FIFA praise Cristiano Ronaldo for winning World Cup penalty | Football

Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded a controversial penalty against Ghana (Picture: Getty)

FIFA have branded Cristiano Ronaldo a ‘total genius’ for the way in which he won Portugal’s controversial World Cup penalty against Ghana.

The now former Manchester United forward was provided with the opportunity to break the deadlock during Thursday’s World Cup Group H clash after he went down under a challenge from Mohammed Salisu.

Replays suggested the 37-year-old was already heading towards the turf before he, himself, initiated contact with the defender but referee Ismail Elfath pointed immediately to the spot and was not instructed to view the pitchside monitor.

Ronaldo has been widely condemned for conning the match official but at a briefing in Doha, FIFA technical study group (TSG) member Sunday Oliseh said strikers are ‘getting smarter’.

‘Maybe the strikers are getting smarter?’ said Oliseh a former Nigeria World Cup star and member of the TSG which his headed up by Arsenal’s legendary ex-manager Arsene Wenger.

‘The Ronaldo penalty, people can say what they want about him, but the smartness to wait for that second, to touch the ball, continue his leg and then get the contact. That is total genius.

‘Let’s give strikers the compliment for getting smarter. VAR is also a major reason why this (more penalties being awarded) is happening. Referees can look at it three or four times.’

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean, however, claimed on Friday that the penalty was only awarded on account of a VAR malfunction.

‘It’s scary, it is scary,’ Dean, now a dedicated VAR following his decision to retire from refereeing at the end of last season, told beIN Sport.

‘I’m just astounded and I like to back referees all the time and you can’t support stuff like that. You can’t defend the indefensible. He should have gone to the screen, he should have looked at that.

‘The only thing I can think that may well have happened for some reason, and it does happen sometimes in the UK, there’s angles in the VAR hub that they don’t get straight away.

‘The VAR doesn’t choose the angles the operator next to him does. If he can’t get that angle there might be some kind of technical glitch.

‘I just cant’ understand why he wasn’t sent to the screen. It’s 100% wrong.’

MORE : Saudi Arabia rule out state-backed Man Utd purchase and send message to Cristiano Ronaldo

MORE : Ghana head coach Otto Addo blasts Cristiano Ronaldo penalty decision after Portugal defeat at World Cup

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