Rio Ferdinand believes that people need to stop "lynching" his Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney, after the striker hit the back of the net to give his side a first leg UEFA Champions League victory over Chelsea.
The 25-year-old scored the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge, as the Red Devils managed to take a precious away-goal to the reverse leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Old Trafford.
And in a season that has seen the forward having trouble on as well as off the pitch, the centre-half believes that the former Everton man deserves to be give some respect.
"We should follow him as a footballer rather than keep lynching him for a lot of the stuff that goes on," Ferdinand told reporters.
"I wouldn't say he is innocent in a lot of the stuff that has happened but sometimes because of the player he is and who he is the reaction can be over the top."
Rooney was slapped with a two-match ban that rules him out of the FA Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Manchester City, after using offensive language while on camera after scoring a goal in a 4-2 win over West Ham United.
The hitman has since appealed the decision and is expected to find out about the length of his suspension on Thursday.
Ferdinand said: "Wayne Rooney swearing on TV, as much as I don't condone it, is not front page news.
"There are bigger things going on in the world. There are things happening in Libya and Ivory Coast and we are talking about Wayne Rooney on the front page of newspapers because he swore at a camera.
"I don't condone it but because it is him everyone goes over the top."
The defender added: "Hopefully the decision will go his way.
"I don't feel sorry for him. He thrives off the attention.
"But he thrives off football attention rather than the stuff on the outside.
"He loves playing football. That's what he wants to be judged on and talked about.
"Tonight he did what he does best."