Cristiano Ronaldo News

Friday, December 08, 2006

World Cup 'Made Ronaldo Stronger'

Thu 07 Dec, 6:09 PM

Wayne Rooney believes Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged from his World Cup hell as a stronger character.

Ronaldo has faced abuse from opposition fans for his part in England's downfall in Germany this summer.

At one stage, his involvement in Rooney's dismissal during the quarter-final defeat to Portugal in Gelsenkirchen seemed certain to see him quit Manchester United.

Yet, while many of his England team-mates continued to attack Ronaldo, Rooney was quick to put the incident behind him.

The pair are now playing starring roles in the Red Devils' pursuit of glory domestically and in Europe.

And Rooney only has admiration for the way his fellow 21-year-old has handled the situation.

"Cristiano has been brilliant," Rooney told Inside United, the official Manchester United magazine.

"Coming back from the World Cup, and handling what he has, has made him a stronger person.

"He did take a bit of stick but he has come back and been brilliant. His performances, not only for United but for Portugal too, have been fantastic.

"Whenever he goes off to play for Portugal, he is always scoring goals and playing well - he is the main player for them.

"As long as he keeps doing that for us then we should have no problems. He really is a threat and probably one of the best players in the world."

Ronaldo was certainly one of United's most effective performers last night as the Red Devils booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a comeback win over Benfica.

With their continental quest now on hold until the competition resumes again in mid-February, Sir Alex Ferguson's men can concentrate their efforts on attempting to edge out Chelsea in the Premiership title race.

Victory over local rivals Manchester City on Saturday would take United nine points clear ahead of the Londoners' own eagerly-awaited derby clash with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge 24 hours later.

Although Chelsea still have games in hand, United have served notice their championship challenge will go the distance, with Rooney admitting some of their performances this season have been sensational.

"It has been breathtaking at times and to be part of that is fantastic," he said.

"It is the type of football I want to play because I really feel it suits my game.

"The more we play together as a team, the better we are performing."

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