C. Ronaldo’s English Nightmare

Cristiano Ronaldo has had it rough with English fans since the end of the World Cup. The portuguese sports daily Record reports that Ronaldo continues to receive numerous death threats by phone and mail and that his home in Manchester has been vandalized on several occasions. Not even Ronaldo’s twelve year old niece escaped the inquisition as she was assaulted by English classmates when they discovered her relation to the portuguese international. In an effort to protect his family, Ronaldo has insisted that they remain in Portugal when he returns to England.

This is a sad episode in English football. In my opinion, the situation has been made worse by Manchester United’s failure to defend their star player. It’s clear that, up to now, they have not done enough. It’s fine to insist that Ronaldo is an integral part of the team and not for sale, but what’s really needed is for the club to speak for him in the English media. They should defend his cause not only because he represents an enourmous financial opportunity but also because this entire episode is sick and terribly unfair. He’s a 21 year old kid people. Just imagine if someone did this to your nephew or son?

Ronaldo’s worst critics think he’s getting what he deserves, but the pitiful response from his supporters is what I find most troubling. In a recent interview, Jose Mourinho urged him take it on the chin and move on, suggesting that this type of behaviour was part of the English game. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I guess. In English football diving is the great sin, while outright hooliganism and violence as part of a very public terror campaign against an athlete is normal.

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