ZURICH, Switzerland (CNN) -- As I watched Cristiano Ronaldo receive the FIFA World Player of the Year award in Zurich, I couldn't help feeling a deep sense of satisfaction, as the 23 year-old Portuguese international once again proved all his doubters wrong.
Cristiano Ronaldo shows emotion after being named the FIFA World Player of the Year for 2008.
Especially the ones in England.
In the days leading up to the awards ceremony, there were various rumors circulating that the Manchester United star was going to be pipped by Leo Messi on Tuesday night.
I was asked several times in London whether I really thought Ronaldo was going to win. Whether he really deserved it.
It was as if many in the British press didn't want him to take home another award.
The fierce attack on his lifestyle by the tabloids after he crashed his Ferrari last week just accentuated the fact that in the UK, he still has earned little respect.
Never mind that he was about to become the first Premier League Player to win this prestigious award. Never mind he has been the competition's biggest ambassador and promoter overseas. Too many in the English media, he was still a diver on the field, and a petulant rock star off it.
Now I am not going to sit here and say that my compatriot Cristiano is perfect. He isn't and he makes mistakes. But the same can be said about Wayne Rooney or any of the other English internationals.
When Rooney charges down the referee and shouts obscenities in his face without even being booked, as was the case in last weekend's match against Chelsea, is he called arrogant or petulant? No. When he goes seven or eight matches without a goal, is he suddenly branded overrated? No.
So all I am asking for here is a little respect. If Ronaldo was English, I am sure in the eyes of the British press he would be virtually untouchable, but although he's not, just give him a break. After all, he had an incredible 2007/2008 season which saw him score 42 goals in 49 matches and win virtually every major trophy on offer.
And he's a great ambassador for the game.
Pedro Pinto is a CNN sports correspondent based in London.