Along with being a United player comes the usual obsession from this ABU nation. The media loves to talk about our club, building us up only to tear us back down again. Just think, United were ‘in decline’ after one trophyless season and finishing third, whilst Arsenal have gone three years without a trophy, four years since a title challenge, and they’re merely ‘in transition’.
Ronaldo was one of four or five Portuguese players protesting about Wayne Rooney in the 2006 World Cup, yet he was the only player blamed for ‘getting Rooney sent off’. It doesn’t come as any surprise to United fans though, who have seen the likes of David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand, amongst others, ‘made an example of’ by the FA, press and opposition fans. Of course this country would completely overreact to Rooney’s sending off because it was an opportunity to have a go at a United player.
Cristiano Ronaldo, as officially the best player in Europe, has been on the receiving end of lots of stick ever since. Every freekick he wins is scrutinised, with the commentators and press always alluding to the fact he has probably cheated. Granted, Ronaldo has gone down to ground too easily on far too many occasions, but he also has the shit kicked out of him on a weekly basis, and I don’t see the likes of Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole being criticised when they appear to go down under no contact!
Following this summer’s saga involving Ronaldo’s potential move to Real Madrid, the country’s obsession stepped up a level. With no team to support in the European Championships, all media attention turned to Ronaldo. Was he going to stay at United or was he leaving for Spain? It was the question on everyone’s lips. Obsesssed.
Ronaldo’s body language was analysed when he returned to United’s first team, with reports suggesting he was unhappy. Despite making it clear that the decision to stay had been his and no-one elses, afterall, as if Cristiano Ronaldo would let anyone tell him what to do, the press wanted to make something out of nothing.
If he didn’t smile enough when he scored it was because he was really thinking of Real Madrid. On his travels to European destinations in the Champions League, reporters told how he wasn’t mingling with his team mates the way he used to. Following our match against Aalborg, his ‘body language’ told us that he wanted to go to Spain. It was ridiculous.
Ronaldo has today spoken about the attention he is given by the media, claiming he just can’t win with them.
“I have come to understand that every movement I make, on or off the pitch, is analysed to death,” he said. “If I don’t celebrate goals, it is because I am sad. If I talk to the public, it is because I have lost my humility. My slightest gesture gets every type of criticism. People are always waiting for me to do something and they just pick on what are absolutely normal and unimportant things to criticise. People who know me well say, ‘they only criticise the best’. I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”