Football great Cristiano Ronaldo’s emotional reaction to Portugal’s World Cup defeat in Qatar has sparked divisive reactions online.
Portugal were unexpectedly knocked out of the World Cup on Saturday, losing a quarter-final match to Morocco, 1-0. Ronaldo, widely regarded as one of football’s greatest ever players, left the pitch in tears after the results, with the Portuguese star previously saying this year would mark his last World Cup before his retirement. Despite his illustrious career, Ronaldo is unlikely to ever win FIFA’s top tournament, if his earlier claims about retirement are true.
After the touching moment, the online reaction sparked an expected outpouring of celebration and sympathy. However, some also took issue with other aspects of Ronaldo’s conduct after the game, in particular his failure to shake hands with the Moroccan team.
British journalist and former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel was among the latter, criticizing what he perceived as Ronaldo’s lack of sportsmanship in the defeat.
“Sorry. Bad form from Ronaldo for not staying to shake hands with winners Morocco,” Sopel tweeted. “For a man who is such an iconic figure… crummy.”
Other users responding to Sopel’s tweet agreed, accusing Ronaldo of being a “selfish, self-centered arrogant player” and a “fat baby”.
Meanwhile, conservative commentator and journalist Piers Morgan hailed Ronaldo as an all-time great and challenged his critics. Morgan also referenced the player’s personal issues over the past year, possibly in reference to his son’s death in the spring shortly after he was born.
“Very sad to see @Cristiano in tears at the end of his dream of winning the World Cup,” Morgan tweeted. “Those who laugh at him should remember what he did for football. For me, that’s the [goat emoji] – and a great guy who had the toughest year of his life on and off the pitch. He has earned our respect.”
Responses to Morgan’s tweet were less in line with his position, with one user writing that Ronaldo’s treatment of the Moroccan team was still “embarrassing” and “selfish”. Another user also pointed out how Morgan’s take was seemingly in contrast to previous posts he made about Argentina’s Lionel Messi, one of Ronaldo’s most important rivals.
Nevertheless, other notable users, including Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Cuban volleyball player Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, have expressed their admiration for Ronaldo’s legacy.
Taking a more clinical perspective, New York University (NYU) marketing professor and author Scott Galloway presented Ronaldo’s World Cup stats, also noting that luck can be a major component of success. .
Newsweek contacted FIFA for comment.
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