What was the story behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial gesture?
Cristiano Ronaldo is undeniably one of the most recognizable and influential athletes in the world, both on and off the pitch. As a global football icon, every action he takes is closely scrutinized and dissected by fans, media, and critics alike. In June 2021, during the European Championship, Ronaldo’s celebration sparked controversy and fascination in equal measure.
During a Group F match against Hungary, held in Budapest, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two brilliant goals to secure a crucial 3-0 victory for Portugal. After the first goal, he sprinted towards the corner flag, leaping with jubilation before sliding on the ground with his arms crossed. This celebratory gesture raised eyebrows, as it appeared to mimic the popular goal celebration of Argentine legend, Lionel Messi.
The timing of the gesture was particularly intriguing, as it unfolded after news broke that Lionel Messi had won his first international trophy. The Argentine forward had led his national team to victory in the Copa America, ending a lengthy drought of international success for Argentina. This achievement immediately fueled the age-old debate of who is the better player, Ronaldo or Messi.
Ronaldo’s gesture seemed to be a tongue-in-cheek response to the public adoration following Messi’s Copa America triumph. It was a statement of self-confidence and a sly reminder to fans that, even though Messi had won a title, Ronaldo’s own legacy remained impeccable. By imitating Messi’s celebration, Ronaldo cleverly diverted some of the attention back to himself, boasting his own iconic style and influence as a player.
However, it is important to note that the alleged rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi has always been overstated. While both players have consistently pushed each other to greater heights, often being compared and pitted against each other, their relationship has never been marked by personal animosity. They have publicly expressed respect and admiration for each other’s skills and accomplishments throughout their careers.
In fact, Ronaldo’s celebration was not the only instance of support and respect he displayed for Messi during the European Championship. Prior to the tournament, Ronaldo had unknowingly removed two Coca-Cola bottles from the press conference table, urging people to drink water instead. When it was then Messi’s turn for a press conference, he followed suit and moved aside a bottle of Heineken, a tournament sponsor, in a similar display of solidarity.
Ronaldo’s actions were not solely driven by competition or rivalry but also by a desire to generate awareness on subjects he feels passionately about. Ronaldo has been an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, often promoting water consumption over sugary drinks. Similarly, his move to exclude the Heineken bottle from the view of the cameras was thought to be rooted in Ronaldo’s well-documented aversion to alcohol.
Ultimately, Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial gesture during the European Championship encapsulated several layers of meaning. It simultaneously fueled the ongoing discussion about his rivalry with Lionel Messi, showcased his charismatic and playful side, and served as a platform to promote his personal values. As always, Ronaldo’s actions on and off the pitch generate discussions that transcend the boundaries of the game, further cementing his status as a true sporting icon.