Home Sport Cristiano Ronaldo becoming a liability to club and country

Cristiano Ronaldo becoming a liability to club and country

Johannesburg – There is a good argument that Cristiano Ronaldo now will be a liability to any big team that wants to sign him and to the Portugal national team.

The Selecao were dependent on the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star for the best part of the last 15-years, there is absolutely no doubt about that.

With a modern generation consisting of the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias, that is no longer the case. It can be argued that Ronaldo needs Portugal now more than Portugal needs him.

Despite being 37-years-old, Ronaldo can still be a classy performer as he showed last season by ending the campaign as Manchester United’s top scorer. However, he is struggling to reconcile himself with the fact that he cannot deliver match winning performances, week after week as he could in yesteryear.

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As father time calls, many players also have to accept that they will have reduced roles within teams. Sometimes they are used for impact cameo roles off the bench or start games before being substituted later on.

In other cases, the veterans in reduced roles barely play and serve as more of a mentor within the squad, providing valuable guidance to younger players.

A hesitance to accept reduced roles within his teams is what ultimately led to Ronaldo’s outburst against Manchester United and most recently his theatrics after having been substituted against South Korea. He had a poor game against South Korea and even his most die-hard fans will have to concede that coach Fernando Santos had very valid grounds to substitute him in that game.

Unless he can inspire Portugal to World Cup success for the first time, Ronaldo’s current behaviour is likely to have an impact upon his club future and possibly even his future with the Selecao should he opt to continue playing international football after the World Cup.

It is unlikely that any top team with serious ambitions to win the Champions League would want to sign an aging veteran who has the potential to cause disharmony within their dressing room.

He may attract offers from physically less demanding leagues, clubs with Europa League ambitions and likely his boyhood club Sporting Lisbon who have made no secret of their desire to bring Ronaldo back “home”.

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If Ronaldo opts to continue playing internationally after the World Cup, Portugal will have valid grounds to deem him surplus to requirements and effectively end his international career.

Deeming veteran players surplus to requirements is a normal practice that takes place when a team enters a rebuilding phase or when a new World Cup cycle starts.

The remaining good will that Ronaldo has from the football fraternity at large is now evaporating and all that remains is his die-hard fans.

In the past, he was a player who maintained a sense of professionalism even when things were not going his way. He is clearly a player who is now struggling to accept that he has limitations even though he is playing at an age where the vast majority of footballers have long retired.

@eshlinv

IOL Sport

* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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