They say a picture paints a thousand words, and the vivid image of Cristiano Ronaldo crashing the ball into an empty net in a furious rage at the temerity of his teammate Alvaro Arbeloa, who dared to deny to him a goal, laid bare his brutal self-obsession.
It was as disgusting as it was disturbing, and that image distilled the psyche of Ronaldo, revealing a man in danger of being consumed by his own self-importance.
His shameless reaction was symptomatic of someone who is being eaten alive by his own ego. Ronaldo’s boundless arrogance is justified by his enduring brilliance on the football field but his inflated ego is becoming more of a curse than a gift to the great Portuguese player.
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His compassion, his concept of the team, has been paralysed by his noble, but self-serving pursuit to be remembered as the greatest player to ever put on football boots.
The priceless value he attaches to his talent is why he is at the top of the sport. Out of Ronaldo’s unabashed self-indulgence, an all-time great was born. His relentless dedication to his craft and ruthless mastery of his profession results in the sort of primal genius only mirrored in his eternal rival, Lionel Messi.
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But while the world marvels at the joyous immersion of Messi in the holy trinity with Neymar and Luis Suarez, we witness Ronaldo struggling to cope with the extraordinary pressure he puts himself under. The constant battle with his diminutive nemesis to be crowned World Player of the Year every year is a heavy burden that appears, at times, to be weighing him down.
Where Messi weaves his magic with a smile on his face and joy in his heart, Ronaldo executes his rivals with a scowl and bitterness in his blood. Ronaldo is the robotic prototype of athletic perfection. Messi is the romantic throwback, a Romeo whose Juliet is a leather ball.
The pictures of Messi being mobbed by his joyful teammates as he continues to break records at Usain Bolt type speed, stand in stark contrast to the isolated, often forlorn figure of Ronaldo who embarks on his grandiose celebrations alone.
Of course Messi can seem moody and distant when his orchestra doesn’t dance to the sound of his tune, but on the same token he has often sacrificed himself for the success of the collective. Conversely, Ronaldo is intent on individualism, and seems to harbour a deep rooted contempt for his teammates, viewing them as a necessary evil he can exploit for his own ends.
Secrets behind the smile
Behind the Hollywood smile, there lies heartache which Ronaldo feels when his teammates try and express their own talents at his expense. Ronaldo relies too heavily on himself without realising that his stubborn refusal to embrace the concept of football as a team game will be counter active to his quest to be crowned World Footballer of the Year for the third time in a row.
Until now, the unique rivalry Ronaldo shares with Messi has obviously fuelled his motivation in a positive way, but his obsession with overshadowing his legendary adversary is becoming unhealthy - the emotion of his ego becoming manifestly negative in recent times.
There could be a paradigm shift in the balance of power between Ronaldo and Messi unless Ronaldo can dispose of his distasteful and destructive streak that has been hiding in plain sight all season.
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