The Football God said ‘Enough!’
Even if the Portuguese squad had been named among the favorites before the European Championship kicked off, it was due to the paying of respect to the southerners’ merits in football. The main reason for this is Cristiano Ronaldo, who is in the prime of his career. Only Messi is ranked higher than him.
The Argentinian ‘diamond’, who has not won anything playing for his national team since its most recent attempt to win the continental Olympus (where in the final match the Argentinians were defeated by the Chileans in a series of penalties), has stated that he would quit playing for his national team.
No wonder that Ronaldo failed to achieve anything, given the fact that even Messi with such teamates as Mascherano, Agüero, Di María, was able to do nothing. Unlike for Argentinia, Ronaldo had no worthy sidekick. At least that is what was believed before the European championship started. The most that Portugal could count on was their status as one of the favorites in the expanded contenders’ list.
But it seems the football God, distributing the titles and awards, got scared a little bit. If Messi had not been so forthright (the whole Argentina team begged, and is still on their knees, asking him not to leave the squad, but he is as stern as a rock) the Portuguese squad would have been hardly able to achieve much at the championship. Obviously it was decided in ‘heaven’ that the limit of football “thrills” had been exceeded. It had been exceeded so much that no one even wanted to make sure of this fact.
God forbid that Cristiano follows the suit of his perpetual competitor for super stardom, after shedding tears and slamming the door, saying ‘no haps’.
Nobody was going to hand the trophy over to the Portuguese without any intrigue just because they had Ronaldo. ‘You should get to work, and we will see what happens.’
The Portuguese must be given the proper respect, since they worked harder than anyone else at the championship. Whereas now, all aesthetes are snorting: ‘What kind of champion are they? They won just one match out of six during the regulation time at the tournament.
Let other teams achieve such results as to ‘crawl’ into the playoffs from third place, then to knock-out the excellent Croatian squad in the last minutes of extra time and to defeat the Polish squad in a series of penalties, to destroy Wales in the semi-final and to lose the injured Ronaldo in the very first minutes of the final.
I am sure all of France sighed with relief the moment Cristiano was leaving the field with tears in his eyes: ‘That’s it, there is no one who can prevent us from being victorious.’ It seems to me that this was the turning point in the game.
No matter how strange it may sound, Ronaldo, with his undeniable skills, prevented the Portuguese squad from being a real high-class team. Before that the players on the team (and not only during this championship) waived their responsibility in the outcome, getting out of his way and, at the same time, not challenging Cristiano’s right to ‘hog the field.’ It should be said that he liked that very much.
The more Ronaldo’s stardom increased, the less chances the Portuguese team had in any tournament. By the way, the same thing happened to the Argentinian squad.
Surely, the presence of two megastars attracted public attention to Argentinians and Portuguese. But, at the same time, due to them being on these squads, these national teams’ champion ambitions were doomed to failure. That’s because any time the coaches of both Argentina and Portugal fell under the pressure of the public opinion, they had to focus on their celebrities. Though, logic prompted that things should be done vice versa.
Football is a team game and not a one-person show. With such an approach, one can win a game or two, but not the whole championship. This is exactly how things go.
When Ronaldo was injured and there was no one ‘to hog the ball’, we saw that the Portuguese squad was a real team, and moreover, a very good one indeed.
It deserved this victory, but the same can’t be said for the Frenchmen. In the final they followed the path from which the Portuguese had went astray at the very last moment. Having relied in the final solely on Antoine Griezmann, who became a megastar at this championship, France stopped being a team. Such tournaments are no longer won single-handedly.
In short, Portugal is the champion!
Initially published: 12.07.2016