Medical experts back Man Utd's Ronaldo after penalty miss

Medical experts have come to the defence of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo over his spotkick gaffe against West Ham last month.

United lost the game 2-1, with Ronaldo's penalty miss opening the door for the Hammers to storm back from one goal down to win through headers from Matthew Upson and Anton Ferdinand.

A top neurologist has claimed that animated perimeter boards could have affected Ronaldo when he stepped up to take his spotkick.

Dr Bahador Bahrami of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London cites Ronaldo's miss at West Ham on December 29 as just one instance of a player possibly being distracted by the animated LED boards.

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He has suggested that the Portuguese star's concentration may have been disrupted by the LED advertising board behind the goal - which at the time was bookmaker JAXX - West Ham's online betting partner - which was moving to the left, the same direction that Ronaldo aimed his shot.

He told the Daily Mail: "Studies have shown that if you are reaching for something, the human brain corrects for background movement, so you could end up missing the object you are aiming for.

"If the player's brain was attempting to focus on the ball and ignore the moving image in the background as he took the shot, this could have had a similar effect."

However, the subliminal effect of West Ham's sponsor has been played down by JAXX themselves.

"I'd love to say that we set the whole thing up, but this is a simple animated graphic that has been in use all season at more than one Premiership club," said Mark Irvine, Managing Director of JAXX UK.

"From my own experience as a football fan, I know that LED boards can be divisive as some fans find them distracting but, even if this is true, it's the first time I've heard of a result actually hinging on an animated logo.

"It would be interesting to take the concept one step further, perhaps with home clubs flashing up 'Shoot to the Left!' or 'You're Gonna Miss!' as away players prepare to take a penalty. I'm not sure what the FA would make of it though."

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