Hyperbole and borderline embarrassing headlines are nothing new in the world of English football and its media, and the Premier League has a whole new circus to incessantly and tediously cover for the next few years.
Cristiano Ronaldo, if you hadn’t noticed, has joined Manchester United in a move that only serves as more proof that some people in football just will not learn. The fanfare from supporters – and more worryingly the press – is as though the last three years of his career didn’t happen, and that’s not even taking the serious allegations that still hang over him into consideration.
When Manchester United took the lead away to Young Boys in Tuesday night’s Champions League game, it wasn’t a surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo was the goalscorer, less so after his debut brace against Newcastle United – a club almost permanently in disrepair.
The fawning over Cristiano’s presence in English has become so extreme that his teammates are now spoken about as though they exist solely to facilitate his personal objectives of winning and being referred to, not by name but, as a livestock emoji.
The Daily Star ran with the headline of ‘Stupid Boys’ on their back page on Wednesday morning, pointing accusatory fingers at both Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for handing the Swiss side the win.
Even Sky Sports and Gary Neville have fallen into the trap. Sky’s usually excellent ‘Monday Night Football’ show descended into a debate about which of Cristiano or Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer of all time. In 2021.
Their graphic even went as far as to say that Cristiano Ronaldo had won two international trophies – big praise to the UEFA Nations League – while stating that Messi hadn’t won any, which seemed a needless dismissal of the Copa America.
Neville, whose football analysis is typically on another level to most, came across as nothing more than a member of a Manchester United Boys’ Club, defending the man who wears the United shirt and citing a lot of nonsensical reasons for doing so. Fortunately, Jamie Carragher was on hand to blow Neville’s argument out of the water and leave the former United full-back scrambling and stuttering in an attempt to justify his legless argument.
The debate appeared to be no more than a desperate act that ‘MNF’ didn’t need. It’s a show that people tune in for regardless of the game being shown that night, as Carragher and Neville’s discussions are captivating and insightful, but Monday’s episode was worse than subpar. It was no more than a desperate attempt from Sky to involve themselves in a debate that they were on the outside of since 2009 because they had no horse in the race.
On Tuesday, Neville decided to play the role of Twitter troll, a role normally reserved for faceless profiles and handles consisting of a series of numbers. When Cristiano opened the scoring, he posted a video of himself laughing captioned with the inescapable goat emoji. That backfired when Young Boys went on to win the match.
Neville, oddly, ended up stating on ‘MNF’ that, despite Cristiano being the greatest player of all time in his opinion, Manchester United might have been better off signing someone like Harry Kane this summer. That won’t please the rest of the Manchester United Boys’ Club, and it definitely won’t please Cristiano.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might just be in agreement with the ex-right-back. Six minutes after the Swiss side levelled, the coach took Cristiano Ronaldo off to replace him with Lingard. When Manchester United were in need of a goal, they took off Cristiano Ronaldo, just like Juventus left him out of their XI for their must-win final game of the 2020/21 season at Bologna, needing to win to qualify for the Champions League.