To Write Cristiano Ronaldo Off Remains a Risky Business

Cristiano Ronaldo
via Ludovic Péron / CC-BY-2.0

For anybody that has spent the last few weeks holidaying on Mars or living under a rock, Cristiano Ronaldo has found himself dominating headlines again following an explosive interview in which he aimed savage blows in the direction of prominent figures from Manchester United’s past and present.

Said outburst has raised plenty of eyebrows, despite the fact that a Portuguese superstar has looked far from happy at Old Trafford for some time now. He appears to have decided that the moment has come to force through a move elsewhere, with working relationships in England having been bent to the point of becoming broken.

Timing

The timing of Ronaldo’s revelations is not all that surprising given that a break in domestic action has been reached. Attention is turning to international matters, with a star-studded Portugal side priced at 14/1 in World Cup favorite odds to collect a global crown in 2022.

With Ronaldo about to figure prominently in World Cup news, in what could be his final outing on such a prominent stage, he has moved to ensure that he fills plenty of gossip columns before a competitive ball is kicked in anger on Qatari soil.

Prior to the action getting underway in a historic tournament for the Middle East, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been just about the only story in town. He likes it that way, with his reputation as an all-time great having been forged by getting everybody to talk about him at all times.

He has never been one to bite his lip and will care little about the predictable level of criticism that has been aimed in his direction. Ronaldo has spoken his mind, with one of several standout lines in a remarkable interview seeing him say of being ostracized in Manchester: “People should listen to the truth. Yes, I felt betrayed and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too.”

The debate has raged throughout the 2022-23 campaign as to whether Ronaldo is the solution to or the cause of some rather obvious problems at Old Trafford, with public opinion beginning to turn against him before more ammunition was presented on a plate to his detractors.

If history has taught us anything, though, it is that writing a modern-day legend off is always a risky business. There are few performers in elite sports that can be considered more dangerous when finding themselves with their backs pressed against the wall.

Greatness

Ronaldo hasn’t achieved his greatness by making friends with everybody that crosses his path, but there has always been a ruthless streak to his game and character that has allowed a rise to the very top to be enjoyed. He is not going away any time soon, regardless of what those wishing to condemn his actions and performances would like to believe, and there appears to still be plenty of fire left in the belly. Ronaldo is about to return to the grandest spectacle in sport and to see him put down a few more markers, both on and off the field, while donning the colors of his country would come to as little surprise to anybody – least of all those on the red half of Manchester