THERE is a saying that best describes habitual offenders - a leopard never changes its spots.
And then there is this story about the boy who cried wolf.
Cristiano Ronaldo, for all his brilliance on the field, is still struggling to shrug off the 'diver' tag.
Yesterday morning's game should have been one to illustrate the Portuguese's superb footballing ability.
After all, his two goals had helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Fulham.
The team's performance was nothing short of breathtaking and most importantly, the win propelled them back to second place in the League table.
Yet, the Portuguese winger dominated the headlines for the wrong reasons.
It wasn't for his sublime volley which gave the Red Devils a first-half lead. Neither was it for his wonderful header which made it 2-0 in the 58th minute.
Instead, it was for the penalty that wasn't awarded, even after Ronaldo went crashing to the ground in the penalty box. For his efforts, the winger was shown the yellow card by referee Rob Styles for 'diving'.
But wait a minute. Was it a dive at all? CONTROVERSIAL DECISION
Television replays suggest that there was no contact - or at the very most, minimal - between Ronaldo and Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi in the 78th minute.
However, had Ronaldo not taken evasive action, he would have ended being clobbered by Niemi anyway.
TOHARI SAYS: I believe we have to look at the background.
There was an incident during the 45th minute of the game when Man Utd were wrongfully denied a corner kick.
Ronaldo complained to the referee and they had an exchange of words.
In the 53rd minute, Ronaldo was body-checked by an opponent, but the referee again did nothing. Ronaldo stared at the referee.
So, by the time the diving incident came, the referee could have already made a mental note on the player.
Ultimately, it was a bad call. It should have been a penalty, no two ways about it.
Ronaldo was in full flight and although the contact was minimal, his momentum sent him crashing to the ground.
Then, Ronaldo sarcastically clapped in the direction of Styles to applaud his decision to award him a yellow card.
That rightfully should be a booking. So it was ironical that he got a yellow when he shouldn't have, and escaped a booking when he should have. REPUTATION COUNTS?
Perhaps Styles was quick to book Ronaldo for diving because of the reputation the player has made for himself.
It definitely wasn't the first time he was penalised.
Back in March, he was yellow-carded against Lille for the same offence.
Against Aston Villa three years ago, with a generous sprinkling of irony here, Ronaldo also received the first of two bookings for going to the ground too easily.
Styles was the official that fateful day Ronaldo got his first red card in English football.
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate also once said that Ronaldo cheated in matches.
Those were just a few examples and there have been many more.
During the 2006 World Cup, England striker Peter Crouch was also the target of Fifa refereeing chiefs, who instructed officials to look out for the player's actions which they deemed were illegal.
Question here is, is it fair for players to be pre-judged by an official because of what he had done before?
TOHARI: I agree that during the early stages of his Man Utd career, his diving antics were more of a problem.
But I think it has stopped altogether this season. He is scoring goals almost whenever he plays, so I don't think there is a need for him to cheat to win matches.
He has matured a lot. I assume the fact that he was nominated for the 2007 Ballon d'Or - he finished second behind Kaka - also means that the fraternity is beginning to realise that he is not so much of a diver anymore.
I think past reputation should never be held against a player. That would be injustice. FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE
The incident notwithstanding, Ronaldo has shown that his form is beginning to peak.
The player, who scored 23 goals last season as Man Utd won the League title, has already netted 13 times in 13 matches this season.
His brace yesterday lifted him to the the summit of the top-scorers' chart, along with three other players on eight League goals.
With each passing day, Ronaldo is becoming more and more like the most important player in Alex Ferguson's plans.
TOHARI: The scary thing about him is that he is still not yet playing his best football. But despite that, he is finding the net regularly.
I don't think there is a better player than Ronaldo in the Man United squad at the moment.
I have yet to see a defender who can deal with his trickery and pace.
The goals he scored against Fulham were a reflection of his brilliant technique and composure.
By now, he should be Ferguson's first name on the team sheet. SUPPORTING CAST
Although Ronaldo stole the limelight against Fulham, Man United's manner with which they dominated the game also caught the eye.
Throughout the game, they were never in danger of losing their hold on the match.
TOHARI: At the moment, I think they have the best midfield in the Premiership.
The partnership between Anderson and Owen Hargreaves looks fantastic.
Their supply to the frontline has been splendid.
If they carry on playing like that, their chances of retaining the League title looks good.
MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand (Carrick 75), Vidic, Evra (O'Shea 46), Ronaldo, Hargreaves, Anderson, Giggs, Tevez, Rooney (Saha 71)
FULHAM: Niemi, Omozusi, Hughes, Stefanovic, Konchesky, Davies, Davis, Murphy, Bouazza (Ki Hyeon 71), Dempsey (Healy 64), Kuqi MAN UNITED 2