Wayne Rooney reveals infamous bust-up with World Cup winker Cristiano Ronaldo HELPED relationship at Manchester United
Rooney was issued with his marching orders in the 61st minute of the World Cup elimination clash in Germany against Ronaldo's Portugal after being adjudged to have stamped on opposition defender Ricardo Carvalho.
But tempers could have potentially frayed even further after Ronaldo appeared to campaign to the match official to have his then Manchester United colleague sent off.
What's more, the future multiple-time Ballon d'Or winner was caught on the television broadcast winking in the direction of his bench after the dismissal.
Cristiano Ronaldo wink was one of the most iconic moments of the 2006 World Cup causing controversy.The former Manchester United star performed the cheeky motion after having a helping hand in Wayne Rooney's dismissal during England and Portugal's quarter-final clash. pic.twitter.com/VrF8EO6T49— ❌ D9INE ❌ (@D9INE_FOOTBALL_) March 28, 2020
However, in his column in the Sunday Times, Rooney said that he didn't begrudge his superstar teammate's reaction to the incident and said that he would have done the same had the roles been reversed.
"Would I be in the ref's face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win - yes, no question. I'd do it tomorrow," said Rooney, who now represents Derby County in England's second tier.
"I thought: 'Actually, I tried to get him booked in the first half for diving.' And the wink thing, I didn't see anything in that at all. It was nothing."
Rooney says that he even attempted to clear the air immediately following the game, telling the Portuguese star that he would see him in a few weeks for pre-season training.
Speculation at the time had suggested that Ronaldo's position at Manchester United could be under threat due to what some saw as unsportsmanlike conduct aimed at his clubmate on the grandest stage of world football, but Rooney says that once the dust had settled it was business as usual between the two on Manchester United's training ground.
"In the first game of the new season we beat Fulham 5-1. I scored two and set him up for one and that calmed everything down," Rooney said, adding that the incident seemed to forge a bond between the two influential players.
"In the dressing room we were always really close. It was always the two of us doing pranks on the manager or other players. And what had happened brought us closer together on the pitch," Rooney said.
"The next three years were our best as a partnership and brought three titles and the Champions League. My red card in Gelsenkirchen was the starting point."