Cristiano Ronaldo’s kit suppliers have got the thumbs up from the Portugal captain who enjoys the ideas of “leader” and “power” linked to the name of his new “El Comandante” boots.
Speaking from the Portugal camp before this week’s games against Egypt and Netherlands, Ronaldo said he liked the historical reference within the branding of his new footwear.
“El Comandante — it’s good, it’s coming from history,” Ronaldo explained. “I like the word, it means leader, power. So it’s great that they put that name, I’m glad.”
Ronaldo may not recall, or perhaps has preferred to forget, that he has not always been so happy with all the different meanings of this particular word.
In 2013 when then FIFA president Sepp Blatter was caught apparently belittling Ronaldo as an on-pitch “commander” who struts around the pitch, it led to a public row which was only resolved when Ronaldo was awarded that year’s Ballon d’Or.
WHAT’S BEHIND HIS STUNNING FORM FOR REAL MADRID?
Even in the midst of Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable scoring onslaught, two stark facts stand out.
Ronaldo actually had copious chances over his barren first half of the season to hit the net as regularly as he’s now managing, and had he done so, this would be shaping up as the most prolific goal performance of his already historic career … at the age of 33. Despite the now ridiculous fact that Ronaldo managed a paltry four La Liga goals by mid-January, his current 37 goals in 35 matches (all competitions) leaves him about a millimetre short of the goal average he produced in 2014-15, when he ended with his all-time best total of 61 in 54.
However, this pugnacious, proud and ambitious man has taken reality and bent it to his will so often that it’s always important to add context to achievement rather than just adding it to a burgeoning list. It’s not enough to simply laud Ronaldo; his work merits examination.
Whether the remainder of his season produces the 25 goals he’d require to beat his own goal record in a single season — at the very most, he can play in 14 matches but has just notched 21 in his last 11 — is no more than an anecdote.
The context is that for more than half of the La Liga season, even when he was smashing an all-time Champions League group scoring record and becoming the first player to score nine in six games, this imperious striker looked like neither his left nor right boot knew what his head was doing or saying.
The same guy who hasn’t simply mounted an extremely strong case that Madrid may win their third straight Champions League — no club has won this competition three times consecutively for 42 years — but also a fighting shout for yet another Ballon d’Or had been performing with startlingly low levels of confidence, coordination, definition and assurance.