Cristiano Ronaldo just can't win, can he? Lambasted in the press this time because he didn't just shrug off the missed chances against Almeria on Wednesday night in Real Madrid's comfortable 3 - 0 win at the Bernabeu, his crime was to show a bit of passion instead of looking as though he couldn't care less.
The body language against Almeria said it all; Ronaldo was not pleased. The fact remains that the prospect of a further league title with Madrid is still a possibility and the frustration showed at a time when the game hadn't quite been wrapped up. At the time of the missed chances - including a few by his team mates as well - Madrid were pressing to finish the game as a contest but the goals didn't come as quickly as hoped. Several chances were missed and now Cristiano is being taken to task for remonstrating too much about this and for showing his disappointment.
It's one thing laughing at yourself if you miss a complete sitter when your team is leading 5 - 0, but it's quite another when the points are needed and the chances just aren't being taken. Nobody is going to laugh off as many missed chances as there were against Almeria; you can laugh off the odd one or two but that's only human nature. However, when the league title is at stake then a succession of missed chances need to be taken seriously.
Can you imagine the reaction if Cristiano just laughed or shrugged his shoulders every time a scoring opportunity was squandered?
Call him arrogant, self-centred or whatever, but the point is that by showing frustration or whatever, Cristiano is at least demonstrating that he cares. Against Almeria the ball just wouldn't go into the net for him but sometimes that just happens in football. The fact that he allows his frustrations at not scoring to show in public likely just typifies the type of character he is.
I may be well off the mark but I think most people would prefer a striker to take missed chances seriously as opposed to just walking away from the goalmouth as though it didn't matter. Neither do I buy into the whole theory about Cristiano's reaction to the missed chances being more about his personal scoring duel with Lionel Messi than it was about Madrid winning on the night.
Cristiano Ronaldo often finds himself in situations like this. If he plays well and struts around the field then he's perceived to be arrogant; if he has a bad game and he lets it be seen that it's affecting him, then he's sulking.
Of course there are aspects of Ronaldo's game that don't please everybody; a tendency to stay on the ground that little bit longer if he's fouled and doesn't get the free kick for example, but hey, nobody's perfect. Having come through a bad patch not so long ago it looks as though he is now starting to find his form once again so any frustration showing will just be a natural reaction. It's not such a big deal and is understandable since after all, a championship is at stake here.
Sometimes too much can be made of what players do on the pitch and how they react. Last week Thierry Henry made a big deal of how Chicharito celebrated his goal in the closing stages of the Atletico Madrid game; saying that he shouldn't have celebrated alone and should have gone instead to his teammates. Henry felt that Chicharito should have acknowledged Ronaldo in particular for setting him up with the goal.
On the night in question, though, Chicharito simply let his feelings go unchecked; and who's to say that was the wrong thing to do. There's often so much commitment involved in the games that sometimes the emotions spill over - and the trick is just making sure that these don't come out in too negative a manner.
Thierry Henry went on and on about how Chicharito failed to make the celebrations more intimate with the rest of the Madrid players and continued to celebrate on his own; but Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates on his own all the time. That rarely seems to get a mention; but if he kicks at the ground or waves his arms after a scoring chance has been missed then it becomes headline news.
Showing disappointment and frustration is a natural reaction in a sport where emotions often run high. Personally, I think people prefer players who aren't afraid to show their disappointment at missed chances provided that these are genuine displays of frustration and are not blown out of all proportion. Players need to be able to release their emotions since otherwise these can bottle up inside and before you know it they've lost their self-discipline and the team find themselves a man down.
With regards to the missed chances against Almeria though, it's not a crime to care and it's even less of a crime to show that you care. If Cristiano wants to vent his frustrations then surely that's preferable to looking as though it doesn't matter whether the ball hits the net or not. The guy just can't win.