Confidence built from negativity
Cristiano landed in Lisbon yesterday, happy, the city he arrived at as a teenager ready to consume the world. A country boy in the capital. He came from Madeira and his accent would have had some people looking over their shoulder. Balague said it well in his recently released biography. He swallowed up all the insults and used them to fuel his ambition. He left behind him those who mocked, he said goodbye to Manchester, another land, another language. There he was even less than a boy from the sticks, he was an outsider. But, as Phil Neville explained very well at the book presentation in Madrid, he did not get upset, instead he sat in front of a mirror and he liked what he saw.
Welcomed with love after hateful words
Now he returns to Lisbon, his first port of call on the trip that started in Madeira. They remember and love him there. He arrives with his three derby goals, but leaving behind the reverberations of the homophobic controversy. Supposedly, Koke called him a "faggot" to which he replied, "yes, but a rich one". The Arcópoli group has jumped on the story and are demanding that action be taken against the alleged aggressor. I can't see the issue going any further. In football they say many things to each other and it ends at that. What has been said on the pitch should remain within the confines of the chalk lines. There was some bad feeling, but no actual harm has been done.
Score for your joy, not for others' pain
It is not the angry adversaries that should worry Cristiano, nor the rumours that accompany him, but himself. The way he celebrated the second goal (just a penalty after all) was objectionable, but he has a pass, in these TV dominated times that we live in. But the celebration of the third, a show of defiance towards the ultras area, was excessive. It has been compared to that of Neymar at Valencia. Neymar's was insulting, Cristiano's was insolent. The first was worse, but the second was also far too much. Goals are not scored to annoy the opposing side but to make your own supporters rejoice. Celebrating against someone else is just wrong.