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La Liga: Ronaldo’s sulk overshadows Real Madrid win

Mysterious complaint by the Portuguese striker about “being sad” after scoring twice against Granada leaves club and observers scrabbling for answers.


Ronaldo scores for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo doesn't celebrate after scoring for Real Madrid. Photo: Real Madrid

On Sunday night, there was temporary relief in the Spanish capital. Real Madrid had finally secured their first win of the season, coming rather belatedly on matchday three against Granada at home. It capped a week in which Madrid had defeated Barcelona on away goals at the Santiago Bernabéu to lift their first piece of silverware, the Spanish Supercopa.

But as journalists in the mixed zone looked for a few quotes and prepared for a slow news spell during the upcoming two-week international break, something altogether unexpected happened. For one, Cristiano Ronaldo who had notched a brace of goals on the night, stopped to talk. When one journalist innocently asked why he didn’t celebrate his goals, the response left everyone around grappling for answers.

“I am sad and the club knows it, that’s why I didn’t celebrate the goals,” he said. “The people in the club know why.” The Portuguese refused to elaborate further and with that one small declaration, the rumours went into overdrive.

Some offered up the suggestion that Ronaldo had fallen out with former best friend Marcelo because he had stated over the summer that Iker Casillas should win the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Others claimed the Madrid forward was upset at losing out on the UEFA European Player of the Year last week to Andrés Iniesta – though he was quick to deny this in the mixed zone.

There was also the claim that he was annoyed at the way Kaká has been treated by the club. Or that he did not feel the club were doing enough campaigning for his Ballon d’Or hopes, that he did not feel as loved as Casillas, that he did not feel supported by the club. Some pointed out this was simply all about securing a better contract with more money.

It emerged that on Saturday that Ronaldo had paid a visit to the office of club President Florentino Pérez and told him that he wanted to leave. Labelled Tristiano by some sections of the press, it was even said that he had spent 20 minutes crying after the game and that he may be suffering from depression.

In any case, whatever his aim may have been, the few words he said had the desired effect, whipping the media into a frenzy. The following day, Ronaldo suddenly came over all shy, cancelling a planned promotional event in Portugal and refusing to speak to the media when he met up with his national team.

This is not the first time he has made such a cryptic or controversial public declaration. When he wanted out at Manchester United, he declared himself a “slave” though he hastily retracted his comments when he realised he would be at Old Trafford for a further year. Even so, he was prone to public outbursts to demonstrate his unhappiness.

Tough love at the Bernabéu

Of course, at Madrid, this is nothing new, either. It is a tough crowd at the Bernabéu and many a player has complained at a lack of support from fans. Zinedine Zidane was famously booed during his early months at the club when he was off form. The Brazilian, Ronaldo Nazário, also once made similar statements to his namesake, when on the eve of a Champions League match against Arsenal, he stated: “In the Bernabéu stadium… I was never treated with affection. I never felt at home where people don’t love me.”

The current Ronaldo however, has not gone so far as to publicly declare his desire to leave and the club are so far staying quiet on the matter. The very public pouting is reminiscent of the mid-season sulk that José Mourinho has performed every year since his arrival in Madrid.

It is designed to get what he wants and in the Special One’s case it proved successful as President Pérez was quick to oust director general Jorge Valdano, who butted heads with the manager, and afford the Portuguese further power at the club. It may be worth pointing out at this stage that Ronaldo and his coach both share the same agent, Jorge Mendes.

So while the likes of Paris St-Germain and Manchester City may have readied their chequebooks at the news, it seems more likely that this Ronaldo will stay put as he has previously declared his intention to retire at the home of the Spanish Champions. The most likely outcome is that he will get what he wants: a better-paid contract and a few public declarations of love. The only question is why this could not all be resolved behind closed doors, but then that wouldn’t be Real Madrid and it wouldn’t be La Liga.


RCD Mallorca 1 – 0 Real Sociedad

Deportivo La Coruña 1 – 1 Getafe CF

Real Zaragoza 0 – 1 Málaga CF

Celta de Vigo 2 – 0 Osasuna

FC Barcelona 1 – 0 Valencia CF

Real Madrid 3 – 0 Granada CF

Levante UD 3 – 2 RCD Espanyol

Athletic Bilbao 2 – 0 Real Valladolid

Rayo Vallecano 0 – 0 Sevilla FC

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Published: Sep 4 2012
Category: Sports, Featured, Spain News
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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