The beast was awoken

There has always been a tendency at the Bernabéu to get on the star player’s back. It was certainly the case when I was a lad (going to games with my dad or my uncle Luis). Back then I’d see people jeering Velázquez. After that it was Vicente Del Bosque’s turn to stand in the firing line, before Juanito, Martín Vázquez, Guti, Ronaldo (the heavier of the two) and even Zidane, who was shown very little patience during his first few months in the capital, became targets of abuse. There is a certain section of the stadium that demands excellence to the nth degree. No player is exempt when it comes to meeting their extremely high levels of expectation. It doesn’t matter what the player has done in the past for the club.

Cristiano is the latest ‘sacred cow’ to suffer this wrath at the Concha Espina ground. Shortly after the second half got underway yesterday he misplaced a pass to Carvajal and whistles began to bellow out from the stands. The Portuguese took the advice on board and reacted as only the true greats can, with a cracker from outside the box. He followed that up over the next 25 minutes by adding another three to his tally and finishing his afternoon with a four-goal haul. He couldn’t resist holding his hand to his ear when he first got off the mark though. He shouldn’t go down that provocative road but in a way I can understand his frustration.

Booing a player who has kept the club in the fight with the best Barcelona team of all time is unfair and undignified. Cristiano has racked up 352 goals in 335 games. He has surpassed the legendary Zarra’s record (251 goals for Athletic Club)... and needed 62 games less than Messi to outscore the Bilbao hero! For pity’s sake, leave Cristiano alone.