The day all of England called Cristiano Ronaldo a ‘winker’ after getting Wayne


Rewind to July 1, 2006 and another England journey on the biggest stage of all ended in absolute heartbreak. This time the bogeyman was Cristiano Ronaldo

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s talented squad – consisting of the Golden Generation of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Co – came up short in the quest for football’s greatest prize once more, Portugal dumping out England on penalties at the World Cup quarter-final stage.

But while heartache and the same old stories lingered about England’s failure to deliver when it mattered the most, an infamous incident between two of the world’s best players stole most of the headlines.

Wayne Rooney's red card against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup shocked the football world

Wayne Rooney’s red card against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup shocked the football world

The England striker stamped on Ricardo Carvalho before receiving his marching orders

The England striker stamped on Ricardo Carvalho before receiving his marching orders

Football fans witnessed one of the most iconic moments in recent history when Rooney became only the third England player to be sent off at a World Cup – joining Ray Wilkins (1986) and David Beckham (1998).  

A half-fit Rooney, the team’s totemic forward, had endured an extremely frustrating game in Gelsenkirchen and his patience finally snapped on the hour mark when he got tangled up with Portugal’s Ricardo Carvalho before stamping on the former Chelsea defender – in the most sensitive of areas – while he was on the floor.

But what followed overshadowed the moment of madness from Rooney and would dominate the rhetoric following England’s painful exit.

Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (left) led the protests

Rooney’s Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (left) led the protests

Rooney’s Manchester United team-mate, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was right on the spot as he stamped on Carvalho, led Portugal’s protests – right in referee Horacio Marcelo Elizondo’s face. Rooney shoved his club colleague back in frustration.

Just moments later, Elizondo gave Rooney his marching orders. But the matter wasn’t done yet.

When Rooney walked back down the tunnel in humiliation and despair, the television cameras zoomed in on Ronaldo cheekily winking towards Portugal’s bench – ‘job done’. 

Furious Rooney shoved Ronaldo as his opponent - and club-mate - pleaded with the referee

Furious Rooney shoved Ronaldo as his opponent – and club-mate – pleaded with the referee

Ronaldo's famous wink afterwards led to immense backlash from English fans and media alike

Ronaldo’s famous wink afterwards led to immense backlash from English fans and media alike

The fires of frustration and injustice – England were the better team on the day and their gilded squad were capable of so much more – were stoked by Ronaldo’s arrogant admission of guilt.

He had convinced the referee that Rooney had to go, robbing England of their star player. Not only that, but he had betrayed his club team-mate. 

In truth, Rooney deserved his red card, suckered into a foolish and reckless act by the canny and always niggling Carvalho and a Portuguese team particularly adept at football’s dark arts, but it did not stop a huge backlash from English fans and the media. 

Ian Wright, working as…



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