No one much feels sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo, not ever, because it is hard to feel sorry for someone who has what appears to be basically the perfect life.
When you have enough skill to be considered one of the best soccer players ever, enough genetic fortune to have the looks of a male model, enough money to buy palaces, yachts, or anything else that takes your fancy, sympathy is the one thing that is in short supply.
As he left the field at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium in tears on Wednesday night it was one of those rare occasions where a flickering of pity for the Juventus superstar was a reasonable emotion to have.
And as Ronaldo got the wrong end of a dubious red card decision in the early stages of his team’s 2-0 road triumph, so too did the soccer public find itself shortchanged.
It took place in the 29th minute, when Ronaldo lightly connected with Valencia’s Jeison Murillo, and Murillo fell theatrically to the ground. Ronaldo reacted with some anger and looked to tap Murillo on the head while grabbing his hair for a split second. Not a serious infraction, not anything likely to cause even a hint of pain or damage, and not worthy of the straight red issued by referee Felix Brych.
The moment that saw Cristiano Ronaldo see red
[?: U.S. only] pic.twitter.com/IB3ffZweXw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 19, 2018
As a result, what originally shaped up as one of the most mouthwatering clashes of the season is now considerably less so. On October 23, Juventus will travel to the United Kingdom to take on Manchester United, the club where Ronaldo made his name, became a global icon and won trophies and accolades galore before heading off for Real Madrid in 2009.
Seeing him revisit his old stomping ground, with his brand new club, was a prospect that even neutral fans with no rooting interest had been looking forward to ever since the draw for this year’s competition came out.