Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most talented, most flashy and most polarizing soccer stars in the world.
And when he scores a pair of goals in a single game, people notice.
But while the Real Madrid forward’s Sunday double delighted the fans, Ronaldo’s lack of celebration revealed inner turmoil.
As it turns out, the Portugal international is sad.
“I do not celebrate my goals when I am sad,” Ronaldo told reporters after the match. “I am sad due to a professional issue that the club knows about. That is why I was not celebrating. I am not happy, the people here know why. I am not going to talk more about this, there are more important things.”
On Monday, Ronaldo took to Twitter to clarify his post-match moping and reassure Real’s fans that they are not to blame.
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.
Ronaldo’s discontent fueled trade rumors, but Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo, for one, denied any trade discussions.
Ronaldo tied Lionel Messi for second in voting for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, which was given to Barcelona’s Iniesta at last week’s Champions League group draw.
Iniesta weighed in on the Ronaldo situation during an appearance on El Larguero.
“Sometimes I have felt unfair things but my personality or my respect for my teammates or coaches, or the education I had always made me wait for my chance and have confidence that in the future better things appear,” the 28-year-old Spanish international said. “I never thought you get out in the media and crack, things would change. If you work well in the end, it all comes back.”
Real Madrid teammates, including midfielder Kaka and defender Alvaro Arbeloa pledged their support for Ronaldo.
“He just needs more affection from everybody, I don’t know, that’s all we can give him,” Arbeloa told reporters at the Spanish national team’s camp in Las Rozas. “Everybody has the right to be sad, he’s a person just like anyone else.”