We Loved You Really, Ronaldo

Mark Simpson on the end of the British love-hate affair with the pretty Portuguese footballer

(collected in Metrosexy)

Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best footballers ever to play in this country – and one of the best looking – brought out the worst in the English.

He prickled you see, our ugly, mean-minded, spiteful, spitting jealousy. We were jealous of his talent, his looks, his body, his youth, his money and most of all of his total lack of interest in what the English media and terrace culture thought of him and his dress sense and the way they kept shouting ‘winker!’ and ‘poof!’ to try and get his attention.

It just made us even more frenzied and passionate and helpless that the way we obsessed over everything about him, from the darkness of his tan, to the size of his beach shorts, meant nothing to him. He ignored our stalkerish behaviour, and our playground bullying, and just kept on being Cristiano. He didn’t need us. He didn’t even bloody notice us. He was hot. He knew he was hot. And worst of all, there was nothing we could do about it. No wonder we hated him.

And now it seems he’s leaving us behind for good – and will probably forget about us before he even lands in Madrid. The bastard!

Our most popular tabloid The Sun has run a particularly bitchy campaign against him for years. Most recently, they devoted pages of phoney outrage to the fact that he wore a pink baseball cap on holiday in LA, and had the effrontery to wear a flower in his ear. Apparently he’s also personally to blame for turning today’s pro footballers into metrosexuals and is the evil ‘queen’ behind what they like to call ‘The Campions League’.

In short, Ronaldo has been on the receiving end of abuse that would be deemed ‘homophobic’ in a trice if it were directed at someone actually gay. But this isn’t just homophobia in the form of metrophobia, this is good old English hypocrisy at work: The Sun exploits the way young footballers look today to sell papers, filling their pages almost daily with pictures of them being tarty – and then of course damns them for making us look at them.

Ronaldo united the English in ways that few other things do these days. The editor of snooty Esquire for instance, a magazine that likes to see itself as being the opposite end of the media and social spectrum to The Sun, recently joined in the national gang bang of Ronaldo, taking aim at his pretty pouting face in a piece sniffing at the vulgarity of English footballers, and the way they

‘pile on the designer labels with gay abandon (Ronaldo), accessorise with far too many sparkly things (Ronaldo) and haven’t yet discovered that logos a go-go have gone out of fashion (Ronaldo).’

Yes dear, but Ronaldo has more natural beauty, sexiness and vitality in his left foot than a hundred back issues of Esquire – a magazine that would benefit enormously from a little vulgarity: I mean, it might be mistaken for something actually alive. It’s probably Ronaldo’s ‘gay abandon’ which is the most wonderful and insufferable thing about him to the English. After all, it’s the sign that someone is genuinely free – they genuinely don’t care what the neighbours/bloke down the pub/The Sun/Esquire think, and they do and wear what they like, damn them.

This is also probably the reason why he was hated so much for his on-pitch naughtiness – not so much the cheating itself, but the brazenness of it. The flamboyance of it! Ronaldo was hated and envied because he broke the rules in plain view. And could behave like a spoilt child. The English you see can never forgive someone for doing publicly what they have to spend so much time and energy hiding.

As Ronaldo said, matter-of-factly, in response to the English media’s frenzy over the pink hat with the flower: ‘I don’t see what is wrong with that if you are comfortable with your sexuality.’ But the English aren’t comfortable, Ronaldo. In any sense. Don’t remind us of it!.

David Beckham managed, more or less, to get away with sarongs and nail polish and worse. But that was partly because Beckham wasn’t as talented a footballer as Ronaldo, wasn’t as pretty, or as young. And, unlike Ronaldo, was very, very concerned with handling the English press and his public image: he really cared about us and what we thought, and so was generally regarded as ‘nice’. Most importantly, in the end Becks was English. He may have been a tart, but he was our tart (though at the moment he appears to be Mr Armani’s.)

The problem with Portuguese Ronaldo, and the reason ultimately why he was so resented and the target of such passionate ambivalence, was that he wasn’t ours. He was always only on loan – which is why whenever rumours of a move abroad surfaced the hate campaign in the press would reach new, tremulous heights.

But now he’s really going. And we’re really going to miss him. But being English, the way we’ll express that is by saying: ‘Good riddance, you WINKER!!’

23 Replies to “We Loved You Really, Ronaldo”

  1. I thought there was a US gay porn category for everything… after all, if it can’t be commodified, it can’t be gay!

  2. Ciao Roma! There was more than a little of the stale old English discomfort with Mediterranean men’s comfort with pastels and pretty things in the coverage (which still continues, even now he’s moving out of their reach). As you say, they can carry it off. We generally can’t. So we stomp on it when we see it, like enraged, envious kids.

  3. Thanks, Mark. So at age 28 I’m not a twink nor a bear. Maybe a twinky bear? I heard they used to make a twinky bar in the shape of animals, including bears, some time ago. But I digress…

  4. Thanks for pointing me to the appalling Campions League stuff, Mark. It’s hard to imagine an Italian paper indulging in that kind of overt homophobia, which may explain why Ronaldo doesn’t seem to care. Latin men tend to think their sexuality is untouchable and it’s unusual to find one who doesn’t look good in pink (or would think it strange, or sexually debilitating in some way, to wear the colour). But what I really wanted to say is that I think Beckham is sexier than Ronaldo. Bland, bland, bland (as Ronaldo is bland), but sexier. And, of course, Cantona is hotter than both of them strapped together, even in the most compromising position you can imagine. Just.

  5. Thanks. I’m not up-to-date on Anglo gay slang. Or maybe it’s because I don’t take part in gang bangs. Who knows…

  6. It’s a gangbang which leaves you incredibly unsatisfied only 5 minutes after completion. Like all things sugary, it often looks delicious in a pouty-cutey-puffy way, but on reflection leaves you wanting something more substantial.

  7. Come to America, John, the games are only a sideline to the fans being so wantanly sodomized by the Corporations that they all think it’s the central event.
    If you have fans who know players from sponsors and products, you’re way ahead.
    One thing you have going is that you Brits do seem to read and possibly won’t call Mark names for telling the truth.

  8. Yes well, we’ll leave it at that then. But of course people expect footballers to be loyal and part of a team — that’s what sport is all about, after all.

    Just because football’s been bastardized by money, that doesn’t mean most fans are happy about it. There’s an idea for an article — how Ronaldo encapsulates the extent to which professional sport has been sodomized by money and brand advertising. (Ahem, you’ll have to excuse the pun.)

  9. I don’t think anyone really expects footballers to be ‘loyal’ these days, do they? That’s why they have agents – and get paid such vast sums of money. The bigger the talent, the bigger the tart.

    At any rate, my ‘reading in’ wasn’t about analysing Ronaldo’s relationship with Man U fans – I’m not one – but reading what the English media wrote about him on an almost daily basis.

    And even though Ronaldo wasn’t my type, I can recognise a twinky gang bang when I see one.

  10. How could he be called anything but “pretty’ with the little turned up nose and I bet he even has dimples. But for his incredible body he could easily go in drag.

  11. @ Mark S

    I think fans will show their love for a sportsman regardless of looks. For all you’re reading into this, you have to admit that Ronaldo came across as truculent, petty, and showed no loyalty whatsoever to Man U. I think it’s that last point that really irked fans. After all, what is more important in a sport than loyalty to your team?

    People don’t begrudge Nadal (although he obviously has no connection to Britain the way Ronaldo did). Even though he’s worth $25,000,000 and is insufferably pretty, people like him because he comes across as a gent.

  12. He beats Tom Cruise hands down! So go my presumptions that footballers are chubbies. From the picture, he’s about as prety as a footballer comes; besides, it goes without saying that such adament and overreaching envy has a source in reality; Somone certainly sees him as being pretty. I suspect that that old Anglo-saxon spite for those swarthy mediteranian types plays a BIG role. He’s not my type I think but that has to do with extrapolated size (i.e.what I can throw around. with ease )

    Americans have the sense to play games that no one else wants to play and that rarely coincide with good looks. I figured out as a youngster that the soccar players where far supperior to our fat footballers (different from yours ) or gangly basketball players. Mark assures me that your modern footballers are less meaty than in earlier days.

    I’l take him if you don’t want him; no doubt we can work something out..I’ can always figure something out in a pinch.

  13. I’m sure I’m wrong much more often than that! Ronaldo happens not to be my type either, but there’s no question that his insufferable prettiness brought out the English media in something much worse than a ‘mild rash’. As for Cantona, well, for all his charms he could never be described as pretty – which might be part of the reason why Man U fans felt able to show their love for him.

  14. I think for once you’re completely wrong here. I’m a young gay man (younger than Ronaldo), and I honestly do not find him remotely attractive.

    I wish him all the best at Real. I find him mildly irritating (like a rash), but I tend to find vacuity in general mildly irritating.

    Why don’t you try comparing him to Cantona? Why is it that Cantona could connect with United fans in a way that Ronaldo never could?

  15. But he’s not hot. He’s strangely asexual.

    Straight guys usually know what is hot and they revere it.

  16. Ya know…you’re ‘right’ in many ways!!Though i hadn’t noticed that there was/is any kind of ongoing derogatory ‘campaign’ against him,but then again,i don’t exactly follow every written word about the guy either!!Personally,i think that ANYone who is comfortable enough in their own skin to be able to please themselves with their choices,of any form of attire,most certainly elevates my opinion of them!!Also…if he DOESN’T ‘care’ about what any of us think about him,then my esteem of the guy leaps even HIGHER!!Why SHOULD he fukkin care??He’s ‘fit’ and ‘minted’ and i say MORE POWER to the lil queen,LoL!!I’d bend him over for a ‘hot minit’,LoL!!But seriously…as long as he pleases the people that truly matter to him,presumably his family and friends,and justifies the exorbitant wages he makes by pleasing his employers,then he’s doin quite alright to my way of seeing things!!Rolo RAAWKS,LoL!!Love Maz,X…

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