Cristiano Ronaldo is a lot of things: elite soccer player, prima donna, lady’s man, jackleg.
Many of my colleagues here at The Yanks Are Coming hate Ronaldo and have hated him for years. Blame this on the fact that he was a Man U player and that he takes dives, whines a lot, and has an ego much bigger than his home country of Portugal. But for me, his skill has always overshadowed those flaws, as well as his horrid mullet-hawk hairdo. I don’t hate Manchester United as much as the next guy, and Didier Drogba’s diving and whining over in West London has always pissed me off more than Cristiano’s (possible because after Ronaldo’s done whining I may get to see him bury a free kick from 40).
But the new Real Madrid man’s latest comments have landed him firmly in jackleg territory, even with me. When C-Ron first transferred to Madrid, breaking the world transfer fee record along the way, he criticized the English referees in his opening press conference, saying that they don’t protect players like they should and that he’s always found refs in Spain to be better at doing so. These comments enraged Yanks contributor Puck, who I had to pacify before he bought a plane ticket to the Spanish capital with a view to punch the former FIFA World Player of the Year in the face. I viewed these comments as strategic, much like Cristiano’s on-field whining. Criticize the English ref’s for not protecting me and the Spanish ones will know it’s their job to do so. Didn’t seem like too bad a way (if not a political one) to start pandering for calls before even stepping on the pitch at the Bernabéu.
But this week C-Ron tried to have his leite-crème and eat it too. Just months after criticizing Premier League officiating, Cristiano called on the docile and hard-to-please Real fans to be more like English football fans, in both constant and fervent support. “The Manchester United fans, for example, were very intimidating for Liverpool or Manchester City in those matches. I think that if our supporters tried to do that it would be much better for everyone and would give the players a big boost.”
In making both of these sets of comments not only did he essentially blast the English league out of one side of his mouth while praising it out of the other, but he essentially said the EPL is too rough and tumble for the players but just right for the fans. I understand that Ronaldo may have been referring more to crowd noise than fan violence and belligerence, but words like “intimidating” could certainly go either way, especially for rabid Blancos fans looking to overcompensate. If fan violence erupts at a Real Madrid home game anytime in the next month or so and results in even one death Ronaldo should have to scurry his way right back to Lisbon, doing stopovers all the way, never to be seen again.