Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the hottest topics in world football amid the Qatar World Cup frenzy. Coming into the tournament, the Portuguese forward was a hotly-talked-about topic after his shocking interview with Piers Morgan.
In that interview, Ronaldo basically burnt all his bridges with Manchester United. He claimed that the club had ‘betrayed him’ lambasted manager Erik ten Hag and even the owners – The Glazers.
He structured and executed the interview in a way to basically get out of the club, forcing the Red Devils to take strict action and terminate his contract with mutual consent.
The 37-year-old has incurred the wrath of millions of United supporters, who themselves felt betrayed at just how he embarrassed the club by airing his dirty laundry in public.
While the Portuguese forward probably had hoped that this would be his ultimate swan song, which would include him topping the scoring charts and (almost) single-handedly ushering his side to World Cup glory.
The reality, however, can be disappointing. This has definitely been the case for Ronaldo. He started the competition pretty well, scoring his side’s first goal at the World Cup in their 3-2 win over Ghana. But that appears to have been his highest point at the competition so far.
Since then, Cristiano has not been able to be involved in a single goal. He embarrassingly tried to claim a goal that absolutely wasn’t his in the win over Uruguay, as an attempted cross from Bruno Fernandes had not even touched a hair of his body before going into the goal.
Ronaldo forced Fernando Santos to start him against South Korea, where he failed to score and was subbed out late on. He reportedly had a temper tantrum about that and appeared to have ticked off his manager.
So in shocking fashion, Santos just benched him for their Round of 16 clashes against Switzerland. Instead, he gave a World Cup debut to 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos – who had not played a minute in the tournament before that. Ronaldo was benched, adding to his misery.
But with the 37-year-old still being one of the popular and most talked-about players on the planet, the mainstream media will still follow him rather than his Portugal teammates.
Before the kick-off of their Round of 16 match, the Portuguese players stood alongside each other during their national anthem.
A picture from the stands, however, showed that most of the attention wasn’t even on them. Most of the accreditated photographers, who are tasked to take pictures of the players huddled together before a match begins, were too focused on Ronaldo.
The majority of the photographers clamoured against each other to take the perfect picture of Ronaldo wearing a bib.
Things just got so chaotic around the substitute bench and touchline that Santos had waved away the photographers to stop them from crowding the team dugout.
Ronaldo came on towards the end of the game, where he scored an offside goal and then proceeded to be the first Portugal player to walk into the dressing room after full-time.
But despite his drama queen antics and seemingly faltering quality, his popularity and sheer mainstream reputation will ensure that the cameras never usher away from the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.