You Lost That Winning Feeling

You are an international footballer. After an incident in a previous match, you are roundly and solidly jeered by most of the crowds at your next game. Do you:

  1. Ignore it and get on with your role in the match
  2. Look inwards and resolve to eradicate the part of your game that seems to be upsetting everyone
  3. Blame it all on your club manager and chairman (who incidentally is recovering from a stroke in hospital) for not defending you, even though you are representing your country, and demand a move, telling them that you will never play for the club again.

Quite a few of us would give answer 1 or 2 but Cristiano Ronaldo is no ordinary mortal. He chose 3 and has left it to his Agent to get his move to Real Madrid sorted out. So having alienated most England fans with his little wink, Ronaldo has now burnt the bridges with the only people who would have supported him irrespective of the England debacle, Manchester United. There is no way he can now play his club football in England with no support from home or away fans. Good luck to him for he will find the Spanish equally unforgiving of his antics. He has no choice but to grow up. But he can expect a rude awakening with his proposed move to the Bernabeu. The fee will be in the region of £20m (that’s nearly €30m) and one that Madrid may baulk at so it is by no means certain he will get his wishes. However, one thing can be sure is that he has talked himself into Sir Alex’s bad books, his welcome likely to be the hairdryer and a two week fine from the club. His behaviour is that of a spoilt brat. To blame everyone but himself for his situation is the reaction of a six year old child. To blame his chairman who is in hospital is beyond belief.

Unsurprisingly, Portugal were roundly beaten by Germany last night. Their motivation would not have been anywhere near that of the hosts who wanted to finish with a win before their home fans. Two excellent strikes from Bastian Schweinsteiger and an own goal from Petit sealed the win although given the way that FIFA work it would not surprise me if young Bastian is credited with a hat-trick – if Crespo could be credited with a blatant own goal then a dubious call is definitely going to favour the hosts. In an essentially meaningless match, Luis Figo and Oliver Kahn bowed out of International Football. Figo has been an excellent ambassador for his country and it is his shoes that Ronaldo should have been looking to fill but to do date, he has shown he is not the man for that job which instead may well fall to Simao Sabrosa. Kahn on the other hand has for the first time in living memory not taken part in a major tournament for Germany, his appearance last night only as a result of Jens Lehmann stepping aside. For Big Phil it is like waiting for a London Bus. No defeats in twelve games and then suddenly two in quick succession. And where does he go from here? Is Euro 2008 a big enough carrot to entice him to stay. I somehow think not – expect him to be appointed to a club soon although by no means is it certain to be one from Europe. The managerial revolving door in Brazil is in constant use so it would be no surprise to see him in the hot seat in his native land once again.

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