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Cristiano Ronaldo stunned referee Mark Clattenburg with gesture following match

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Ronaldo was also judged by the 45-year-old in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph.

And the referee has revealed a brilliant gesture the captain made to him at full time in the Stade de France four years ago.

Speaking to AS, Clattenburg said: “I arbitrated him when I was young in the Premier League, then in Madrid.

Portugal lineups

“I got along very well with him. When I went up he was going to go up for my medal after the 2016 Euro final he tried to grab me and hug me. That was the level of respect we had for each other.

“I was annoyed when he got injured early in the final because we were missing a great player. But I never treated another player differently and I think that’s why we had a good relationship.

“After a game I found a signed shirt in my locker room: ‘To Mark, my best wishes, Cristiano Ronaldo’.

“It was a very good gesture. I don’t think I ever stole time from him at all. Maybe that’s why I got the shirt.”

Ronaldo on pitch

Clattenburg went on to praise Ronaldo for his ability, which has led him to league titles in three countries and five Champions League.

“What I admire the most above all is his ability to improve his game when the team is in low hours,” the referee added.

“You knew you were sharing the field of play with a single player who could change the course of a match in an instant.”

Ronaldo won 14 major titles at the Spanish giants – and the referee sent a warning to Real Madrid about the player they allowed to leave in 2018 for £89m.

Clattenburg continued: “The first time I refereed Madrid I remember that [goalkeeper Iker] Casillas received the ball from a corner and scored three goals in three passes.

“Not even the ball passed through the midfield. That is what great players like Cristiano can do.

“It is very fast and accurate. I am not surprised that Madrid is not the same without him.

“In the 2016 Champions League final I knew he was not doing very well physically, but it was again Cristiano Ronaldo’s show.

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