Meet Cristiano Ronaldo. He's so hard to love. In some circles he's considered the greatest soccer player in the world right now. He's also a punk. In the offseason Real Madrid bought C. Ronaldo from Manchester United for roughly $160 million. He's the Alex Rodriguez of soccer, except without the steroids (of course, I wouldn't put cheating past C. Ronaldo if he had the opportunity). As much as he may rub you the wrong way, the man is so talented that deep down you know you would want him on your team. You despise him, but can't turn your head when he has the soccer ball, which makes you hate him even more. He's arrogant. But he can back up his arrogance with his talent. He's a terrible drug or addictive substance. As much as you hate everything about it, you can't help yourself and you cave and submit and confess that you need it/him. As a Real Madrid fan, I was so upset when we signed him. We have plenty of other talent. He's not a team player, yet he makes the team better. We play better when he's on the field, which is so upsetting because he's clearly a "me first" player. Do I overlook his arrogance and terrible personality because he helps the team? Do I have to remain committed to the team despite a player who is clearly more concerned about himself and what the team does for him? I can't stand him. Look at him in those tiny shorts with a pink hat and a flower. You can tell he thinks he's the cat's meow. What a tool. He's so sexy. Pompous prick. I love him.
Sunday was a perfect example of why I struggle with Ronaldo. Real Madrid is playing lowly Almeria. Real Madrid jumps out to an early lead from a goal by Sergio Ramos, assisted by Ronaldo (see, he contributes and makes players better). In typical Real Madrid fashion, they don't play defense and soon find themselves down 2-1 to one of the worst teams in the league. Higuain gets the equalizer in the 73rd minute and ties the game 2-2. Then, in the 82nd minute, Ronaldo is rewarded a penalty because he is tripped in the box by the goalie. I have issues with this call in general because I think the goalie has no other options in this situation, it's a guaranteed call for players and all players, not just Ronaldo take advantage. Anyways, Ronaldo takes the penalty and his shot is actually blocked by the goalie. Fortunately, Benzema is there to clean up the mess and he, not Ronaldo, scores the go ahead goal. Everyone is happy because the team is back on top and probably going to win. Well, everyone but Ronaldo. As shown in the video below, he doesn't join in on the celebration, he's too busy mourning his miss. Granted, it's frustrating to miss that shot. He should have scored, but the bottom line is, the TEAM scored and has now taken the lead. Be bummed all you want, but at least congratulate the player on scoring the goal. He's on your team remember? Apparently, team success is only great if it accompanies individual accolades.
Two minutes later, when the game doesn't matter as much, Ronaldo scores off of a perfect set up from Higuain. Ronaldo doesn't do anything for the goal. He just taps it in. I could have made that goal. Well, I actually missed an even easier one in my game last week so I guess I can't say that, but I'd like to think I could have made it and surely any other professional player could have made it. Regardless, it's not the winning goal since Real already has the lead, it's just a meaningless goal to ice the cake. Yet Ronaldo celebrates like he just won the World Cup and runs over to the side of the field and takes off his shirt so he can show off his abs for the entire stadium. This is stupid for a few reasons:
1. As shown in the video below, he has a really hard time getting his shirt off. It takes him about 30 seconds. There's a good chance he trips and falls while trying to get it off and injures himself;
2. The ladies already want him. There's no need to show off his abs and body. We get it. We already know are ripped and can pull chicks like Tiger Woods; and
3. Taking off your shirt is a guaranteed yellow card. There is no debate or discussion. It's the easiest rule for a ref to enforce. If shirt comes off, give yellow card. Not much room for interpretation or argument.
Despite the rule, many players, not just Ronaldo will take their shirts off. Usually it's not that big of a deal because it's just a yellow and a warning and as long as the player keeps his cool for the rest of the game, he's fine. It especially shouldn't be a big deal if there are only 6 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, this is Ronaldo, not your average level-headed player. So, 4 minutes later, 2 minutes before the end of the game, an Almeria player hits the back of Ronaldo's head with his arm. Not quite sure if it was intentional, you can see it in the video. Intentional or not, Ronaldo flips out and retaliates by brilliantly kicking the player right in front of the ref. This of course gives him his second yellow card, which translates into a red, making him ineligible for the next league game.
So lets recap: He scores a meaningless goal against a bad team, gets carded for his celebration, two minutes before the game ends, when Real has practically won, he kicks another player and gets red carded, Kaka is already out because of injury and now Ronaldo is out for the next game because he's an idiot, and the next game happens to be at Valencia-the team in third place right now.
How do you honestly expect me to love you?
Maybe by coming back two nights later and scoring two goals (including a brilliant goal off a free-kick) in the Champions League to help Real Madrid qualify for the knock out stages. Curse you Cristiano Ronaldo. Curse you. You make it so hard to love you.