Portugal qualified for the round of 16 of the World Cup by beating Uruguay. Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't score, but of course it's all about the superstar. In the stands and on the pitch, because that's where he claims a goal for himself, FIFA (still) sees it differently.
There are two Cristiano Ronaldos. Once the one who is on the square. And once the one who lives his life on Instagram. And somehow these two Ronaldos don't want to go together, even though, for all we know, they're actually the same person. The Ronaldo who is on the field is a brilliant footballer who is increasingly losing the battle with his age. The Ronaldo who lives his life on Instagram is a family man, a team player, sometimes an art and advertising figure.
But this Ronaldo is also one on all platforms whose giant ego sometimes produces strange blossoms. The 37-year-old was involved in the 1-0 (final score 2-0) in his Portuguese team's second group game. After a cross from his ex-teammate Bruno Fernandes, he climbed up in the penalty area to head the ball - and the ball landed in the goal. The goal was credited to Fernandes.
Ronaldo couldn't believe it. He had let himself be celebrated. And above all, celebrate yourself. Because this goal, his goal, would have been a historic one again. The man who broke almost all records would have drawn level with the legendary Eusebio, both of whom would have been at the top of the national rankings with nine World Cup goals. But it's not that far. And Ronaldo may not believe it, when he catches the scorer's correction, at first he was named himself, he looks up in disbelief, smiles and points to his forehead. Want to say: I was last on the ball, my goal, give it to me! An ego attack. Unlike Instagram. There, CR7 is quite the team player. He praises the great work of his colleagues and evokes the big dream.
After the triumph at the EM 2016 in France, in which Ronaldo had to leave the field early as a tragic hero in the final and gained another reputation as a legend as a limping, jostling and driving "assistant coach". In the last few meters of his career, flanked by frustrated images as a reservist and a ludicrous anger settlement with Manchester United, the superstar who has been without a club for a few days wants to play the leading role on the big stage again, maybe one last time. That his team is enough for the world title? Not likely, but who knows.
Who knows, it's the big issue with Ronaldo these days anyway. How is his career going after the termination at the Red Devils? And where? According to a media report, he is said to have received an offer worth millions from the Saudi club Al-Nasr. The club offers him a monster contract for three years with a total volume of 225 million US dollars (about 216 million euros), as reported by the American broadcaster CBS Sports. The player has not yet promised. One argument against the offer could be that he would then no longer be able to play in the Champions League, which was the minimum requirement for a change in the summer.
For now it's about the goal against Uruguay. And in fact, the superstar's fight for the historic brand should go into overtime. FIFA apparently wants to take a closer look at the goal, at least according to the Portuguese media. Maybe they will actually discover a strand that you can attest to being touched. The official goalscorer, Bruno Fernandes, would also appear to have no problem with the number of his international goals being revised down to twelve. "I cheered as if Cristiano had heard the goal," said Fernandes, who scored the 2-0 penalty in added time, a dubious decision after handball. And the playmaker added: "It doesn't matter how you judge it, it's the same. It's important that we scored."
The goal paved the way to the round of 16 of the World Cup, where the Portuguese are now secure. For Ronaldo, that means at least two more chances to see Eusebio the same way if FIFA sticks to their decision. For the fans in Qatar, that means two more festivals. The enthusiasm for CR7 is gigantic, even the first game became a surreal experience. And even before the duel with Uruguay, it was all about the 37-year-old before and during the game. Jerseys, poses of celebration, shouts of siuuuuu - the soul and ego of the legend are being caressed in the desert more euphorically than they have in ages. Every ball contact, every shot creates emotional states of emergency. The Ronaldo on the field enjoys it.