At some point in his career, someone decided that Cristiano Ronaldo should be blamed for everything when his team doesn’t win a match, a title, and so on. Again that tendency appeared after Portugal lost to Spain in the Euro 2012 semifinals, with Ronaldo not taking one of the penalties after 120 minutes.
According to Ronaldo, he and Bento agreed he was going to take the fifth and final kick in the first round of penalties. Problem was, both Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed their shots, leaving Cesc Fabregas’ penalty, Spain’s fifth, as the final of the night as Spain went on toe win 4-2. There was no need for Ronaldo to step up and try to save the day.
So now Ronaldo is to blame? No way. Cristiano Ronaldo is the main reason that Portugal made it this far, scoring twice against the Netherlands in the group stage clincher and scoring the only goal against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal. He had a bad match against Spain, hardly finding space and time to break free amid all of his defensive assignments, but it would be quite a stretch to throw him under the bus for the semifinal exit.
When should your best player kick the ball? Does it even matter? There was no clear star for Spain, but Fabregas is certainly one of the biggest ones on the team. Why was it OK for him to take the fifth kick and not for Ronaldo? It’s because too many of us judge people by results, the bottom line, instead of by what our eyes actually see before us.
If Ronaldo would have scored the fifth kick and won it/kept it going for Portugal, people would have praised his courage, bravery and so on for taking the most important kick of all. But he never got the chance to. He never really tested Casillas besides a few off target free kicks and one last minute counter attack that he mishit awfully. As much as the press tried to make it just about Ronaldo because he sells and was the biggest name on the pitch, there was so much more to the match, in which Ronaldo couldn’t stand out.
Portugal just don’t have the talent pool other nations have. Ronaldo is that once in a generation kind of talent, bestowed upon a nation with just over 10 million people. Spain have 47 million, just to please your inquisitiveness. Sometimes, it’s more about what and who’s behind him than actually about him and what he did through the 90 minutes.