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Ronaldo's antics sway award judges against winger

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, July 7 (Reuters) Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo's antics against England and his simulation trying to gain a penalty in the semi-final hindered his chances of winning the Best Young Player Award at the World Cup finals.

Lukas Podolski of Germany took the honour today, decided by a combination of a public vote and selection by FIFA's Technical Study Group.

Holger Osieck, the head of the TSG and former Germany international Lothar Matthaeus, the patron of the award, said Ronaldo's behaviour at the finals did not help his cause.

Osieck said: ''Players should be role models and fair play is a consideration. But we have to admit young players are not always mature tactically and they also have difficulties in handling stressful situations.

''We want to have decent behaviour -- and I admit we were critical of this. We had a number of criteria but we have to admit players of that age do have their weaknessess and are not fully developed.'' When asked whether Ronaldo harmed his chances of winning theaward, Matthaeus added: ''You will never have 100 per cent fair play. Looking at Cristiano Ronaldo he was obviously doing something here. It's not nice and it's not just.

''It's not only among players but also on the bench among coaches.

''He may have accumulated a couple of minus points due to the gesture with (England's Wayne) Rooney but sometimes you forget what the laws are in the heat of the fight.

''Give the young player a break. Give them a chance, remember Maradona scored a goal with the hand of God, that was not fair play and there are many other examples you could quote.'' Cristiano Ronaldo incurred the wrath of his Manchester United club mate Rooney during Portugal's quarter-final against England when he ran 40 metres to protest to the referee about the incident that led to the striker being sent off.

He was then seen on television pictures winking at his bench as Rooney was dismissed.

He was roundly booed by large sections of the crowd during Portugal's semi-final with France, a match in which he spectacularly dived for a penalty claim which was ignored.

Reuters AY GC1757

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