The incredible sulk

Having just scored another unstoppable free-kick, to put you and your team en route to not just victory in a derby game, at home in front of 70,000 adoring fans, but also more or less certain dominance of the most celebrated league in world football, for the second successive year - a goal which also incidentally made you top scorer in that league, also for the second year in a row: one could be forgiven for expecting you to be amongst the happiest people on the planet.

And further, to reward you for all your hard-work, with the Champions League final no less also a significant priority, your boss; the most successful manager in world football still managing, decides to pay you the ultimate compliment by giving you a rest, to protect you for the more worthy adversaries that lie ahead no less.

Most normal footballers, let alone people, would be delighted; honoured even.

Not Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh no.

For Cristiano Ronaldo, this is not enough. No; he was hoping to reap City for all they were worth. Another goal or two at least; just to make sure that golden boot retains its place in his expansive trophy cabinet.

So, upon being informed he is to be substituted, he sulks. He stands there, hands-on-hips in disbelief, unable to look his manager in the eye. At first he refuses to move, seemingly frozen, to emphasise his disappointment. Eventually he trudges off, head down, lips out, pouting. He takes the training top being offered to him and slings it to the floor, cursing as he does so for maximum effect.

He traipses up the stairs to take his seat, all the while shaking his head and holding his head in his hands, more than conscious that the world’s media is watching. He continues to do this for the next half an hour just so they get the message: Cristiano is not happy.

As the final whistle blows, having contributed significantly to the defeat of their arch-rivals, he speeds down the touchline, toward the changing rooms, seemingly unconcerned with the thousands upon thousands who have come to pay homage to his talent.

Welcome to the world of Cristiano Ronaldo: the best, most self-centered, self-absorbed, preening football player in the world.

In this world: a world created by his own inexorable virtuosity, Cristiano is king and Cristiano does as he likes.


In this world Cristiano Ronaldo is fortunate though. After the game his manager, the same one he disrespected just earlier, dismisses his actions as understandable: “It is great that he wanted to play on,” he says. “It is fabulous. But I have to look at the big picture. He produced an incredible performance against Arsenal on Tuesday. He ran his socks off, Now I have Wednesday and Saturday to look after. There is no problem.”

You see,  Cristiano knows. He is not stupid. He knows that he is just too good. Better than all others. Indispensable even. And as a result, nobody, not even Alex Ferguson, the manager who would never have tolerated such a rampant ego for much of his reign at Old Trafford, would dare enforce restraint or discipline.

No, Cristiano has his agents finger paused permanently over the speed dial for the Real Madrid boardroom, just in case such petulance should ever occur.

Luckily for Cristiano, his ability to exist in such a world is a tribute, more than anything else, to his unmatchable talent.

And a good thing too, for should Cristiano’s burden ever outweigh his usefulness, Ferguson would be shot of him quicker than one of his star-sulkers unstoppable free-kicks.

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