He May Be The Best But He’s Still A D*ck!
You remember the good looking lad at school who was great at football, got away with murder with the principal because of it and was ultra-popular with the girls, don’t you?
You kind of admired him but at the same time, you just didn’t like him: that’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
It’s not a jealousy thing, mind. He’s a great player with a stratospherically successful career to date. I just find it terribly hard to like him. Not that he’ll care too much, obviously. He’s just won his second Ballon d’Or in a row and third in total. That feat will have pushed him into contention – alongside Maradona, Pele and Messi – for the make-believe title of the best footballer in history. And still, a lot of people just won’t like him.
Upon accepting his award last night in Zurich, he let out this really odd, Gary Neville-esque noise – a ‘war cry’ according to Guillem Balague.
Thierry Henry watched on in bafflement. He wasn’t the only one. It’s not the first of these really cheesy, self-absorbed moments we’ve witnessed from him, either.
At 3-1 up nearing the end of extra time in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo had the chance to put the icing on the cake with a penalty. He duly obliged, whipped off his jersey and flexed his gleaming bronze torso in a way that suggested he’d just won Real Madrid their ‘La Decima’ singlehandedly. Apparently it was to be used as a shot in a movie about his life that he himself is producing. But of course he is.
There have been numerous other examples of these narcissistic moments over the course of his career which is why – no matter how many goals he scores – it’s just very hard to like him; to feel that kind of connection with him. Football is a team game; we cherish the idea of one single entity working together to achieve greatness. We also embrace the individual talents within those teams; the problem with Ronaldo is that you always get the sense that everything is about him. He comes first. The team comes second.
You see it during Real Madrid games all the time: his utter disbelief directed at anyone who doesn’t pass it to him when through on goal and his lack of self-awareness in not being able to see he does the exact same. Of course, it helps when he finishes those opportunities more often than not but he fails to realise that the contempt he shows for his teammates in these scenarios – Gareth Bale in particular – is then picked up by the Bernebeu crowd who feed off it: one of the main reasons for Bale getting such abuse recently.
This isn’t an anti-Ronaldo, pro-Messi agenda; it’s simply an objective opinion that Ronaldo is just an odd, unlikeable sort of lad with Patrick Bateman of American Psycho-like tendencies.
You get the impression that when making love to his better half, he’s recreating that famous ‘flexing’ scene in the Christian Bale movie over and over. His preened, pristine Hollywood-like looks and squeaky clean, manufactured self-image added to a massive ego lend a sense of disconnect from the average person that nearly every other footballer on the planet does not.
Years from now, when the greats of any era are recalled, Ronaldo will be remembered as one of them but his conceited self-absorption will mean he will never be enjoyed and cherished globally as much as someone like Lionel Messi.