What good is it enjoying a sport if there isn’t an opponent worthy of defeating? Seemingly chiseled by the football gods and blessed with transcendent speed, strength, touch and power, Christiano Ronaldo has solidified himself as one of football’s greatest talents and best villains. Ronaldo early in his career garnered hatred from the opposition, and even at times his own fans. Known for taking dives and always having stylish hair, every time he amazes he adds fuel to the burning pyre of hatred opponents have built for him. Incidences such as in the 2006 world cup quarter final, when Ronaldo was responsible for the ejection of then Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney, only strengthen the argument against Ronaldo. Fans and analyst alike speculated that Ronaldo would not, and furthermore should not return to Manchester United. Further acts, such as showboating alone after Manchester United defeating Chelsea in penalty kicks during the 2008 Champions league final, put a bad taste in the mouths of many a soccer fan. The fact that he was the only United player to miss a penalty shot, and the rest of his team were celebrating in each other’s arms only exacerbated the nature of his crime. When he left United, the club that helped him attain his spot atop the footballing world, in the following months, Ronaldo became the paragon for the selfish, overly flamboyant stereotype that modern athletes had cultivating since the times of Pelé and Garrincha. Opposite of Ronaldo stands Lionel Messi, the only player alive to match Ronaldo’s talent. With Five Ballon d’Or a piece, their careers are eternally intertwined, and it is only becoming more difficult to talk about one without mentioning the other. At five-foot seven-inches, Messi plays with a reserved, humble and almost shy attitude, making him the perfect foil for Ronaldo. As a fan begins to love Messi more, their hatred for Ronaldo fitting grows. Why would anyone root for the handsome arrogant Ronaldo over the scrappy, humble Messi? The animosity felt towards Ronaldo is certainly warranted, as beyond his boisterous and showy celebrations on the field, Ronaldo has frequented the number on spot on Forbes’ list of riches athletes, earning a whopping 93 million dollars in 2017. His massive amount of wealth helps to explain the narrative of his on-field persona. Ronaldo was seeming born great, and this uber-wealthy, self-absorbed fiend is typically all that stands in the way of many a fan and team’s aspirations. But this is not the whole story of Cristiano Ronaldo. Named after the United States president Ronald Reagan, ironically his father’s favorite actor, Ronaldo’s acts of kindness far outweigh his narcissistic on the field persona. Ronaldo is a man of immense character and caring, as demonstrated by his off the field actions. His father passed away from alcoholism, and thus Ronaldo has never had a drink, a fact that is counterintuitive to his on-field antics. His detractors enjoy propagating the notion that his talent is a God-given gift, and not something he worked for. Luis Figo, 2001 player of the year believed if he had “been born with Ronaldo’s talent, [he] wouldn’t have had to work as hard as [he] did.” This notion is borderline laughable, as teammates and coaches alike have observed and commended Ronaldo on his work ethic. Quinton Fortune, a teammate of Ronaldo at Manchester United, recalled that after practice Ronaldo would strap on ankle weights and go through the drills a second time. Furthermore, while critics like to imagine Ronaldo spends all his money on cars and women, he has a long track record of donations and charitable causes, such as donating 5 million Pounds to Nepal following the 2015 earthquakes in the country. Ronaldo is also completely free of tattoos, as he regularly gives blood, and blood cannot be taken from someone with a newly inked tattoo. Ronaldo has consistently proven to be a man of immense character, but he still receives the unfair ire of many a football fan. As time goes on hopefully he will be remembered as the terrific football player he is on the pitch, and the terrific person he was off the field. Despite this, all sports need a good villain, and it seems football has found theirs in Cristiano Ronaldo.
 Lewis, Tim. “He’s got the World at his Feet.” The Guardian. 7th June, 2008. <https://www.theguardian.com/football/2008/jun/08/manchesterunited.portugal>
 Kamouni, Sara. “The Real Ron.” The Sun. 13th July, 2016. <https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1438733/his-dad-was-an-alcoholic-who-cleaned-the-changing-rooms-at-his-first-club-and-10-other-things-you-never-knew-about-cristiano-ronaldo/>
 Lewis, Tim. “He’s got the World at his Feet.”
 Herbert, Ian. “How Manchester United made Cristiano Ronaldo.” The Independent. 11th February, 2013. < http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/how-manchester-united-made-cristiano-ronaldo-8490897.html>
 Kamouni, Sara. “The Real Ron.”