Do as I say, not as I do. It’s been the sage advice of powerful hypocrites ever since literature began inventing historical figures for books. Now it’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s way of getting Real Madrid fans off the back of Gareth Bale.
In case you’re not an active connoisseur of Spanish tabloid media, Madridistas aren’t too thrilled with the Welsh Robben. Beyond the working theory that he shouldn’t be a regular choice over Isco in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XI, there’s the notion that Bale’s detracting from what the team’s trying to do on the field, as evidenced by this moment Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu:
What a useless piece of crap, right? Except this happened earlier in the same game:
Tom Dart has previously hypothesized that some of the Bale antipathy comes down to a combination of origins and style. Another way to put it: He’s just not Isco and never will be, a pretty damn incontrovertible statement. It’s completely unreasonable to expect Bale’s genetic material to mimic a younger, smaller Spaniard. Given it’s already performed the minor miracle of contriving a world class attacker, better to just boo the hell out of him because … well, 22 straight wins and scoring three and four goals per game has a way of destroying all perspective.
Despite his reactions on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo would prefer it stop. Despite rumors of dressing room lectures and the impending feeling Real Madrid’s about to play a half of soccer without passing to Bale, Ronaldo is appealing for calm. You don’t live in Barcelona, he’d say, if he were an old NFL coach. You live in Madrid.
“What happened on Saturday is in the past — sometimes I make mistakes too so it’s part of the business, part of football,” an apparently humble Ronaldo explained, trying to maintain a straight face during the ‘mistakes’ part. “I think the people will be nice with him and they should be nice with him.”
We should all be nice, Cristiano. Nobody wants to live in a world of Galactíco on Galactíco crime. It’s really the most petty type of crime. Besides, none of you know how to fight. Sissy-slapping is for NBA players, not an elevated sport like the soccers.
Still, it’s difficult to imagine Ronaldo going the rest of the season without an emotional outburst at a would-be Bale pass, and while do as I say is a good philosophy in theory, Ronaldo’s acolytes at the Bernabéu are far too loyal. They’re going to do as I do.