Cristiano Ronaldo

So I was originally going to structure this as a Ronaldo v. Messi post, but when I thought about it for a moment, that seemed dumb, because this isn’t really about Messi at all. I love Messi, but that’s not the point, and if I’m going to get annoyed at people for always comparing the two, I should really avoid doing it.

I love Barcelona, but I’ve never hated a team so much that I couldn’t like anyone who played for them. That includes Real Madrid – unlike almost every other Barcelona fan on the planet, for example, I really like Sergio Ramos.

So it wasn’t the Real Madrid thing that made me dislike Ronaldo. It was just Ronaldo.

But that’s changed.

I used to dislike Ronaldo because he was a diving, selfish, petulant brat. I stand by my read on him at the time – I think he was a diving, selfish, petulant brat. The only thing worse than losing the CDR was losing it to a Ronaldo goal. (Then Sergio Ramos dropped it under a bus. Oh, Ramos. That cheered me up. See, how can Barca fans hate Ramos? He’s great.)

But it was actually that string of clasicos that the CDR final was part of that started to change my opinion of him. Amidst all the bus parking and nasty tackles and fights and all the other ugliness that came out of those cames, Ronaldo did something that stuck out to me.

He tried to play.

He wasn’t diving, not really, and he wasn’t happy with the Drogba-esk “stand over there and wait for us to boot the ball to you” role. There’s a video on yotube that showed some of the Barcelona defenders playing keep away while Ronaldo futilely ran between them trying to get the goddamn ball. He ended up throwing his arms up in disgust.

A lot of Barcelona fans delighted in that because, hey, Ronaldo is frustrated hahaha. I didn’t see it that way. I looked at that video and at those games as a whole and I saw a player who was giving it his all and was getting absolutely no support. And I respected that.

I didn’t like him, of course, not yet, not just for that, but I started to respect him a little more. It opened a door.

And since then, I’ve actually (slowly) grown to like him. Legitimately, honestly like him. It annoys me to see people dismiss him as a diver, because he really doesn’t dive much at all anymore. Like Busquets, it’s mostly just people who like his team that have noticed that he’s cleaned up his act. It annoys me to see him dismissed as a poacher when he’s really an excellent player. It annoys me to see him portrayed as this egotistical brat who is almost as focused on Messi as he is on breathing. I’m sorry, but I don’t think Ronaldo cares that much. I don’t think he lies awake at night thinking about Messi and how Messi scored three goals and he only scored two.

Now, when Ronaldo scores against Barcelona, I almost breathe a sigh of relief. Oh. At least it was one of the guys I like, and not one of those assholes. I don’t want anybody scoring, obviously, but if someone’s going to…

The Ballon d’Or is coming up, and I would like to see Messi or Iniesta win. I’m a Barcelona fan. Of course I want that. And I think that Messi and Iniesta have absolutely done enough to deserve the trophy.

But I think Ronaldo has, too. They’ve all been terrific. And while I’d rather a Barcelona player win it, I won’t weep if Ronaldo does, because he’s been an outstanding player worthy of the recognition.

Edit: My thanks to Adrian, who sent me link to the video of keepaway that I had originally mentioned but been unable to find. 🙂

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6 responses to “Cristiano Ronaldo

  1. and you’re blog is amazingggggggggg and don’t take this wrong way or anything but finding girls with this much football knowledge is amazing. Thank god i was on the right page the right time (bleacher report) all i see is a female pinning every man that’s walking on this planet down.I must be honest it was very amusing, you taught me a good lesson though ‘ never to underestimate a female’ i wont don’t worry. Hope you upload more of your work.

    • Oh, thank you so much! 🙂 I’m working on a couple posts right now that have required a lot of stats crunching, which is why I haven’t updated in a bit (well, that and the fact that unfortunately, I can’t just write about football for a living).

  2. That’s one thing I’ve never really understood you know, no matter what ronaldo does he will never get the appreciation he deserves from footballing folks.Messi can’t do no wrong and for some he’s the best ever, recently i saw the votes for Ballon’dor and the stupidity from some captains and managers honestly like kompany which put Messi (understandable) xavi and falcao like really ??? and Eto’o put Yaya Toure ahead of ronaldo not even top 3 for godsake.The worst one in my eyes had to be iker voting for ramos ahead of ronaldo especially when everyone knew he had no chance why not put him 2nd and ronaldo 1st.
    Anyways i blame the media for making ronaldo look like a mug,like messi hes the best player for the past 10 years in my eyes,messi shouldn’t be on 4 ballon’dor in my eyes at least two now (Wesley sniejder 2010 talk about injustice and remember it’s the players which vote and managers like really don’t they ever time to watch football like normal human beings) but that’s just me. I’ll give you a famous quote which was said by an intelligent yet controversial manager ”its easier being messi then ronaldo” which is so true. i honestly believe what ronaldo said about being serious about his career thats why he isnt liked as much. favourite thing ever was the ‘calma’ celebration. LEGENDARY!!

    • That’s actually something that I’ve found really interesting about the voting (and I’m putting together some Ballon d’Or posts analyzing the results and votes, which I’ll hopefully have up in the next few days). There are a lot of people who have been deriding the smaller countries that voted (e.g., “What does Bhutan know about football, anyway?”), but in general, it’s the less influential footballing countries that voted in ways that I think most of us would understand. Most included Messi and Ronaldo.

      It was the heavyweights, and the countries with heavyweight players as captains (like Cameroon), that really had more questionable votes. Not all of them, obviously – you’d be hardpressed to find many people who could argue that any of Brazil’s votes were ludicrous – but many of them, probably precisely because they are more involved and therefore have biases and loyalties that other countries don’t necessarily share.

      I do disagree about Casillas, though – I object strenuously to the idea that because Ronaldo happens to have the captain of a NT on his club team, he should automatically get those votes. I respect Casillas for voting in a way I think was honest and genuine. I can believe that he thought that Ramos was the best player in 2012, and I don’t think it’s as ridiculous as a lot of people are making it out to be. After all, in a vote from his peers, Ramos was recognized as one of the two best CBs of the year, and if Casillas values results, the Euro could have pushed him over the top compared to Ronaldo. Then to put Ronaldo second and Xavi third… yeah, I can believe that he truly thought that those were the three best players, taking trophies into account, of the year. And I really, really respect that.

      I think that Ronaldo doesn’t do himself any favors. He’s a talented, dedicated player, and I do think that he’s a more divisive figure than Messi, but to claim that he’s had no part in that is shortsighted, IMO. The media certainly are harder on him than on some other players, but he also gives them ammunition that many players, including Messi, don’t.

      Does that make the overall perception of him fair? No. I think he’s cleaned up his act immensely and shows a lot more sportsmanship than people give him credit for, Ballon d’Or voting aside (which is a perfect example of ammunition he doesn’t have to give). Did that cost him some votes? Almost certainly. However, do I think that cost him the Ballon d’Or this year or any other year? No. It’s never even been close. If Messi had won by 5%? Sure, maybe CR7 fans would have a point. But when the numbers are this overwhelming, I think it’s time for many fans to take a step back and realize that while they are free to believe Ronaldo is the best in the world, maybe professionals just genuinely disagree with them.

  3. I guess I’m in a similar situation. I used to hate/dislike Ronaldo for his diving and behaviour on and off the pitch. Lately, he actually stopped diving (well almost, happens to everyone I guess) and he got his **** together on the pitch, so I’ve started to like him. He matured a lot since Manchester United times. Even though I still don’t like the way he behaves off the pitch, I find him to be a terrific player and I think that’s what counts, after all he is playing football and that’s what we, football fans, should only be concerned with. So as long as he does his job on the pitch, he may behave however wants off it.

    Speaking of Ballon d’Or, since I’m Barcelona fan, I’d like Messi to win it, yes, not Messi or Iniesta, but Messi. I mean I would be glad if Iniesta did too, but lets be honest, he doesn’t deserve it 🙂 He did great in Euro2012, but he was not so influential throughout the year for Barcelona. Pirlo on the other hand, did well everywhere, but yet, even if we considered Iniesta or Pirlo for the Ballon d’Or, we have two magnificent players – Messi and Ronaldo, who are on another level than the rest and they are the most deserving footballers at this moment. I might be biased a bit, but I think Messi deserves to win it, I know it isn’t all about the scoring (well if there wouldn’t be any goals, would there be wins?), but he broke so many records, scored the most goals and yet managed to have the most assists in europe, have you seen anyone do this before? I haven’t. Ronaldo did great too, but I don’t think he is(or was last year) as influential to Real Madrid wins as Messi is for Barcelona’s.

    Great read though, I’m happy that I found your blog on bleacherreport.com 🙂 Since I’m into sciences, numbers and statistics I think I will be checking your blog daily, you’ve got one more follower.

    • Oh, thank you so much! 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets obsessed with numbers and stats. Obviously there’s more to the game than that, but the numbers can be super interesting, especially when they’re compared to those things that everyone knows… like Barcelona always playing a man up. (The number of times I have corrected people…)

      I honestly tend to agree with you – Messi and Ronaldo probably are more deserving than Iniesta or Pirlo. I would be struck down by most Barcelona fans for saying this, but I’d kind of put Ramos and Busquets at least on level with Iniesta and Pirlo. They had amazing years with their clubs, unlike Iniesta, and they play in a better league than Pirlo and won the Euro. Unfortunately, defenders and DMs don’t ever get credit.

      I put Messi above Ronaldo, too, though I might be biased, too. 😛 I think that he was more important for Barcelona, and he’s shattered records left and right. If Madrid had won the UCL or if Portugal had moved on over Spain, that might be different, but they didn’t.

      I also think that it speaks volumes that people argue about whether Messi’s the best player ever already or whether he just will be by the end of his career, where Ronaldo it’s usually just whether he’s better than Messi. I very rarely hear anyone arguing that CR7 is the best ever, where for Messi, major people in the football world have said definitively that they think that he’s already the best player ever. I don’t usually hear that said about CR7, you know?

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