Cristiano Ronaldo has been branded a “cheat” after winning a penalty against Ghana in Portugal’s World Cup opener on Thursday
Ronaldo was challenged inside the area by Ghana’s Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu in the 65th minute, with the game tied at 0-0.
Referee Ismail Elfath pointed to the spot without hesitation. However, replays revealed that Salisu only had a little touch on the ball.
Ronaldo, 37, stepped up and converted the penalty, leading Portugal to a 3-2 victory against their Group H opponents.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first male player to score in five World Cups with his goal against Ghana.
Speaking after the match, the former Manchester United player said: “It was a beautiful moment in my fifth World Cup. We won and we have started well.
“It was an extremely important victory. The first match is fundamental in these tournaments.
“Plus the record. Being the only player to score in five successive World Cups makes me very proud.
“I’m very happy with the excellent display of the team. It was a difficult victory, but a deserved one.”
Cristiano Ronaldo expertly beat Ghana’s Lawrence Ati-Zigi from the penalty spot in Portugal’s 3-2 World Cup triumph.
However, former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton expressed his displeasure with Ronaldo, tweeting to his 298.8k Twitter followers: “VAR should have intervened and Ronaldo should have been booked. This is cheating.”
Chris Sutton in an interview with Daily Mail went further to slam the five-time Ballon d’Or winner of setting a bad example for young kids.
“The VAR officials are absolute bottle jobs. It is not good play from Ronaldo, it’s a terrible example for young kids everywhere around the world,” Sutton said
“He’s a brilliant player but it was cheating. I thought the officials needed to be stronger, it’s embarrassing really how they missed it.”
The BBC pundit added: “I can’t believe there are people commenting saying it was a penalty, it wasn’t a penalty, it’s ridiculous, it’s cheating and it’s out of order. That was awful.”
After the match, Portugal manager Fernando Santos said: “I think if the VAR team had felt the referee should consult the VAR, they would have prompted him.
“I also think Joao Felix was fouled at a point and I expected the referee to check the VAR but he didn’t. So I don’t think there was a call the VAR would have been necessary for the referee.”
After their win against Ghana, Portugal will take on Uruguay on 28th November next before facing South Korea on 2nd December.