Danny Mills has revealed that Paul Scholes gave him strict instructions which led to Ronaldinho getting a red card.
The former England and Manchester City defender was talking about an incident that occurred during the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, during which Brazil knocked England out of the tournament.
Ronaldinho actually scored the winning goal in that game, with a free-kick from range that will go down as one of the most memorable World Cup goals in recent history. Rivaldo cancelled out England’s opener, before Ronaldinho surprised David Seaman with a shot from some distance while Seaman was expecting him to cross the ball into the box.
Ronaldinho was later sent off in that game following a crunching tackle on Danny Mills. The Brazilian attempted a dummy which was intercepted by Mills, before attempting to win the ball back in a 50-50 challenge that he got completely wrong. Ronaldinho caught Mills with his studs high on the shin and the referee promptly gave the midfield maestro his marching orders.
Mills has now revealed that there was a lot more going on than met the eye, with Paul Scholes immediately telling him to stay down so the punishment would be harsher.
“He came in, it was a late challenge, he caught me, I went down and I was about to get up and Scholesy came over and tapped me and said ‘stay down, ref has got a card out, stay down’.” he said, according to The Mirror.
“He pulled a red card out, it was never a red card, he caught me slightly, it was a booking at worst,”
“What did I do wrong? It was a foul, I was on the floor, all he said was to stay down, I didn’t roll around squirming and squealing, I just stayed dead still.”
At a time when the outrage against diving and play-acting was at a high, the knowledge that Scholes took part in the incident is pretty amusing. The midfielder was no stranger to making horror tackles himself ,and Ronaldinho’s tackle on Mills pales in comparison to several of Scholes’ own efforts.
Scholes – who has recently been linked with a coaching role at Wigan – also has one of the worst disciplinary records in history. He has the fourth-most yellow cards in Premier League history with a whopping 97 and holds the unfortunate record for most yellow cards in the Champions League with 32.
He has also been criticised by managers and player alike for his discipline, with Arsene Wenger once saying he was “not a fair player” and that he had a “darker side.”
Ronaldinho would have soon forgotten the red card in any case, as Brazil went on to win the World Cup that year – after dumping England out of the tournament.
A video of the incident can be seen at 3:45 in the video below :