Money can't buy Ronaldo love

Posted by Nicholas Rigg

GettyImages / Dani Pozo/AFP/GettyImagesMadridistas hope Ronaldo returns from international duty firmly committed to the cause -- and a smile on his face.

"Can't buy me love,
Everybody tells me so,
Can't buy me love,
No, no, no, no."

The Beatles, Can't Buy Me Love.

I think that's probably the first time I've kicked-off an article with song lyrics. You know the one. You're probably singing along right now, aren't you? You probably know just why I've opened with those lyrics, too.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

Madrid's Portuguese superstar jetted off to international duty with the bombshell of him telling reporters he was "sad" immediately after scoring twice -- and bringing his total goals tally with Los Blancos to 150 -- in the comfortable 3-0 win over Granada at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Cue mass hysteria in the press and among fans. “Ronaldo's unhappy because he wants more cash,” “Ronaldo's moaning again because Andres Iniesta beat him to be crowned as Europe's best player,” “Ronaldo feels unloved at Real Madrid.” The list continued.

It became ridiculous. Why would Cristiano leave us in such a situation and then go away for two weeks on international duty? The result: Madridistas not knowing how long he'd remain in the famous all-white kit, Barcelona fans reveling in a messy situation in the Spanish capital.

It at least left me with plenty to write about during an international break.

Ronaldo's response has been swift, however -- a Twitter message posted by him on Tuesday night assuring supporters that his comments weren't money orientated, and they weren't to help negotiate a new deal at the club.

His statement in full: "That I am feeling sad and have expressed this sadness has created a huge stir. I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case.

"At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected. I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of. Abrazos to all Madridistas."

For me, his comments were never about money. “Easy to say now!” I hear you all cry. Fair point, but I don't think even Ronaldo, the ever-so-moody Ronaldo, would be as daft to come out and complain about his wages, especially in a country that's suffering more than most. For that to happen, he'd not only be everyone's favourite pantomime villain at Barcelona, across Spain, and in many other non-Madrid supporting towns and cities, he'd also be a villain among his own supporters, many of whom may be unemployed, and all of whom will be earning less than him, considerably, per week.

I just don't buy it. While the former Manchester United man has his faults, he's become an ever-so-easy figure to point the finger at and to have a go at. If he's not as good as Lionel Messi, he's bottling it in the big games. If he's not being moody in his goal celebrations, he's being disrespectful to opposition fans. It's often a no-win situation for him.

Some of the web headlines read “Ronaldo 'sad' not to be top of wages league,” “Ronaldo strop just proves Messi is the best.” Writers, professional and amateur, just lining up waiting to have a go at the 27-year-old without having any real substance to their claims. Claims which, according to the man himself, are factually incorrect.

For him to come out and say he was sad was always, unfortunately, going to get him grief.

It's easy to say that these mega-bucks making sports stars should be walking around with a smile on their faces 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. A reported 200,000 pounds a week Ronaldo earns after arriving in Spain from Manchester United for 80 million pounds, and probably a fairly large sign-on fee, too. All this -- the glamour, the fast cars, the whole lifestyle package -- for playing the game that millions love playing for free.

It doesn't quite work like that though. As The Beatles sung: "Money can't buy me love."

So what is the real reason for Ronaldo's sadness? Well, we don't quite know yet. Is it love? Ronaldo's not just a huge fish in a pond, he's a galactico-sized one. The trouble is, he's in a galactico-sized pond. Like it or not, he seems to want to be the main man. When he is the prime focus, he's at his best.

Has he fallen out of love with some of his team-mates? Kaka, another huge earner at the club, and Alvaro Arbeloa have both come out to defend him and offer him the support of them and their team-mates following his quotes. Has he fallen out with Mourinho and the style of play he's forced to adapt to? We've heard some grumbles about this before, after all.

While he's away with Portugal, we're probably not going to get much else. Journalists will try, but the "one day" in Cristiano's Twitter response indicates we won't be finding out the real reasons for his sadness just yet.

In the meantime, he's probably owed a few apologies from writers across the world. Of course he's not going to get that -- he's Ronaldo. Madridistas will also be keeping everything crossed that he returns to the Spanish capital with a smile back on his face. That smile that appeared when Madrid won the Supercopa a few weeks ago. It goes without saying he's a massive figure for Madrid, arguably their talisman, and Los Blancos need a happy Ronaldo to retain La Liga and succeed in securing their long-awaited tenth European Cup.

Follow me on Twitter @nicholasrigg

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