Cristiano Ronaldo

For England fans, it was the defining image of another World Cup failure. Not Wayne Rooney’s boot connecting with Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles, but the moment that immediately followed Rooney’s red card: His Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, turning to the Portugal bench, smile playing across his lips and winking.

Over the coming days, the image was splashed across the newspapers – tabloid and broadsheet – as England fans lashed out at their latest scapegoat. No matter that their team had underperformed throughout, that they had scraped past Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ecuador. For Urs Meier in 2004, read Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1