These days, whenever another Derbi madrileño kicks off, it’s an important, wildly entertaining affair, especially during the era of Diego Simeone. Today’s Copa del Rey action was no different, with Atlético handing El Real a 2-0 defeat – a second straight after 22 consecutive wins in all competitions.
Sure, the game was great, but the Battle of All the Madrids was really decided on the sidelines, where the action was so distracting that it took attention away from all that loud ball-kicking happening in the middle of the stadium. The two protagonists: Cristiano Ronaldo, as a bench-sitting fish out of water, and the soccer world’s new favorite kid, Simeone’s son Giuliano.
Ever the competitior, and not one to be ignored, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to bench himself for today’s Copa match – three days after Lionel Messi was left out of Barcelona’s starting XI at La Real Sociedad. Carlo Ancelotti said the star sat because of fatigue, but this was really Ronaldo’s attempt to show the world that he could sit better than his rival. His choice took their personal rivalry to a whole new level.
Look at that poise! His control in his seat. Ronaldo’s eyes dart across the field without missing a single pass. He knows the next thing he’s going to idly stare at before he shifts his focus. It’s genius.
Everyone says that Messi is the natural talent, and Ronaldo’s gift are the result of #HardWork and #Dedication, but this Vine shatters that notion. You can’t chill at that advanced level without being blessed. It was Ronaldo’s destiny to relax this hard. He was born for it.
Unfairly, Ronaldo is criticized for being a selfish player, but look at this give-and-go with Fábio Coentrão. What you’re seeing is two players dedicated to the team concept and the idea of making each other better bench riders. The game doesn’t get much purer than this. The only hope is fans come around to appreciate these little things from Ronaldo while he’s still in his prime.
Meanwhile, on the Atleti side, Baby Simeone stole the show, the hearts of audiences worldwide and possibly a few team balls by the looks of it. It’s cool, because his dad is the manager.
When I first saw this goal celebration, I was a little worried for this random child’s safety. I didn’t know who he was. I wondered aloud what sort of parent would let their son run wildly into the arms of Diego Simeone. That can’t be safe. He seems like the kind of guy to instinctively throw a punch when startled. Imagine that happening on live television. You’d laugh for a minute, but then you’d feel terrible about it. Go to church and confess it, or something.
Two goals for Atlético Madrid, two Oscar-worthy appearances for Giuliano Simeone. This one was the best, even captured in special Hallmark Vision. It’s like Sky Sports had a dedicated camera waiting for this to happen. Maybe the match was fixed and they knew ahead of time. It is Spain.
As enthralling as Ronaldo’s bench performance was, it was no competition for the Simeones. There was no way Giuliano’s dad’s squad was going to lose today. Not even with Fernando Torres — who is still standing in a dark stadium, in an offside position — in the starting XI. You’re a star now, Giuliano.