Watching how the big European clubs respond one after the other with a polite “no, thank you” when Cristiano Ronaldo was desperately knocking on their doors to offer his services, produced a bittersweet feeling, bordering on pity.
It was certainly not an edifying spectacle to see how far one of the greatest footballers of all time is capable of going to play a few more Champions League games to help him pad out his personal stats.
To achieve his goal, he did not mind ignoring Manchester United, one of the most special clubs of his career and where he made the leap to the world elite by moving to Real Madrid.
But no one can be surprised by this because Cristiano was always like that: he was above everything and everyone.
It is clear that the Portuguese forward is not coming to terms with his sporting decline, something that is inevitable at the age of 37. That’s what happens with the great sporting idols when the time comes for them to take a step back or retire.
And to speak about a decline considering his performances last season is not entirely fair. His figures still place him above other stars of his generation such as Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar. With 24 goals in 39 games, he was also well above the mediocrity that has pervaded the Red Devils for several years.
What happens is that those figures, while good, are earthly. And with those numbers, signing Cristiano no longer pays off. Not in financial terms either, no matter how much he accepts to reduce his astronomical salary, nor in sporting terms.
That is precisely what Cristiano has also failed to understand. That while he scored 50 goals, the coaches put up with his rudeness, his demands, playing with one man down when they didn’t have the ball and, above all, that he completely conditioned the play of a team like Manchester United, Real Madrid or Juventus.
Because in return he gave you more. But with 24 goals, he can no longer demand that. And Cristiano still sees himself as the 50-goal scorer when he already ‘only’ scores half of them.
The best proof of this is how terribly he has mishandled his desire to leave for a club that participates in the Champions League, confronting his coach and forgetting his teammates and the fans.
Cristiano was probably willing to give up salary, but not status, privileges. And above all, what Cristiano will never give up is his character, his excessive ego. That ambition that led him to be an enormous footballer capable of looking Messi in the eye.
That’s why it hurts to see that Cristiano, who for so many years was a solution to almost everything, has ended up becoming a problem