Cristiano Ronaldo has finally risen to the task before him, scoring late on a header to down the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. And by “finally,” I mean only after scoring 60 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this past season, including the winning goal against Barcelona at the Nou, which virtually won La Liga, and two goals in the Champions League semi-final second leg against eventual runner-up Bayern Munich.
Only the Anointed One scored more goals than he did in La Liga, and he’s now tied as the leading scorer so far in the European Championship, with three goals. He is also now only the 7th player to have scored in three different European Championships—quite an elite club.
So journalists, by all means, continue to write about how he “doesn’t show up on the big stage,” and about how he “needs to prove himself at Euro 2012.” Some have said that the time is now for Ronaldo to post his name in the record books. If Real Madrid’s historic season didn’t already pad his résumé sufficiently, then I’m not sure what will.
There are plenty of people who of course want to see Cristiano Ronaldo fail, and on some level I can understand why. He’s sometimes temperamental, he’s not above complaining on the field instead of staying in the play, and, it must be noted, his abs are the envy of the gods. And it turns out a lot of people are annoyed by Real Madrid’s fastidious supporters, financial power, and fascist history (who knew?). The image of a stoic and ostentatious Madrid side, sitting pretty in la capital with enough gold to make Solomon blush, can’t do much to help Ronaldo’s public relations campaign. Unfortunately he has to rely on the actual football.
I’m not saying he’s perfect, nor am I suggesting that any of his criticisms (he flops, he cries, he styles his hair differently each half) are unwarranted. But all he does is score goals. What more is a striker supposed to do?