Cristiano Ronaldo hit three international records last night and still people deny him his dues 7 years ago

Cristiano Ronaldo hit three international records last night and still people deny him his dues

He doesn't do it in the big games.

He's selfish, he wants to be the match-winner, he wants the glory.


He whinges when his team loses or when he's not passed the ball.

He celebrates when he scores. The audacity.

Over in France, hundreds of journalists sat working in the Lille media centre before the Ireland-Italy game with Portugal taking on Hungary all over the TV screens.

There was a stage when Ronaldo was gesturing to one of his team mates aggressively, petulantly, however you saw it.


Dozens of the press were hissing at him, sniggering, forcing each other to look and pass judgement.

Then this happened and they shut up.

The Portugal captain produced one of the moments of the tournament - the goal of the tournament (sorry, Shaqiri) - and there was less of a reaction to that than there was to his gesticulations.


Hungary were let in again and Ronaldo was even angrier. The cameras panned to him. He was distraught at the thought that he could do what he just did at one end and his team mates would let a Hungarian undo it.

The laughs that followed amongst the press were widespread and deliberate. They were forcibly loud and genuinely joyous because they played into this lazy narrative that Cristiano Ronaldo is the bad guy and we're all supposed to hate him.

Honestly though, the laughs were just embarrassing.

Here was a man who will go down as one of the greatest players that ever lived and the people who are supposed to be reporting on every record that he breaks and every landscape that he changes were actively seeking his downfall. The people who are supposed to be capturing his timelessness weren't appreciating what he was doing right in front of them and they sure as hell weren't respecting it.


Ronaldo scored again and the media began to filter away from the television screens. That's not what they were looking to see.

Portugal v Wales - Semi Final: UEFA Euro 2016

Ronaldo has been painted as the villain and a hell of a lot of people were only too thrilled to go along with that.

Most of it is because he knows he's good. It's because he wants to win. It's even because he's vain and good-looking. Lionel Messi is portrayed as the pure saviour to the evil that is Ronaldo and no-one ever wants to even talk about Pep Guardiola's revelations in Guillem Balague's book that he almost lost Messi (who was throwing strops in training and partying with Ronaldinho) because the Argentine wanted to be treated differently - because he should be. Because he's the best.

Imagine Ronaldo retired from international football at the age of 29 and cited not winning as the problem. Honestly, imagine that.


Being convicted for tax fraud seemed to get brushed aside very quickly too and that's alright, because none of that takes away from the genius that is Lionel Messi. Nobody appreciates him any less as a special, special footballer. For some reason, they do Ronaldo though. They appreciate his skill less because they like him less.

Portugal v Wales - Semi Final: UEFA Euro 2016

When he won the Champions League for Real Madrid, Ronnie Whelan was distraught.

He sounded openly annoyed that it set up for Ronaldo to be the hero. Listen to it in his voice. At the very moment the club football season has come to a thrilling close and the record-breaking Portuguese man scores the winner against their city rivals on the biggest stage, the RTÉ co-commentator sounds like he's done with football forever.

The fallout of course was focused on Ronaldo's decision to hit the fifth penalty and wanting to be the hero. It was focused on his lack of leadership and lack of selflessness and his lack of being a real man or a real team player. The fallout was pathetic.

So he comes into another international tournament with scrutiny and disdain hanging over him. He comes in and very few want to see him succeed.

Of course, in the end, he does.

Even before the game, he was ready for an appearance record.

He's been knocking at the door with Portugal since 2004 and, when the opportunity presented itself maybe one last time, he banged the thing down with typical, incomprehensible power.

That goal helped another record.

That goal also meant no-one has scored more than him.

No-one ever scores more than him.

And no-one has had such an effect for his country on the European stage than what Cristiano Ronaldo has had.

Of course though, if he hits the fifth penalty again, there will be plenty of people out there trying to take it away from him.

But nothing should be taken away from this man.

He's earned his dues. He's earned our respect.