Cristiano Ronaldo has sent Portugal into the Euro 2012 semi-finals, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win against wholly unambitious Czech Republic.
There’s no denying that CR is one of the best in the world, but it takes a lot to like the man.
Perhaps it’s his metrosexual looks, the overuse of product on hair and face, the lack of body hair or maybe his arrogance. OK, it’s the arrogance.
He did little to endear himself to opposition fans when he arrived at Manchester United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon. His famous step-over indicated this was a player who had great self-belief as well as a determination to be noticed.
He has all the qualities you need to be considered a great player: speed, strength, dribbling skills, two-footedness, heading ability, trickery and he can cross the ball.
But he also possesses Latin cynicism. Recall his role in getting Wayne Rooney sent off in World Cup 2006 and also the countless dives he has made in pursuit of free kicks and penalties.
His record, though is fantastic. At Manchester United, he scored 118 goals in 292 games before joining Real Madrid in 209 games. Real Madrid paid £80 for Ronaldo and they have not regretted it. He’s scored 112 goals in 101 games and although he is playing week-in, week-out against La Liga makeweights, he has helped Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid break the Barcelona stranglehold. Even Diego Maradona has called him “the best player on the planet.”
Ronaldo has yet to learn the word “humility” and that is why he is so unpopular with fans and generally, the media. His reaction to the cameras and overbearing self-awareness doesn’t go down well.
But Ronaldo, who is still just 27, has helped Portugal to their third European Championship semi-final in four competitions. If he maintains his current form and disposes of Spain or France in the next game, Ronaldo may get the big prize he has been looking for at national level. And then he would be unbearable…