Cristiano Ronaldo’s pathetic Kevin De Bruyne act should have earned his only derby day hat-trick – Dominic Farrell

It actually did Cristiano Ronaldo a favour that Manchester United had been so tepid, so apologetically bad that everyone had more or less stopped paying attention before the end of Saturday’s Manchester derby – including referee Michael Oliver.

The Ronaldo rollercoaster that veers between him being United’s biggest problem and the sort of player that only an idiot would call United’s biggest problem has been flying up and down some monstrous dips of late.

So long as the likes of Rio Ferdinand and others reject the notion that two conflicting ideas can contain elements of truth at the same time, the Cult of Cristiano vs Ronaldo Refusniks battle will rumble on and on.

However, if we’re honest, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s display was one of numerous very predictable elements as Manchester City inflicted testimonial-style torment upon their neighbours during a 2-0 weekend stroll.

As a man who draws all penalty area activity towards his awesome presence, Ronaldo had 100 per cent of United’s shots on target. Admittedly, that was one shot and players in red managed more attempts on their own goal than Ederson’s.

Then there was another Ronaldo staple when these occasions run away from his team. The cheap shot.

A couple of weeks ago, he should have walked for hacking at the ball and Curtis Jones’ midriff as Liverpool’s humiliation of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side became too much.

Then in the dying moments of the Red Devils’ funeral march in the derby, Ronaldo flew on in a prone Kevin De Bruyne, who had already been fouled by Bruno Fernandes.

Bruno getting remotely close to a City player was an eyebrow-raising moment in itself, but Ronaldo then slid studs first into a defenceless opponent. Haven’t Kevin’s ankles been through enough, Cristiano?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on November 6, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Cristiano Ronaldo tasted familiar derby day disappointment against Manchester City

Oliver showed a mercy yellow card, with the overall hopelessness of United’s situation again granting Ronaldo the leniency he didn’t deserve. It was exactly the same with his roughhousing of Jones.

A derby-day red card would have been nothing new for Old Trafford’s favourite son.

In a 1-0 United win at the Etihad Stadium in 2008, he collected a second booking for bizarrely punching an attacking corner. That was his second dismissal in the fixture after the red mist descended when he scythed down Andy Cole during a 3-1 City win in January 2006.

For balance, we should point out Ronaldo has three goals in 11 Premier League derby appearances and all of those came in the aid of winning causes.

It means the much-trumpeted G.O.A.T. has the same number of league derby goals as The Goat, albeit Shaun Goater amassed his haul in a mere four games.

Having gone scoreless in City’s 2000/01 relegation season, Goater famously pilfered a double in City’s 3-1 November 2002 win in the final derby at Maine Road, before snatching an equaliser at Old Trafford later that season.

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As such, he can look back on his record in the Manchester derby with far more fondness than Ronaldo, whose Galactico capabilities have never been as visible on this stage as his uglier, more petulant side.

The mask slipped again for this weekend as he came close to an unwanted derby hat-trick.

Judging by the way Ruben Dias and John Stones marshalled the ageing forward to keep their 18-yard box off-limits, Ronaldo won’t be getting any other hat-tricks at City’s expense anytime soon.

Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo should have been sent off in the derby? Follow City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to join in the conversation and let us know your thoughts in the comments below

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