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'Text-mad' Cristiano Ronaldo fined $4,000 a message
February 15th, 2008 6:30AM



[OFF THE POST] Ask many big-time soccer players what is their most precious possession, and they will say their cell phone.

Ask their coach what is their prime pet peeve, and he will say players using their cell phone.

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo was fined $16,000 for using his cell phone during training -- which works out to $4,000 for each of four text messages he sent during a recent training session.

Ronaldo won't have a hard time paying. He is set to sign a new contract paying him an estimated $15 million a year.

"The players all respect Sir Alex's discipline," a source told the Sun. "He is not a man to be messed with. But a few of the players have been sneaking their mobile phones on to the training pitch to send the odd text message between sessions. Fergie and his assistants have been cracking down on it big time recently. They insist that mobiles stay in lockers and should not be used until training is finished."

Ferguson also banned cell phones on the team bus.

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