Cristiano Ronaldo, Quiet Superstar, Can Win Portugal's Heart Euros Title
Cristiano Ronaldo spends a lot of time alone. Alone on the wing, alone in his kitchen, alone in his thoughts, where, by his own admission, much of his focus is on whether he will again win the Ballon d’Or award — the world player-of-the-year honor, which, of course, is for a single, solitary superstar.
Ronaldo does not mind this (or, at least, he says he embraces it). Even by modern athletic standards, his entourage is necessarily small: his agent, his manager, a few close friends and his family. That is it. He often eats lunch by himself, often drives to practice by himself. Over the last 13 years, he has cultivated an image as someone who lives lavishly and luxuriously — estimates are that he is worth $320 million and so the pictures of him on a yacht are to be expected — yet also in relative quiet.
He has his 6-year-old son, Cristiano Jr. He has his agent and father or brother figure, Jorge Mendes. He has his soccer and his stardom and, depending on the particular parameters of the argument, his place on or near the top of the list of soccer’s greatest figures.
But here is the thing: Much of Ronaldo’s life is built upon his place at his club team, Real Madrid. This is not to say that Real Madrid is a house of loners or that there is no team spirit there; to the contrary, the club is strong and rich, and many of its supporters are passionate and devoted and true. But it is also undeniable that because of Madrid’s exorbitant resources — last year’s payroll was estimated at $180 million — there is a culture of stars, many of whom come and go. And Ronaldo, who has been the rare mainstay, is the brightest.
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