Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have fallen into a recurring pattern of storming off the pitch whenever he feels a modicum of humiliation.
But to be fair, absolutely nothing has gone or worked in favour of the Portuguese striker over the last few months.
First, the loss of a child. Second, a dishonourable discharge from Manchester United after stirring controversy. And third, an entire nation’s football fanbase turned against the Portuguese skipper, now representing the country for the 5th time in the FIFA World Cup.
And the Portugal vs. Switzerland fixture is the next piece of misfortune in the 37-year-old’s story. At least that’s the way he sees it.
But, before we get to the really juicy talk, first, a little context.
Portugal lost to South Korea in their final group-stage match in the FIFA World Cup with the scoreboard reading 2-1 at the end of the second half.
Cristiano failed to really bring his side to heel and for the most part of the game, Portugal looked sluggish.
Ergo, Portuguese coach, Fernando Santos, chose to replace him with Andre Silva halfway through the second half. And the 37-year-old skipper was obviously unhappy.
His frustration was on display as he muttered angrily while removing the captain’s armband and shoving it onto Pepe’s arm as he walked off the pitch. According to reports, Ronaldo also cursed the coach on his way to the touchline, which the striker has profusely denied.
Regardless, there seems to have been some conversation between the coach and his striker behind closed doors which leads us to the beginning of the present controversy.
The fleeting rumours that Ronaldo would be benched in the Round of 16 games against Switzerland by Santos because of his disrespect were confirmed hours before the kick-off, as Portugal declared the squad.
As the Portuguese side walked onto the pitch, donned in red, Ronaldo took his place on the bench, unhappy with the situation. Unfortunately for him, Portugal put on their best performance in the World Cup until now, scoring 6 goals, of which 4 were claimed without the 37-year-old even on the pitch.
After 65 minutes of anxiously waiting for his chance, Santos put Ronaldo into play. The team scored two more goals but none of them were to the credit of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The night was probably the most humbling day of Cristiano Ronaldo’s fine career because of one simple reason.
His replacement was the 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos who managed to bag a hat-trick for his side in their Round of 16 knockout matches, which even the jersey number 7 striker has failed to do in this edition of the World Cup.
In fact, Ronaldo is yet to register even a single goal for his country in the critical knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup.
The match ended. And as fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate with the players, Cristiano Ronaldo, in an act of frustration not too different from abandoning Manchester United‘s dugout to walk off to the dressing room a few weeks ago, stormed off the pitch and refused to partake in the after-match frivolities with the rest of the jubilant squad.
Ronaldo’s girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, also took to Instagram to share her disappointment in not being able to “enjoy the best player in the world for 90 minutes.”
Now, a question must be asked. Is the world’s greatest jersey number 7 justified in his petulance? Or is this simply the beginning of the end of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career?