An unfortunate beginning

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League day view with Juventus had an unexpected start. He had already struggled to score in Serie A, and having the profile he holds in the sports nothing goes unnoticed. This time he took the spotlight for something that had nothing to do with a free kick, skill move or a Puskas nominated goal. To the surprise of many, he had been sent off 28 minutes in against Spanish side Valencia C.F.., although that was not the worst part. It turns out that he had cried as the referee had shown him the red. Many saw this as unnecessary, but others justified him saying it was passion and love for the sport. In my opinion, I think he should’ve handled it better because his behavior completely overshadowed the collective result, therefore I stand with those who think that crying was unnecessary. I will use the following lines to explain why but clarifying that Cristiano holds his own as one of the top soccer players in recent times.

Experience mattered
Everyone knows Cristiano had a difficult start when he began his footballing career. Leaving his hometown Madeira, as well as his family, may have given him the work ethic and dedication he possesses. Arriving in Sporting Clube de Portugal, he made his senior team appearance at age 17. Shortly after, an exhibition game against none other than Manchester United gave him the opportunity to make his breakthrough in football’s elite. True, Cristiano had skill moves, but Sir Alex Ferguson is the main reason behind his transformation to the “Complete player” status. Throughout 6 seasons in England, he developed speed, trademark Free kicks, aerial ability and deadly finishes in front of goal that earned him superstardom. In terms of achievements, he won the Premier League, F.A. Cup, Champions League, and a Club World Cup. Enough credentials to earn him a spot in Spain, Real Madrid C.F. to be exact.

Many thought that without Sir Alex by his side to mentor him, his success at Madrid was questionable and his productivity would decrease. He spent 9 years with “Los Blancos” and managed to prove everyone wrong. Managing to overshadow players like Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Ricardo Kakà while breaking as many records as he could. Cristiano became the club’s all-time top goalscorer with 451 goals, outscoring legends like Raul Gonzales Blanco and Alfredo Di Stefano. In the end, he became Madrid’s more influential player of the last decade after winning back-to-back Champion’s League trophies as well as Club World Cups. Honestly speaking I think the constant competition with Messi pushed him to his limits season after season. If you’re as competitive as Ronaldo you need that kind of challenge.

Cristiano Ronaldo
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 10: during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on May 10, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The pressure got to him
Since the episode in Champions league was not justified, I think outside factors influenced his reaction. Controversy is not new to Cristiano; he had already survived the infamous incident against England in 06’ when he got Rooney sent off. Once in Madrid, the issues started from within after the constant renewal debates in his last seasons at the club. In addition, the constant comparison with Messi and the G.O.A.T debate could have created unnecessary stress. However, these factors would not have been influential if the media didn’t get involved. They either created unofficial versions to get exclusive interviews or went as far as creating interests from other clubs towards Cristiano to create instability. In the end, it was the tax evasion case that surfaced and the lack of support that he received from the club that pushed his move to Italy. Cristiano didn’t feel valued by the club and knowing that Zidane had stepped down made the decision easier.

Another factor was Cristiano’s constant drive to push himself physically to evade the dreaded aging process. He went as far as hiring his personal medical staff to keep track of his performance season after season. This level of dedication is what made him stand out among other players, thus referencing why he overshadowed his other teammates in Real Madrid as I previously mentioned. The desire to play every game every single season did cause problems with some of the managers he came across during his time in Madrid. From Mourinho to “Rafa” Benitez and Zidane all had to deal with disagreements when they wanted Cristiano to skip a game. Overall he will probably be the most “Complete” player the game has seen, but one can only handle a certain amount of pressure.

It wasn’t passion
With a bittersweet departure from Real Madrid and everything that happened because of it, the expectations for him to deliver were high. Things were not working out and the criticism that he received because he wasn’t scoring did increase. To make thing worse Real Madrid looked more solid without him, you can imagine that Cristiano did look at the updates so that didn’t help. This brings me back to the game against Valencia and his unfortunate crying incident. However, I must emphasize how important the “fairness” of the second yellow card is. You can’t deny that it was an unfair decision; regardless, this not only helps my argument as it also conditions those who say that he did what he did because of passion. Its here were the pressure got the best of him and completely overpowered the years of experience he had to control the outcome of his actions.

Ronaldo Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo with Real Madrid. Credit: Sportskeeda

This was not the first time he came across a difficult situation while playing. He had previously managed to brush off the unfortunate incident with Portugal in 2006. After having Wayne Rooney sent off and advancing in the tournament he became public enemy number one. Then he had crossfire with Joseph “Sepp” Blatter after he called him a soldier when comparing him to Messi. His answer? A goal scoring league game with a “commander” style celebration. The reason why this is relevant is that he knew how to handle these kinds of situations. One of the most obvious ways to go about it was to simply have a few words with the referee and walk away. Since he failed to do so, the footage released the days after the incident didn’t favor him at all. Understanding that it could have been the heat of the moment is one thing, but to cry takes it a bit too far. He was not in a knock out stage game or in a World Cup final, it was the first game of the group stage in the Champions League. With that being said, I think even the most rookie of players knows that these are not decisive games if you play in a strong team so there is no need to get frustrated. Hopefully, he has better luck next time, but we must always remember that we are human and that it’s “EASIER SAID THAN DONE”.

PS: This is the first of many entries that I plan on writing. I’m hoping to have regular content as It looks like my audience can grow in the next few months. Leave your comments and suggestions below, see you next time!

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