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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK
Scolari backs under-fire Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo was heavily criticised after the quarter-final against England
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has defended Cristiano Ronaldo over his involvement in Wayne Rooney's sending-off and claims that he dives.

"Any referee in the world would have given that red card to Rooney in that situation," said the Brazilian.

"It was not Ronaldo's decision. I feel sorry for him."

He added: "One of his best qualities is his dribbling. Just like other players he sometimes falls down which is very natural. But he is not a diver."

Ronaldo appeared to gesture to referee Horacio Elizondo to show Manchester United team-mate Rooney a card after an alleged stamp on Ricardo Carvalho in the quarter-final match against England.

He also was seen to wink at the Portugal bench after Rooney was sent off.

His actions seemingly cost him the Fifa young player of the World Cup award.

Germany's 20-year-old Podolski took the award, and Holger Osieck, head of the Fifa technical study group that picked the winner, admitted that Ronaldo's antics had harmed his case.

"We want to have decent behaviour and I admit we were critical of this," said Osieck.

"We had a number of criteria but we have to admit players of that age do have their weaknesses and are not fully developed.

"Players should be role models and fair play is a consideration."

The Portuguese winger later denied that he tried to get Rooney in trouble.

Scolari believes Ronaldo may come in for some abuse when he returns to Premiership action.

"There might be problems in England now with the fans and the pressure," added Scolari.

Meanwhile, Scolari reserved praise for Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for his handling of Ronaldo.

"He has improved a lot and developed more skills since joining Manchester United and working with Ferguson and assistant coach Carlos Queiroz."

Podolski beats Ronaldo to award
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