Cristiano Ronaldo's ability to thrive amidst criticism was on full display when confronted with the fact that he is not particularly favored in Argentina. The illustrious trajectory of the five-time Ballon d'Or awardee has invariably intertwined with his rival Lionel Messi.
While a mutual respect exists between these two giants of the game, their fervent fan bases have divided their loyalties. Whether Ronaldo is donning the jersey of Portugal or Al Nassr, the echoes of "Messi" chants persistently follow him on the field.
In 2020, Paulo Dybala, a fortunate player who has shared the pitch with both luminaries, disclosed a candid conversation he had with Ronaldo during their shared tenure at Juventus. Dybala revealed that he had apprised Ronaldo of the less-than-adoring sentiment harbored by Argentinians toward him.
Unperturbed by this revelation, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid maestro responded with his characteristic composure. In an interview with DAZN, Ronaldo recounted, "On a personal level, I was pleasantly surprised because I had no prior knowledge of this sentiment.
None of us were privy to these feelings." He elaborated on the context, stating, "Even in the previous Champions League, after our elimination against Real Madrid, numerous interactions had transpired."
Ronaldo's Transformative Impression in Argentina
Ronaldo further elucidated, "However, our subsequent interactions revealed a different facet of him.
He is an affable individual, both within and beyond the confines of the locker room." The iconic player's willingness to engage in conversations and his open-mindedness were aspects that left a lasting impression on Ronaldo.
Reflecting on Dybala's candid revelation, Ronaldo recounted their exchange, saying, "During a shared journey, I expressed my honesty. I mentioned, 'To be candid, in Argentina, your persona and demeanor haven't garnered the warmest sentiment.
Yet, my perception took a positive turn when I discovered the person behind the image.' " In response, Ronaldo shared a hearty laugh and acknowledged, "I'm cognizant of this prevailing sentiment, and I've grown accustomed to enduring criticism for my disposition." During their tenure in Turin, Ronaldo and Dybala forged a strong camaraderie, evident in their shared celebrations after scoring goals.
While Ronaldo might not enjoy widespread admiration in Argentina, his significant other, Georgina Rodriguez, hails from this South American nation. Presently, both Ronaldo and Messi have transcended European leagues, achieving triumphs by clinching the Arab Club Champions Cup and Leagues Cup, respectively.
Ronaldo's Al Nassr is set to face Al Fateh on Friday, while Messi is poised to make his MLS debut on Saturday night, representing the New York Red Bulls. The indomitable spirits of these football titans continue to resonate across continents, their legacies unfolding with every match they play.