymous GunnerPete said...

Well T its the great thing about our wonderful game that we all see events differently. Its very rare you and I dissagree but we do this time.

I agree 100% with your opinion about Styles. If all things in this world were equal, there would be a group of old players and retired refs formed as a commitee to investigate certain officials. Styles for one should I believe, should be checked on because some of his 'awards' have been a disgrace and look very supicious.

As for Ronaldo, yes it was close to a foul and yes most weeks it is given especially to Man U and at home, but so many very bad dives by Ronaldo & Rooney inparticular have been ignored by 'home' refs that sooner or later someone had to say enough is enough.

I agree with Anon 9:14 that it was much simpler to put the ball in the net either side of the goalie or even a chip over him, but Ronaldo chose humiliation and ended up having to dive over the top. I have no pity for him at all, what goes around comes around.

Some of the time I watch Ronaldo and think 'what a great player' but a lot more of the time I think what a cheat! He could go down in History as one of the greats or more likely as hated as Maradona. Lets hope its the former.

12/05/2007 10:40 am

Blogger T said...

Thanks for all your comments!

Its always interesting when something that I see as definitive can be seen differently by others. :) For me it was a clear penalty - but others disagree and I respect that.

Maybe you are right GP - history came into it and Styles wanted to make his mark. But for me he made his point at the wrong moment.

That said, I would like to see the incident again to confirm my views that I had on Monday night... as the groundswell of opinion based on the comments to this post is against my interpretation.

12/05/2007 2:31 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem with this article is you chose a contentious decision and said it beggared belief.
It didn't, it is still being argued about by the pundits and it was understandable that the yellow card was shown given the players track record.
Hardly rob styles worst decision of the season, and might I add that their seems to be a lot of fear amongst Man Utd fans about losing ronaldo for matches, as without him
they dont look the same team.

12/06/2007 9:51 am

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

I have to support one of the main points made by T in the original post.

If a player has to actively avoid being fouled then a free kick/penalty should be awarded.

Otherwise you encourage a dishonest culture of 'allowing' contact. Which is also dangerous for the players - who shouldnt be punished for getting out of the way of a dangerous tackle.

(I didn't see the incident in question, but in general the above is my belief)

12/07/2007 7:21 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

I definitely think that Ronaldo is paying for his reputation he earned for himself in his first two seasons in England. I can see the argument - he has dug his own grave.

However, that was definitely a penalty and I can't fathom why some are arguing that he chose to humiliate Niemi by choosing to go round him. When has going around a keeper equalled humiliation for goalkeepers?

Also, it may seem like Ronaldo has
been around forever but he is still only 22 years old. This guy has done a lot of growing up in, what to him, is a foreign country. Lets give him a break.

Gunnerpete, I also didnt realise that Maradona is hated. Yes the guy ended his career in disgrace at the 1994 world cup for his cocaine abuse, but almost every football fan I have ever come across rates him as ranking either 1 or 2 in the list of greatest footballers in history. I havent even come across die hard England fans who hate Maradona.

12/07/2007 9:18 pm


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