What is a Ronaldo World Cup hat trick really worth?

Stuart Thomas Columnist

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    Sitting down and attempting to articulate exactly what Cristiano Ronaldo did against Spain last Friday night Australian time, is almost pointless.

    Firstly, because he has done it before. Secondly, he will no doubt do it again and thirdly, it is what he was born and destined to do.

    As stunning, controversial at times and perfect as it was, there is an eerie sense of expectation and acceptance whenever one of football’s greatest stars produces a virtuoso performance such as Ronaldo did against Spain.

    While his trio of strikes floored the footballing world yet again, the Portuguese captain was really just living out his part of the contract. Since 2003 – 151 international caps and 84 goals later, the man from Funchal has kept his part of the bargain for his beloved Portugal.

    The European Championship of 2016 was something of a payback for the loyal work he has done during business hours. During that same period, he has also rolled up his sleeves and reeled off a total of 488 domestic matches for Manchester United and Real Madrid and found the net 395 times.

    It’s a little like a website that asks me for an article and pays me a small fee for the work. Or the plumber, electrician or chippy who attends your house to do a few repairs or touch-ups.

    I’m sure many readers of this column charge clients for their business acumen, legal or health advice and live up to the arrangement with a quality of service of which they are proud.

    In essence, that is what Ronaldo did against Spain, thus living up to his part of the contract. Cristiano’s arrangement is a fairly simple one.

    There is no fine print; he shows up at major football tournaments, stuns the masses with skill and brilliance and scores goals each and every time. Whether it be four consecutive World Cups or eight major tournaments, Ronaldo always turns up for work.

    The difference between the Portuguese wizard and you and I, is that his services are presented in a far more glorious and inspiring package than ours. Sure, we might have a few flash business cards or a fancy website but neither will probably bring people to tears.

    Now 33 years old and with some murmuring doubts building around his ageing body’s ability to continue to produce the remarkable on a regular basis, his performance last Friday showed little has been lost. Perhaps more canny now in his 30’s, he was asked to perform his duties.

    And perform he did.

    As a point of comparison, if Matthew Leckie, Tomi Juric or Andrew Nabbout manage to slot home three goals for the Socceroos against Denmark on Thursday, I’ll be running around the lounge room with my underpants on my head.

    However, so accustomed to the great man have we become and as poetic, beautiful and skilled as the performance was, we tend to accept the astonishing from Ronaldo as the norm. It works in the same way with a certain little, bearded fellow from Argentina.

    Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo

    Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo. (Photo: Reuters)

    I heard two guys chatting at my local pool early Saturday morning, just hours after the game had finished.

    The tall fellow in the Mooks jumper asked the shorter guy with the takeaway coffee, “Did you see the soccer?”

    “No”, he replied. “Did Australia win?”

    “No, they play tonight. Spain played Portugal. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick.”

    “Yeah? He’s good hey?”

    Good?

    Good?!

    Spare me days. I wanted to start lecturing both of them. I should have moved a little closer and informed them of his 21 million Euro salary and over 600 international and club goals.

    I could have told them about his beautiful Spanish girlfriend and the mother to his new daughter Alana Martina, referenced his opulent homes or showed them images of his evolving hairstyles and tints that have become his trademark.

    However, I did none of these.

    As sure as day, the two men would have been moderately impressed and somewhat envious of his achievements. Yet even in their curiosity and fascination, the men would probably still catch glimpses of the goals in news grabs later that day and shrug of the performance as just another day at the office for CR7.

    To those of us with something of a more consistent and keener interest in the beautiful game, we will probably see it and know, that it was something very different.

    It was one of the best, at his best, against the best. If that ever becomes a hum-drum experience due to its frequency, football will have lost everything that is special about it.

    It won’t happen though, it was too perfect and too special.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 1:30pm
      Another Paul said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

      Just a note, The World Cup is the only competition Ronaldo has not performed in, before this performance he had 3 WC goals from 13 games. Other than that he does perform in big games so it was good to see him dominate.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 2:35pm
        Julz said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        Unlike Messi..

        • June 19th 2018 @ 4:08pm
          James said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          Messi didnt look like he wanted to be playing. He would get the ball passed to him do something with it for a few seconds then wait to be passed the ball again. He doesnt look like he has that hunger to get the ball and dictate play.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 4:57pm
            William Dalton Davis said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            Maybe he’ll retire from international football for real this time. Either isn’t really interested or doesn’t believe Argentina can win. Say what you will about Ronaldo, he puts everything into matches for his country. Something you can’t say about Messi as great as he is.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 5:47pm
      Dario said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

      Unlike the old days the modern superstar tends to bleed far more for club then country. As in Ronaldo’s case he is finally seeing that country rewards are far more gratifying then any club accolade he’s won especially considering the Real Madrid treatment of late. For this tournament he’s left a little in tank for what I hope will he’s greatest achievement to date.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 6:25pm
      Andrew Browne said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

      Ronaldos Hattrick was worth 1 Point.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 6:48pm
      me too said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

      After watching his first few games for United I predicted to my teammates that Ronaldo would become the best player in the World. Big call they said. But the right one I replied. Just such brilliant skills and the arrogance to use them in ways others may not dare.
      And here is now, almost petulent when he doesn’t get the ball, he even turns his back on the play. He isn’t desperate to get the ball at all, but knows when he gets it, he’ll do something meaningful. Messi is a far busier player, not as silky by half, but far more industrious. Messi gets far more involved but Ronaldo will do more with less.
      I think that is a problem Argentina and Messi need to come to grips with. They relied on him far too much and put extra pressure on him. He was desperate to do something because no one else was standing up. Barcelona have a far better list around Messi than Argentina do. As for Portugal that European final win with an injured Ronaldo watching on taught them that Ronaldo was the cherry on top. Granted they needed him badly this time, but they would believe they can beat a team like Iceland without him. Not sure if Argentina think the same.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 19th 2018 @ 9:36pm
      captainpale said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

      Well said, too often we forget to appreciate how brilliant an individual is at their chosen sport due to the publicity and money they earn. In what I believe has been the game of the world cup so far one of the finest players the game has seen delivered a masterclass. He may well earn millions of dollars and have a lot of nice homes but it does not detract from what he accomplished in that game, players of his calibre in any sport need to be admired and respected for what they do, because too often they are taken for granted until well after their careers are over.

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