After winning the Euro Cup this past weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe join a limited group of players that have successfully won the Champions League and the Euro in the same year. In this millennium, only Nicolas Anelka, Christian Karembeu, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres have completed the “double”. Anelka and Karembeu accomplished it with Real Madrid and France and 2000 and Mata and Torres in 2012 with Spain and the infamous “2012 Chelsea”.
One thing that immediately stood out for me was the similarity of not just Real Madrid and Portugal’s victories but also Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances in both finals.
In both cases, each team had an extremely unchallenging list of rivals on their road to the final. Let’s not forget, Real Madrid’s rivals during the Champions League included Malmo, PSG, Shakthar Donesk, AS Roma, Wolfsburg, Manchester City and finally Atletico Madrid. Out of those teams, the only “elite” teams were PSG and Atletico Madrid. The rest of the teams could quite easily be confused or even replaced by Europa League teams.
Of course we know it was the same case for Portugal. A bunch of inferior teams that somehow kept advancing into the further rounds and thanks to the skewed bracket, they strolled into the final.
Now, after both finals we have been bombarded by media sources claiming that Ronaldo has been the “hero” in both titles. The “hero” who in the Champions League final played probably the worst game I have ever seen him play. The portuguese simply went ghost during the entire 120 minutes until it was his time to score the penalty and rip off his shirt like he’s the new Hulk.
In the Euro final, he played simply 25 minutes. Most of which were just him falling down saying he couldn’t play, getting up minutes later, trying to run again and falling down just to repeat the whole cycle. Granted the injury did look severe but even before that, he failed to have an impact in the game. Tough criteria when you consider he played in total about 10-15 “real” minutes.
Two tournaments in which his teams were hardly challenged and two finals where he was absent and yet somehow, Cristiano Ronaldo has won the “Double”. It will go down in history as the year Cristiano Ronaldo won both without mentioning the fact that in both finals, it was his team that picked up the slack when he went completely MIA.
I want whatever luck Cristiano has. Underperform when needed and blame it on injuries and then still get all the limelight after it was your teammates that got the win.