Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher feels Cristiano Ronaldo was hard done by during Manchester United’s clash against West Ham on Sunday.
The Portuguese forward got on the scoresheet to grab United’s opener at the London Stadium and eventually ended up on the winning side.
But he may well have added to his tally from the penalty spot if any of his three appeals were given by the match officials.
Ronaldo first went down in the box under a challenge from Hammers’ defender Vladimir Coufal.
He had feinted to shoot before skipping past his opponent, before a clash of knees sent him sprawling to the turf.
Asked his view by Sky Sports on the decision not to award a penalty, Gallagher feels the VAR got it wrong.
“I was surprised this wasn’t given. I think it’s an easier decision to make to give a penalty. He dangled a leg, they adjudged he tried to take it away, but he’d already gone too far into the challenge, for me.”
Referee Martin Atkinson was not even moved on the second appeal, after Aaron Cresswell tugged at Ronaldo’s shirt inside the box.
The third appeal soon followed, with many feeling it should have been given, including United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who felt it was another stonewall penalty.
But Gallagher disagreed and eventually sided with his fellow official.
“I think this is going to split everyone,” he said. “My original thought was penalty, but when I see Martin Atkinson’s view I thought no penalty, because Ronaldo goes down way before the contact.
“He anticipates the contact, but goes down way before the contact is made. Many would give a penalty, many wouldn’t, but that’s the nature of the beast, it’s a very subjective matter.”
Solskjaer was incensed at the final whistle, particularly as United almost lost their lead at the death when Mark Noble saw a late penalty saved by David de Gea in injury time.
“Two [penalties United should have been awarded] first and the last,” Solskjaer bemoaned.
“I think they’re stonewall you can’t even argue them. I think the first one the lad puts his leg up Cristiano runs straight and is fouled.
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Offside via Getty Images)
“The last one, Paul had a foul against Kurt Zouma went over him. So why is Cristiano’s third appeal not a penalty?
“Hopefully it won’t be Cristiano is never going to get a penalty.”
That conspiracy is already something doing the rounds, with ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand suggesting Ronaldo’s presence is enough to put referees off making the correct decision.
“The penalties – how is that not a penalty?” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five podcast. “It’s almost like he’s getting treated a certain way because it’s him, like ‘I can’t give it because it’s Ronaldo because I’m going to look bad and I’m pandering to him because of his ego, stature and status’.”