All the goals, hat tricks, celebrations and titles won’t take away from the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is part of the problem in football today. As great of a player that he is, he’s also a symbol for diving and cheating. Being a huge role model and hero to millions, some might say it’s a problem.
For Ronaldo himself? And Real Madrid? It doesn’t matter. They keep on winning, he keeps on scoring and breaking records. Professionally, you can’t ask for a better player. Maybe Lionel Messi, but that’s like arguing over different pizza toppings. They both represent the highest class of efficiency and production on the field.
But there’s more to football than just the goals and results (which going by them, Messi is better overall since the two have been going head to head in La Liga). Some don’t think players should be role models – they play for themselves, their contract and their team, nothing else. But Ronaldo is actually someone who helps out quite a lot. He also cares a lot about his image. And yet he can’t stop cheating.
Real Madrid don’t need officials to help them in order to win matches at home against Celta Vigo. But the first goal came from a pathetic dive from Ronaldo. He won’t be punished retroactively. These things don’t happen in Spain, especially not to Real Madrid and Barcelona. He scored a goal due to him cheating. Fooling the system.
Some say it’s part of the game, but it’s not. Football is just fine without players faking fouls and feigning injuries. It’s sad that someone as gifted as Ronaldo sees it fit to cheat and fraud his way to success on every opportunity he has.
It might not stop him from winning the Ballon d’Or for a second straight year, but in the eyes of many (including me), it prevents him from being viewed as truly great.