Manero

Ronaldo’s Blues

By: Alfonso Duro

Imagine you find yourself at the top of your game. Your team has just clinched the world championship and you have been crowned the best player of the year. It’s the perfect situation and the best closing to a wonderful year.

Or is it?

But as everything that goes up must come down, the first few weeks of the new year can prove quite arduous, and then your performance level goes down significantly. The perfect storm has taken over your life: injuries, sanctions, personal problems, pressure from the press, etc. You’ve gone from being on top of the world to seeing your every move scrutinized, and you simply can’t keep up.

That sums up Cristiano Ronaldo’s situation in 2015, and even though his goals against Schalke 04 and Elche point towards the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s a lot still to be said about his poor form in the last two months.

LACK OF MOTIVATION. When you have the world at your feet, it’s tough to find a reason to wake up every morning and keep trying to outdo yourself. So far, Ronaldo’s own competitive nature seemed to do the trick, and he even admitted to wanting to catch up to Lionel Messi’s four Ballon d’Ors as soon as possible (the Portuguese now has three). Yet something happened when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, and Ronaldo’s life was turned upside down.

It’s taken him two months to correct the course, but now he seems to be starting to get his head above water.

A BROKEN HEART. We tend to think of professional players as machines who can perform at their top level no matter what other factors may be at play. But in reality, they are just humans and things affect them like they do to any of us.

Ronaldo has broken up with Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, and rumor has it that the Portuguese had been caught cheating on her on several occasions. This is nothing new, as Ronaldo has always been targeted by these kinds of stories, but Irina seems to have said: “Enough is enough.”

Furthermore (allow us to continue on the showbiz beat for a few more lines), Irina has fallen for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whom she met while filming Hercules, and so Ronaldo has been the pit of all jokes for losing his girl to the former WWE star. It is a cruel, cruel world.

AN UNTIMELY PARTY. After being banned for two games, following a red card against Córdoba, Ronaldo was back in time to face Atlético Madrid in the Derby. Perhaps the worst night of the club since Barça beat them 5-0 in 2010, was followed by the poorly timed 30th birthday party of the Portuguese attacker, and the players who went to CR7’s party were harshly criticized for celebrating after such a disastrous match against their crosstown rival.

Ronaldo allegedly threw the party anyway—which took place just three hours after the terrible defeat against the Colchoneros—because he didn’t want to cancel on the over 100 guests who had made it to Madrid to join him for the occasion, but when the images of his singing and dancing duo with reggaeton singer Kevin Roldan came out, all hell broke loose in Madrid.

AN OVERALL TEAM SLUMP. However, the worst thing that has happened to Ronaldo in 2015 is bad timing: his personal and professional slump has coincided with that of his team.

Even when Ronaldo is not 100%, he can prove to be quite dependable, as he was in the last few months of the past season, but then he found great support from the rest of the squad in order to get through the toughest part of the season successfully.

Now, with Gareth Bale going through tough times, Modrić, James and Sergio Ramos injured, and Iker Casillas being as questioned as ever, Ronaldo’s slump has simply added fuel to the fire, and ingrained the bull’s eye on his forehead even more so—if that were possible.

Alfonso Duro is a Spanish freelance writer. When he's not managing Google's agency in the United Arab Emirates (his current job), chances are he's watching and writing about soccer.