Thursday, July 06, 2006
From the Times:
SMILE, smile and be a villain. And how we love a villain — someone who can be blamed for all the wrongs of the recent past, someone to wish harm on for ever, someone to inspire a gloat at every hint of personal failure.
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the scapegoat for England’s defeat in the World Cup, as Portugal beat England on penalties in the quarter-finals last weekend. Ronaldo played a significant role in Wayne Rooney’s sending-off and sent his own gloating levels into hyperspace after scoring the decisive penalty.
The Portuguese were an insufferable lot even before the Rooney-Ronaldo incident. Every bit of niggling, diving, faking and whingeing had been indulged in, every aspect of Latin football that most grates on the English psyche.
Ronaldo might be custom-built to get up the noses of all the followers of English football. He is good-looking in a gloriously smarmy, Italian-waiter fashion and is seriously vain about this. He has the air of a man who thinks that the world in general, and football in particular, not only owes him a living but also a perpetual gratitude at being privileged to know him.
He is distinguished more than anything else by his use of the stepover, a showy and — occasionally — effective footballing ploy. Someone once claimed that he set a world record for stepovers in a single match — 504 — beating the previous record of eight.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s pantomime villainy in getting his own club team-mate sent off in the biggest game of his life should not be used as an excuse for England’s own dismal performances at the World Cup.
But nonetheless, the despised Portugese winger does seem to embody everything that the English loathe about what the Latins have brought to our beloved game: diving, shameless cheating and gamesmanship, injury-feigning, arrogance, lack of team spirit or dignity or sportsmanship, and worst of all, great skill and usually, victory over us.
A talented player, I grudgingly admit, but by goodness Ronaldo’s face is one that it would take a very, very long time indeed to tire of punching.
Posted by Brit at 7/06/2006