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Ronaldo: I'm innocent

Man Utd star speaks out about his Pompey sending off

By Phil Jackson.   Last Updated: 18/08/07 12:03pm

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Ronaldo: Given his marching orders

Ronaldo: Given his marching orders

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Cristiano Ronaldo is adamant he should not be sitting out the Manchester derby, live on Sky Sports 1 from 1pm on Sunday.

The Portuguese winger is currently serving a three-match ban following his dismissal in Manchester United's draw at Portsmouth in mid-week.

The champions have picked up just two points from their opening two games, and will now be stripped of their star man's talents for the games against City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.

But while Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to condemn any reaction from his players, Ronaldo simply cannot accept the red card he was given.

"The replays show there was nothing," Ronaldo told the Sun.

"But I don't need to look at the pictures, because I know exactly what I did - and that's nothing to justify a red card."

Saddened

His boss has come out calling for referees to crackdown on the provocateurs since the incident, and Ronaldo is eager to point out he did not headbutt Richard Hughes in their coming together.

"I was pushed in the area. He came straight to me, put his hand on my neck and I opened my arms in a 'that's enough' way. We pushed each other but nothing serious," he added.

"We leaned heads against each other but that was all. Absolutely nothing else happened.

"When I saw the red card, I couldn't believe it, the situation was so surreal.

"And it's absurd because I'm aware that now I'll sit out a ban for something I didn't do. I feel dejected and very sad."

Referee Steve Bennett has a history with the player, having also sent Ronaldo off in controversial circumstances at the City of Manchester Stadium last year.

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