Ronaldo's individual brilliance is also his curse

5 years ago

Cristiano Ronaldo looked happy Monday night - genuinely delighted - that he had been again handed the Ballon d'Or, that trophy he covets more than any other.

He was so overcome with emotion at last year's event that we were very nearly treated to football's very own Sally Field "You like me, you really like me" speech from the 1984 Oscars ceremony. This time, with the result in the bag long before the announcement, the reaction was relatively muted, but this is the silverware he wants most of all.

Generally it takes great players to make great teams, but the reverse is also true. There would be no Ronaldo without Angel di Maria, without Luka Modric, without Sergio Ramos. Those players submit to the collective and embody the awareness of two objectives to their game plan; winning matches and keeping Cristiano happy.

Cristiano did not score in the two games he played in Morocco as Real won the FIFA Club World Cup and lost out on the Golden Ball there to Ramos.

Consequently, he went through the motions in the celebrations. It had not been his tournament and so it did not appear to mean a lot to him.

His team had just been crowned the best in the world but being named best player in the world looks to mean a good deal more to Ronaldo.
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That night he flew to Madeira to unveil a statue of himself outside the museum he had built as an eternal testament to his own brilliance.
In 2014, he became the first player to score 25 goals in five consecutive seasons. He became the first player to score 50 goals in four successive campaigns. He was the first player to score for two winning teams in a Champions League final. He was the top scorer in the Champions League with a record 17 goals. He was the LFP and the UEFA player of the year.
He reached 200 Spanish league goals quicker than any one else in history. He surpassed Raul's haul of 71 Champions League goals. He shared the European Golden Shoe with Luis Suarez ("I will not lie. I really wanted to win it," he said of sharing that gong). He became Portugal's all-time top goal scorer. He became the first Portuguese in history to play and score in three World Cups. All of those things he would have achieved without winning a thing - and some of those things he achieved without getting anywhere near outright victory.
He was, however, not fit for the Champions League final nor was he fit for the World Cup. The magnanimous thing to do would have been to sit both out and allow a fitter colleague contribute more. As things went, Madrid did not need him on the night as the club overcame Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. Portugal would have had no worse a tournament had he stayed at home.

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