To some extent or other, Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy has always been open to scrutiny. Of course, his ability on the field has never been in doubt, this is, after all, a man who has done superhuman things on a football pitch for nearly 20 years. But at the same time, it is also his character on the pitch that has stopped a large percentage of people from warming to him. However irrelevant anyone thinks that is, the irrefutable truth is that it plays a large part in the debate about who the greatest of all time is.
With this in mind, it goes without saying that the 37-year-old’s recent interview with Piers Morgan wouldn’t have done anything to change the minds of those who sit on the fence with regard to this debate. Undoubtedly, Ronaldo’s stock has now fallen lower than it has ever been and the only thing you imagine that could save his reputation would no doubt be if Portugal goes on to win the World Cup. Although at 14/1 in the latest World Cup odds 2022, it seems unlikely that glory in the Middle East will save Ronaldo from the backlash that has come his way following his one-on-one with Morgan
The truth doesn’t always set you free
Indeed, the Portuguese superstar has conducted this interview at the worst possible time in his career given that there is a very good chance that he won’t be offered a way out of Manchester United by one of Europe’s best teams. Put another way, this 90-minute TV exercise in shooting from the hip may be the last thing that Ronaldo is remembered for in his career.
Why does that matter? Ultimately, he didn’t come across as a very good teammate. In essence, this is the difference between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with the Argentine appearing to operate a lot more successfully as a member of a squad. That’s not to say that Messi doesn’t possess individual brilliance because he does, but there are times when his spellbinding mastery compliments others in the team and not only himself.
In Ronaldo’s case, you get the feeling that the team has to work around him and not with him, and if they refuse to do that, then the changing room dynamic may suffer.
Again, if you go back to his recent interview, this theory seems to be backed up as the 37-year-old only names three players out of the squad at Manchester United whom he respects. Some might argue that Ronaldo is allowed to say this because of the extraordinarily high standard that he sets for himself but the reality is that for some it comes across as disdain for those who he shares a locker room with.
With friends like these…
Crucially, this is another reason why he may have done himself a disservice as far as the debate around who the greatest of all time might be when you consider that he has alienated his teammates, which essentially means that it is unlikely that his peers will speak glowingly about him in the future. In other words, not only has he potentially lost the respect of fans but now also his fellow players.
When all is said and done, there are so many wonderful memories of Ronaldo to cherish given that he has enjoyed a career that has left football fans speechless on countless occasions. But with the end in sight, he may have done his legacy needless damage by lashing out.