Football: Ronaldo to Sit out a Few Games as Fergie Fears Burn-Out Factor; UNITED BOSS PLANNING TO REST PRODIGY
Byline: DAVID MADDOCK
SIR ALEX FERGUSON has vowed to rest Cristiano Ronaldo to ensure Manchester United's gifted teenage sensation does not suffer from burn-out.
United boss Fergie gave the 19-year-old a three-week holiday over Christmas last year and intends to do the same again so that Ronaldo can have a much-needed break.
Ronaldo has played non-stop throughout 2004 after helping Portugal to the Euro 2004 final and then travelling to the Olympics in Athens to represent his country once again.
United's pounds 12.25million signing has started to show the effects of the gruelling schedule in his last few games and Fergie is working out when the time is right to take him out of the firing line.
"There's going to be a spell when Cristiano needs a rest and it is a question of picking the moment," said Fergie.
"Last year, we sent him home for a break at Christmas and we'll have to see what we do this time. At the moment I've no definite plans for him.
"I think he's okay just now, but we will be assessing him all the time."
Despite his heavy summer schedule, Ronaldo has missed just three of United's 19 games this season and has failed to score, despite his goalscoring threat and a number of chances.
"There was no respite for Ronaldo this week as he was called into Portugal's squad for their World Cup qualifier with Liechtenstein.
But Fergie's decision to rest Ronaldo has been made easier by the return to form of Darren Fletcher, who excelled in Sunday's 3-1 win at Newcastle.
The 20-year-old Scotland skipper was selected ahead of Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville for the victory at St James' Park.
Fletcher's superbly-weighted pass set up Wayne Rooney for United's opener against Newcastle and Ferguson believes the midfielder is ready for another run in the first-team. …