Cristiano Ronaldo, Milorad Mazic

It’s not easy being Cristiano Ronaldo. The money, the talent, the fame, the woman. Wait, that doesn’t sounds that bad, does it? A problem for him, at least when he plays for Portugal, is that his sheer awesomeness and loads of ego and self love aren’t enough to help out a team that has the tactical ingenuity of bottom feeders in the Premier League and not one of the best teams in Europe.

The whole idea of the Portugal national team since Luis Figo retired is to play according to what makes Cristiano Ronaldo feel more comfortable. It means that the midfield trio has almost no opportunity of holding up play. It’s mostly about soaking up pressure and getting Ronaldo out on the counter attacks. While he is super talented and very difficult to stop most of the time, against a quality side like Germany it simply looks embarrassing.

One of his lowest moments in an awful match from start to finish was the way he jumped at Milorad Mazic, reminiscent for some of the way Michael Ballack behaved in that famous Chelsea – Barcelona match from 2009.  This time it was for a penalty Ronaldo and Portugal think should have been given to them after Eder was allegedly fouled in the box. Maybe it was simply Ronaldo wanting to score another penalty and celebrate like he actually did something in this match.

Things will get a little bit easier for Portugal in the next two matches, or at least they should. Ghana have proved themselves to be a team with some intereating talent up front but with at least one player in charge of making silly mistakes defensively. The United States might be a bit more of a problem: Portugal want to play on the counter attack, and the American side will force them to have possession, which Bento is afraid of despite a group of talented midfielders.

And Ronaldo? All this passes next to him like its nothing. He refused to interview after the loss to Germany. He had no problem parading around before the match, seemingly undisturbed by the magnitude of the affair, mostly looking at his phone while Bento was being interviewed. But you can’t expect to find class where there is none. Talent? Plenty of it, maybe more than anyone else in the world.

But Ronaldo has been given too much pampering and star status throughout his career to change all of a sudden. This is his team, his show. And if things don’t go his way, the best thing is to ignore everyone and act like a child on the pitch. But before we get too carried away with the Ronaldo bashing, let’s not forget how he bounced back from an awful opener in Euro 2012. When you’re that good, the switch is easy to make.

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