Remember the sad Cristiano Ronaldo saga, as the world stood still while trying to figure out what makes one of the biggest sport stars on the planet feel unhappy about his place in his workplace, Real Madrid? One of the theories was a lack of support from his teammates. Not all 22 players (or more) on a football team can be friends.
Xabi Alonso, as you’d expect or not, is one of those who isn’t a best friend, or a friend at all with Ronaldo in the life outside of football. Colleagues, teammates, nothing more. They don’t have to be.
There’s respect and admiration between him and me; It’s obvious that not everyone sharing one dressing room can be friends, but it doesn’t mean there are problems. It’s all good between me and him, and all the talk about “superstar” and diva attitude are non existent around us in the dressing room.
He’s an ambitious person, with a strong personality and a lot of self confidence. He speaks his minds and calls things like he sees them, without holding back. Obviously, he’s one of the more important players on our team.
And there you have it. Surprised? Not really. There are probably a couple of cliques in the Real Madrid dressing room, with Ronaldo pretty close to the Portoguese group, alongside Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, while Marcelo used to be tight with this group. There’s also the Spanish faction, with Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos.
When Ronaldo had his unhappy phase, before everyone made the simple calculation that it all had to do with his contract negotiations, there was the suggestion that a lack of support from his teammates for his bid to win the Ballon d’Or was a huge reason in his unhappiness with the team.
But like Alonso said, there’s a lot of self confidence in the football machine called Cristiano Ronaldo. Do you really think that some teammates backing Iker Casillas or heaven forbid, Lionel Messi, to win the most prestigious individual award in football will shake up the most confident and narcissistic figure in the sport (next to Zlatan Ibrahimovic)?
It’s not about making friends. Ronaldo is probably the most popular and unpopular athlete in the world at the moment, at the same time. Just like Floyd Mayweather in boxing, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in the NBA. He’s interesting, controversial in his behavior. There’s the structure of the team around him, but mainly, it’s about him. His greatness, his growing legend, his legacy. Best in the world or not; that’s the only question. Friends isn’t something Cristiano Ronaldo is really bothered about when he does the thing he loves most and performs best.