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Criticism Vs Courage

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Cristiano Ronaldo is a world class player. He is regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world; but many think he has not yet proven himself to win a trophy on the international stage level. By having the right mindset to control his fears and his demonstration of a willingness to deal with dangerous and difficult situations, (even if it means suffering the consequences) Ronaldo’s actions demonstrate courage. Furthermore, raised by a working-class family in Portugal, (during the 1990s) Ronaldo’s courage intentionally jeopardized his soccer career which helped ignite Portugal’s performance in the Euro 2016 Finals. His actions could have come at a high cost. With age comes more responsibility and as he got older, he knew he had to get started.

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In order to understand Cristiano Ronaldo (and why he’s considered to be one of the world’s best players in soccer today) one must first understand who he is and where he’s from. Born as the youngest of 4 children, “Ronaldo was named after Ronald Reagan, one of his father’s favorite actors” (Biography.com). He was born on Feb 5, 1985 in Fundal, Muddera, Portugal. Due to his father drinking problems, Ronaldo struggled with hardships. Because he was aware of his father’s addiction, Ronaldo often pushed his father to enter rehab and to address his issues. For instance, “Playing for Manchester United in 2005, his father died of alcohol related kidney problems; in 2007, his mother struggled with breast cancer” (Biography.com). Because of the close relationship that he had with his dad, this made life even more difficult for Ronaldo. At this stage in his life, his mom working two jobs (one as a cook and the other as a house cleanser) was the only action that kept the family fed and maintained their living expenses. Ronaldo knew there was no time to waste as he would sometimes skip meals just to sneak out to play the game of his dreams, soccer. It’s critical for the readers to understand Ronaldo’s early life and the struggles his family went through before he became the player he now is today. However, eager to make his dad proud, Ronaldo channeled his inner focus on the game of soccer which sparked the beginning of a legend.

As a player within the cup finals, Ronaldo was aware of how high the stakes were. After suffering an injury (which occurred during a tackle earlier on in the Euro 2016 final against France) with just 9 minutes into the game, Ronaldo intentionally went back on the pitch. He could no longer live under the criticism of people calling him out for not being able to win a trophy with his country; so, he did what he had to. The Euro 2016 Finals took place on July 10, 2016 at the Saint- Dennis Stadium in France. The match was between Portugal and France and the winner would take home the trophy for the Euro 2016 Finals. Ronaldo was the captain of Portugal in this game; nonetheless, his team were the underdogs and it wasn’t even close. 9 minutes into the first half, Ronaldo suffered a knee injury as he collided foot with Dimitri Payet, (France’s center mid- fielder). As a former soccer player, a ligament sprain isn’t something to take lightly; because events like this can easily lead to a muscle tear. However, in general, a ligament sprain slows down the movement in one’s body. For something as devastating as this to happen to anyone during a cup final, is hard to cope with. The struggle of continuing to run while he was in constant pain and yet trying to push through it, required him to have true courage and determination. For example, according to Marcotti, “That work ethic, coupled with a sense of what it means to be a teammate and a leader, is what prompted Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz to name Ronaldo captain in the summer of 2008, at the ripe age of 23” (Marcotti, Gabrielle). This demonstrates why Ronaldo has been Portugal’s captain from 2008 to the current game against France for the Euro 2016 finals in France. Regardless, aware and alert of what’s at stake in a cup final, Ronaldo knew this could be his moment to silent all the critics that people gossip about him. He received treatment. Then, he returned to the game minutes later; however, he still appeared to be limping in discomfort. Ronaldo played for 15 more minutes; then, he went down in tears crying. He gave it his all– even when he was still in discomfort and thus represents my definition of courage. For this reason, after seeing their team captain (and best player substituted due to an injury) attempt to play through an injury, the team viewed his drive as motivation for wanting to win the game and in turn they did. However, after being substituted, Ronaldo didn’t go straight to the bench. Instead, he was right next to the coach, encouraging and cheering on his teammates as any good teammate would. This support is included to inform the audience of how Ronaldo’s sacrifice in the Euro 2016 finals was heroic. Despite the outcome of the game, Ronaldo’s decision to risk getting back into the game, after his injury, demonstrated his willingness to work through a difficult situation, even if it meant suffering consequences.

By stepping back on the pitch Ronaldo was saying, “No more,” no matter what the consequences were to himself. Bearing in mind that if his team lost in the final of the match (regardless of how much he was hurting) Ronaldo knew he had to at least try to fight through the pain. A grade 1 anterior cruciate ligament sprain was the injury which Ronaldo was fighting through by attempting to continue to play in the game, (ESPN Soccer). Spraining a ligament is one thing, but tearing a muscle is a whole different medical condition. Redundant, he also knew that only by winning would he be able to silence all the critics. What Ronaldo had forgotten was that it could’ve costed him his career, if the injury appeared to be worse than it seemed at the time. However, his actions portray the idea of being able to control one’s self while being in a pressurized situation of having to make a decision right on the spot. Furthermore, his actions did motivate his team. By choosing to sacrifice his body, while he was in pain, this courageous effort is what separates Ronaldo from the other great athletes in the world. Furthermore, this demonstrates that Ronaldo was willing to risk it all in attempt to achieve success with his national team. He knew what it would mean to him as an individual. Nevertheless, regardless of the critics that people will now create about Ronaldo, it’s fair to say that the legend’s career is yet far from being over.

In the final analysis, born to a hard- working family in the country of Portugal, Ronaldo’s family had a tremendous effect on him throughout the early stages of his life. The loss of his dad had a major impact on his career –which made him hungrier to achieve success in respect for his dad. Also, in attempt in conquering what would surely be one of his most accomplished achievement, Ronaldo risked playing through an injury in attempt to finally win a silverware for his country. However, by giving everything that he had (in attempt to help his team regardless of his situation) he demonstrated courage in a way that only leaders would as a true hardworking captain. Additionally, there’s always going to be tragedies in our lives; but it’s what we choose to do with that inner focus (in given situations) that determines how strong we’re as individuals. Also, anyone can be a player on a team; but not everyone can be considered as a team player. Ronaldo possesses the qualities of a true leader by knowing how to control himself in different situations, especially by the way he went about carrying himself in his team’s success in the Euro 2016 Cup Final. Now, why is it that Ronaldo has not yet proven himself to win a trophy on the international stage level? That’s a question which will never be asked again after his team won the Euro 2016 final. Ronaldo and his team went on to beat Holland in the 2019 League of Nations Final. They captured their second international trophy to further silence all the critics and all the haters once again. This is the reason why Cristiano Ronaldo is regarded as one of the world’s best soccer players.

31 August 2020

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