Charlton warns Ronaldo about boo-boys
Sir Bobby Charlton has warned Cristiano Ronaldo he faces a barrage of abuse during the opening weeks of the new season.
Ronaldo returned to Manchester United training yesterday for the first time following a turbulent World Cup campaign which saw him identified as public enemy number one by England supporters for his involvement in Wayne Rooney's dismissal during the quarter-final defeat to Portugal.
Alan Shearer and Frank Lampard both lambasted Ronaldo for his card-waving antics, with even Rooney initially expressing 'disappointment' at his young United team-mate before apparently making peace with the 21-year-old.
Nevertheless, just like David Beckham eight years ago, Charlton believes Ronaldo will be forced to face down his terrace critics once the new campaign gets under way, a problem the legendary United player accepts is of the winger's own making.
'Cristiano realises he has made a mistake which he will have to pay for,' said Charlton.
'I am sure the fans will have a little go at him at the start of the season.
'He is only a young lad. He is inexperienced and doesn't know a lot about the game. But he will come back better because of this.
'It is going to be tricky for him at the beginning but he is a great player and that is what people should focus on.'
Charlton was speaking at the launch of the groundbreaking `It's a Goal' initiative which will be based at Old Trafford aimed at tackling the onset of depression in young men.
The former England skipper first became aware of the project just after it was launched at Macclesfield Town two years ago.
Ronaldo's aims for the season are a little less worthy, although Charlton does feel there would have been an element of running away about the former Sporting Lisbon player's actions if he had failed to return to United.
'I don't see how he could have solved that problem in any other way than coming back to us,' said Charlton.
'If he had wanted to go and forced us to send him off to Real Madrid or wherever, he would have had the same problem and it might never have gone away.
'The only way it will ever go away is by coming back here, playing alongside Wayne Rooney, doing well for Manchester United and by being seen to be working really hard to put right the little errors he has made.'
Charlton insists it never crossed his mind that the Madeira-born player, who is expected to make his first pre-season appearance in this weekend's Amsterdam tournament, might leave.
And, once the dust has settled on all the controversies, he thinks Ronaldo will be glad he stayed too.
'I did not have it in my mind he would go anywhere else, never, ever,' said Charlton.
'Maybe his agent was trying to find somewhere for him to go but I never took it too seriously that he would leave.
'Cristiano is a good player and he is our player.
'He has signed a reasonably long contract and we will keep him to that.
'He wants to be successful. The more he thinks about it, the more he will realise he is in the right place.'