Shut up and play, Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United need to stop complaining about his supposedly rough treatment.

In the midweek Champions League game against Villarreal there was one bad tackle - for which Joan Capdevila was sent off - but nothing new.

Ability always triumphs over brawn, particularly in the modern game when you're not allowed to be too physical.

If anything he should take it as a compliment. All this moaning doesn't say much about him as a person. He should be able to stand up for himself instead of rolling around complaining, then getting Sir Alex to say something after the game.

He owes United because of his lack of loyalty in the summer. He should do what David Beckham did when he came under fire - shut his mouth and get on with it.

Speaking as a defender who had his share of injuries, I can tell him that everybody has to put up with kicks and knocks.

His quick feet and trickery are purpose-designed to provoke mis-timed tackles from opponents and win free-kicks. He can hardly moan when his tactic pays off.

His manner has not helped him earn respect from his peers or the fans. If you compare the way players talk about Kaka and Lionel Messi compared with Ronaldo, it is clear who they really admire.

As a footballer you want to be liked and respected, not booed. But it seems at times as though Ronaldo has a lack of respect for people.

Football will always have its hate figures. My old team-mate Eric Cantona was loathed by a lot of people because he had an upright, abrupt, haughty demeanour.

But in the end he won them over - and not just because of his amazing playing ability. Eric had respect for his opponents and for the game, and acted like a real man.

When he got fouled he never used to roll around. Of course he lost his head occasionally but he never went down and always tried to stay on his feet.

If he lost the ball he made an effort to tackle back, even though tackling definitely wasn't one of his strong points.

I don't know if the abuse affects Ronaldo but it never seemed to get to players of my era. It is part of the game - they boo you during the match and then want to shake your hand afterwards.

I was racially abused early on in my career and then got stick because I played for Manchester United.

Unfortunately many people are like sheep, or rather lambs, and just follow what the next guy is doing without thinking, but you have to go out there and prove them wrong.

Paul Parker

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