Cristiano Ronaldo, a football star the world knows to respect and appreciate, a footballer who initiated his coming into being of a legend when he was just 19, a football athlete who has won all accolades in the world of football but a Euro Cup for his own country, a star who didn’t lose hope and worked hard to attain that goal even if it took multiple failures, and also a star who pays his tax, has risen in all his glory for the world to see.
People who saw the epic Euro final would remember Ronaldo- not by his football skills but by the skills with which he carried his team to victory even while standing on the stands. Sometimes, you don’t need to kick the ball for victory, just the encouragement, tactical support and reliable captaincy can lead you to it.
Within 25 minutes of the game, the athlete faced an injury that didn’t let him play the finals even after trying to do so twice during the game. He was resorted to the sidelines, had to sit-back a match he had hoped to play since long. Then he screamed, he encouraged, he gave tactical advice, he pepped his team up before extra-time, he hobbled, he skipped on one leg, and he was the 12th man. However, this incapability of not playing, didn’t rob him off his victory. A victory dreamt by him and many others.
A victory Lionel Messi gave up trying, yet, even as a bystander, he inspired his team to win, the team who played like warriors on the field, a team that played for the honor of the country and more so, for the injured man on the stands, who was as enthused as the others, if not more.
There is no doubt that his arrogance, ego and petulance often overshadows his achievements. But Ronaldo is not that for his teammates – and like defender Pepe put it, he is the binding factor behind a remarkable achievement for a squad which won through sheer desire. He may have done many wrongs than rights in public eye with his nonchalance, yet this win overpowers it all.
After waiting for 12 years, Ronaldo along with his teammates gave the country a win, a win they were desperately waiting for.
Messi shocked the world with his plans to retire after Argentina was ousted from the competition. People cried as Messi shed uncontrollable and inconsolable tears, tears that showcased his incapability of leading his home country to a Euro win. However, it’s not the trophy that Ronaldo has won and Messi couldn’t. It’s the sheer sportsmanship and the ability to maneuver his team to a win that made Ronaldo a success where Messi failed. Football isn’t a man’s game, it’s a collective effort, desire and the navigation of a team towards a goal, which Ronaldo ignited, and Messi couldn’t.
The metamorphosis from great prospect to a superstar and now to a legend is over. He came, he went and, he conquered.