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There's A Lot Of Nonsense Spoken About Cristiano Ronaldo, And It's About Time It Ended

There's A Lot Of Nonsense Spoken About Cristiano Ronaldo, And It's About Time It Ended
By Gavin Cooney Updated

When those we view on television act exactly as we expect them to, it is very satisfying. People love to be proved right - it is why we gamble -  and the caricature of Cristiano Ronaldo as a petulant, entitled brat was made flesh with Ronaldo's comments after Portugal's draw with Iceland in the group stages of Euro 2016:

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I thought they'd won the Euros the way they celebrated at the end, it was unbelievable.

When they don't try to play and just defend, defend, defend this in my opinion shows a small mentality and are not going to do anything in the competition.

It is at this point extremely easy to raise Ronaldo's ludicrously exaggerated torso rippling reaction to an inconsequential penalty in the 2014 Champions League final, and bask in the fact that our suspicions about Ronaldo - despite all his success - has been confirmed, that he is, in the words Eamon Dunphy, a "puffball".

Ronaldo has been heavily criticised for the above, with The Telegraph writing that his comments "redefined the term ungracious. Rude, petulant and surly, it did little to gainsay his reputation for oafish narcissism". The only shock in Ronaldo's comments was in his saying them out loud; nobody was in any way surprised that he holds them.

It is easy to imagine the contempt Ronaldo holds little old Iceland. Here is a country whose entire population is the equivalent of 0.787%  of Ronaldo's Twitter followers, and they played in a style that wilfully accepted their inferiority, something which Ronaldo has held a deep-seated disgust towards all of his life.

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Like Tiger Woods, Ronaldo had a problematic relationship with his father, as elucidated by a typically fine Wright Thompson piece on ESPN FC. Using the self-commissioned film documentary about himself, Thompson discovers Ronaldo's father Aveiro was a soldier, returning to Madeira having been drafted to Angola a broken man. Aveiro spiralled into alcoholism on his return, frequently beating his wife (Ronaldo's mother), ultimately dying of liver failure.

Of his father, Ronaldo said in the documentary that:

My father was funny when he was drunk, but I didn't get to know him for real, from the heart and I don't know why he drank, maybe he was frustrated with his life.

I wanted a different father, one who would be more present to see my achievements.

Ronaldo has spent a career refusing to follow the path of his father. He refuses to consume alcohol, and he sued the Daily Mirror in 2008 when they claimed he had been caught drinking heavily while recovering from injury in 2008. Thompson speculates that Ronaldo shot that documentary as a continued attempt to show his father how far he has come. Ronaldo's obsessive dedication to his own son would appear to add credence to this, as a framed picture of Aveiro is visible in shot as Cristiano entertains his son during the documentary.

Ronaldo has made it to the top of world football through a ceaseless and incorrigible rejection of mediocrity; propelled by the image of a father who fought a battle in Angola but couldn't deal with the war within himself. The image of Ronaldo refusing to settle for his father's life was crystallised at his very first club. Ronaldo began his career with amateur side Andorinha at the age of 14, where his father took a role of handyman, helping out as kit man and doing whatever odd jobs came up.

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Compare the precocious Ronaldo with his father, who was willing to do any old job around the club to stay relevant. Ronaldo moved to Nacional within three years. His father died while Ronaldo was in England, under the tutelage of Alex Ferguson, whom Ronaldo calls his "father" in football.

You can understand, then, why Ronaldo would be so utterly appalled by Iceland clinging to a draw for all they were worth last night. Settling for mediocrity is what chained Ronaldo's father to Madeira, while Ronaldo can now afford to gift his agent Jorge Mendes an island.

Ronaldo's comments about Iceland are not the platitudes you expect to be trotted out in the aftermath of such a game, and some claimed they betrayed Ronaldo's lack of perspective. On the contrary, Ronaldo has exactly that perspective, but has spent his life outrunning it.

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Carlo Ancelotti has this week paid a glowing tribute to Ronaldo in the Daily Telegraph saying that everything he does is aimed at succeeding at football:

The boy lived for the game – everything else was built to fit around it. That meant his recovery times, what he ate, when he ate, his commercial commitments, even his private life. All of it was organised so that when he stepped on the pitch he would be at the absolute peak of his performance.

Ancelotti knows Ronaldo better than most. Those deriding Ronaldo as an "oaf" are guilty of misunderstanding him.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was named by his father after an actor, Ronald Reagan.

Sometimes, it is very satisfying when people on television act exactly how we expect them to.

See Also: England Need A Manager To Connect With Their Players - And There Is Only One Man Who Can

See Also: Watch: Euro 2016 Has Given Us The Greatest Ever Rendition Of 'My Lovely Horse'


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