Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in the world. He is the highest profile player at Euro 2012, he is the captain of his country, and has won the Ballon D'Or, Champions League, and domestic titles wherever he has gone, yet he is not satisfied. This is the mark of a great player, yet it is the reason he is one of the most hated and divisive players in the world of football.
Full Highlights Here
His main rival, Lionel Messi, has a contrasting style and attitude that makes him tremendously more endearing to the media and fans. Ronaldo's direct style and flair are eye catching in a different way than Messi's sprightly movements. Comparisons between the two players is inevitable with each playing at rival clubs battling for the same league trophy and La Liga scoring titles, but to compare the players individually there is almost no doubt that Ronaldo is the more versatile, complete player. Possessing superior aerial skills, size, and the ability/willingness to put in a dirty tackle, Ronaldo is simply capable of doing more things on the pitch. It is Ronaldo's attitude that prevents him from winning over the hearts of those that admire him.
Ronaldo's petulant attitude and frustration were on display for all the world to see yesterday evening. As Portugal took on the Czech Republic, Ronaldo was once again the center of attention. He earned several spectacular chances in the first half that included a bicycle kick that sailed wide and an open effort off of a tremendous piece of skill that was parried off the post by Petr Cech in the closing moments of the half. Ronaldo looked to the sky, seemingly pleading with the football gods to bestow another goal on his prolific scoring record. Often under these circumstances, Ronaldo's emotions get the better of him and deter his teammates from participating, but with Portugal the squad rallied around their frustrated captain, knowing the victory they deserved was lurking just around the corner.
During this tournament Ronaldo has earned criticism for not being able to find the back of the net, but his efforts have earned him a record as the tournament's most accurate shooter, with 21 shots on target. The early stages of the second half continued the cycle of frustration for Ronaldo, he had a free kick effort again parried off the post by Petr Cech. The Czech Republic had begun the game with the upper hand, but after the opening twenty minutes it became a duel between Ronaldo and Cech, with neither man's determination deterred by the other's heroic efforts. Portugal continued to rain shots on Cech's goal, but the towering keeper was able to turn aside their efforts in turn. Theodor Gebre Selassie had been tasked with marking Ronaldo, but the tournament standout was incapable of near impossible task.
Eventually Ronaldo earned the goal he sought. Coming off of a cross from Joao Moutinho, Ronaldo met the ball with a diving header that bounced off the ground and over the hands of Petr Cech. That single moment was what Portugal needed to win the game they had thoroughly dominated, and it had come at last. Ronaldo ran to the sideline, pounded his chest, and celebrated with his teammates before looking into the camera and blowing a kiss to his son. Ronaldo can do these things because he earns every chance through his tireless work rate. His technical ability puts other elite players to shame. He is never afraid to put a team on his back to earn victory.
The Czech Republic was unable to amount much of an offensive attack in the waning moments of the match, and Portugal ran out clear and deserved winners. Ronaldo is now tied with Mario Gomez, Alan Dzagoev, and Mario Mandzukic as the top scorer of Euro 2012. Portugal moves on, with the hopes of lifting the European Cup for the first time in their country's history and with Ronaldo at the helm of Os Navegadores they may just do it.